From Endurance to Dressage
When I left the endurance world for dressage, I slowly but surely began accumulating various pieces of tack. I've bought at least four dressage saddles, several dozen pads, at least a dozen bridles, and every type of bell boot, splint boot, and polo wrap they make. The one and only piece of tack that I never replaced were my stirrups.
Having ridden in endurance stirrups that had a massively wide base, a thick foam footbed, and a design that flexed when a horse was trotting, typical Fillis irons received a hard no from me. None of my trainers liked my choice of stirrups - the MDC Sport Classic, but I have loved them from the very first ride. I was at the mounting block the other day though and noticed how deeply worn the footbed of my stirrups has become. The grippy texture on both stirrups has been worn smooth over nearly the entire surface. It looks like I might put a wee bit more weight in the right stirrup, but I am pretty impressed by how evenly I must ride.
I bought these stirrups in 2011. Back then they ran about $180. As I was looking at new ones, I was surprised to see that they're only about $200 today. I did a quick Google search and saw that today I would need to spend $1.36 to equal the purchasing power of 2011's dollar. Had the stirrups kept up with inflation, they would be selling for about $244 today instead of just $199.95. That means those stirrups I bought 12 years ago were pretty expensive!
Of all of the pieces of dressage tack that I have bought in the past 12 years, those stirrups are the only thing that I still have. I love them as much (or more) today as I did back in 2011. Back when I was young and hip - which was never, things were old school, not original gangster.
Keeping up with the times ...
Sorry for Friday's radio silence, but I had an unexpected colonoscopy. I can see your eyebrows raised now. This will be marginally equine related - I think.
Two months ago, I was having some weird stomachs issues, so after an emergency room visit, I saw my regular doctor who referred me for an endoscopy. I actually considered taking a bit of Izzy's GastroElm - it couldn't hurt. Instead, I did the endoscopy. On Monday, while I was getting the results - fatty liver and gall bladder that doesn't like greasy food anymore, I stupidly mentioned to the gastroenterologist that I was slightly overdue for a colonoscopy and would she write me a referral. She practically rubbed her hands in glee.
Right this way she said as she escorted me to the scheduling desk. I mentioned that I am a teacher and was starting school in a few days, so the appointment would need to be in a few months. She saw right through that delay tactic and asked what day I had to be at work. When I replied, Monday, she said that meant that Friday would be perfect. Well, crap. Literally.
I told you this was TMI Monday. So that's where I was on Friday. I don't know how horses feel when the vet reaches in there and takes a fecal sample, but I can now empathize. Can you imagine what the prep would look like if horses had to completely empty their digestive tracts overnight?
We'd need a bigger muck cart, that's for sure.
In the almost nine years that I've owned Izzy, his coat has done some wild things. I've written about this many times, and each time I get a lot of feedback: He's deficient in some mineral. It's genetic. It's something else. I've done lots of research and even had him tested for the cream dilution gene - which was negative, but I finally accepted that the seasonal changes in his coat are simply due to sun fading.
Last summer we moved Izzy into the stallion paddock and moved Dollar, the stallion, next to Speedy. That friendship has worked brilliantly. Speedy gets a much gentler neighbor, and Dollar finally gets to have a neighbor. As a younger stallion he was too "manly" to share a fence line with anyone. Izzy wasn't too thrilled in the beginning to be "alone", but he's perfectly happy now.
When Izzy lived next door to Speedy, the two of them hung out along the cross fence between their two paddocks. This meant that even though there was plenty of summertime shade, they never used it. Now, Speedy and Dollar hang out under the shelter when it's hot, or Speedy will stand in the back corner of his paddock under the tree. Now that Izzy is in the larger paddock alone, he likes to hang out in one of the two corners closest to Speedy and Dollar which are well shaded. Or, he hangs out under his own shelter which is where his feeder is.
Where the horses hang out isn't really newsworthy except that over the weekend I took a close look at Izzy's coat and realized that it isn't sunburnt and faded like it usually is in August. In fact, his coat is super shiny and his dapples are fairly glowing. I haven't seen dapples in quite a while. It occurred to me that he must be spending a lot more time in the shade than he had been when living alongside Speedy.
Both coats are beautiful, but I am partial to his dark brown coat.
With Izzy needing a daily bandage change, I saw that my stash of elastic bandages wasn't going to last long.
I tried to reorder the same box I had last ordered, but it wasn't available. I've taken to buying my "vet wrap" from Amazon as it is usually cheaper, and the quality of the bandages has been the same. Amazon is a deep rabbit hole though. The more I tried to buy exactly what I had bought before, the more varied my choices got.
I finally settled on the box above. Everything appeared the same: 24 bandages in lots of colors. And then I looked more closely at the box.
When I pulled out the rolls, I realized that in my quest for finding the exact same product, I had inadvertently bought 3" rolls instead of the horse-sized 4 " rolls. Oy vey! While annoyed with myself, I realized that the rolls are equally serviceable; they're simply 25% smaller. Instead of half a roll per wrap, I'll just use the whole thing.
The moral of the story? Pay attention! (Or ... buy a horse that doesn't hurt himself.)
Speedy was a very naughty pony on Friday. Very, very naughty. Speedy is going to be getting ridden a lot more over the next few weeks. He has forgotten that he is a schoolmaster, safe for all riders. I still love him, but we're going to have some Come to Jesus meetings.
I saddled Speedy up on Friday morning but opted for my riding halter instead of a traditional bridle with bit. My plan was to do a 30 minute walk with nothing challenging. Speedy's gait was equivalent to a death march. His whole body leaned left as he repeatedly attempted to head back to the barn. I found myself snapping the right rein repeatedly to keep him looking ahead, and I thumped him more than a few times with my calf.
When we finally made the one left hand turn that points us back to the barn (top of the loop, far left corner), Speedy came to life. He jigged, he bounced, he shook his head sassily. I sat deep and reminded him that he had a job do. And then I kept insisting. The more I insisted, the madder he got. About 75 yards from the edge of the ranch, I saw a turtle which, up until this year's heavy rain, has been a rare occurrence. I circled it and decided to get off to get a good picture. While I was dismounting, Speedy stepped sideways causing me to lose my balance. I ended up doing a vey clumsy dismount, lost my footing, and landed on my butt.
I tightened my grip on the reins as I tried to keep Speedy from stepping on the turtle, but Speedy saw his chance. He looked at me lying next to the turtle, jerked the reins from my hand, and hightailed it home. Dang it! I called to him, but he was outta there. I looked wistfully at the turtle and pondered whether I should still take his picture or find Speedy who was likely to step on his flapping reins and hurt himself. I chose Speedy over the turtle, but as it turned out, he had found his way quite safely.
As I passed by the tack room, I grabbed his bridle. I could not let that kind of behavior stand. I walked up to Speedy, patted his neck and took him back to the tack room where I slipped off his halter and replaced it with the bridle. I walked him up to the arena so that we could have a little chat. He was not too happy about it, but naughty ponies do not make good citizens. I wasn't mean, and I didn't ask anything hard, but I firmly reminded him that he still has to behave when he is under saddle.
I've let him convince me that he doesn't like it when I ride him, and now I know why. It's not that he doesn't like me, he just wants to do what he wants to do which is only the easy things. He will be getting worked a time or two each week until he remembers that he is my rockstar schoolmaster. I love him dearly, but good citizenship is very important to me.
I bet he'll be back to his old self in just a day or two.
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%: