From Endurance to Dressage
Sometimes I get tired of writing about riding. Maybe if I experienced more moments of perfection, the task of recording my journey would feel less like a task and more like a celebration. The trouble with being a perfectionist is that you're never quite happy; there's always that little more than can be done. When I get to a place where progress is slow and perfection seems unattainable, it's best if I take a moment to look up and watch where I am going. Invariably, the change in focus brings about a fresh perspective, and I can move on.
To clear my mind of canter departs and rein length, I started to do some chores that I've been doing only inadequately at best, or not at all, at worst. When my new bridle arrived, it prompted me to give my old bridles a thorough scrubbing. Speedy's schooling bridle is a synthetic so I dropped it into the sink with some Palmolive dish soap and took a sponge to it. I also gave his bit a thorough scrubbing as well. When the whole thing was dry and reassembled, I was quite pleased with the result.
Sydney's bridle is leather which meant that I had to do things the old fashioned way. I didn't clean it perfectly, but it did look much better afterwards. His bit, too, got a thorough scrubbing.
I actually keep leather wipes handy so my tack never gets too dirty, but since it's never horribly filthy, I am never very motivated to really condition it either. During show season, I do condition and clean at least once a month, and often times more if we've been really busy.
My saddle, a Custom Revolution, is made from a nice quality leather so I work hard to keep it relatively clean. One nice thing about winter is that we have very little dust which means I don't have to clean and wipe it down as frequently as I do during the dusty, summer months. I also keep it covered when not in use.
I am going to a clinic this weekend so I decided my saddle needed some attention. Since I couldn't ride on Friday or Saturday, Thursday afternoon was the perfect time to do a thorough conditioning and cleaning. The conditioner would have several days to penetrate and absorb without funking up my breeches.
For the last year or so, I've been using Effax's Leder Combi cleaner/conditioner. It seems to work, but it's really "liquidy" and doesn't lather up at all. I've also used Leather New by Farnam, but it never feels as though it wipes away cleanly. It also leaves my tack feeling sticky. I bought Lexol's Leather Cleaner a few weeks ago in hopes that it might work a little better.
I was delighted with how well it worked. I followed the directions: spray Lexol Leather Cleaner onto a damp sponge and gently scrub leather. I liked how thick the Lexol was. It sprays out almost like liquid hand soap, and it lathers quickly. I used a clean, damp sponge to wipe the cleaner off. It dried quickly and didn't feel sticky afterward.
After the saddle was dry, or as dry as it was going to get on a cold winter afternoon, I smoothed on a layer of Passier's Lederbalsam, a product I really like.
I'll ride during the week of course, but with a quick swipe with a leather wipe, my saddle should look nice enough for the clinic. And with my new bridle, Speedy should look quite handsome!
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%: