From Endurance to Dressage
From nearly the first moment I tried the double bridle on Speedy, neither of us liked the bits I had. In all honesty, the weymouth and bradoon that I had on hand were ordered for Izzy simply as a "let's throw this at him and see if it helps." The experiment was useful in that it told me that Izzy wanted a ported bit. Once I made the switch, the weymouth and bradoon got tossed into my bit box. When it became clear that Speedy needed to go in a double bridle, I just dragged out what I had to see what he did and didn't like.
The first thing that I didn't like about the weymouth was that the shanks, including the bit's purchase, rotated. I did a little research and discovered that some horses prefer the movement. I found it to be a pain in the butt. It seemed that every time I looked, the shank had rotated so that my reins were hanging from the front of the bit which also meant the purchase or cheek piece was rotating. I don't know if it rotated while I was riding, but there's enough managing of the reins without the added annoyance of the shank causing the reins to hang funny.
As far as the bradoon, Speedy was not a fan. Not in the least little bit. I've never ridden him in a single jointed bit. I know some horses need it/like it, but not mine. I only rode him in it a few times, but he was having none of it. I quit riding him in a loose ring French link because the loose rings pinched, and he didn't like all of the movement. Which means he probably didn't like the rotating shanks on the weymouth either.
Taking those experimental rides into consideration, as well as my budget, I did some googling and landed on a set of bits that seemed like they were just what Speedy needed. Marcel Toulouse makes the Sanft German Silver Short Shank Curb & Bradoon Set. At just under $75, I was willing to give the combo a try.
As soon as I unpackaged both bits, I knew they were a better fit for both Speedy and me.
The weymouth has short shanks that are fixed. As soon as I picked up the reins, I could feel the difference in the connection. Everything was much clearer with less movement.
While I am not sure if the old weymouth was an issue for Speedy, I know the bradoon definitely was. He was instantly happier in the double jointed bradoon, which I knew he would be.
Making the switch to the double bridle turned out to be a much bigger ordeal than I thought it would be. How complicated can two bits be? Apparently, very. For now, Speedy seems happier in this sets of bits than he was in the last pair. He's still adjusting to having so much hardware in his mouth, but now that comfort is no longer an issue, I think we can start getting to work.
I'll keep you posted.
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.
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 …
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
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