From Endurance to Dressage
The USDF Region 7 Championships were held recently at LA Equestrian Center. The CDS Championship show is held in conjunction with that show. We didn't go this year, but I followed along a bit on social media. I am never really one to be "in the know," but I do like to check in now and then.
I did catch one bit that I found interesting, and the reason it was so interesting was because it was "a thing."
I am not opposed to double bridles at all. You all know that I put Izzy in a double for a few days to see if it would help me get control. I got control all right, but he wasn't ready for that much communication, so I searched for a bit that gave me some brakes without so much hardware. No, it's not the use of the double bridle, it's the widespread use of the double that I find interesting.
Speedy and I made it to four shows this summer showing Third Level. I paid close attention to what bridle riders were using at Third Level and above. Third Level is when riders are permitted to use a double bridle. I don't recall seeing a single other rider using a snaffle. I was the only one.
When we were preparing to make the move to Third Level, I asked my trainer, Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, if I needed to move to a double bridle. I figured since everyone else uses one, I would probably need one as well. Her answer was a solid no. She didn't think we needed one ... yet.
As we moved through the season at Third Level, I've given the idea of the double bridle a lot of thought. Third Level is not that much harder than Second Level, so why the instantaneous need for a second bit? My reason to switching to a double would be to get control of a hot, forward horse. Or maybe one that is getting overly strong in the bridle at the medium and extended gaits. If that were true, you would expect to see a healthy mix of snaffles and doubles at Third and above. That doesn't seem to be true though.
I think that the main reason riders make the switch is that the double serves as a rite of passage. Third Level is no longer part of the lower levels. It's a big step towards the upper levels, the FEI, the Big Dogs, the Big Time. It's a Big Deal to move out of Second Level, and riders want to celebrate that success.
At least, that's how it looks from here.
If you made the switch to a double bridle at Third, why did you feel it was necessary? I would really like to know.
We may need to move to a double bridle eventually, but I am going to hope not. Instead, I am going to work towards riding a Grand Prix test in a snaffle. Speedy's a hard worker, and he likes his job. He enjoys the challenges I present to him, and he tries his heart out for me. So far, the snaffle is working well.
Besides, snaffle bridles are a lot cheaper than a double. If nothing else, staying in a snaffle is a cost saver.
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%: