From Endurance to Dressage
It's mine, but my head is hung in shame. How does it get this bad, and why haven't I dealt with it sooner? It was so grungy that I was forced to dunk each piece in a bucket of warm water to loosen the bits of cemented drool/hay/mud. Gross.
During Izzy's recent Boot Camp, I had to switch back and forth between his legal dressage bit and a corrective bit. Switching out bits on a crusty, stiff bridle is aggravating, so I grabbed an old bridle to use for the correction bit. This just meant that I now had three gross bridles to clean. They were so dirty that I had to bring them home. I couldn't face sitting hunched over on a mounting block in the cold with icy water. It was warmer in the house, and I had access to warm water, clean towels, and music. Having the dogs around for company didn't hurt either.
I started with Speedy's bridle, remembering to count from which holes everything was hanging. After I had cleaned and lightly conditioned the pieces to his bridle, I moved on to Izzy's back up bridle. After it was cleaned and laying in a pile, I reached for the third bridle. As I started counting holes, I paused and realized that there was no way I was going to remember the hole count for three bridles. I hastily reassembled the first two.
I had saved the worst bridle for last. Izzy's everyday bridle was a mess. I've said this before; he sweats like a sixteen year old boy. How can one horse create so much filth?
I ride Speedy in laced reins, not common for dressage, I know. Since Izzy is so strong, I've used nothing but rubber reins with him. They're wider and provide excellent grip. When I needed to add in a second bridle, I grabbed a standard pair of web reins with leather stops that I had laying around. I was shocked at what a different feel those reins gave me. (Speaking of feel.) They were lighter and allowed me to be much quieter with my rein aids.
Like everyone else, I have a tack room full of stuff. And like most of you, I also have a garage and office full of even more stuff. My husband calls it junk, but we know better. At home is where I keep my now unused endurance tack (all for sale!) as well as all of my extra extra bridles and reins. I have so many pairs of reins, many of them brand new, that I dragged them all out and went shopping for a new everyday pair.
I ended up choosing another pair of web reins, but I threw in a pair of synthetic reins (Beta, I think) that were soft and had a lively feel. I want to try them out and see what kind of feel they give me. They're smooth without any grips or stops so I suspect I discarded them because they slipped through my fingers. Since I have them, I'd like to give them a try anyway.
With my tack sparking clean and some new stuff to play around with, my next barn visit promises to be interesting. Who needs a Black Friday when you can shop in your own garage and closets for free?
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%: