Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Making good better

Like her Western Trail set-up, Emma's dressage entry could use some fine tuning.  
There's nothing terribly wrong with this entry.  In fact, there's a lot to like.  Emma's gait and arena placement match the accompanying test exactly.  Her body is nice and straight and she's travelling in a frame that is correct for her breed and level of training.  
And yet...  Except for that fence and dressage marker, there's nothing about this entry that says dressage.  Emma looks like she's dressed for a hunter show.
Ok, let's be clear on this point--I know that huntseat tack is legal in the dressage ring.  I do not want to suggest otherwise.  However, it's just as true that nearly everyone at a dressage show uses dressage tack.
Even at Training Level, dressage tack is pervasive.
Of course, there's a reason for this.  As someone who's spent the last seven months taking dressage lessons on a huntseat saddle, I can state with absolute authority that a close contact saddle is not the best choice for dressage.  It's acceptable and it's legal, but it's not ideal.  Not even close.
Fortunately, I do have a dressage saddle (or two!) in my tack box.
However, Emma has a funny shaped back which makes saddle fitting a challenge.  Because of this, I've added a fluffy half pad to her wardrobe.  This disguises the fit issues while looking wonderfully dressage-y.
A pretty new bridle completes the ensemble. 
Here is Emma's dressage entry as it looks today.  Now this says dressage!
There's still a bit more to do before I put this in the finished column.  Emma needs a bridle number, and honestly, those old dressage letters have seen better days.  
I have to say, I'm kind of liking this "Thinking Ahead" stuff.  My performance entries have been consistently good in the past.  Now I want them to be better.  I think I'm on my way.


  1. I'd say you suck but I LOVE the half pad...

    And your cavesson shouldn't bend like that with the flash on.

  2. Oh come on, Teresa! You know you'll be laughing at me when your horse is on the table and I'm swearing my way through a tack change!

    The half pad is made out of a piece of lambs wool that Tiffany sent me a while back. It's the coolest thing with its teeny weeny little curlies.

    The noseband and the browband need a little bit of adjusting. Rest assured, both issues will be addressed before the show.


  3. true.... You shall bitch through a tack change and I shall be done already ;-)

    btw, you know you could just make a brown dressage saddle. My first one was that way!

  4. Actually, the first dressage saddle I ever sat in was brown. It was a good one, too!

  5. I love my dressage saddle, even if my butt hasn't been anywhere near it for several years. :-(

    Perhaps that nice repair saddle would fit Sarasmis and I should have you make a bridle for him instead?

  6. Should have said I love my *brown* dressage saddle. Sigh.

  7. I've never understood how people get away with not planning their performance entries down to the last detail ahead of time. Seriously, how do you guys do it? Don't you drive yourselves crazy? (Don't the tack changes suck?) Crazed levels of prep work are the only way I survive showing halter and performance at the same time.

  8. It cracks me up that a half pad can work the same way in both real and model horse worlds. It makes sense but still... how entertaining.

  9. That does look so much better! ARG! Now I need a pony cinch in black....actually I need another brown one too....I'll be showing my PS pony at NAN in dressage (yeah, I know...up against all the upper level stuff, fat chance) and your tack is so easy to tack up that changing into black from brown...fast...lol So now I have to put on a dressage saddle.... My doll just won't be fancy, sill in Huntseat attire, but it would be nicer in black.....Darn it Jennifer....you sure do help us raise the bar!

  10. Honestly, I don't find it to be all that difficult to pull a decent entry out of thin air. Of course, that's assuming I have the required tack and props (which I usually do). Maybe it's because I've spent so much time around real horses... I don't know, but the basic set up part of performance is easy for me.

    That's a good and bad thing. I do pretty well with minimal preparation so usually I settle for that. However, it's kind of unsatisfying when I look back at my old entries (especially winning entries!)and see a million little things I could have done better. I'd like to look back and think, "Wow! That looks awesome!"

    So, I'm trying. We'll see how it goes.

    Vicky--You crack me up! Email me privately if you'd like something before NAN. I'm sure we can work it out.

  11. Hello! I have a few questions for you if you have time. :) Do you clean your tack with saddle soap just like real saddles, to keep them nice? and, How do you store your tack? (boxes, drawers, organizers?) Haha! Just wondering :) Thank you so much!

    1. Sorry, I am disorganized and do not have a good system for storing anything.

      Info on cleaning tack can be found in this post.

  12. Hi! Would you be able to make a dressage set for me? The one Emma is wearing is literally the exact one I've been dreaming of!