From Endurance to Dressage
When I ask for advice, I usually take at least part of it. This is particularly true at work. If I ask a colleague for a suggestion, I am well known for taking the advice and reworking it to make it my own. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my ideas tweaked and improved because I reap the benefits. That's what Cassandra Rabini, owner and trainer at First Gem Dressage, did for me in the Tips From a Pro post I wrote the other day - she gave me a seedling of an idea. (I always give my colleagues credit for their ideas, especially if I eventually make them my own.)
While I already do many of the things that Cassandra recommended, she had some other ideas that I want to try, but new habits only work for me if they are easy to do. With that, I decided a pampering station might be the answer. See, reworking an idea. What I have in mind will take a little time (and money) to create. Just to get the ball rolling, I dug out a hanging basket that goes with a portable saddle rack I own. While the idea was good in theory, this particular basket won't work.
Besides all of the safety issues with this basket - see the two hooks in the front? Those things will grab a halter and create a giant vet bill along with ruining everything in the basket; Izzy immediately began poking around inside grabbing things. On top of all of that, this basket is collapsible, so the instant anyone/any horse shifts the front panel of the basket, it collapses, spilling everything to the ground. It's a good idea in theory, but this basket won't work.
After thinking about it for a while, I grabbed a small bucket and a two-sided snap and hung that from the fence. While it was much safer, the bucket hung awkwardly, so I swapped it out for a flat-sided bucket which hung much better. I am not loving the bucket idea though because it won't drain. I could punch holes in the bottom, but I am going to continue to look for a better container.
In the meantime, I am gathering the things that I want to keep at the ready: hoof conditioner, hoof pick with a brush, cleansing shampoo, soft cloth, rubber scrubby brush, and so on. While I already have some products that I love, I hate leaving them outside because the pampering station will be in full sun for a good part of the day. Many products have a tendency to leak when they get hot. Fly spray comes to mind.
While I prefer Knotty Horse over Show Sheen or Mane and Tail, both are much cheaper, so I'll buy one of them to leave outside to use for a quick conditioning. I am also going to add some Ivory soap and witch hazel, both of which are cheap and available at the grocery store. While I have a hoof conditioner, the can is less than half full, so I will be ordering something new as it runs out. While I have a half-full bottle of Mane and Tail shampoo, I'll be adding another grocery store purchase recommended by Cassandra - Dove shampoo. For showing, I prefer Ultra Cruz Equine Foaming Shampoo by San Juan. It smells divine, rinses off cleanly, and leaves the coat feeling soft and clean, but I don't want to use it every day. The Dove shampoo is a cheaper and easier for frequent use.
I do all of my grooming at the barn, so the pampering station will be out on the lawn where I give quick showers. If my pampering bucket is easily accessible, I can start some new habits - cleaning hooves of all dirt and manure, conditioning hooves, cleaning tail docks, and more frequently shampooing and conditioning tails.
Let's see if I can start some new habits. 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 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%: