From Endurance to Dressage
When You Don't Have Crossties
I've owned horses for nearly 40 years. I just turned 49, so that number keeps creeping up. Better than the alternative as my mom would say. In all those years, I've only kept my horses at a barn that had crossties exactly once. The rest of the time, I've tied my horses to whatever was handy - trees, hitching rails, my own trailer, fences, and even old trailers. Sort of like now.
You've all seen one of my horses tied up to this old trailer about a million times. Someone once asked if Izzy could fit in there. No, I don't believe he would. It seems like such a nothing special kind of place, but over the years, I've turned this tacking up spot into home.
For Izzy, it's a great place to tie because he has learned to stand patiently at a trailer and eat. Every square inch of the back of that trailer serves a purpose. I can leave either horse there for as long as I need to, and I know they're safe.
Everything but the bridle and grooming bucket live there all year round. As the hay gets wet or dusty, I dump it out, but the horses usually empty it before that happens. The wood chips are an absolute godsend; they keep the area free of dust, and rain just percolates right on through, so no puddles form. Before the wood chips, A lake would form every time it rained.
The mounting block usually holds my grooming bucket, but it's also convenient for when I need to stand on it for braiding, clipping bridle paths, or medicating goopy eyes. We have a three-step mounting block in the arena, so this one just serves the barn.
The ranch owner had the wheel cover built to protect the tires from sun, but it was also designed to protect the horses in the event that someone decides to throw an impromptu temper tantrum.
The little trailer is parked next to the barn, but not too close as to make the area feel crowded. When I am ready to saddle, I don't need a saddle stand outside. It's 3 or 4 short steps from my saddle rack to my horse. When I sit on my little stool to put on boots or check my phone, I can keep my eye on whoever is tied up at the moment.
Probably best of all is that there are lights for outside and an electrical outlet for running my clippers. I keep a short extension cord with my clippers which gives me plenty of room. In all my years of owning horses, this is only the second time I've had an electrical outlet that didn't require 12 miles of extension cords. That and the wood chips have me boarding here for life.
Not only can I keep my eye on whomever is tied up, but Izzy and Speedy can keep an eye on each other as well. When Speedy's tied up, Izzy comes up to the fence to hang out with us. Speedy lives on the other half of the field, so he can't get quite as close, but the horses like being able to see one another.
While tacking up in a barn certainly has its advantages, I find that unless it's pouring rain, the little niche that we've managed to carve out serves us quite well. Besides, I don't think Bunny would come as willing into a barn as he does with just a little trailer. Anyone else? What does your tacking up spot look like?
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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%: