From Endurance to Dressage
I am such a sucker for good customer service. I am always willing to pay more for a product if I know with complete certainty that the company is going to treat me as though they really want me to come back. And if they listen to my feedback and try to make whatever "it" is right, I am hooked for life.
The Riding Warehouse and Smartpak are two companies that check off those boxes. And coincidently, both are having really good sales this Memorial Day weekend. At the Riding Warehouse, you can save 15% site-wide today with no code, and SmartPack is offering up to 20% off for USEF members with the code MEM16 at checkout.
But those two companies already have my regular business. I am talking about the folks over at Platinum Performance.
A week or two ago I wrote a blog post about mineral supplements. A few days later, I got a very polite email from Amy at Platinum Performance. She had seen my blog post and wondered if I would like to talk to one of their advisors about equine nutrition. She also offered to send me a free bucket of Platinum Performance if I wanted to give their product a try.
How could I say no? I was clearly interested in the product, and I did have a few questions. I sent a reply back saying I would love to speak with someone and that I would call back the next morning.
To my surprise, when I called, Heather E., the advisor to whom I had been referred, was actually available. And not only was she able to chat, she already knew a little bit about me. Man, these guys know how to reel you in! I love that kind of customer service.
Heather and I talked for a good 40 minutes. I think she would have happily stayed on the phone with me longer, but my recess bell rang ending the phone call. My life revolves around school bells.
My three concerns, all of which she addressed thoughtfully and intelligently, were 1) price, 2) extra energy, and 3) ingredients that my horses don't need.
Okay. There isn't a lot she can do about this one. Platinum is expensive, but ... she did point out some things that make the product slightly more affordable. For one, if you already give a bunch of supplements (I don't), Platinum Performance can replace most of them making your supplement regimen cheaper.
This issue warrants its own blog post, but I had already taken Izzy off the Quiessence for a trial period to test the product's efficacy. One week into the trial, Izzy actually seems more relaxed now that he's off the magnesium. This is most likely coincidental though.
We had an awesome lesson with Dr. Christian Schacht a week ago where I had a giant "break through" moment, so it could actually be more related to that. I had also started the horses on BVH's mineral supplement which provides selenium and Vitamin E, among other things. That could also be making him feel better.
In truth, I never noticed any changes while he was on the magnesium anyway. I was too afraid to take him off of it though for fear that he would be more tense than he already was.
That's a really long way of saying that if I switch to the Platinum Performance and stop the Quiessence, I won't be spending quite as much as I would have.
There's more to the price thing though. Heather explained that through the magic (my word, not hers) of Platinum's formula, Izzy's whole metabolic system would begin working more efficiently. This would have the benefit of reducing the amount of feed that he would need which is ultimately a cost saving measure. You would be shocked at the quantity of roughage that dude consumes on a daily basis.
On top of that, she suggested that the added rice bran he gets every day should also be eliminated as Platinum Performance provides rice bran as an ingredient which would mean he wouldn't need extra. Reducing his rice bran would also save me money.
An increase in the horse's energy level is was one of the unintended effects of feeding Platinum Performance that I have been warned about. We all know that Izzy doesn't need any more energy. He's already the destroyer of all things. I raised this issue with Heather. Rather than downplay my concern, she tackled the question head on.
Since Platinum Performance works on the whole body, it reduces inflammation and supports all of the horse's systems. The result is that it makes the horse feel really good. Initially, she explained, this can come across as too much energy. She said that once the horse is used to feeling good, the over-energized feeling will fade.
To help deal with excess energy, Heather outlined a plan for phasing in the Platinum Performance slowly while simultaneously decreasing energy sources such as rice bran. I really appreciated this approach as so many products actually use loading doses which add to the initial price of the product.
Ingredients That My Horses Don't Need:
I wholeheartedly subscribe to the KISS method of horse care - Keep It Simple, Stupid. Most of the supplements out there aren't tested by independent labs and they certainly don't have independent research that supports their claims of efficacy. Platinum Performance does.
So while its ingredient list is bigger and more encompassing than what Dr. Tolley views as the minimum requirement, he doesn"t dislike the product. His own formula targets the specific vitamins and minerals that our hay is deficient in. Platinum Performance goes beyond that providing support for the whole horse through the use of amino acids (which help build proteins), Glucosamine (for joint health), macro and trace minerals (which help the body's systems to function), and vitamins (which along with minerals serve as anti-oxidants).
It's hard to say that my horses don't need any of those. Will they die tomorrow without added folic acid? No, but the added amino acids and minerals found in Platinum Performance are all things that my horses do need. I don't think there is one ingredient that is simply a filler or junk.
You can probably see where this is all going. I decided to give Platinum Performance a try, but I am doing it on the company's dollar. That's right - Platinum Performance is sending me a bucket for free, no obligation. They simply asked me to try it. And since I am going on vacation for several weeks, they've agreed to ship me a fresh bucket so that it arrives just as I come home in late June.
Izzy will get to try it first while Speedy remains on Dr. Tolley's vitamin and mineral supplement. Izzy's needs are a bit more complicated than Speedy's are. Speedy is such an easy keeper that I am going to see how it effects Izzy before I decide whether to put both horses on it. And if it does indeed reduce Izzy's feed requirements, the decision will be much easier to bear financially.
If you're reading this, Platinum Performance, your willingness to reach out to potential customers and chat about our horses' needs without being pushy is very much appreciated. Letting us try your product for free says you truly believe we'll like it. I am looking forward to having you on my team!
I work really hard to avoid afternoon appointments, but lately, they've been hunting me down. I rode Izzy on Monday afternoon, but then I've meetings on Tuesday and Thursday that kept me away. The farrier was out, so I was eager to get there on Wednesday to check out how Izzy and Speedy's feet looked.
I have to be the luckiest gray horse owner alive. Not only does my nearly white horse keep himself impeccably clean, but he has the hardiest white feet I have ever seen. I couldn't even tell that they'd been trimmed. Speedy rarely has chips or flares of any kind. For this go round, I think my farrier shortened and buffed them a bit to make them look pretty, but I bet he spent all of ten minutes and not a second more. There simply wasn't much to do.
Speedy's feet are so lovely that I didn't even hesitate to take him on a hack around the neighborhood on freshly trimmed feet. He is never sore after a trim and doesn't care whether we choose the dirt shoulder or just mosey right down the middle of the road.
As I was photographing his toes, I looked up at his left eye and was shocked to see that he had clearly gotten in a brawl with someone. I hope the other guy looked worse than he does!
I usually notice stuff like this much more quickly, but when I haltered him, I was focused on his feet and didn't even look at his face. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it looks like he scraped his lower lid. It's all dried up, and it wasn't particularly sensitive to touch. It's just swollen and unsightly.
Before I saw his eye, I had planned on doing a regular schooling ride, but after I saw it, I ditched that plan. I've had some eye issues myself over the past year and know how irritating it can be to try and focus (mentally) when you can't see well. Given our limited light anyway, I was happy to just swipe a brush over his back and throw on my riding halter.
I didn't even change out of my muck boots to ride. We were both bootless as a matter of fact. And I know I've shared this a million times already, but Speedy has the world's most awesome bareback space upon which to lounge. His back is so wide and flat that even a non-rider would have trouble falling off.
We did our regular neighborhood loop which included a stop at the apple tree for a few late fall apples. If there were apple trees in a dressage court, Speedy's leg yield would earn a 10 every time. It's amazing how well he moves sideways when it comes to sidling up next to a treat!
We also passed by the Haner's farm. The turkeys were gobbling and the goats were making all kinds of noises. Speedy gave them an interested glance, but he knows his job by now and didn't do much other than flag his tail in salute and blow a bit.
We stopped for some obligatory grazing; Speedy expects it. He knows that trail rides are about relaxing and enjoying our time together. As we continued on past the corner of our property line, we spotted Izzy in Laurel's turn out. When I called to him, he trotted about three steps towards us, but then he froze. He's still too nervous to use the length of the turn out alone. We continued on while he whirled and galloped back toward the barn. Silly boy!
When we finished up, I gave Speedy's eye another check. It looked the same. I am not worried about it as it was just a slight scrape. We're going to the cabin this weekend, so I won't be able to ride until Sunday at the earliest. I am sure it will be all healed up by then. I can't speak to the other guy's condition though. Hopefully Speedy gave as good as he got.
Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday.
I've gone from lessons once or twice a week to only once a month which is actually two days back to back, and I ride twice each day. So in reality, I am getting four lessons a month, which isn't too bad. Chemaine will be here today and tomorrow, so I am really excited to get out to the barn.
Chemaine always packs so much into the lessons that for the first two weeks, I am busy trying to apply what she taught us. By week three, I am starting to see the gaps in our work, and by week four, I find myself ditching certain exercises knowing that Chemaine will be here soon to help me fix whatever is wrong. I am definitely in the need help category right now.
Lessons aren't a reason to go over-the-top on grooming, but knowing that a few more people will be around at the barn motivated me to take care of some chores that I'd been putting off. Haircuts was at the top of the list.
My barn doesn't have electricity, so I have to walk my clippers and horses over to the neighbor's place to use her plugs. After cleaning up both boys' faces and bridles paths, I realized that Izzy's normally unruly mane was looking particularly ill kept.
I started banding it a month or so ago in an attempt to get it to stay on one side - his is split mostly down the middle. My bands kept popping off though, so operation Train Izzy's Mane wasn't going so well. My young friend Morgan declared my bands to be old and cracked. She grabbed one, stretched it out, and pointed out the white cracks in the rubber. Well that certainly explained a lot.
I went out and bought fresh bands and re-banded Izzy's mane. The bands were doing a good job, but after nearly two weeks, I realized that most of them had finally fallen out or broken, and those that were still there were giving Izzy what looked like bed head. I combed it all out neatly and put fresh bands in.
I am not sure how long it takes to train a mane to lay on one side, or if this is even the correct way to do it, so if anyone has some words of wisdom, I'd love to hear them!
When I got to the barn on Monday afternoon, my plan was to turn Izzy out and ride Speedy. The weather was quite cool and brisk and Izzy hadn't been out since Friday; we had been in Phoenix for the weekend.
Speedy's the type of horse that you can just hop on even when he's had weeks or months off. Izzy ... not so much. And frankly, I just wasn't into a rodeo type ride.
When I walked Izzy over to Laurel's turnout, I was thrilled to see that Austin was turned out in the center arena which meant that Izzy would have a friend during turnout.
Laurel was on her way to work and actually needed to put Austin away, but she quickly agreed to let him stay out longer if I was willing to put him back. She was just as happy for him to have someone to play with as I was. Both of our horses are stabled in a way that they can't touch another horse through the fence, so to have the opportunity to bite and play with another horse is a real treat.
I think both boys enjoyed their impromptu play date.
Everything is a toy in Izzy Zweibrücker's eyes, even the water hose! If it wiggles, moves, clangs, bangs, splashes, bounces, clunks, or thunks, he finds it uproariously entertaining.
He dumped over his massive water trough the other day and then dragged it at least 15 feet to the far side of his paddock. That thing is heavy. Even empty, I can't pick it up, yet he dragged it across his paddock for fun.
I had to drag it outside of his stall to scrub and hose it out, it was full of dirt, and then drag it back inside. How he did it with just his teeth is a mystery to me.
To fill it up, I shoved the hose down into the bottom and tried to walk away. Before I had even turned my back, Izzy had the hose in his mouth, shooting water everywhere. No matter how I positioned the hose, he managed to grab it from me.
I finally pulled the hose through the fence and simply let it spray into the trough. Even that was fun. For at least twenty minutes, he licked the water bubbles or let the hose splash him in the face.
While I don't want a dullard for a horse, I do sort of wish he'd grow up a little. It seems as though the more toys I find for him, the more toys he wants! At least filling the trough is a freebie!
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
2022 Pending …
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 (***)
8/7-8 SCEC (***)
10/30-31 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