From Endurance to Dressage
Speaking of tack rooms ...
Last week when I volunteered, the head trainer at M.A.R.E. agreed that I could help with one job in particular in the recently re-ororganized tack room. I was excited to help, but it seemed like such a small job that I figured it would already be done by the time I arrived on the following Wednesday. When I walked up to the barn last week, the head trainer met me and picked up right where our last conversation had ended. Not only did she still want me to do the job, but she had a clipboard and a recording sheet in hand.
Since the arena is still not quite finished, the trainers and other volunteers are looking for stuff to do. For the head trainer, that means getting into MA.R.E.'s nooks and crannies for clean up and maintenance. When lessons are going on all day long, there isn't much time, nor space in the barn aisle, for overhauling entire rooms. Since the arena redo has forced the facility into downtime, the tack room has been a priority of sorts.
The head trainer has already done most of the work. From what she explained, the tack room had been a hot mess. Not long ago, after reaching her limit, she threw everything out into the barn aisle and started from scratch. Now, there is a clear and logical system. Volunteers will grab a numbered saddle with its pad, the right sized girth, the horse's bridle, a leading rope, and reins. All of it gets laid out on a cart for easy transfer to the cross ties.
Most of that system is already in place. The one exception was the matching saddle pad and half pad. The head trainer had numbered all of the saddles and attached a number to the saddle rack, but the pads with the saddles didn't necessarily match. That was the job she wanted me to finish. And since I was organizing the pads, she asked if I would also do another task. With more than thirty saddles in the room, the head trainer decided it was time for an inventory.
The head trainer handed me a clipboard with a chart. She wanted me to write each saddle's brand and type along with its seat size. She didn't know it, but that kind of job gets me giddy! Organizing is one of my super powers, and when that is combined with a list, I am unstoppable. The first thing I did was to pull all of the pads from all of the saddles. I piled anything fleecy in one pile and put all of the waffle pads in another pile. What the head trainer wanted was for each English saddle to have a waffle pad and a fleece pad while the western saddles would get their own felt pads.
Once I could see all of the saddles, I pulled each one off its rack and found its brand, if there was one, and noted it on the chart along with the saddle type - dressage, jumping, all purpose, western, or tiny child. There were two of the cutest 12" dressage saddles you've ever seen! After I had noted the saddle make and style, I measured the seat size and wrote it all down on the chart.
Once I had recorded the data for a saddle, I dug through the pile of pads to find the appropriate half pad or fleece and then I found a waffle pad that would work. Before, volunteers simply used any type of fleece with a square pad. Since the panels of a dressage saddle and jumping saddle are different in shape, it's better to have the right shaped pad. Matching the pads to the saddles took longer than identifying the make and size of each saddle. The first ten went quickly, but eventually the job lost its novelty. But, with organizing as my super power, I kept at it until I had finished all thirty saddles.
The center has saddles of all shapes and sizes as well as a few non-saddles. There are western, dressage, jumping, and all purpose saddles. There are also some specialty saddles like a treeless model and an English style saddle with a lot of blocks and handles for rider support. There are also vaulting rigs, fleece bareback pads and saddles sized for toddlers.
After finishing that task, I blanketed a few horses, scooped a load of poop, and signed out for the day. I don't think riding lessons will be going on today, so I will likely be sweeping, cleaning, or sorting something. I truly welcome any task and only want to be a help. There are a lot of dirty jobs in a barn, and as a volunteer, I already expect them to be mine.
I am looking forward to tonight's job, whatever it is.
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%: