From Endurance to Dressage
This is turning out to be tack week ...
I've had a lot on my mind lately, damn you, middle age, so I spent a lot of time with my tack over the weekend. Cleaning tack is one way for me to organize my thoughts and process "stuff." Vacuuming does the same thing.
After installing a new saddle cover and padding my saddle rack, I realized my saddle was looking a bit dusty and grimy. Saturday was warm and sunny, so I hauled my saddle outside and set to work. With a funky playlist setting the mood, I worked on removing the gunk from my saddle and clearing away some mental cobwebs.
A clean saddle wasn't enough though; middle age gives you a lot to analyze, so I pulled out Speedy's double bridle. Even though I've had it for nearly two months, I hadn't yet given it an initial conditioning. It took so long to get it to fit correctly that I was reluctant to take it apart to clean it. Knowing how long it took to put together, I realized that unless I wrote down each buckle's placement, it was safer to clean it without taking it completely apart.
First, I dropped both bits with their reins. The curb bit has beta reins, so that whole section went straight into a bucket to soak. The snaffle has Thinline reins, so I only soaked the bit, and later wiped down the Thinline portion with a damp cloth. Then I took all of the buckles out of their keepers. I unbuckled one buckle at a time to clean it, but then I re-buckled it immediately. It's a much longer process than than just laying everything out, but this bridle has too many parts for me to remember on what hole everything goes.
When I was finished, I stepped back to admire how pretty this bridle really is. It's not a fancy pants bridle, but it sure looks nice when it's all cleaned up. Even after unbuckling and re-buckling 400 straps, my mental housekeeping still wasn't done, so I dragged out Izzy's bridle.
I will never again complain about cleaning a snaffle bridle. After tackling Speedy's double, this thing was a breeze to clean. In fact, it was so quick that the next day I did my other two bridles - Speedy's snaffle bridle and Izzy's bridle with the correction bit.
My tack certainly looks better, and I felt better for all the work, but damn, middle age is a real pain in the butt.
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%