From Endurance to Dressage
Oh, boy, do I hate it when I am wrong. To my credit, I usually admit it, albeit begrudgingly, but I do at least make the acknowledgement. So what am I wrong about this time? Well ... the double bridle. And it's not that I am wrong exactly; it's more like I seriously miscalculated. I was certain that Speedy could work his way through Third Level and maybe even Fourth in a snaffle bridle. Go ahead. You can laugh.
We've been doing "okay" in the snaffle bridle. Our struggles felt more related to my lack of understanding the level. There was also the assumption that Speedy just found the movements too hard. None of it seemed related to the bit.
After I asked for some feedback though, some of your responses started to resonate, especially those about the flying changes. After one particularly frustrating ride where Speedy would not let go of the inside right rein, it occurred to me that if Izzy had behaved that way, I would have popped my correction bit on him for a quick little reminder.
As soon as that thought crossed my mind, I realized that it might do Speedy some good to go in a curb for a ride or two. He slurped up Izzy's correction bit like it was his daily driver. What is it with that bit by the way? Both of my horses love it. All of a sudden, I had a half halt and a half pass and changes that didn't include a woohoo-buck and bolt combo.
For my next lesson, I used the correction bit and asked Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, if she thought Speedy was finally in need of the double bridle. Based on what she saw, she agreed with my "realization."
Having friends in the tack business can be a real advantage. I looked around for inexpensive double bridles and came back to my friend Valerie's shop, The Dressage Pony Store. She carries a few different bridles in a variety of price ranges, but it was the Grand Prix Double Bridle that caught my eye. At $135, it seemed too good to be true. What are friends for though if not to call when you need advice?
I sent her an email with a few questions and then called her up with a few more. She assured me that the bridle looks and feels way nicer than the price would suggest. She sent me a photo of her pony Clooney wearing the bridle, and then she put on one of the browbands I had ordered to check the fit of that. Mine aren't here yet since they're being custom made somewhere in Europe. So, along with two new browbands, I now have a brand new double bridle on its way. It's scheduled to arrive tomorrow.
Good thing I don't mind eating crow.
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%: