From Endurance to Dressage
Oh, that makes me laugh. Nothing is normal with Speedy. That boy makes me and everyone around him march to his own personally selected drummer. Even the drummer gets told what tune to play.
While I mostly adore Speedy, he is also the most infuriating equine I've ever owned. He is nearly impossible to please, yet he'll do anything that I ask of him. Believe me, doing Third Level dressage was never anything I even considered when I bought him in December of 2007 - more than 11 years ago (I missed his Gotcha Day). And yet, here we are.
While he may call most of the shots around here, I am putting my foot down for now. The "separation" anxiety is really just a temper tantrum. Speedy is perfectly fine by himself at shows or standing by the tack room out of sight of his friends. What he doesn't like is that Izzy is getting me all to himself while he is being left behind.
Yeah, yeah, yeah ... I may be anthropomorphizing a bit, but not by much. Speedy is wicked smart, and his feelings get hurt pretty easily. So, I am going back to an old method I've used to halt the whirling and pacing.
A few weeks ago I hung one of my Blocker Tie Rings, one of my all-time favorite gadgets, in Speedy's paddock. If you aren't familiar with the tie ring, it's a small "clip" through which you can loop your lead rope. If a horse pulls back, or gets caught on something, he can pull back, and the rope slides through the ring. It has three settings of "firmness." Speedy always gets tied with the loosest setting as he never challenges being tied up. Izzy gets tied on the middle setting as he has learned that steady pressure on the rope will also allow him to walk away, unchallenged.
While it adds yet one more step to my busy schedule, Speedy now gets tied up when Izzy gets ridden. Last night, he hollered a few times, but it was of the pathetic ... waaaahhhhh kind. When I brought Izzy back to his own dry pasture, Speedy was standing there calmly giving us both the stink eye. He knew the jig was up; at least until he can think of a way to outsmart me.
The worst I've ever seen him do while being tied to a patience pole was to rear up ever so delicately and stamp his feet on the landing. He's careful about being tied. For the most part, he just stands there. Since I can't afford any more vet bills, his new normal will include a lot of conversations with the fence.
That's okay; maybe he can work out some of his feelings in fence pole therapy. That pole is a really good listener.
We all know that I am not much into grooming and hair products, but I do enjoy seeing my horses look good. I must be doing something at least partially right because both of my horses have lovely coats, beautiful, barefoot hooves, and healthy manes and tails.
It's more likely that I've just been blessed with horses who posses good hair and hoof genes.
Manes, and to a lesser extent, tails are my least favorite parts of the body to address. I enjoy a thick mane and tail which means I use a fair amount of detangler, but I only comb them out once or twice a month. Frequent combing thins the tail and shortens long mane hairs. This has been a great strategy for Speedy because Arabians are "permitted" to have a running braid while showing. Other breeds can as well, but it's not as traditional.
Izzy's mane is a hot mess. Number one, it wants to hang on the "wrong" side, and even worse, it splits down the middle where it can't decide what it wants to do. Enter the amazing Smart Tails Professional Mane & Tail Thinning Comb By Smart Grooming. I ordered mine via Amazon for $32.89 plus $6.82 for shipping and handling. It came all the way from Germany and was supposed to take a month to arrive, but it was at my door within about a week and a half.
A friend of mine shared this mane and tail thinner on Facebook, and I was immediately intrigued. She shows regularly, so I knew that I could trust her recommendation. The tool is beyond simple to use. You simply start at the base of the mane or tail and gently drag it through the hair. Within just a stroke or two, an entire section of mane can be thinned.
The comb is quite sturdy, and the blades are sharp. It comes in three blade types; coarse, medium (which I ordered), and Fine & Superfine.
I still need to do some more work on Izzy's mane, but already, it is starting to lay on the correct side, and it's half as thick as it was.
When I saw how easily it worked on his mane, I decided to clean up the bushy hairs from around his tail head. If I don't want to pull his mane, you can bet that there is no way I am pulling tail hairs. With this trimmer, I had his tail looking quite tidy in less than a minute. I even did Speedy's!
As I continue to shape and thin his mane, I am certain that braiding will get easier and easier. The only trouble with this thinner is how easy it is to get carried away. It combs the thickness out so easily that before you know it, you'll have no mane to thin!
You've been warned!
A few weeks ago, Poor Woman Showing wrote about Braideez braiding wires and then offered to give away a set. I never ever ever win anything, but I entered my name anyway because I really like Carly's blog, and I wanted her to know I had read her post.
Immediately after entering her giveaway, I turned around and ordered myself a set of braiding wires - she made them sound that good. I've shared many times that I am not a lover of grooming and such. I happen to have the two cleanest, shiniest horses on the planet despite my ineptitude and lack of hair care products.
But you know what a sense of humor Fate has - try sending in a show entry early ... HAHAHAH - you're screwed! Pay a late fee and you'll probably win the class. Fate had a good laugh at my literal expense: less than twelve hours after ordering my very own set of Braideez braiding wires, Carly sent me this message:
So first, many thanks to Carly for the braiding wires. At first, I almost told her to pass them on to another reader, but I am greedy, and I know how hard on stuff Izzy is, so I sent her my address. Before I share my experience with the braiding wires, I have to show the amazing artwork that seems to accompany each shipment. I am keeping these envelopes and getting them framed. It might be worth the order just for the sketches! The one on the right even looks like Izzy.
The packaging is really awesome. Not many companies go to so much trouble to encourage you to like their product before you even see it.
While the braiding wires are easy to use, especially if you already know how to do button braids, I would still recommend looking at the directions that come in the package (they're made up of a pictorial on the back of the horse) and watching their video.
I followed the directions exactly, and the whole thing took me 40 minutes, including stopping and starting to go get something and cutting the wires to length. I did twelve braids. With practice, I could probably shave off 10 minutes.
I started off by braiding each of the sections and tying them off with a half hitch knot. The wire is coated with a thin plastic and tied without any trouble. To braid the wire in, I folded it in half and put one end in each hand as I grabbed the three strands of hair. The wire stayed put as I braided. After each braid was finished, I gave the wire a tug and straightened out the braids so that they hung straight down.
Then I went back and pulled each strand of wire through the base of teh braid as shown in the directions. I think that pulling the wires through really straight will give a smoother button. I kind of struggled with this part, but again, with practice, I think it will get easier. Once I pulled the wires through and brought them underneath and twisted them, I gave the braid a good "squish" and shaped it into a button.
After I had them in a shape that I more or less liked, I cut off the extra wire, but since I have a completely brand new EXTRA set waiting in the wings, I am not too worried if I cut them too short. Here's what the finished braids look like - from a distance ...
The true dressage queens out there are probably wrinkling their noses at the idea of using wires, but I simply don't care. I am not good at braiding. With the wires, it almost looks like I know what I am doing. I am sold!
Oh ... one last thing, I did leave them in over-night to see if that was an option for showing. You can see the results for yourself.
Clearly this is not going to work. Some of the wires were just gone - good thing I have more, and in other places, his mane was gone. Literally. It looked like someone had cut the braid off with scissors. Even with them looking like this, the wires were still super easy to take out. I just untwisted and pulled.
Overall? These are a no brainer, especially for the price and the artwork!
We all know it's really just called a "selfie," and according to Wikipedia, the term first came into use as early as 2005. Selfies themselves have been around since before a camera could be held in one hand. Again, according to Wikipedia, the first known selfie was taken in 1839.
I've mentioned a time or two that my husband and I enjoy traveling. While in Portugal this past summer, we saw something that I immediately dubbed a selfie stick. I truly thought I was being extraordinarily clever in coming up with such a creative moniker for the pole holding the cell phones. I was a bit disappointed when I realized that someone else had already coined the phrase.
For Valentine's Day, my husband bought us a selfie stick (along with the liners for my Juke and a dozen roses - he's really sweet when it comes to gift giving!). I haven't looked into selfie sticks myself, but this one kicks some serious butt. He bought us the Fugetek FT-568 which telescopes, is bluetooth enabled, and works with multiple devices.
After goofing around with it on the couch, I suddenly realized that a selfie stick could have more more than one application. Sure, it's going to be great when we're in Italy this summer, but then I realized that I COULD USE IT AT THE BARN! When I excitedly voiced my realization out loud, my husband rolled his eyes and said he had already figured that's where it would get most of its use. Oh.
For it's first foray out to the barn, I am only slightly embarrassed to admit that it wasn't until I had the selfie stick fully extended and ready to go that I realized I had left the re-chargeable remote button plugged in at home. Talk about a selfie fail. I was slightly more successful on day two. The photos are only somewhat unflattering, but it was fun to finally get most of my horse's head in the frame.
Who would have thought that a selfie stick would be my next favorite barn gizmo? Let me know if you use one at the barn.
You know that adage, when it rains it pours? The holidays are like that for me when it comes to receiving gifts. You see, my birthday is just one week after Christmas which means that my yearly haul comes all once. I have all kinds of new stuff to share with you - like this ...
This item was on the wish list I gave my husband because of all the things that I could have received from my family, this was the one I most wanted. When I didn't get it for Christmas, I got a little worried that I was going to have to buy it myself, but I waited patiently for my birthday to roll around.
When I got up on Sunday, my birthday, I waited for my husband to pull out a giant box, instead, he handed me a card and said I'd get a gift later. I was a bit disappointed, but I figured the cart might have been back ordered.
Like we always do, I headed out to the barn to ride while my husband took the dog for a hike. It's not totally unusual for him to stop by the barn with the dog, so when I saw his truck pull in, I didn't think much of it. I was actually riding Speedy at the time, so I just shouted out a hello when he said the dog wanted to come and run around. When he dropped his tailgate however, I asked what was up. I am not very clever, obviously.
The sly dog had waited for me to go to the barn so that he could put the cart together and deliver it! It is totally awesome - far sturdier than I thought it would be. Once Speedy was back in his stall, I dropped a muck bucket in and wheeled it around the barn, giving it a test drive.
Many other bloggers have written about this cart claiming it is a must have for shows. I'm sold. No longer will I have to schlepp around my 100 pounds of ricketiness that I currently use at shows. While old cart is great for the barn, it can now stay at the barn while a newer, hipper generation takes over.
Interested in having one of your very own? Check it out at the Riding Warehouse.
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