From Endurance to Dressage
A couple of months ago, I asked for some advice on how to select a blingy browband for the big brown horse. I got a lot of great suggestions. As it turns out, Valerie, owner of the Dressage Pony Store, not only had great advice herself, but she had samples to back up her recommendations.
Since Valerie lives in the Ventura area where I do most of my showing, a few days before heading to October's SCEC show, I contacted her and asked if she might be able to bring some browbands for me to see. I didn't think she had the couple that I had been interested in - she sold a LOT at the USDF Region 7 Championship show, but I knew she'd have a few pretty ones.
I wish I had taken some pictures. She brought mounds of browbands, all of which were so much more gorgeous in person than I had imagined. It was really funny actually. It felt like a drug deal out of some guy's van. Valerie dropped her tailgate and spread her stash as a couple of us greedily reached in to lay claim to to what we wanted. Sorry, no photos.
As it turns out, I liked something completely different from what I had picked out online. Valerie showed me how the arrangement of the stones matters as much as the color you pick. Dark faced horses, like Izzy, actually need light stones on the edges of the browband to provide contrast between their coat color and the center row of stones. Light colored horses need a darker edge to help provide that contrast.
What I didn't know was that Valerie can order custom browbands, which is what we decided to do. Izzy's new browband will have a soft wave or curve. We did a row of clear Swarovski crystals on the top and bottom rows. The middle row will be done in black diamond Swarovski crystals that actually pick up whatever color is near. When I held the black crystals up to my show shirts, it paired perfectly. I don't know if the one pictured above is the exact browband we ordered, but it's pretty close.
As we looked at each browband and compared the style and shape and color combinations, I started imagining Speedy wearing an equally fabulous browband. The one I have is five years old, and while it still looks great, Valerie's are so much prettier. We scooped up a few that we thought would look good on Speedy and walked over to his stall.
It was great to "try them on" especially since the one Valerie and I had picked as our favorite didn't end up looking that good on Speedy. The colors were too light and looked "washed out" next to his white coat. We ended up choosing a solid row of dark blue Swarovski crystals with clear crystals on the top and bottom.
I have no idea when the browbands will arrive. Valerie orders them from Europe, but she'll let me know when they're here. It would be great if they arrive in time for Speedy's next show in December, but if not, no biggie.
In the meantime, Speedy and I were awarded a "hardest working pair" prize at the show at SCEC. I picked the browband that Izzy now sports. It fit him perfectly and replaces the old one which was missing the center clincher. While I couldn't get a good picture of it, it's a Beasties™ Brillance Crystal browband with, get this, Swarovski Black Diamond crystals.
Apparently, black diamonds are a girl's best friend. And hey, if you're looking for reasonably priced bling, check out Valerie's selection; you won't be disappointed.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 SCEC (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
6/26-27 SCEC (***)
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read