From Endurance to Dressage
More than One Type of Flat Tire
I know I said I had more to say about Speedy's recent diagnosis, but I have some more thinking to do, and I am waiting to hear from Dr. Tolley. Surprisingly, Speedy and I aren't his only clients. So today, I'll talk about an actual flat tire.
The trip to Alamo Pintado is a solid three hour drive. I normally drive to shows and clinics alone, but for this trip, I asked my husband to join me for a bit of moral support. It's a good thing he agreed to go, because as I was walking over to get Speedy, my husband gave a yell. In my rush to get hooked up and get Speedy hosed off - he was filthy and there was no way I was taking him to the vet looking like that, I hadn't yet done my usual walk around. The trailer had a flat, and not just a little one. The tire gauge read zero. It was so flat that I could make a dent in the tire with a finger. Well crap.
It seemed a wee bit insensitive to take photos of my husband changing the tire as sweat poured off his forehead and his hands turned black, so you'll just have to imagine that part. It's a good thing I did all that prep work for a commercial driver's license (that's all been put on hold as COVID-19 has slowed California's already pokey system of governmental bureaucracy). I knew right where my lug nut wrench was - okay, okay ... it took me two tries to locate it, but I did find it. As my husband knocked the lug nuts loose, I pulled out the Trailer-Aid and got it in position.
I have to give my husband a huge shout-out: YOU ARE AWESOME. He changed that tire in under fifteen minutes. I was in a hurry, but my hurry didn't necessarily have to be his. We were supposed to pull out at 7:00 a.m. to make our 10:30 appointment. With his super-human tire changing skills, we were on the road by 7:15 a.m. The ranch owner offered to let us use her trailer's spare, but since my truck and trailer both have an eight-bolt pattern, we knew the truck's spare would do in a pinch. As it was, the drive over and back were uneventful and no further tire changing was necessary.
When I had Newt's tires rotated at Les Schwab (on Buck Owens Boulevard) about a month ago, I had asked how busy they were and if they could replace my trailer tires soon, but I got busy and didn't have it done. I knew they were getting due though. Nothing will get one's butt in gear like having a flat tire as you're trying to pull out. On our way home from the vet, I called and scheduled an appointment for yesterday.
The staff over at my local Les Schwab (3012 Buck Owens Blvd) never disappoints. Every time I've been in there, I've been treated with respect and courtesy. I don't know if treating women like they don't know anything is just a myth, but you won't find that at Les Schwab, even if you really don't know anything. When asked what size the tires were, all I could say was regular? Are they 10-ply or 14-ply? Uh ... Do you want the "new" spare tire put back on the same rim? Um ... since they're all the same does it matter?
Seriously. No one rolled their eyes or made me feel stupid. Since I was ordering the tires over the phone, I was politely told what numbers to look for on the tire itself. When I arrived the next day, it took a while to get to my trailer, but that's what you get for wanting service the very next day. They're a busy place. I was patient because I knew they would take their time with my job, and I was right.
I didn't catch my technician's name, but he was friendly and patient. I ended up with 14-ply tires aired up to 90 PSI. Apparently, my last tires were running on pressure that was WAY too low. I do my best, but I just don't have a dude gene. Not saying all guys instinctively know what a trailer tire's PSI should be, and not that plenty of gal's don't know it by heart either, but I am just not one of those guys or gals. I'm hands on, but I can't know everything.
My technician also discovered that one of the bolts/studs - the thing the lug nut screws on to, has damaged threads so we couldn't get that last lug nut on. Fortunately, my tires have eight lug nuts, so I should be good for a while. If you're local and you know someone that can replace the bolt/stud, message me. I already called Pensinger's so that's a no-go.
Not only are the folks at Les Schwab courteous and thorough, they're also good about saving you money. The original quote included balancing the tires, but my technician pointed out that this type (all types?) of trailer tires don't need to be balanced so my bill was about $70 cheaper than anticipated. You have to love an honest tire guy.
I hauled the trailer back to the ranch and dutifully covered my shiny new tires with the tire covers my husband bought for me a few years ago. And since I was doing nice things to my machines, I also filled up Newt's fuel tank and the DEF tank. The low DEF warning light had come on while we were headed to Alamo Pintado. Not enough DEF will trigger a major slow down in your engine preventing you from driving at speed. That would be unpleasant.
Don't we all wish our horses' "flat tires" could be fixed so easily?
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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%: