From Endurance to Dressage
A Hair Cut
Izzy's mane and tail drive me completely batty in the summer. No matter what I do - and I have tried a LOT of things, he rubs both out by the end of the summer. Sometimes he rubs so hard that he creates open wounds on his tail dock, forehead, withers, and shoulders. Last summer I got so frustrated by the itching that I roached his mane. And suddenly, he stopped itching.
Just as we left for Croatia in early June, I stared wistfully as Izzy's perfectly grown out mane. It was the right length for braiding, and it looked silky and smooth. The day I came back, the first thing I noticed was that the bottom third had been rubbed out, and the rest was looking very ratty. I didn't even hesitate; I grabbed my clippers and cut the rest off. That was Wednesday. Since then, there have been no additional signs of rubbing. I hate braiding anyway, and if sporting a mohawk makes him more comfortable, then it is a win-win for us both.
A year and a half ago, I bought new tall boots with the intention of wearing them as soon as my current boots suffered a fatal blowout. I waited a month and then another month and then another month. Those darned boots just would not wear out. In total, I wore them every day for almost three years. Last week, Izzy stepped a bit too close and clipped me in the heel. Off peeled my boot's sole. I can't say I am too disappointed as I got an extra year out of them.
I've been wearing TuffRider Ladies' Belmont Dress Boots for quite a few years now. They're extremely comfortable out of the box, and while the price has steadily risen over the past decade, they're still very affordable at around $250. This last pair, which I did toss in the trash, had already had the zippers replaced, so it didn't seem worth it to get them resoled. If I get two years out of them, I feel it's money well spent. I wore them for three years.
When I first put the new pair on last week, I was very surprised at how squishy they felt on the inside. And when I did my first ride in them, I swear I rode better. The footbed was so soft and comfortable that it felt like my horse had developed some extra suspension since the last time I had ridden him. After having several weeks off, maybe he did develop some added suspension in his stride! Either way, my feet were quite happy.
New boots for me, a new haircut for Izzy ... We're ready for summer riding.
I got a nice little surprise from my mom last week. It was actually a belated birthday present - long story that has to do with a move across the country and a remodel. The story gets even longer though as there was a bit of an issue with the gift card, but things are getting sorted out. In the mean time, my shopping cart is filling up fast!
#1 Gallon of Fly Spray
This is the least sexy thing I could possibly spend this much money on, but my horse peeps know how expensive fly spray is. Pyranha is my go-to for fly protection; it works better than anything else on my particular brand of flies and gnats, so in the cart it goes.
#2 Fly Mask
It's not like this is a pricy item, but I was getting ready to order Speedy's new fly mask anyway, so I threw one in the cart. He likes this fly mask. It's soft, doesn't catch junk on the edges, and it stands up off of his eyes. Big brown horse, the destroyer of all things good and wonderful, doesn't get one of these. He's too rough. Instead he gets the Noble Outfitters Guardsman, the Panzer of fly masks. Since there was a two-for-one at the end of last summer, I saved the second one for this summer, so Izzy already has his.
#3 Mane and Tail Product
I truly love Knotty Horse Mane & Tail Treatment and Detangler, and I still use it, but for every day spray on stuff, I LOVE Carr & Day & Martin's Canter Mane & Tail Conditioner Spray. I love how it smells, I love how it feels, and I particularly love how silky smooth it leaves manes and tails. The big bottle generally lasts me about a year. Getting it for "free" makes it even better!
#4 A new Ovation Glitz Riding Helmet
I honestly don't know how many of these I have purchased. It has to be at least five. I currently have two in the trailer - one in navy and one in in black. I school in a black one, and I am pretty sure I've gone through one or two others. I love the Ovation helmets. I also have an Ovation Jump Air Helmet in Maroon, and I have had several other styles including the Sync and the Synch with Carbon Fiber Print, both in black. My current schooling helmet is officially gross. I am done trying to clean it. Besides, I can't remember how long ago that I bought it, and they do need to be replaced every now and again. My plan is to put the new one in the trailer, and I'll use the one in my trailer as my everyday helmet. The one in the trailer has only been used for clinics, lessons off property, and shows, so it is clean and "new."
#5 Patience, Grasshopper
Believe it or not, that does not use up the entire gift card, and while there are at least two more things I would love to throw in the cart, I am going to wait a bit in case there is something else that I just can't do without. And no, it WILL NOT be another pair of breeches. Please stop me if I even suggest that I need another pair.
A new pair of Roeckl gloves along with a couple of pairs of C4 socks would be nice though ...
OMG. The list of things I love is long: breeches, belts, vests, technical riding shirts, ... SOCKS! Socks are easy to love because they are relatively cheap and they always help out a shopping cart that needs just a few more dollars to qualify for free shipping. I can't tell you how many times I have spent $20 in socks to avoid paying $7.95 in shipping. Admit, you've done the same, am I right?
My two favorites are Over the Calf Peddies by Noble Outfitters and C4s. These two brands wear the longest, they stay up, and they're thin enough to wear with tall boots. Despite loving socks, a year or so ago I had to put the kibosh on buying more. I had a draw full of tall socks AND a pile of brand new socks that I had yet to even wear. To get control of my sock pile, I decided that when I saw a hole in the toe or heel of a current pair, then and only then, could I open a new pair, but I also had to throw out a pair. And wouldn't you know it, my old pairs suddenly turned into kevlar. I could not wear the darn things out.
Over the past couple of months, I have finally thrown out a couple of pairs and have been able to open a new pair here and there. This weekend, I started looking at my available sock choices and realized that half of them are looking pretty threadbare with holes imminent. I fell off the proverbial wagon and opened a new pair of C4s without throwing out an old pair first. In my defense, I was doing laundry and didn't have a lot to choose from. As my back stock of socks quickly becomes everyday socks, I think I may need to start ordering socks again. Unfortunately, the C4 socks are available on Amazon which means free shipping. On a single pair of socks.
Uh-oh, I might be in trouble!
My commute to work and back home does not include driving anywhere near the ranch, so I always go straight from work to the barn which means carrying a bag filled with barn clothes. This time of year, I hate wasting daylight, plus it's COLD, by changing from work clothes to barn clothes, so on as many days as possible, I wear breeches. You would be surprised at how easily it is to dressage up your breeches with a cute sweater and a pair of heels, flats, or boots.
Monday ... Mahogany breeches from Esprit Equestrian Wear paired with a color-block sweater and stretchy black flats. I wear this outfit a lot.
Tuesday ... Ariat denim breeches with a navy and gray, boat-neck sweater with Dublin boots for a stylish finish. I wear this one when I have morning yard duty, especially this time of year.
Wednesday ... A jeweled tone, aubergine sweater looks great with the black Classics from Esprit Equestrian Wear. The chunky black heels are new to my wardrobe, and I am totally in love with them!
Thursday ... These Khaki cargo style breeches work well with a gray, long-sleeved riding shirt from Dover, but what really makes this outfit pop is a horsey-themed fleece vest and Dublin boots.
Friday ... for most teachers, Friday is the day we wear our spirit wear, t-shirts with our school logo. Our school colors are blue and gray, so my brand new navy Classics from Esprit Equestrian Wear are my new Friday breeches. Worn with a pair of Chuck Taylor's, it's a fun and comfy outfit.
I am not a fashionista, but it is surprising how stylish breeches have become. And when you buy them in the same colors as the tops and sweaters already in your closet, it's easy to create cute and fashionable looks.
Given how much money I spend on my riding clothes, they should be able to do double duty!
My new favorite breeches, Esprit Equestrian Wear, are on sale. And yes, I bought a pair. Yes, I have an addiction. Either that, or I am a hoarder. Better yet, I am a collector! So, far, I have a pair of hunter green PROs (which are no longer available), white PRO 2.0s, mahogany Classics, and black Classics. I also have a dark grey surcingle belt which happens to be on sale.
With the Presidents' Day sale, I was finally able to justify ordering a fifth pair. While the PROs are very cute, their lower rise gives me the feeling that I have to hoist up my pants now and then. The PRO 2.0s have fixed that problem, but for now, they only come in white and black. Since I already have a black pair of these tights, I went with the navy Classics which are my hands down favorite for fit and comfort, and the genius thigh pocket makes them a no brainer for me. Oh, and I threw in another surcingle belt - on sale!, this time in black.
If you're looking for a comfortable pair of tights/breeches, get these; you won't be disappointed, but hurry. Today is the last day of the sale.
The Classics in white/grey are still calling my name.
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 the lower levels. 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%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: