One of the things I love about dressage is the simplicity of the gear required to do such complicated and intricate things. You don't need the most expensive set of everything in order to do it. Sure, you can buy $200 breeches and a $1000 pair of tall boots, but you don't *need* them. If you have a well fitting saddle, a well fitting bridle with appropriate bit, and a girth, that is really all you seriously need.
When I was eventing I had basically one of everything in baby blue (or purple, before I got into the baby blues). Everything. Boots, bells, bit guards, reins, saddle pads, martingale and rein stops... even my spurs had baby blue stones set into them. If it came in baby blue, I had it. I had SO MUCH STUFF. And I have a lot of carriage driving stuff too. Carriage driving basically requires you to have an insane amount of everything... there is SO much gear. Regular plain old dressage is bringing me back to refreshing simplicity, and I'm enjoying it for a change.
|Have saddle, have bridle, have boots, will ride. (And of course, helmet and gloves!)|
I own surprisingly little gear. It surprises even me sometimes. I only own three really good pairs of breeches. (I have a number of others, but they either don't fit or they're aged and showing it... I should get rid of those). I have a few pairs of schooling gloves, which I think are important and worth spending money on. I have two helmets, a Charles Owen and an IRH - the IRH is the only one that is really dressage appropriate, but it is also aging and will need replacing before long. I only ride in tall boots (force of habit, I think), and am getting ready to invest in a nice new pair - I also always wear a set of spurs. As for shirts, I wear polos when I am at clinics, lessons, or schooling shows, but the rest of the time I just toss on whatever I feel like wearing, mostly tank tops or the occasional t-shirt. I don't have a million pairs of ridiculously expensive breeches or fancy fabric riding shirts, not by a long shot.
|DSB boots and polos|
Dylan's gear is also very simple. While I have about 50 million polos and boots, all that I use with regularity on him are either his DSB boots or leg liners with polos over them. He always wears bells, and I have lots of pulls ons in rotation as well as a pair of fleece lined ones. He has only one saddle pad, a Back on Track pad with a Thinline pad sewn right into it. It's the best pad I've ever owned, and still looks great, despite the fact that it both gets a ton of use and a ton of washing. Before I had the saddle fitted, he also had a Mattes correction pad, but since he no longer needs that I only ride him with just the saddle pad and nothing else. I've never had a saddle fit so well that I didn't feel like I needed some kind of something between it and my regular saddle pad, so this is new and exciting territory for me. He's going SO well with the newly fitted saddle that it makes me wonder how I ever got on otherwise! His saddle is obviously the Schleese, which is the one he came with that was custom fitted for him years ago. I alternate between the snaffle bridle and the double. I've been considering just showing in the snaffle bridle to start when we go out at 4th, which is completely acceptable. He goes just as well in either bridle, but since I tend to forget how to ride when I'm anxious, I don't want to get hung up on my curb unnecessarily in the show ring.
|Only the best pad ever|
|DSB boots and bells|
|Polos and leg liners|
|Double bridle (and O's lunging bridle next to it)|
|Picked this up for not very much money! Patent noseband and unnecessarily ridiculous browband|
|The old reliable... Schleese and girth!|
There are things I am willing to spend money on, and things I am not. Things that really are important to a horse's comfort and ability, like well fitting saddles and well made bits, are things I don't compromise on, though I will always look for a good deal if possible. But all the frivolous stuff? Eh. I don't need it. I have more important things to spend money on, like good feed!
I pride myself on being a ridiculously good deal finder. I like nice equipment, but... why pay full price on it? I'll have another post on that later!
So, what do you use for your horses? Do you stick with the necessities, or do you go all out?