Tip For Best Fly Protection All Around!

introducing horses to a herd

Dressage On A Dime Tip, right in time for late season Christmas shopping!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

The testing has all been done for you – no need to waste time and money on useless fly masks that rip, tear, fall off, sit “heavy” on the horse’s head, rub, break at the velcro part, wear out the forelock or worst of all – poke in to the eyes!

This one, Shires Fine Mesh, after countless other trials with other fly masks of various shapes and brands is a winner!  (Yeees, I know about Cashels, they’ve got nothing on this see through, fleecy-soft beauty.)

introducing horses to a herd

The scoop on Shires Fine Mesh Mask:

  • Lightweight and really flexible, even with full ears
  • Fleece at the seams to protect the coat.
  • Fine mesh; see through at the eyes which is great especially for horses living in herds for ease of communication.
  • Anatomical design, with the eye area sitting steadily away from the eye.
  • Lasting closures – no flimsy thin velcro that won’t close after a summer’s use, and not so tight you have to work with the fingertips to be able to pull it apart.
  • Fabulous thick white fleece on the inside crown piece; the mask wears “cooler” and doesn’t rub as much as other masks
  • First fly mask so far where the ears lasted a full 6 months of 24/7 wear in a pasture with lots of trees, brush, and other horses.  In fact, the ears are still intact!

two horses kissing

Find it here:


Disclaimer:  Hey, they don’t pay me to tell you any of this stuff.  (Hello?!  That would be nice!)  You can find the Shires mask in several online stores, I just stuck a link to Amazon in there to not play favorites.  Or, even better, support your local tack store and pay them a visit!

How To Get Your Horse To Eat Just About Any Supplement

how to make your horse eat anything

Got a picky eater who just won’t finish that expensive bucket of supplements?

Here’s a Dressage On A Dime Tip:

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Bake it into cookies, dividing the total amount of cookies by the amount of scooped servings of the supplement included in the batter batch!

Introducing Little Ellie’s Horse Cookies™.

Little Ellie's Horse Cookies

Turd-shaped, because that’s so sensible.

Got at least one friend who’ll smile at finally seeing these things.  He named them, the recipe is mine.

50 cookies made with 10 servings of refuse-to-eat-stomach-supplement = 5 lip-smacking cookies per serving.

Baked with wholesome oats, molasses, ripe pears from my backyard, and secret sauce.

how to make your horse eat anything

Next batch Coat Care Cookies with Refuse-to-eat-even-more-expensive-omega-supplement.  Followed by Thirsty Tarts with No-way-will-I-eat-that-electrolytes.

No waste!  How fun is that?!

Closing with a view of barn owner and friend – I got the barn decked out for fall.  Obviously I’m very excited about temps staying solidly below 85° F.  Soon.

fall decorations at barn

Prestige Anatomic Girth

dressage blog prestige girth

The Prestige – a nice, extremely well made and plush anatomical girth.

Loving it, and it’s everything it’s made out to be in product descriptions and other reviews!

Just as soft and pliable as the Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth, and actually plusher.

Prestige Anatomic Girth Review

Slightly shallower than the County Logic, which was good since it avoids that open “gap” at the front that can occur on some horses depending on their girth grove.

My horse doesn’t need the “super deep” curve and the Prestige (from Prestige Italy) fits great!Prestige anatomical girth review

This girth replaced my Delfina Anatomical girth.  Sadly.  While the Delfina started out great, the underside (touching the skin about 1/3 in from the ends of both sides of the girth) cracked in much shorter time than expected.

With just regular use and good conditioning and cleaning it should have held up longer.  Just a heads up, since I published a review on it when it was new and liked it so much then…

Side-Tip for the Prestige:  Some buyers mentioned a too long distance from the billet buckles to the single billet keeper.  The billet keeper sits a full inch lower on the Prestige than on some other girths I’ve seen.  A problem if you ride on the 3rd or 4th hole on the billets, like me, as the billets won’t reach down to be tucked in to the keeper.

It’s really not an issue at all, since the keepers can be tucked into the space right below the buckles instead.  Tidy and no flapping around.  Just thought it was worth mentioning, if you’ve got your eyes on the luscious Prestige girth!

dressage blog prestige girth


Ending today with a shot of the newest arrival in the barn – Cabella.  She likes to wear her food.

horse with hay on the head

Verbindend Bit Tip!

neue sheule bit love

A  shout out to this golden wonder.

My mare really likes the Salox material in this bit.  She needs a very slim bit for her tiny, tiny jaw space.  At 12mm and in this design, she seemed happier than in any other snaffle we’ve tried.  Of course it comes in thicker versions too.

salox material in bits

Soft, very lightweight double jointed loose ring snaffle with less tongue pressure than most.

Dressage On A Dime Tip:  Get it on Ebay! 🙂   Ordered from the UK, arrived impeccable, and a day early!  At a steal.

12 mm, 5 1/4′, Bridoon sized rings.

A little Verbindend love.

neue sheule bit love

Tack Room Tip

ikea planter for tack room use

Quick tip for a quick and easy tack room organizer!

I’m a sucker for a very neat and well supplied tack room.  I know many of you are tucked into dark, musty little corners without much opportunity to actually hang something on the walls.

Read on for a look at something new.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Today, a plug for IKEA cleverness.

Already so yesterday’s news – the IKEA potties for cavaletti.  But in case you’ve missed this brilliant idea for lightweight, sturdy, super easy to handle, and low-priced little holders – here we go again:

ikea potties for jump poles

Picture from Gift Horse Eventing  

She gets extra credit for color coordinating with her poles, instead of the original, lime green, color!

Here’s my Dressage On A Dime tip of the day!

Meet the all new Veberöd.

This is the tip you don’t want to miss! Only need to watch 19 seconds of this to get the idea.  Music “off” to come out of the experience still feeling normal.

Super easy to fit in any tack room where you can’t install anything permanent.  And it’s on wheels so could even serve as a mobile grooming station.  And there’s seating!

Endless possibilities, on a dime.

ikea planter for tack room use

Or how about this, Bittergurka, super easy to hang planter?  But for the tack room!  Also in gray or pink.

Thinking tack cleaning sponges, or gloves, or braiding supplies…

Or a safe place for cookies donated to your trainer so the dogs won’t eat them.  Yes.  This happens.


More Sneaky Trainer Types To Avoid At All Cost

dressage training level test 3

Yesterday’s post was so insulting.

As promised, here are the next 3 riding instructor types to watch out for.

1     The Non-Stop Criticizer

With this instructor, constant negative comments is the the norm during lessons.  It’s all suck it up buttercup or get off, in a George-Morris-Hopped-Up-On-Meth way.

No, that’s not it, don’t do that, stop, what are you doing, NO not like that, I see nothing, you’re not even trying, hands look awful, you’re not getting it, that’s never going to work, you can never ride with legs like that, too tight, that’s awful, I don’t think you’re getting anywhere.

Go girl!  It’s never felt so good.  To get off.

Growth comes from failure.  Reluctance to try, fail, and try again will never result in mastering any new skill – any area of life.  Somehow though, especially in the dressage ring (?), there’s been an older tradition of heavy critique.

Look I’ve run endless 400 meter repeats in the dark and wind on the track, winter nights.  Only two people would show up.  And a coach with a watch.  The dedicated ones.  I’d run them at  the very best effort, and do it well, for nothing else than a – “Good job” at the end.  I’ve had very good coaches, one an Olympian, and been able to run results that maybe this body wasn’t made for.  Still it did.

Think it would have worked as good if the coach would have screamed -“You’re never going to make it in under 70” when approaching the back curve?  Or, -“If you can’t stick 7.10 minute/mile pace for the whole 12 miles you might as well quit!  Or, -“Keep toeing out like that and you’ll cap out at 5.55 pace in the 5K and that’s it!”

In riding, there is a huge stifling of physical capability when a rider is told what not to do.  The Non-Stop Criticizer is best left for toughening up coddled millennials, not the best ticket for learning.

dressage training level test 3

2     The Monologuist

This one is simply exhausting.  Lessons contain long monologues about the instructor’s own riding, or horses, or accomplishments.  Current and past competition or training challenges.  Yes, some snippets of really good information!  A sprinkle of anecdotes from other riders and horses.

Chummy and chatty, sure.  Easy to get stuck in this, because hey, it’s way more comfortable than sitting the trot after another unbalanced canter transition.  But aren’t most of us too horse-poor to pay for this?

Best suited for “fill up” while getting the wedgie out of the breeches.  Or, OK I admit it, catching my breath.

large dressage braids elinor yee

3     The Horse Wrangler

No avoiding it – this one will be around.  Forever.  It’s a classic.  The Horse Wrangler gives repeated pitches to sell your current incompetent scumbag of a horse and buy something else, preferably from their barn.

To be honest, if the right horse was there I would really want the trainer to bring up the connection,  to help make better riding possible.  Because better riding is.  Better.  (Please make this happen, now.)

If it was within budget…  Which it usually never is.  Instead it’s a waste of time.  And riders training for The Horse Wrangler will always feel inferior.

Eventually they’ll think of leaving their discipline.  Pick up trail riding.  In a treeless.  Mission accomplished?  I haven’t figured this one out yet.  Maybe it was the goal for The Horse Wrangler from the start…?

I’ll be over here doing equine agility with my Wiener dog horse.  For some time at least.  Beats not riding, it’s still fun!  Join in at any time, there’s more room!


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Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

6 Trainer Types To Stay Away From

bad horse trainers

There are many types of trainers out there.

I’ve been lucky to train for some really good instructors, but maybe you have met any of these sneakier types below?  Being able to identify them quickly solves half the trouble!

These are found in all disciplines, but somehow most often in dressage.  And yes, dressage riders still take lessons after 20 years of riding, don’t let anyone say something else.  Spend the time wisely.

Let’s get at it and meet the first 3 types!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

1     The Neigh Sayer

This Trainer Professor will often ask questions during the lesson, only every answer you’ve got will always be wrong.  This instructor already has a planned, single specific answer.  No matter what you have to add, it’s going to be shot down.  Your answer is always wrong.

A style that can fit many riders – just be aware that in the end, students taught this way will become more and more reluctant to answer at all.  Your own response to your riding journey is, stifled.

If dressage is an art, then art needs creativity…  Or at least an implied creativity.  The Neigh Sayer will not feed into this.

close up of horse legs cantering

2    The Theoretical Sermon Holder

At first glance, similar to The Neigh Sayer:  Questions are asked during lessons.  Only here, there will be intricate questions you simply don’t have an answer to and this trainer won’t take -“I don’t know” for an answer.

Maybe it’s a tricky question, or the subject is simply above your riding level, or you are too focused in the current task assigned with your horse (Who is about to brace and evade any second now, you can feel it and better figure out what to do!).

The Theoretical Sermon Holder does not teach “in the moment” – instead asking some version of this question over and over.  Preferably at a halt.  At the end of the lesson there is, you guessed it, a lecture.

This riding session ends up more of a tirade, a theoretical oration, leaving the rider with that – “I’ll just never figure this out” feel.  Riding is shrouded in mystery, you consider saddling off for a couple of months to read up on more theory, or maybe switching disciplines.

Riding is physical, a sport with two athletes, in continuous motion.  Want to talk about doing it?  Want to talk about how to do it?  Or want to try to do it while actually trying to do it?  Just curious.

best detangler for grey horse tail

3     The Monarch

Under Monarch’s reign, your requests around your own barn/your own horse/your other animals/your own equipment are ignored.  You’re in Dressage Queen/King Domain, and no matter what you petition, The Monarch will waive the dressage whip scepter and denounce your appeal.

If this is a relationship you want; a version of dictatorship of each minute detail on how your horse is handled, by all means continue on.  It’s a very easy route, just do the right thing – just make sure it’s never your own thing.

But, riders not enjoying hobbled dependency – be aware of this subtle red flag!  Soon, there will be no tack purchases without consulting the majesty, you will stifle any resourcefulness in handling your horse, and, most importantly, you will forever be second guessing your training technique.

cantering legs

Met any of these?

Coming up early tomorrow morning – the next 3 types!

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Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor