Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Something special this way comes

Look into my eyes... look deep into my eyes....

No! Stop! Don't do it. Don't listen to him. He is trying to draw you in and gain control over you. lol

This is my pony stallion Lightly Frosted. He goes by Kat, the little man and sometimes even Bear, because he is so incredibly lovable.

When I went to look at him I almost walked away. I was not impressed. He was in a small pen with another rank pony stud and wore a halter and lead 24/7, because he was difficult to catch. His owner led him out, tried to lead him off so I could see him walk and evaluate his line of travel. He was just all over the place. Wobbly is one way to describe it. At one point he was almost being dragged along as he refused to move. He was put back in the stall, we went to look at the woman's other horses, she was called inside for a phone call and that's when it happened.

I looked over at the pen to see him, his head barely above the back of the other pony. About what you see in the picture above... He shot me a look and I was doomed. My friend asked what I was doing? Was I crazy? "He can't be caught, he doesn't lead, I doubt he loads and you are out of your mind!" All of that from a teenager. Yeah, sigh.

I paid for him, we led him out, got him in the trailer and headed home. He tried to climb out the side of the two horse trailer when we stopped at a red light. We pulled into a gas station I tied him up differently and off we went again. Moving he was fine, stops he got antsy. We tried to hit as many green lights as we could and got back on the freeway.

At his new home, he quickly settled in, stood like a champ the next day for a full body clipping and soon turned into everybody's favorite. Except for the barn owner. If he was turned out, I had better be showing up. Otherwise he wouldn't come in, wouldn't let anyone catch him and was just a little brat that way. Treats didn't work, wearing him out didn't either. I would walk out to the gate, he would stroll over I would put his halter on and bring him in. They could be heard grumbling about it the whole time.

(Yay cell phone cameras!)

He was supposed to be the pony that was the next 'step up' for my daughter. He was supposed to grow up and be bigger than her current pony. He did get taller. A whopping 2 inches taller... It became clear that he was not her pony. Not at all.

Over the years he has always been a keeper and his place with me is as solid as it gets. His first time in long lines, he was hooked up and pulling a drag around in no time at all. He pulled it past the mares and never even acknowledged they were there.

Sunday night I dragged his old harness out and put it on him. He hasn't worn it in years. Clearly a few things have changed- like where the britchin' strap lays... and how I needed to re-adjust the crupper. But he seems happy to be going back to work. We did a bit of ground driving. Circles, serpentine's, all the way around the rail, stop, wait, back a couple of steps and walk on. He never got excited, never tried to speed up, just put his head down and walked on. Even when the horse in the next pasture over, snorted and rushed the fence every time we went by. The biggest reaction he got from the little man was, he stopped, stood there and waited for the next command of what to do.

So last night we took it up a notch. We 'drove' down the street. The neighbors dogs rushed the fence barking, a car came up from behind us, I told him to "Walk on" and he never missed a step. The easy ones are great and we tend to forget, they don't all learn so fast and they aren't all so easy.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Where do we go from here?

At some point in our life with horses, we each face a point where we ask ourselves just what have I been doing? Where do I want to go and how am I ever going to get there? I have been having a lot of those thoughts lately.

Where JR is concerned, he has hit that point all ready and only wants to cut. That's it. He has no real interest in anything else. The Quarter Horses are his and I'm fine with that. Where I enjoy pretty much all things horse related, I have run into a few crossroads lately.

After losing Tess, I really have no jumper in the barn anymore. I have the horses, the ways and means to create more, but it would take a few years to get there if I did. Around 5-6 years or so. A year for the foal to 'arrive', 3 more years before we start under saddle work and another year or more before we start over fences. That's if I breed the horses this year, which the season is getting near the end already. So I am considering selling my jumps. Three sets of standards, several cups and the rails or poles to go with them. I can always buy or build more later on...

Then there is the pony stallion. He wins at halter every time we go to a show. He takes to everything quickly and once he figures out what you want, has the attitude of "Sit back and watch THIS!" giving you everything, exceeding the limits of what you asked for or expected.

In being so disenchanted with a lot of local horse people lately, their wishy-washy ways, noncommittal thoughts and changing their minds on a whim, I have not offered him as a breeding prospect for a few reasons. One of them being, I have no say over where the foals end up and he has one really nice filly out there at the moment that is unaccounted for.

Then this morning I found an ad from a person seeking a pony with his coloring, his talent and temperament, as an addition to their breeding operation. I hadn't thought of selling him and I hadn't thought of offering him to the public either, but there it is. The ad has been up for quite a while and was renewed just last Wednesday. I contacted them and was blunt and brutally honest about it. I have not entertained the thought of selling him, but it is not out of the question either and I am open to negotiations. (I may even throw in the meadowbrook to sweeten the deal.)

There is a lot going on with all of this and should the pony be leaving I will retain a few breeding's, but I would also like to see him go on to bigger and better things. I like driving and I love my pony, but which way it all goes from here is something to seriously consider.

Then there is the other question of another horse on the horizon. It's a gelding, by a stallion I want to breed my TB mare to, a breed I love and he's awaiting a new home in a good place... But he too has a small issue that would keep him from jumping. If the pony sells, I can breed my mare and get a future jumper. Then the wait begins and I am grounded for a while. Or at least back to doing only flat work.

So how many of us have come to the point of crunch time, serious thoughts and decision making? Which horses stay, which ones do we let go of, which direction do we want to go and how do we go about getting there? I know a couple of other people who each have a number of horses and no clear focus on what they wish to do in the industry. A few of them have been advised to sell off the majority of their herds and buy a select few really nice horses, bred and trained to take them to the top and enjoy the ride.

When you narrow down your focus and zoom in on what you truly want, it becomes a lot easier to find and get what you need to get there. There are always sacrifices to be made and it seems like I may have a bit of deep thought processing to do for a little while. Of course I will let everyone know how things turn out. Sheesh. Did anyone think I wouldn't?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Leather color trends

With the show ring in mind- things go in and out of 'style' based on trends. One year it is all about the light oil tack, next year it is dark oil. Tack is expensive. Not all of us can afford to drop a few thousand dollars on a saddle we may ride in a couple of times a month, only to buy another one, just to fit in next year.

Lucky enough, in the English disciplines, there is not so much going on when considering trends. A neat appearance, pretty streamlined in the look and minimal 'bling' at best. A fancy browband, maybe a few stones on the stirrups, I have seen engraved stirrups, earrings, a stock pin and that's about it. Leather color is usually medium oil or havana, dark oil or black. Sometimes you will see a lighter oil or chestnut color, but that's about as light as it gets.

In the western discipline though you often get four choices- light oil, medium, dark and black. I reccomend medium oil since it fits in with the trend of light oil or dark oil and can be used with whatever the latest trend is at the moment. I understand not everyone can change saddles on a whim.

Tooling can be everything from basket weave, floral patterns, acorns, barbed wire trim and a number of other combinations. My personal preferrances here is minimal tooling. Dust and dirt stick everywhere and cleaning saddles with a toothbrush gets old fast and is time consuming. If you have someone else to do it for you or you enjoy it- more power to you.

The seat may be padded or hard, suede, roughout or smooth leather and either flat, slightly angled or one that puts you in one spot and holds you there no matter what. I prefer a little bit of padding, no matter what the intended use for the saddle. Maybe it's just me, but no matter how much extra padding we have on our bodies- it is Never in the right spot. Suede and roughout seats bring a bit of 'grip' to the equation. If you have suede chaps on and you are sitting in a roughout cutting saddle- it is like being glued in place. This can be good if you are in the position you want and need to be in- bad if you aren't. Sometimes a little bit of 'slip' is good, other times a bit of 'grip' is good.

When shopping for a show saddle for the western disciplines, the first place you start is which discipline do you plan on showing in? Western Pleasure, Reining, Cutting, Working Cowhorse, Ranch Versatility, Trail and I'm pretty sure I may have forgotten a few more, but focus on what you want to do and where you intend to go with it. When you get into roping, barrel racing, penning and sorting as well and the many other gymkhana or speed event's- tooling and color no longer matter and neither does how much bling it carries, just that it fits your horse is comfortable to ride in, puts you in or allows you to move into the proper position and holds up for the job or intended purpose.

The next major thing to consider is how the saddle fits your horse. Is the tree wide enough, narrow enough or is it treeless? Is the tree in good shape- not warped, cracked or broken? Sometimes this one can be obvious to the naked eye, other times the minor issues can go undetected and slip past even knowledgeable people.

What is the tree made of- hardwood wrapped in rawhide, hardwood wrapped in fiberglass, just plain fiberglass, flexible composite materials??? Everyone has their preferences here too, but the bottom line is this. The saddle tree (with or without) is pretty much the skeleton or foundation of the saddle. That's where the saddlemaker starts when building their saddle. Where it goes from there is up to them and how they put all of the pieces together, determines what the final product will look like and how useful it will be.

Monday, March 22, 2010

I wonder who reads this...

In my inbox today, I found a survey from the AHA, Arabian Horse Association. They sent this out to others like myself, who have let their membership lapse.

In a few places it would have been helpful, had they allowed multiple choices to be selected, since none of us really fit into a single box. Pigeon holing anyone? Please don't do this AHA. Nobody benefits from that.

I love the breed. They are beautiful horses, extremely intelligent and can be wonderful mounts for a variety of sports and competitions. They are not overly sensitive as many people think they are, they are usually just out thinking their handlers. That's when the problems start. There are a number of horses that fall into the same category but of different breeds.

As everyone knows, I was pregnant with the twins for most of 2008. I quit riding along about month 3 of that. I just did NOT feel comfortable on a horse, any horse, in any saddle, even at a walk, so I gave it up for the remainder of the days. My mares got a year off, I was no longer giving lessons and all of my memberships had lapsed.

Guess what? I am now eligible for Amateur status! At least under the guidelines of USEF. It has now been officially two years of me being 'off' from the horses- showing, training, teaching and coaching. I just need to apply, go through all the proper channels (to read paperwork and a few forms) and waa laa- Done!

So in getting back to the survey, they were wondering if I am going to be renewing my membership. I am likely going to renew, but based solely on the grounds of a few things happening. One of them would be that I get our Arab stallion going under saddle again. He's feeling quite spunky though lately, so it may be time to get going with that.

*He's the one in my avatar. I snapped the pic on a Saturday morning as he came blasting across the turnout towards the fence and me with my camera phone. I had turned him out, he was playing and having an absolute BLAST! I love seeing that.*

I will renew IF a friend or former client wants their horse shown, IF we end up with another Arab that has the potential to do well in the ring or IF another client comes along wanting their horse shown and I am the one chosen to do it. If it is our horse- Ammy. A friends or clients horse- open. I just can't and don't see doing it any other way. At least not if I wish to play fairly. How others go about it- that's up to them in the Karma Lottery.

At the end of the survey, there is a box where you can fill in the AHA with any comments you may have. I filled them in on a lot of things on my mind. I just wonder who reads this stuff and if anything I have said will actually do any good. One can hope, right?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FSF- Driving Like Crazy

Soooooo, any guesses about the topic today?

Driving can be a lot of fun and something else to do with your horse. There are a number of events hosted by driving clubs across the country (and world) as well as chuck wagon races (fun to watch, but some level of insanity required to compete), chariot racing and there is even a club for endurance driving...

One of the clubs in the pacific northwest has plowing competitions, pulling competitions can be seen at state and county fairs and then there is also the Combined Driving Events. I highly recommend attending any of these as they are educational as well as incredibly fun. The American Driving Society is a great place to start, and their calendar has events and shows in many areas. Carriage Driving. Net has a host of information, events, articles and resources for those wishing to learn more about this sport.

And now for the carts and harnesses I am offering up for sale.

Nylon harness-

I have a nylon pony harness, black with white felt padding. It has been used but always kept clean and stored inside. This harness is missing the breastcollar and traces, but replacements can be acquired. It fits my Welsh cross pony stallion, but would fit a larger pony a bit better. I am open to offers as is, or with the replacements. Great starter harness as it retains it's softness and requires little care.

Leather harness-

Leather pony harness. Fits a smaller pony- shetland, hackney, Welsh section A or B, etc. Harness comes complete and is undergoing cleaning and oiling this weekend. It may soon be seen with the one cart below if it doesn't find a new home soon. Asking $100

Metal training cart-

Needs cosmetic work- paint, padding and vinyl on the seat and undercarriage, but is otherwise strong, sturdy and ready to go to work.

There are three adjustment positions for the seat to balance the cart for your pony's comfort and a number of springs underneath the seat for yours.

The basket underneath for your feet is diamond mesh steel covered with vinyl to keep the road dust from coming through on the driver. This cart would likely fit a loarger pony- POA, Haflinger, Welsh section C, Quarter Pony- etc. Asking $400 as is, price is negotiable.

Meadowbrook cart-

Then there is my beautiful Meadowbrook cart. Made by the Eden Mill and Carriage Shop in Eden New York, Craig A. Vogel, as listed on the brass plate on the spares box under the seat.

This is a beautiful cart that is made to fit smaller ponies, Shetland, Hackney, Welsh Section A or B, etc. Black vinyl seats and vinyl under the basket to keep out any dust from the road.

Here you can see the left side seat flips up for easy driver entry. The spares box is under the drivers seat...

and the backrests fold forward for shipping and storage. This cart has been well cared for and maintained, kept under cover, up on jacks to prevent the rubber on the tires from developing flat spots and oiled to prevent the wood from drying out. Asking $1000.00

As always, contact me for more information and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have. The Trading Post is always open and Fern Valley Appaloosas is as usual posting her For Sale Fridays too.

Enjoy your horses and your weekend. The weather has finally turned nice around here. Time to go out and get to work...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Public Service Announcement #1

In the comments on the last post, I posted about a horse named BitterCreek Bill and the tragic accident that took the life of his owner. The horse flipped over and landed on his owner/rider in an irrigation ditch half way across the field, across the street from the barn. While a helmet may not have saved her, it very well may have. Who's to say really?

In my email inbox, I recently received another story about a top level rider, who was caught in a bad situation. In light of the fatal skiing accident of the actress Natasha Richardson, I'm not sure how much a helmet would have helped in this situation, but it's always a good idea to wear one and be better safe than sorry.

Admittedly, I don't always wear one. I do if I plan on doing ANY jumping. I do if I am getting on a young horse and I do sometimes, just because. With the girls- it will now become a mandatory issue. Lead by example Mom. When our teenage daughter started riding, she always wore a helmet. Always! Helmet hair isn't pretty, but life support and brain injuries are considerably far less attractive.

This is a picture of Courtney King-Dye, an accomplished rider on the horse Idocus in the USEF HP Grand Prix. Below is the email that accompanied the picture and explains what had happened on a Wednesday, back at the beginning of March. More information can be found on her website- Courtney King Dressage which was last updated yesterday.

Hi Everyone.... so, as usual, I knew I could count on my little group to jump to the prayers.... the response has been amazing and the response, nationwide, has been something that I know Court will be completely overwhelmed by....

I just got home from the hospital.... she is very heavily sedated
and they asked for everyone to leave for the night.... but, she is
holding strong...

SO, I know there are SOOOO many questions, but here is the

She was on her last horse of the day at her farm, a young one....
without a helmet on.... he was not being bad, she was cantering and did a half halt and pushed his haunches out, as he was falling in... he got his legs all tangled up and tripped and fell down.... there was no scramble or anything weird, he simply fell and she literally rode him to the ground.... she stayed on him all the way down and as she went down, her head smacked the ground.... someone was videoing her and said that her head actually bounced it hit so hard....

she was unconscious and life flighted to StMary's Trauma center in Palm Beach... they did not fly her because she was too unstable to be driven, but because of the time situation.... they call the first hour "the golden hour" (so I have learned) after the trauma happens.... the more they can do in that first hour, the better
the chances of a good outcome....

so, what happened.... when her head hit, her brain separated from the lining and shifted a bit..... that caused some bleeding in various spots.... they did a procedure and placed a monitor between the lining and the skull to monitor the pressure in her head.... normal pressure is between 5-7, hers is 9.... the point
that becomes critical that they have to take measures to reduce the pressure is 20, so they are happy about that.... she also has a fracture in her skull, but that is actually the least of their worries.....

she is still what they consider to be medically "unresponsive".... to be responsive, she has to be able to do a few very black and white tasks, when they say, squeeze this hand, she must do it.... when they say, open your eyes, she must do it.... and she is unable to do that right now.... however, the people that came with her were holding her hands and talking to her and when they mentioned Jason to her (her husband) they could feel her respond and try to move and then again with other words.... when they mentioned Viva, her dog :-) so, she IS a little responsive.. ..
they now have her heavily sedated because they want her brain to rest... they want it to have NO stimulation. .. Jason and her dad were able to go in with her for a second, but they asked them to leave as well... they said the next 3-5 days are the most critical.... it could go anywhere from steady improvement to
catastrophic. ...

The waiting room had a solemn tone, but everyone is being optimistic.. .. and of course, there were a few moments where laughter was required.... . it got a little quieter when Jason got there.... (he just HAPPENED to be flying in tonight anyway, got the phone call 30min before his plane left) he came over and sat down by me and after the original conversations there was quite a while when we all sat quietly, then he looked over at me and said, "you girls and your horses" with a cute smile on his face.... I think right now he HATES horses, but he knows how we all feel
about them, his wife included....

Now, I know in this email group are doctors, nurses, daughters of neuro surgeons, etc.... Im telling you NOW that there is probably something that is not exactly correct in the way I said it, but overall, this is the general gist of whats going on.... the bottom line is A) PRAYERS, PRAYERS and more PRAYERS for Court.... and B)
WEAR A HELMET!!!! I know, I am more guilty than anyone on this list of NOT wearing one, but that changes today.... I have already ordered my new one and I can promise you, it will always be on my head.... I have talked to several other professionals down here whose mind changed today..... will keep everyone as posted as

Jodie Kelly

Monday, March 15, 2010

What's next?

Over the weekend we had a bit of interesting news in the Valley of the Sun. A group of four riders went out and during their ride they ran into a problem. A rather large problem. They left their common sense behind.

We have had quite a bit of rain over the past couple of months. 13" so far this year is what has been reported. We live in a desert and sometimes the storms are referred to as a "gully washer", because the washes, gullies and otherwise small streams fill up washing everything away. The Salt River is flowing and the current can be strong in places.

So these people set out and at some point in their ride thought crossing the water was a good idea. Now I am all for a horse crossing water and quietly going where you ask them to go. But for the horses sake- use your head! They underestimated the current, one of the horses is now still 'stuck on the island' and one of the horses broke a leg and had to be shot on site by an officer.

It's a sad story that could have been prevented all the way around, had these people made a simple decision and chosen a different route. Really not a tough thing to do.

In Arizona we also have what is called the "Stupid Motorist Law" which in affect, leaves the motorist to pay for their rescue should they decide to try crossing the water in a gulch, gully, wash or roadway otherwise covered with water. If the roadway is blocked with a pylon or barrier- you are plain busted. You pay for any and all resources involved in pulling you out. You pay the wages of any officers, firefighters, EMT's or specialty rescue crews involved- however many hours it takes to get everyone out. You pay for the trucks, boats, heavy equipment, a helicopter and pilot if necessary... It can add up fast.

Another aspect of this is that your insurance company can deny the claim, drop your policy and you are SOL ($h!t out of luck) to pay for not only the rescue operation, but a vehicle that is now a total loss with a 'salvage' title and off to the wrecking yard due to water damage. If you haven't paid it off- you still owe the bank. If you have kids in the car, you face charges of child endangerment on top of it all.

The one local news station abc15 has been covering the story and in this article they are asking if the riders should be charged for paying for their rescue. It was at Yes- 73.2% / No- 26.8% when I voted. I am wondering if they also face animal cruelty charges on top of it as well? The horses didn't choose the trail.

The owners are also now desperately wanting to get hay out to the horse. In the last photo of the slide show you will see about a half bale of alfalfa sitting on the ground, ready to go out to the horse. They have tried taking it out by boat. To me this translates into putting more people at risk and possibly another rescue mission in the making...

The horse has been there since Friday. Dumping a half bale out there he will likely dive into and consume it all and could resultingly colic. Are they going to get a vet to the island if he does? Could the current turn that into another rescue mission too?

I want what is best for the horse. I understand it is one they raised from birth, but had they cared so much about it- this whole situation never would have come up in the first place. The people? They all got out with no injuries. Maybe I am being a bit harsh. I can handle that. But where does their accountability and responsibility lay?

Our horses are not in that situation. They won't be, either. Not if I can help it. don't know if they asked for any of the media attention, but they don't seem to be turning it away either. I don't need my 15 minutes of fame that badly. I will go without if it ever meant the life of one of my horses and possibly another.

*Just to add to the story a bit- more on the story or maybe it should be MORON in the story- "My wife lost everything she owned... her boots her sunglasses..."

So much for sympathy about losing the HORSE!

Friday, March 12, 2010

For Sale Friday: Wanted

Fern Valley has her post on Fridays featuring horses, as well as Johnie Rotten's Trading Post which is always up and open for business.

Todays post will be about the things we would all Like to have. The things we WANT. It is okay to want nice things. It is also okay to like certain brands. Brands that deliver quality, not necessarily quantity. And it is okay to like brands that others do not. We each have our own tastes and our own reasons for liking or disliking the things we do. Quality tack holds up over time and the quality delivers, on the price you spend buying it. More than that though, with care- quality tack retains its value. If you ever need to sell it, you can usually get a quick sale at a reasonable price.

Admittedly I used to shop based mainly on price alone. I started with the clearance and "Sale" items. ALWAYS. Things have changed, for me anyways, but that is a tough habit to break. A lot of times I found I was buying and replacing stuff a number of times. Had I bought quality the first time around and paid the price to begin with- I would not have spent as much time and usually more money too, replacing things over and over.

Get out your wish lists, and get out your lists of online sources and tack companies. If one of us knows where someone else can find something on their list- please post the company name or make a 'clicky link' for them to help them find it. Horsemom was seeking boots in the first FSF post. I'm curious to know if she was able to get any, but when she does, she now has a couple places to start with when looking.

Clicky link 101- replace the parenthesis with < and >
(a href="web address goes here")clicky link words go here(/a)

Be honest with what you want, but more so, be reasonable with your budget. Yes there are some extremely great deals to be had out there. Those are the deals just way too good to pass up. Many times they come through word of mouth. Sometimes we stumble across them and don't even realize how great it is until afterwards. That's when we either start crying or doing the Happy Dance. Here's hoping we are all doing the Happy Dance!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tenting the saddle pad

Go Lightly has been speaking of tenting in saddle pads a bit lately. I have to thank her for something concerning that. I will explain why a bit later...

For now though, you can all thank her for bringing it up. Since we are discussing saddle fit, it will help to explain the 'tenting' by starting back at the beginning. Like the saddle tree. The saddle tree really determines whether or not the saddle will fit the horse. The tree will also vary to some degree, depending on the use it is designed for.

This image from Sugar River Saddlery and Tack in Wisconsin, shows a number of different trees, ready to be made into saddles. They will actually ship you the tree to fit on your horse, before they start to make your saddle. Of course there is a deposit and forms and stuff, but honestly, I have not heard of many if any saddlery shops that will do this. In most cases, saddles either fit your horse or they don't.

I found the website by looking for examples of the western saddle trees. Pictures to help us 'visually guided' folks...

This is their solid oak tree with bronze horn. It shows the way a saddle tree fits on the horses back. Obviously this tree is a bit wide for the 'horse' it is on since the pommel is a bit low and would be making for a sore back, but it is shaped a lot like the english saddle trees, with a nice wide space for the spine.

They also offer trees comprised of a few different components. Polymer Tree, Wood Tree Option for Covering, Fiberglass Wrapped, Bull Hide Wrapped (Rawhide), Flex Tree & ProTech.

A lot of the saddles on the market come in the standard- bullhide/rawhide wrapped wood tree, fiberglass tree, fiberglass wrapped tree and with technology advancements more options offering lighter weight, greater strength and longer saddle life, there is much to choose from and something for everyone. Then there are other companies offering treeless saddles.

Some of the saddle trees offer more of an actual seat on them. When you look at them as a bare nekkid skeleton, they look more like this one-

It looks like this picture is from a forum from the horse channel. Anyone care to say what they like or dislike about this type of tree? There are two things I find right off, that makes me think about continuing my search if I were shopping for a saddle.

The underside of a finished saddle here-

For those who don't already know, this is the correct way to set down a western saddle if you do not have a stand or rack for it. The horn and front of the saddle go down. Depending on the horn length and size, it may keep the saddle from falling over onto the seat and cantle, if not, you may need to lean it agains something to help it stay upright.

With this one, keep in mind, the riders position in the seat, would be right between the two rear cinch straps. Right about the back of the channel between the saddle bars, towards the top of the saddle as pictured. The rear of the saddle shows the skirts stitched or laced together. Many saddles on the market are constructed like this. The lacing of the skirts is another thing preventing the saddle pad from being tented the length of the horses spine, allowing for airflow. Add in the thickness of the pads and it makes it a bit harder to do. Not all saddle though, have the fleece lining the channel of the saddle. Some are left a bit more open.

Everyone can do their best to tent the pads, but as the horse moves, the pad may slip down and rest on the back. This can in some cases cause problems. Some pads offer built in channels to allow air flow along the spine. Sometimes you just have to make exceptions and work with what you have.

Hopefully this will explain a few things for her and help others understand their saddles from the inside out.

Friday, March 5, 2010

For Sale Friday- Saddles

I am going to start labeling things and giving them categories. I really am, as soon as I get a chance to. Hopefully this will help when someone wants to go back and look for something. Easy look up.

Fern Valley is also posting For Sale Fridays on her blog. Fern Valley Appaloosas listing horses she has, knows about or otherwise, that are looking for a new home and new owner. Maybe between us we can get everyone out there tacked up, harnessed up, mounted up, in their cart, carriage, sleigh or behind their plow and enjoying their horses.

Johnie Rotten also has a Trading Post for classified ads on his website. He needs to put a lot more stuff up there and everyone is welcome to send in their ad and pictures. For $10 he will list it there until sold as well.

I feel both saddles are certainly worth what they are being offered at.

First up will be Cattypex's saddle:

I have a mid-1980s vintage Silver Royal for sale...
15" seat, fits most average Quarter Horses and larger Arabs.
Used very few times. Mint condition, SOLID, sturdy, just enough silver.
Beautiful deep chestnut color - tooled in an oak leaf & acorn design.
Freshly cleaned & oiled. Very little wear on the seat.
Made back when Silver Royal was a much more respected name in the industry.
Perfect "starter" show saddle.

Included is a classic one-eared headstall with flashy silver buckles, silver bit hangers. Flatters many head shapes. Not sure of the brand, but the leather is quite nice. Includes decent reins and fairly generic bit. All it needs is a curb strap, and you're ready for the first show of the year!

Asking $500 for the set.

(CNJ back in) In the original post, she had put in parenthesis (OBO to you guys.) Let me just say, a good saddle like this, certainly holds it's value over time. Accepting any less would be a shame. Offering any less? I know I wouldn't do it!

For the English riders we have a saddle being offered by Crazy 3 Dayer:

I paid $300 for it and that's all I'll ask..extremely comfortable! It really is an all purpose..longer flaps for flat/Dressage and nice knee rolls (removable) for Jumping/Eventing.

There is no brand name on it and it does not come with leathers or irons. 19" seat with a Med-wide tree. It has fit a few different horses comfortably. Irish Draughts, QH, Grade, etc. It's currently in TX, buyer pays shipping.

(CNJ in again) Another nice looking saddle that again, holds it's value over time.

For anyone interested, if Cattypex or C3D would like to post their contact info in the comments, that works or email me and I will pass your info along to them. Either way, I will help put everyone in touch.

Anyone else have any saddles they would like to see go to a new home? I know BEC was looking for one:

I am looking for a specific saddle...

A used Billy Cook All-Around saddle-15", FQH bars with a minimum gullet of 7-1/2", but prefer 7-3/4". Good condition, but doesn't have to look like "new".

In the absence of such a find, I am looking for;

A similar quality barrel type saddle-15", same criteria for the bars and gullet(FQH-7-3/4" gullet), square skirt, with back cinch latigos(I don't mind replacing the back cinch though).

I am not particular about tooling/silver(or absence of)...the most important part to me is the FQH bars and 7-3/4" gullet.

If anyone knows of something along those lines, you can email me *edited* through the blogs. Thanks

*If anyone needs the email addy, I know she posted it in the comments on the last FSF post, or again- email me and I will put you in touch.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

More on Saddle Fitting

I found another interesting link on saddle fitting when looking for a Silver Royal saddle, like the one Cattypex had mentioned. This one offers a couple of different ways to look at and check for good saddle fit.

Four Winds Saddle Tack Store in Fort Collins Colorado has a page online listed as Withers Tracing and another one of Saddle Fitting. I realize a lot of the information is based on or shows english saddles- all purpose, close contact and a lot of dressage saddles. I haven't found one yet showing anything more for western, so I will either have to keep digging or get some pictures taken of the boys out back.

One of the main things that I find interesting in the links here for wither tracing is the flexible curve available at the office supply store. I may be a bit brain dead on this one, but what would an office use those for? At least they are useful in helping you establish a drawing of how your horses back is shaped, but like Kitt had posted the pictures on the saddle fitting blog, with time and exercise or time off, the shape will change and saddle fitting requirements will too. Muscles change as the horse is brought back into shape, change more as you continue to train and develop different things and deteriorate when the horse has had an extended lay up following an illness or injury.

Saddles are an investment like a lot of other things. But spending money on a nice saddle and finding out it doesn't fit you, your horse or both is a bit disheartening to say the least. But if it doesn't fit, you can always resell it and recover some of the money to put towards one that does.

Monday, March 1, 2010

How things fit

Part of saddle fit is the saddle fitting the rider. If the seat is too small or in some cases too large, you can't get into position where you need to. If the stirrups are too long or too short, your overall position can easily go right out the window as you try to keep you feet in the stirrups at all costs. Sometimes it is easier and better to just drop them and ride without. Your muscles may tell you otherwise later on, but other muscles will rant and ache from trying to keep them. The choice is yours.

When I was getting started in team roping, I rode without stirrups. Why? The horse I was riding belonged to a guy with long legs. The first time he let me ride he asked me how high to put them? I told him without even checking first, "All the way up." So we raised them as high as they would go and they were still too long. My first few runs, just hazing the cows- I was trying like hell to keep the stirrups and not paying attention to much else.

If I was going to even try throwing a rope, I had to find my balance and forget about the stirrups. Which I did and I soon began swinging the rope at least. I felt bad for Ron for having raised the stirrups and me not use them. A few nights we raised them and dropped them when swapping out on the horse and before long when he would hand over the horse to me, we just left them where they were.

As a lot of people know, team roping seems to be a guys sport. Believe me, there were plenty of guys around and soon they all started hassling poor Ron for not raising the stirrups. They gave him a lot of what for and were poking fun, but questioned him being a gentleman and not at least trying... When I proved not to need the stirrups, they left him alone.

I had ridden quite a bit at that point. Every and any horse I could throw a leg over, saddled or not, in fact. I had found my balance through bareback riding and stirrups or not, I could stay on. And coming out of the box is a hell of a rush! Doesn't matter which end of the cow you are on. Just like diving into the turns around barrels and shooting up out of the pocket as you leave them.

I eventually did start throwing the rope. I had hazed cattle out of the headers and heelers box. My first throw- I caught the cow. Wasn't pretty, wasn't fancy and certainly wouldn't have put me in the money if there was any that night, but I had caught him. In doing so, it pissed off one of the other guys who rode Ron's other horse. See this guy had been coming out 3 times a week to rope. He had grown up in feed lot ranching, he just hadn't ever thrown a rope. He kept trying to head a cow and for about four months had tried to catch one with no luck. Me, first time I throw the rope I caught the steer. Not exactly talent, sure wasn't skill- more like dumb luck really, but he was ticked.

He didn't like me much and told Ron not to let me ride his horses anymore... Thankfully Ron didn't listen. I got to ride his horses, was able to catch several more cows, roped myself a couple times, hazed the slow pokes, tried heeling and had a great time all the way around. All without stirrups.

I also learned that a saddle too big for you can sometimes be a blessing. You can move forward more, back a bit and position yourself where you are out of the horses way and make things easier for them. One of the best things about riding in someone else's saddle? You find out what you like and don't before you spend the money.

**Edited to add photo's. Yes that is me riding hubby's mare Johnie. The stirrups are a bit too long and my leg has come out of position in my efforts to jam my foot in the stirrup and keep them from banging her sides. We may have only been walking around, cooling her out after a workout, but still. You can see what a difference only a few holes up or down makes in your leg position. Worrying about the stirrups can distract you from a lot of other things you may need to be fixing instead. Not only are my lower legs too far forward, they are also sticking out- another bad habit of mine, left over from the Arabian horse world days.**

Below are two pictures of me on Psyndi in her first few rides. From back in March of 2007. Notice the difference inmy leg position in my saddle as compared to hubbys.

And how is breeches and ropers for the fashion statement? lol