From Endurance to Dressage
While I was at the SCEC show the other weekend, my friend Jen and I stopped by Dressage Extensions. For those of you that have actual tack shops, you're no doubt wondering why this is a thing. For those of you who don't live near a tack shop, you get it. Being able to touch the fabrics, finger the leather, and read ingredients is a very real treat.
I didn't have a shopping list, but I was very open to suggestion. Dressage Extensions is one of those shops that wows you as soon as you walk in. Beautiful stuff is displayed everywhere. Your best bet is to do one or two loops around the store just to admire everything. After you've had a chance to get a lay of the land, so to speak, you can then start honing in on the areas of interest.
Fortunately, both Jen and I were in a somewhat grubby state having just left the show grounds, so I didn't feel clean enough to try on anything. That is probably an excellent strategy for future visits. With that said, one of the sales clerks let me know how much she liked the breeches I was wearing. Whether it was a genuine compliment or not, it was good customer service, and I am extremely loyal to a shop when I know they care about whether I come back.
I did end up buying two items. The first was a Kavalkade Memory Foam Crown Pad. I doubt it will help, but I bought it with the hope that it might provide a bit of friction thereby holding Izzy's fly veil on when he tries to shake it off. On day one of the show, he shook his head hard enough in the second warm up that he slipped it off one ear. Not wanting a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of the next test, I yanked it off and tossed it to my trainer, Sean Cunningham, owner and trainer at STC Dressage.
For Sunday's tests, the fly veil stayed on, but I don't know if it was because I never let Izzy shake his head, or if the new crown pad did its job. Whether the pad works or not, I figure some extra padding across his poll can't be a bad thing. Of course, I also had to readjust his bridle's fit as the padding added just enough thickness that all of the straps needed to be dropped at least one hole.
The other thing I bought was a new hair net bun cover. Those things are ridiculously over-priced, but when you have long hair, you have to use something. I have the same bun cover in navy, and I love it. I use one of those easy bun things to roll my hair into a bun, and then I cover it with the hair net bun cover which has little mini jaw clips that hold it securely in place. The one I have is in navy though, and I just didn't like it with the maroon coat. Fortunately, Dressage Extensions had one in taupe which I think is neutral enough to wear with with my maroon helmet and coat.
Speaking of the new coat ... I was really pleased with how it looked paired with the new helmet. My hair was a bit of a mess as I didn't have the new bun cover, but for our next show, my hair will look much more tidy. As for the coat itself, the AA Motionlite, it was amazing. It was incredibly lightweight and so comfortable that even once my tests were finished, I left it on. Granted, the weather was mild, but even on a hot summer day, this thing is going to be so much better than coats of the past.
Had I known my boot's zipper was going to have a mid-life crisis, I would have tried on some boots while I was at Dressage Extensions, but obviously I didn't know that was going to happen. I was able to take my boots in to a shoe repair shop earlier this week. I've already had some work done on these boots in the past, so depending on whether the cordwainer* can improve the fit around the calf while replacing the zippers, I'll either keep them or re-home them.
*Yes, it's a real word! I discovered that a cobbler repairs shoes while a cordwainer makes shoes. The gentleman I took my boots to for repair, makes custom cowboy boots.
Dressage Extensions carries both the Petrie Sydney ($299.95) and Petrie Olympic ($599.95) dressage boots. They're both out of stock at the moment, but a new shipment is due in the next two weeks. I'm on "the list." I've never owned a pair of Petrie boots, but given their popularity, I am considering buying a pair. I like the idea of the inside zipper on the Petrie Olympic boots, but $600 (plus tax) is a lot to spend if my old boots can be repaired.
While I am not too excited about the idea, my schooling boots will have to serve until I can get my show boot situation resolved. As it is, one of the zippers on those boots has been getting a bit grumpy. They're "cheap enough" to replace, but I certainly don't want to buy two new pairs of boots in the same month.
I guess that's the problem with window shopping. It's really hard to look without buying something.
Pinch me, please. I cannot believe my luck. When I saw that maroon Ovation helmet on Facebook, I was pretty sure it would match my Romfh show shirt. It doesn't just match, the colors are identical. Romfh has the shirt listed on its website in purple, but I am pretty sure the color I bought was some kind of burgundy. Of course, this shirt won't last forever, but for now, it will look great when coats are waived. Either way, finding a helmet to match my shirt was a major score, and thankfully, the helmet turned out to be much darker than what was pictured.
My luck didn't end there though. When I started thinking about getting a coat in burgundy to match, I landed on the Motionlite Competition Show Coat. I wrote about it last week. While I don't have loads of cash just lying around waiting to be spent on show apparel, I just couldn't get that coat off my mind. I love my navy Romfh coat, and it fits perfectly, but I wanted that maroon coat. I didn't need it, I wanted it, and now, there it is, hanging in my closet.
The coat is everything it's advertised to be. It is so lightweight that it barely weighs more than the shirt. And yes, it is nearly see though, but once on, you can't see what's underneath. I put it on over a t-shirt with loud graphics, and no matter how much I tugged on the fabric, I couldn't see what was underneath unless I really stretched the fabric thin. It also has a hidden zipper, a must have for me, and it is really stretchy, like, spandex stretchy.My only complaint is the sleeve length. They're at least three inches too long, and I don't have t-rex arms. My arm length matches my body. I know a lot of riders struggle with sleeves being too short, so this coat will serve their needs. Right now, I plan to tuck them under and put a few discreet stitches in to hold them at a shorter length.
Of course, color shouldn't be the deciding factor when purchasing helmets and coats. Fit and function should be our first priorities. The Ovation helmets have all fit me really well, and this one was no exception. With the dial adjustment at the base of the skull and the adjustable side and chin straps, the fit is perfect. I could not be happier. Coats, too have undergone a revolution when it comes to fabrics and fit. I never had a wool coat - I came to the sport too late for that, but even in the decade I've been showing, fabrics have come a long way. We consider ourselves athletes, so it's only appropriate that the fabrics we ride in are made for athletic endeavors. This one checks all the boxes. It's lightweight, stretchy, and no doubt cooler than coats of the past.
We're scheduled to show at the beginning of March. I can't wait to wear this ensemble. Maybe the judge will be so awed by our look that our scores will reflect a fashion bias.
At this point, we need all the help we can get!
When you have a bit of OCD tendencies, it's hard to let stuff go. When I get something in my mind, the only way to shake it is to either finish it, buy it, or replace it with something comparable. In this particular instance, I am not sure there exists something comparable. What is it, you ask? This beauty.
Primatova is totally a made up color. It's either maroon or burgundy. Since I haven't seen it in person, I can't say for sure. While doing a bit of research, I discovered this interesting tidbit on color. Burgundy is actually a dull purplish red which takes it name from the color of the wine produced in the Burgundy region of France. Maroon, however, only becomes a color when brown is added to red. Based on that description, I'd say I still don't know which side of things primatova falls.
Either way, the coat is by Alessandro Albanese, an Italian designer. From the AA website: AA remains dedicated to providing beautiful Italian competition wear with a modern twist, by exploring an array of technical fabrics and cuts, with features such as breathability, water repellence, stretch properties, and easy care fabrics.
This coat has been on my radar for quite some time, but the time was never right. It's not "right" right now either, but it's getting closer. I wouldn't have considered this color before because for quite a while I was switching from black to navy. I love my navy coat, the Romfh Bling Show Coat, and my navy helmet, the Ovation Glitz. The coat is super stretchy and much cooler than anything else I've ever worn. But lately, all things burgundy/maroon have been calling my name.
According to Riding Warehouse's product description, the AA Horseware Motionlite Competition Show Coat/Jacket is constructed to feel like a second skin, the mesh material looks almost see-through until it's put on the rider, where it magically becomes a true solid color. Designed with exceptionally stretchy fabric that allows for freedom in the saddle, the flattering contoured fit helps you look and feel your best while competing. Well, I am sold.
The coat isn't cheap at $289.95, but neither was the Romfh coat. I've had the Romfh coat since January 2016. I'm not looking to abandon it, I still love it after all, but it wouldn't break my heart to show in something else either. Izzy has such a striking summer coat that I think we could pull it off. With the arrival of my new helmet (more on that next week), this coat might be in my closest sooner than I had expected.
Is that my credit card I see dancing in front of me?
It was bound to happen, and fortunately, I was prepared for it with a spare, ready to go. And no, it wasn't a tire. It was my every day schooling boots. Last November, I took advantage of a black Friday deal at the Riding Warehouse and bought a pair of back up boots for the inevitable day when my current boots suffered a fatal injury. That day was Thursday.
I've owned two pair of the TuffRider Belmont Dress Boots, (plus a pair of the TuffRider Baroques) and I love everything about them. What I've loved most about these boots is the comfort level. They are soft and broken in from the first moment you zip them up. There truly is no break in period. Secondly, I love how they look. I love the high Spanish top, the punched toe cap, the zipper guard at the heel, and the textured look of the leather. Of course, from the photo above they look about as ugly as can be, but these have had some serious miles put on them. Here's what they looked like out of the box.
The third thing that keeps me coming back is the price. For well under $200, I get a super comfortable pair of boots that I don't feel bad abusing. When I ordered them last November, I paid a paltry $131.16. A black Friday deal helped with the price. They normally go for $163.95. I've been wearing my current pair since April of 2018. That's twenty-seven months of hard wear which works out to $4.80 per month. I spend at least twice that on my monthly boxes of tea.
I've been fighting the zippers for a couple of months. I've been running a hunk of wax up and down the zipper teeth in an effort to lubricate them. But zippers, they just don't last forever. On Thursday morning the left zipper blew out after I snapped the top snap. I looked down, shrugged my shoulders, and rode with some air conditioning over my calf. After my ride, I sat down to take my boots off, and the right zipper blew out. All I could think was finally. I had expected a wardrobe malfunction long before July.
It wasn't just the zippers. I was already walking around with two good-sized holes and a developing third. Since none of the holes affected the boots' functionality, I've been living fairly patiently with the oddly placed vents. For the past few weeks I've been tempted to chuck the boots in favor of the new pair gathering dust in my closet, but common sense told me to hold out a wee bit longer; that old pair was bound to kick the bucket sooner rather than later. My common sense was right.
After snapping the photo above, I rather unceremoniously dumped the boots in the trash. Even with new zippers, those boots weren't worth rehabbing. I've worn the new ones a time or two - once or twice to work (they're really cute with a long skirt), and I think I wore them to a schooling show or clinic. I wore them over the weekend, and just like all my other TuffRider tall boots, they've been so comfortable that I forgot they were new.
If you're looking for a comfortable and inexpensive schooling boot or even a show boot, give the TuffRider Belmonts a try. I am now on pair number three and looking for another sale to keep a pair in reserve. I dread the day TuffRider quits making them.
I am no Imelda Marcos or anything - boy, is that showing my age. Some of you may remember that in the late 1980s Imelda Marcos "and her family gained notoriety for living a lavish lifestyle during a period of economic crisis and civil unrest in the country." She was also famous for her more than 1,000 pair of shoes. I like shoes, but not that much. I should clarify. I really like having the appropriate foot wear for the task at hand.
I like slippers on cold days, waterproof boots for rainy days, sandals when it's hot, tennis shoes for running, my Converse sneakers for hanging out, and heels when they're called for. I also take very good care of my shoes. I have a pair of Laredo ropers that are at least 25 years old.
And of course, I have a variety of boots for different horse related tasks. I have my show boots; they live in my horse trailer. I have a pair of schooling boots which live in the tack room. I also have a brand new pair of schooling boots that are still in my office waiting to be called up. My schooling boots still have a few more miles left in them, so until I have a zipper blow out or a sole falls off, I'll keep the new ones in storage until the old ones die.
I also own a few pair of really old Ariat Terrains left over from my endurance days. I only keep them for emergencies. One pair lives in my horse trailer, and another pair lives in a trunk in the tack room. I've actually needed them once or twice over the years. Although as funky as they are, I should just get a new pair to keep on hand.
Besides my schooling boots, the pair of shoes that I wear most often are my muck boots, or as I call them, my barn boots. Even my husband knows which pair I mean when I mention barn boots. I replace these every one to two years. They take an absolute beating, but they save my schooling boots from at least some of the daily wear and tear.
For a long time, like close to ten years, I wore the mid-calf Mudruckers. I liked them a lot until I found the Noble Outfitters version, Muds. For the first year or two, I wore the mid-calf version which I really liked. This fall, I bought the tall boots which I REALLY liked in the winter. When it got sloppy muddy, I didn't have to worry about splash over.
You know what I mean. You're squishing through the mud and suddenly you hear a squelch and poopy water suddenly squirts over the opening into your boot top and drips down onto your socks. Or when filling the water trough, the hose goes a bit wild and you feel icy cold water trickle down the front of your shin bone. That doesn't happen with the tall boots.
A few weeks ago, we had some days in the 80s. I quickly realized that the tall boot version of my Muds wasn't going to work when it hit 110℉. At 80℉, my socks were soaking wet, and I had to scrape my boots off over my sweaty calves. I never had that problem with the mid-calf boots as the opening was pretty generous which allowed more air to circulate.
I did a quick search on Amazon and found the answer to my problem. Noble Outfitters makes a super short version of their Muds which comes to just a couple of inches above my ankles. they're going to be so much more comfortable when it gets hot.
As a bonus, when they arrived, I noticed that there was a special offer on the hangtag for a free pair of Noble Outfitters' "Best Dang Boot Sock™- Over The Calf" - my all time favorite socks. I immediately sent in my proof of purchase.
I love the boots, but the day after they arrived, the temperature dropped twenty degrees, and it rained for several days in a row. I had to drag my tall boots back out. Very funny, Universe, very funny!
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 …
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
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