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Thursday, October 8, 2009

A little wardrobe help?

(pictured - Farley at lesson yesterday. Took the opportunity to get some condition shots. She looks fat here, but in reality she's a 5. Would like to see her just a wee bit plumper)

I'm going to need some help for all you dressage folks who may be reading this - skip to the bottom where the question is, or continue reading!

I had another fabulous lesson. This is my 4th lesson and my trainer is very happy with my progress. She says I'm progressing very fast and took the opportunity to warn me that eventually I WILL hit a plateau....which I know and I'm actually looking forward to. To tell you the truth, we've been moving so fast I think my head is going to explode at any moment. I barely kept in together last night - in terms of focus and comprehension, so I think we might be reaching a point where it's going to take me a couple of sessions to "get" what I'm suppose to be doing.

At my first lesson I couldn't do anything besides trot and canter on a loose rein with her all strung out. Literally that was it.

In 4 lessons I have now progressed to - (and ALL of these need work. It's not like I've mastered ANY of these)

1. Walk, trot, canter on the 20 meter circle...with flexion!

2. Upward and downward transitions. Getting better but the trot/canter transitions are still VERY disorganized. Did a canter/walk transition by accident last night. She's NEVER done one of those so that was cool. NOT working on that right now, but just that shows me we've made progress.

3. Actual, real, honest-to-goodness flexion and traveling in a straight line with her on the bit whether it's a circle or a straight. (at the canter too!)

4. Traveling in a straight line and doing corners at all gaits.

Yep - that's right folks. Yesterday I got to do straight lines and corners. I am SO happy to do something besides a circle. Now, during schooling, I can travel down the arena and do a circle in a DIFFERENT place! Having a hard time maintaining inside flexion on the straight line, but it will happen.

(pictured: Me on my new bike. I bought it in preparation for going to school, but also because I miss being able to hop on a bike and do my errands in town. I hate starting up my 3/4 ton just to drive 3 miles to the grocery store, which is too far to walk, but really to short to drive.)

So here's the catch. I have a schooling show in Ceres at Diamond Bar the first Sunday in November (had on this weekend, but decided to go on the trail ride with my Dad instead). I've already been warned that it's very casual and I can wear whatever I want and ride in whatever tack I want.

The question
But now my trainer is talking about me doing some schooling shows in Livermore, which is VERY different. I need to look the part. So help me out - what should I be wearing/riding in?

1. I do have a white dressage square (with fleece underneath, roma brand). Problem - I've schooled in it so it's not exactly pristine. Is this going to be OK?

2. Light colored breeches and tall, black boots. Check - I have this.

3. A white button up shirt, long sleeved. Check - I have this. Do I wear it all the way buttoned up, or do I leave the top button undone?

4. What belt do I need - black or brown? Will any narrow conservative belt work?

5. What about my helmet? Is my white troxel going to be OK? I've thought about buying a Tipperary matte black sportage helmet. Would this be better?

6. Black gloves? I have, but is this what I should wear?

7. I can only find one of my fillis irons. Darn it. Must find or buy. *sigh*

8. Desperately need new leathers. My wintec webbers are safe but look atrocious. They're hidden by my leg this OK?

9. Both my girths are light colored. I'm planning on getting a black colored, nylon string girth (like my white one, but black). Confirming this is what I should do?

10. I don't clip. Is this going to absolutely kill me? I'm willing to do a bridle path. I know it's not as pretty, but I think the whiskers serve a function, as well as the fuzzy ears and would prefer her to keep both. As long as she looks well groomed, braided etc, do you think it's OK for a schooling show?

11. Braids. Is a french braid OK? Should I tuck the long end under?

I'm going to try and get through this with a minimum amount of money spent. Since Endurance is my main sport and I'm doing this for fun, I don't want to get too finacially invested - better to spend my money on lessons and endurance rides! I would love some input.

(pictured - while waiting for my bike to be finished - I bought a back rack to install - Matt took me to the driving range and I tried my hand at golf for the first time. I think miniture golf is more rewarding.....stupid little white ball and sticky thing. So frusterating. In case Matt is reading - yes I had fun, but I can see where lots of practice is needed. And my hand-eye coordination is a little off anyways.)


  1. So one of my most popular posts ever is all about dressage show is long (which I am sure you are used to), but might be worth the read for you...

    As for your questions...
    1) how "not pristine" is your saddle pad? Like visable dirt marks? Or more just "not white" anymore. If it is just not sparly white you can totally use it! If there are smudges or stains on it I say buy a new one. Try the Rider’s International Velvet Dressage Saddle Pad. I have this pad in grey and it is cheap and durable, but looks like an expensive show pad. Plus it is on sale for $30 at some of the major tack stores.
    3)your long sleeve button up should be buttoned all the way up need a stock tie. Since this is your first show I would recomend a pre-ted stock tie. How skinny is your neck? If it is really skinny let me know and I might be able to help you out with that one.
    4) Belt color should match your tack, so black it is. And yes, a thin belt is totally fine. You can also go fancy and get one with stuff on it, but if you have a normal black belt save your money for other things.
    5)I hate to say this but...I don't think you should go into the ring with a white helmet. If you were thinking of buying a new helmet anyway and can afford to do so that might be your best bet. If not you can get a black helmet cover for under $20 or a velvet helmet cover for about $30.
    6) Black gloves are okay at training and intro, but white gloves are the norm for dressage. I have these cool gloves which have black leather on the palm side and are white on top. That way they never stain (plus they are machine washable). Of all the things to cheap out on gloves are not the item. Get white leather gloves that fit you.
    8) Don't worry about leathers. As long as you know they wont break on you half way through your test you are good to go!
    9) Black syntheic girth is fine
    10) I think you can get away with not clipping. Phoenix's owner shows FEI level and all her horses have whiskers (except Phoenix because I like a trimmed muzzle). I always show with fuzzy ears so don't worry about that. And I like a bridle path so I would say do it, but that is just my personal perferance.
    11) I think that is up to you. I wanted to show with a running braid, but my friends didn't like the way it looked. Farley is an Arab right? If so you can do the "arab braid" (not a running braid). It is like a running braid, but you do it half way down the mane instead of tight against the neck.

  2. Thanks OntheBit - I was hoping you would come through for me :) I reviewed your post and it has very good info.

    Sounds like my pad is fine - there's no stains on it, it's just not sparkling white anymore. It has that "tinge" to it that all pads get when you actually use them and don't wash them as often as you should (and then when you do you accidentally wash them with your BLACK pads....oops)

    I talked to the trainer and because I'm not wearing a coat, her reccomendation was no stock tie - but I like how they look! Since I'm only going to schooling shoes, I can get away with no coat for now. So - with no coat do I, or do I not wear a tie? (I would wear a coat, but I'm not purchasing one this early before I know whether I even LIKE shows).

    So I'm wearing cream colored breeches (because I don't own white and white is SUCH a PAIN) sodo I need cream colored gloves...does that seem right???? If I do wear a stock tie, does it have to be cream too?

    I'm REALLY good at finding used stuff, so hopefully if I do need to buy anything, I can find it used.

  3. here I was thinking you already had a coat. If you do not have a coat you are NOT to wear a stock tie. Naked necks for people with no jackets :P. And if you are going to wear cream breechs you should really so cream gloves and saddle pad (and stock tie when the times comes). You are getting ready to show at a good time of year because of lot of people are ending their show seasons so you can capitolize!

  4. Ok - now I have another question...if I'm wearing cream breeches, do they even sell cream colored dressage pads and gloves? I look at my options, it looks easiest just to buy a pair of white breeches and get it over with instead of trying to find the cream pad or gloves.

    So why do they even sell all those beige breeches? Everywhere I look I see beige breeches with white shirts and dark coats...

  5. Haha...mel-y worring about her wardrobe. Too funny.

    The Crow. rAr! Nice bike..what brand is it/what model? At some point I'm going to have to get something diff than what I have.

  6. cheap white breeches are going to be totally see through so it is up to you if you want to just go whole hog or now. As for cream saddle pads...that was easy to find...and cheap! One of my favorite dressage specialty stores has one on sale.
    gloves I am having a harder time finding, but I suppose if you are going to wear a white shirt you can get away with white gloves. What is cheaper...buying new breeches or buying a new saddle pad and gloves?


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