From Endurance to Dressage
I am not a bit swapper. I've never had a horse that couldn't or wouldn't go in just about anything that I stuck in his mouth. I should also add that when I choose a bit for a horse, it's always with the horse's comfort (and discipline) in mind.
Growing up in the 80s, all of my horses went in a curb, but that was because that's what everyone used. My endurance horses all started out in a Kimberwick with a curb mouth piece. That was fine for a while, but then I found the Myler bitting system and found that each horse did go better with something more specifically selected for their preference.
Speedy has gone through more bits than any other horse I've owned. For the trail, I needed some brakes so he went in a Mikmar Combination bit which looks really scary, but seems quite comfortable for Speedy to pack around. Later, he went in a loose ring French link, but that one wore holes in the sides of his mouth. He also went in an eggbutt snaffle with a lozenge, but he got kind of heavy in that bit. He's been in a Baucher French link for the past year and a half, and we're both happy.
From the beginning, I've had Izzy in a Mikmar Lozenge bit. It has thick bars and a yummy lozenge to suck on. By all appearances, he should love it. It's a gentle bit that should encourage relaxation and contact. It hasn't. Instead, he learned that he could jerk the thing right out of my hands and do exactly what he likes.
Last week, I decided to try my Myler correction bit on him. Holy smokes, people, the change was instantaneous. Instead of giraffing his neck and jerking the reins from my hands, he threw his head up and then brought it back into our atmosphere with a shocked look on his face. I didn't have to do a single thing except sit there with quiet hands.
For the first time in weeks, I had a quiet ride that I was able to keep short. Like 15 minutes short. In that time, we walked ... not jigged. Walked. And then we trot without going mach 10. We picked up a left lead canter and didn't do it at mach 10. We walked some more. We trot some more. We picked up the wrong lead tracking right, but then we trot and got the right lead. He swapped behind for a bit, and it wasn't exactly lovely, but it wasn't at mach 10 either.
For the first time in weeks, I smiled. It wasn't a forced smile either, it was genuine. I even took a selfie.
The next day, Chemaine got on him and rocked his little world a bit, but that story is for tomorrow ...
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%: