From Endurance to Dressage
A week or two ago, I shared my new plan for alternating the legal bit with my go-to bit. I can't say whether the plan was a good one or not as I've already scrapped it and formulated a new strategy. Let's call it Operation Legal Every Day.
Yep. You heard me right. I've put the legal bit on my everyday bridle - which, by the way is no longer my every day bridle. I'll explain why in a minute.
After my last lesson, I realized that Izzy is well on his way to becoming fantastic. The problem is that I can't show him in the bit that he finds the most comfortable. This horse doesn't just go a little different with a new bit. He needs to be trained all over again.
The same thing happened when I left the correctional bit behind for the medium wide-ported bit with the Kimberwick cheeks, the bit he now loves. It felt like starting all over. I realized that if I kept going with the bit he likes, I was going to be even more frustrated by starting over with the show-legal bit. It seemed better to get it over with and just yank the band-aid off.
Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, and I talked it over. Izzy wasn't necessarily being a jackass in the show-legal bit. It was more like he was honestly anxious about being ridden in it. Gone was the affable, hard-working gelding that I've come to love. In his place was a hot mess. We hatched out a new plan of attack that gave Izzy some independent time to make friends with the bit.
Instead of riding Izzy in the bit, I bridled him up sans reins and let him wear the bit while he had his breakfast. At first, I felt bad leaving it on him for several hours, but then I remembered that my endurance horses would wear their bits all day long, never complaining about it. While he ate, I rode Speedy.
It really did seem to make a difference. Rather than grind his teeth and crunch on the bit while I rode, he was more willing to listen to me without being so distracted. That worked for several days until be broke the throat latch while I was busy with Speedy.
I guess he wanted a new bridle to go along with his new bit; It should be here tomorrow. In the meantime, I've been riding without a throat latch. While he's not as fabulous, he's at least 80% back to where he was with the other bit. My fingers are crossed that he makes the switch pretty quickly.
I sure like that easy going fellow I was riding last week.
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
*** SCEC 10/15-16/22
2022 Completed …
(*) Tehachapi 5/22/22
(*) Tehachapi 7/24/22
(***) Tehachapi 8/28/22
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 62.115%