From Endurance to Dressage
Last fall, after spending a lot of time agonizing over the decision, I moved Speedy into a double bridle. It took some time to not only get it adjusted to his petite face, but I also had to find a set of bits that he actually liked. I've been riding him in it all winter, and so far, we both seem to be pretty comfortable with it.
Speedy's never been one to fuss about tack. He's never balked at a specific saddle or girth, but if I really listen, he lets me know when he has a preference. For girths, he definitely prefers mohair or fleece over neoprene or leather. For bits, I ultimately settled on a baucher. It wasn't that he hated any bit in particular; he was just lighter in the hanging snaffle.
For the double bridle, the first set of bits I tried were obvious failures. He was quite clear that there was nothing he liked about them. I did a bit of research and landed on this German Silver Short Shank Curb & Bradoon Set. Speedy was happy in the set from the very beginning.
While Speedy worked well in the double bridle, getting the whole thing on him easily, took some time. The double bridle isn't really designed for horses with so little facial real estate. In the beginning, I think it made him feel a little claustrophobic. To ease his trepidation, I started by giving him a peppermint candy to get his jaw working, and once the bridle was on, he got another one.
Just this week, I realized that the process of bridling Speedy with the double is finally just as ho hum as with his snaffle. He still gets a peppermint before I slide the bridle on, but he no longer panics and flies backward. For quite a while he insisted that I slide the crown piece over his near ear first and then walk around before tucking his off ear under.
I am not sure when it happened, but one day I noticed that he was once again lowering his head so that I could actually do his far ear first followed by the ear closest to me. Of course, he still gets his candy when the bridle is over his ears.
As he crunches his candy contentedly, I buckle the throatlatch and noseband and hook the chain. He still likes to let me know that he's permitting me to put it on - he raises his nose up rather haughtily, but as long as I am respectful, he agrees to lower his head so that I can slide the crown piece over his ears without pinching them.
While I wish we were showing, this forced hiatus has allowed us to smooth out some wrinkles. By the time we make it back into the show ring, Speedy will be long past any tension caused by the double bridle.
There's always a silver lining.
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%: