From Endurance to Dressage
Earlier in the week I wrote about Izzy's Show Kit and about the new pad I wanted to order for schooling at shows. Almost immediately two of you jumped in and gave me some great tips. One of the reasons I enjoy blogging is that it provides such a great opportunity to connect with other riders. All of us have an experience or tip to share no matter our level of riding.
One of the things I mentioned wanting to try was lavender. Lucy, a rider that I met at Horse Expo in Sacramento, mentioned that she thought lavender was banned from USEF sanctioned events. We chatted via Messenger, but because of her ideas, I started investigating ways to utilize lavender that didn't involve actually putting any on Izzy's skin. That search led me to HorseScents.
HorseScents makes a product that attaches to a halter or noseband of the horse's bridle. Attached to the strap is a pouch filled with dried lavender. They offer a variety of designs and black or brown leather. Since the lavender doesn't come in contact with the skin, it won't show up on a blood draw or urine sample. Of course, if attached to the bridle, it would need to be removed before entering the show ring. Each pouch lasts for approximately a month. You can sign up for an auto-refill, but the re-fills are a bit pricey. The whole pouch is expensive actually.
Before spending a hundred bucks and then another $35 each month, I need to see if Izzy even responds to lavender. I'm thinking about giving the whole thing a try via a much cheaper, if slightly messier, option. I want to buy a fleece noseband, although I think I might already have one, and a small vial of lavender essential oil. A few drops on the noseband might tell me whether Izzy likes lavender or not. If he does, the ScentStrap might really be what we need.
So thank you, Lucy!
The second great tip I got came from Nikki. After reading my post about the out-of-stock LeMieux pad, she instantly shared that Schneiders had the pad in stock for a cheaper price! Not only was it cheaper, shipping was free, and I earned a $20 gift certificate to spend on a later purchase. Didn't I just say I wanted to buy a fleece noseband and an ear bonnet to muffle sound? Needless to say, the pad is on its way to Bakersfield, California, arriving sometime between November 30th and December3.
Thank you, Nikki!
And Schneiders? No worries, I can wait.
I wrote about that here.
At the show Izzy and I did at SCEC in October, I made a terrible goof. On Friday afternoons when I do a lesson or schooling ride, I always bring a schooling pad. I don't use my show pads. Usually, my horse has already had a bath, but even with a bath, show pads start to look dirty even after just one ride. To keep my pads looking nice for show day, I simply school with a non-show pad.
As I was saddling for our Friday lesson with Amelia Newcomb, I gave Izzy a good looking over and about died from embarrassment. The pad I had packed for my schooling ride was filthy. It was dingy and sweat stained. I don't know what I was thinking. I asked the rider across from me what she thought, and she agreed that it was pretty bad. I could have run back up to my trailer for a show pad, but my lesson was due to start within minutes.
As I stood pondering what to do, my neighbor offered me her schooling pad. My first instinct was to politely decline, but then I looked at how horrible Izzy looked in his dirty pad. I asked her if she were sure, and she honestly sounded as though the offer was genuine. I gratefully accepted. As I placed it on Izzy's back, a huge smile crossed my face; it was GORGEOUS! In fact, it's a pad I had been looking at buying.
The pad was a LeMieux dressage pad half lined with Merino wool. Everything about that pad is perfect. It has a very steep profile, perfect for high withered horses. The fabric at the billets is sturdy and positioned to actually protect the pad beneath the saddle's billets. The dee ring attachments, which I would normally cut off, are contoured and shaped nicely. The Merino Wool underside is luxurious without being bulky. The rest of the underside is a soft flannel that actually polished Izzy's coat.
As we took our lesson with Amelia, I felt like I was actually showing Izzy off. That pad looked spectacular on him, and I am sorry I didn't get any photos. As soon as I got home from the show, I looked up the pad to check on its price. It's pretty expensive at Dover - $185.95, but it's a lot cheaper at my favorite online store, Riding Warehouse. They have it listed for $149.95. Forty bucks cheaper!
The pad comes in black, gray, navy, and white. Unfortunately, all but the gray pad are currently backordered. I've signed up to be notified when it's back in stock, but I have a feeling that if it arrives in December, it will quickly sell out for Christmas. It's definitely on my wish list. It sounds funny to buy a schooling show pad, but I think we really need one. And besides, I could use it at clinics, too.
Dear Santa ...
In August, I bought Izzy a new halter when his hand-me-down halter started showing more than a little wear. It was a beautiful, black leather Schockemohle with stainless steel hardware, and I had even ordered and attached a name plate. The whole thing lasted about two weeks before he very uncharacteristically sat back - on purpose, I might add, and broke it. Jerk.
As luck would have it, I got a brand new leather halter just a week or two later as a raffle prize while at a clinic in September. The halter was donated by Melanie Lindbeck, proprietress of Show One More Time. I placed another order from Haltertags.com, and then waited for the new name plate to arrive.
The name plate arrived this week. I dragged out my hole punch and a tube of Loctite and got to work.
Since Izzy's not really a "puller," I don't think he'll break this one. I rarely hard tie my horses, and when I do, I am always standing right there. Since he managed to break the other halter while I was "standing right there," my proximity is obviously no guarantee.
He's been in the rope halter for the past month and hasn't even thought about pulling back, and that includes being at the cavaletti clinic in September where he stood at the trailer for hours. Rather than hard tying my horses, I use Blocker Tie rings while tacking up at the ranch and in and outside the trailer.
I'll continue using my Blocker Tie Rings, but the big brown horse better not even think about breaking a second halter. The Universe doesn't like me well enough to give me a second free halter. Sheesh.
When you don't follow your own rules, stuff gets broken. That's why I have rules. I have had too many things broken, trompled, sat upon, and plain old ruined. Do you remember the brand new halter that I just bought for Izzy? The one that I had to spend a bit more on to get sized right? The one I ordered a halter name plate for? Yeah. That one.
I rarely hard tie my horses. It's a rule I almost always follow. Instead, I use a Blocker Tie Ring to attach my horses to fixed objects. I have lots of them so that I can use them whenever and wherever I plan to tie my horses. On Friday, I tied Izzy in the arena while I gave T a lesson on Speedy. I did not use a Blocker Tie Ring. I tied him loosely so that he had ample room to swing his hindquarters around so that he could keep an eye on us, but I did tie him.
I was never more than 20 meters away, and I had just finished a good schooling ride on him. Even so, he managed to get bored. At first, he started pawing. I yelled at him, and he stopped. Then he did it a few more times. I yelled again, and I even walked over to him and gave him a small pep talk. This horse hasn't pulled back in a long, long time. Like years. On Friday, I saw him test the halter by leaning against it just a little bit, and the next thing I knew, the halter lay discarded on the ground, and my big brown jackass was bolting around the arena.
The halter was still useable - albeit ugly, so I popped it back on him to lead him back down to the tack room. I have a rope halter, but I haven't needed it since he's been so rock solid tied up. I hung my beautiful, newly ruined halter on its hook and resigned myself to the fact that it was back to the rope halter.
Over the weekend, we went to a cavaletti clinic - more on that in a day or so, where Izzy stood quietly tied to the trailer with a Blocker Tie Ring all damn day. Of course I rode him in the clinic, but he stood like an absolute gentleman the entire day without a single naughty moment. He was out of my sight for the entire duration, except when I popped down to check on him. Did he even think of pulling back? Nope.
Every once in a while, I must do something that pleases the universe because I drove home from the clinic with a brand new leather halter. Since my CDS chapter had to cancel all of our shows this summer, we've put on clinics instead. As a way to thank our membership, our chapter chairperson rounded up a bunch of donations to give to riders in each lesson group. When I saw the halter, a gift from Melanie Lindbeck, proprietress of Show One More Time, I couldn't believe my luck! This halter is even prettier than the one I had bought.
It has all of the features of the first one - a crown piece that buckles on both sides, padded crown and nosepiece, adjustable chin, and a clip at the throat, but it's Havana brown with brass hardware instead of black with stainless steel. It also has some fancy stitching and an ergonomic crown piece, something the first halter lacked.
Izzy will not be getting hard tied with the leather halter, my reminder of why we have rules has been firmly reestablished. I'll probably switch back and forth between the new halter and the rope halter for a while, but I am sure it will be another half dozen years before he pulls back again. In the meantime, I've ordered another halter plate, this time in brass.
All righty then, let's try this one more time!
A week or two back I wrote about Izzy breaking his halter. Then I wrote about buying him a new one and having it modified to fit. Over the weekend, the halter plate that I ordered finally arrived. I am just as happy with it as I knew I would be.
I've ordered quite a few tags over the years, all from HalterTags.com. Most have been for halters, but I've also used the tags as identifiers for winter blankets. Last fall, I ordered tags as keychains when I bought my truck, Newt. I've ordered from Haltertags.com since 2011, and I have never once been disappointed. They engrave deeply, and it lasts. I still have the first tags I ever ordered.
When I bought Izzy's halter, the first thing I did was order a halter plate. When the halter arrived, I realized the leather was narrower than expected which meant the original halter plate was going to be too wide. I simply emailed the fine folks over at HalterTags.com and asked if they could send me a narrower plate than ordered, which they did with no trouble.
While HalterTags.com does very good work, they're not quick, but most engravers aren't. This order took exactly two weeks, which seemed quite reasonable.
While not a super expensive model, my hole puncher neatly punched through the leather. HalterTags.com always sends Chicago Screws, so with a drop of LocTite, I had this DIY project done in less than five minutes. I have to say that the cost of the halter plate was the most satisfying $9.70 that I've probably ever spent.
Now I sort of wish Speedy would break his halter so I could buy him a new halter plate. I'm kidding, Speedy. Yours is doing just fine.
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 …
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