From Endurance to Dressage
As predicted, the bonnets that I ordered on Thursday from the Riding Warehouse showed up on Saturday. If I actually lived in SLO, Riding Warehouse's hometown, I'd be in big, big trouble. As it is, we try and stop in when we're in their area. With free shipping though, it's actually cheaper to order and have it delivered than it is to go and pick up something.
Between my recent acquisition of two new helmets and the bonnets, I could now outfit a team of horses and riders. The maroon helmet still hasn't shipped though, so team Head to Head will have to wait.
I already wrote about the LeMieux Noice Reduction Ear Bonnet when I received the first one, so I wasn't surprised about how nice it was. Just like the navy version, the ears are padded with micro foam, and the yarn is tightly woven. It's not fancy or decorative, but it fits wells and will hopefully help Izzy focus while at shows.
Other than the blinged-out bonnet I bought a few weeks ago, I had never bought anything with the Equine Couture label. These new bonnets with studs have sold me on the brand. If the rest of their product line is as well made as these, I'm hooked. Just like the first bonnet, these have very stretchy ears made of spandex. Again, the yarn is heavy duty and woven tightly. The studs are little beebees that are individually sewn on. Each beebee has a tiny hole through its center. I don't know how long they'll last, but at $17.95 a bonnet, who cares? If you're looking for an inexpensive fly bonnet, these are much nicer than the price would suggest.
I am a Roeckl girl, price be damned. I haven't worn anything but Roeckl gloves in at least seven or eight years. They generally last me one to two years, but I am not at all careful with them and I only wash them once or twice a year. Mine get grubby, grimy, and well-abused. I also ride with Thinline or rubber reins, both of which are heavily textured. This is also hard on gloves.
I've had nearly every color - white, black, black and brown, black and red, navy and white (more than once), brown and rose gold; I went with straight navy this time. While the Roeckl gloves are a bit on the pricey side and don't last forever, the way they feel like a second skin makes them an easy purchase in my book.
For someone who doesn't think she's into dressing up her horses, I've sure been spending a lot of time doing just that. I wonder if it's because I've never really bought Izzy anything new. Now that he's my main ride, his wardrobe has suddenly increased.
If nothing else, he'll at least look good!
If I got cash for every birthday, I think I'd be willing to have two birthdays a year even if that pushed me to 60 a lot sooner than I would like. My dad would like that because I'd pass him by in no time. He's facing 70 right now which he finds as shocking as I found 50. As it turns out, turning 50 wasn't such a big deal after all.
My mom is always so generous when it comes to my birthday. She loves horses, too, and she loves that I love horses. So while she can't go with me to shows and clinics, she likes to support me by at least buying me the stuff that I won't usually buy on my own. Multiple helmets comes to mind. She paid for the first one.
This has been a long, hard week, so during my lunch "break" yesterday, I might have indulged in some retail therapy. Does it still count as RT when you're spending someone else's money? The gift card my mom sent me still had a hefty amount on it, but I did need to chip in an extra $30. For the way it lightened my mood - throwing this and that in one's cart is very liberating, the thirty bucks was money well spent.
So what did I get? Well it should be a bit obvious. I started with the black LeMieux Acoustic Noise Reduction Ear Bonnet Fly Hood which has been on back order until yesterday. I know because I've been checking daily for the past two weeks. I already have the navy version; both are for showing. Then I moved on to a navy pair of Roeckl gloves. I am currently using a previously discarded pair since they're in better shape than my current working pair. I need to learn to throw stuff out.
Then I moved on to the Equine Couture Fly Bonnets. I really like the one I bought a couple of weeks back, but it turned out to be much fancier than I thought. I am going to save it for when I want to dress Izzy up a little for lessons or clinics.
Originally, I wanted a black fly bonnet for schooling rides, but I liked the look of the Equine Couture Fly Bonnet with Studs so much that I bought it in both black and navy. It's only money, and it wasn't really even my money, so I splurged. Thanks, mom! Everything should get here by Monday, if not sooner.
You gotta love it when Riding Warehouse is only two hours away!
First of all, let's just get this out there: the minimum number of helmets that a rider needs is clearly one. The maximum number is more of a mystery. Until recently, I had four. One is old. It never hit the ground, but after five or six years of living in our brutally hot and long summers, most helmets should probably be retired. I keep it in storage just in case I need one in an emergency. It's an Ovation Sync. I really liked that helmet.
Helmet number two is also an Ovation, and I hated it from the moment I bought it. It's called the Competitor, but it was always ugly. It's covered in black velvet and seems more than a little dated. It lives in my trailer as an emergency show helmet in the event that I get tossed and crack my go-to show helmet.
Helmet number three is my Ovation Glitz in black - are you noticing a theme? I LOVE this helmet and have purchased at least THREE of them. Besides being super stylish and more than reasonably priced, it fits me perfectly. No more mushroom head. I use this helmet for daily schooling rides.
Helmet number four is another Ovation Glitz; this time in navy. This is my regular show helmet. My show coat is navy, and together they look quite dashing.
Four helmets seems like quite an acceptable number. Each helmet serves a purpose although not necessarily a good one. That velvet covered thing has got to go. With that in mind, I recently purchased a second Ovation Glitz in black for those days when coats are waived, and I wear my burgundy show shirt. I just didn't like the way it looked with the navy helmet. That brings my number up to five. I haven't even worn it yet.
If five helmets is starting to sound a wee bit excessive, six helmets is going to push me firmly into the category of hoarder. I have to admit, I just purchased YET ANOTHER Ovation helmet. Hear me out. When I bought the black Ovation Glitz, what I really wanted was a burgundy helmet but knew (without even looking) that a burgundy helmet was not going to be in my price range, if one even existed. And then the strangest thing happened. My trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, sent me this text.
I glanced at the link and almost had a heart attack. An Ovation helmet in burgundy!!!! I clicked on the link and my bubble burst. Tack of the Day only had it in navy. Secretly, I was sort of relieved as I had just bought a brand new helmet, and well, I currently have five helmets. Yes, I need to get rid of the velvet monstrosity and the Sync is there just in case, but still.
But you know, I just couldn't get that helmet out of my mind. While it looks sort of pink in the photo above, Ovation calls it maroon. The more I looked at it, the more I decided that it was meant to be mine. I started searching for it in earnest. Riding Warehouse carries it in black/black and black/gray, but those are the only colors available right now. As I searched one site and then the next, I finally hit paydirt.
Adams Horse and Pet Supplies isn't my favorite online store, but I have perused their website a time or two. Shipping isn't free unless you order $100 worth of merchandise, but you also don't have to pay California's ridiculously high sales tax either. The hot deal with shipping came out to $80.88. Given that the navy version is going for $68 over at Tack of the Day, I felt that the price (even with the shipping) was fair.
The helmet should be here in a few days. Now my fingers are crossed that it fits as great as the Glitz and that it truly is maroon and not pinkish. It's a gamble for sure, but I think it was worth it.
Time always tells, doesn't it?
I have never been a fan of ear bonnet/ear hoods/ear veil. I just didn't see the point. As an endurance rider, my practical side screamed about the excess heat buildup a fly bonnet would cause. Furry ears actually help keep horses warmer in the winter, so why would anyone deliberately bundle up a horse's ears in the heat of summer?
Now I get it.
We don't get the nasty insects that some of you get, but I imagine your horses wear the bonnet to keep the gnats from driving them bonkers. I don't have that issue, but the bonnet seems to be helping Izzy focus. He's still the same horse, and he still spooks at invisible monsters, but the fly bonnet seems to be taking his mind off what's out there, so that he can focus on what's right here.
Now that Izzy is wearing a bonnet daily, I've taken an interest in what's available. I have an old black bonnet that has no bling or special features, but it works well for schooling. The ears are made of cotton though, so they don't stretch. He doesn't hate it anymore, but I have discovered that bonnets are not all the same. Enter the Equine Couture Fly Bonnet.
The ear bonnet that arrived was not the one pictured on the website - I can't even find it on the website, but I am glad! There is nothing about this bonnet that I don't love. First, it was a steal at $17.95, and in fact I am waiting for an invoice telling me I owe another $40 bucks. Riding Warehouse wouldn't do that of course, but this bonnet looks and feels like it should be much more expensive.
Unlike my other two bonnets, the ears on the Equine Couture are spandex which means they are nice and stretchy. The yarn, 100% cotton, shouldn't be stretchy, but it is which makes the whole bonnet a lost easier to put on, and it just looks more comfortable. The knitting is also heavy and knit together tightly so it feels really sturdy. The bling speaks for itself. Each pearl is sewn on as is the string of crystals. The rope detail is shiny and woven with even more bling.
There are a few other details that I also like. First, the part that goes over the horse's poll is nice and wide so that accommodates the full width of a bridle's crown piece making it less likely to get shaken off; Izzy has tried and failed. I also like the piece of fabric sewn over the end of the bling. It protects the decorative edge, but it's covered by the bridle so you can't see it.
I now have both a black and navy bonnet for schooling, although the navy bonnet is definitely nice enough for shows. At $15.25 (I used a coupon code), I won't feel too bad if the decorative pieces start to fall off. I am waiting for the black LeMieux Noise Reduction Bonnet to be back in stock, but when I order it, I think I'll grab another Equine Couture Bonnet. The quality of that bonnet is at least equal to the LeMieux, and maybe even better. I am really liking this one, although you have to look closely to see the detail.
If Izzy has to wear a bonnet to keep his focus on me, I might as well have fun with them.
Now that Izzy is starting to feel show ready, I've been thinking about what I "need" to finish off our look(s). My helmet and show coat are navy. I have two shirts that I prefer over all the others; one is white/navy and the other is white/burgundy.
I really like showing in a crisp, white pad, so I probably won't need to add a new show pad as I have more than several. Other than that, there are a few other things that I want to complete each "show look" for Izzy. First, the noise canceling bonnet that I ordered finally arrived. It's navy, so it will work on the days that I show in my navy coat, helmet, and shirt. I'll use a white pad which completes that ensemble.
With our summer heat, it's pretty common for coats to be waived both days of a two-day show. The navy shirt will work fine with the helmet and bonnet, but the burgundy shirt, not so much. Now I need to round out a second outfit for the days when I were that shirt.
For the second "look," I want my accessories to be black as trying to find matching burgundies would not be easy. First, I want another LeMieux noise cancelling bonnet, but this time in black. This bonnet will also work with the black LeMieux Merino+ Dressage Square Half Lined Saddle Pad that I already bought for schooling the night before a show and also while at clinics.
The next thing I want is a black Ovation Glitz Helmet. I love this helmet. The S/M fits me perfectly, and the price is ridiculously reasonable for a helmet this pretty. I already have two - the navy version for showing and one I use for everyday. My schooling Ovation Glitz is just way too dusty and dirty to bring to a show.
If I am creating a wish list, there's one more bonnet I want. I have a serviceable black bonnet that I've been using to help Izzy acclimate to wearing one. It works, but now I want one in navy to match the brand new navy LeMieux ProSport Cotton Square Dressage Saddle Pad that I just bought for everyday use. While I would love a second LeMieux bonnet, the basic model without the noise cancelling liner is still really expensive. There are cheaper options like this Equine Couture Fly Bonnet.
My birthday is just around the corner, and I sometimes get a little cash to spend. If not, I'll just start checking things off the list one by one. I think the black bonnet would be first followed by the new helmet. That means the just for fun schooling bonnet would probably be last.
Well, unless I need it to meet the minimum price for "free" shipping. Gets us every time, doesn't it?
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 …
3/27-28 SCEC (***)
4/10-11 SCEC (***)
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 (***)
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