Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A bit of a quandry

I dug my close contact saddle out on Monday night and tried it on my TB mare to see how it would fit? If it would fit? Which girth I need to use? And how gorgeous she would look? One small problem, I didn't have her bridle to complete the 'hunter pony' look. So I improvised and grabbed Aruba's bridle. A few small adjustments and it was going to work, at least for one ride. Other than the bit being rather large and slightly different- 6" French link and she wears a 5" offset D with her western tack, it looked pretty good.

Next came the saddle. It rested just behind her withers which suddenly took on the look and makeup of a shark fin. Whaaaaaat? I took the saddle off, set it back up on her well forward and slid it back into place with slightly the same results. Her withers are way too narrow and the pommel is resting almost on her vertebra. Not good and what a disappointment. I will be rechecking this tonight without the pad to see if padding things up is an option.

I had two different girths in a 48" and then there's Aruba's 54" & 56" girths I went with the 48" in leather, because I told you already- I am a leather snob. It fits her fine with plenty of room for adjustment. Yay!

I put the reins over her head and sent her off to work on the rail in the round pen. The girl is G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S. in hunter tack. And Yay Me!! My phone with the good camera was on the seat of my truck so no pics. Damn!

I will be trying the close contact on both mares to see if A) padding it will help for the TB mare and B) if it even remotely fits Aruba. I love my saddle, but if it doesn't fit either of them, it's not going to work over the long haul. I may have a saddle for sale and begin shopping for a new one. Meanwhile the western saddle fits her and I will just go back to using it. The TB mare has a sore spot on her back from the c/c saddle so she will get an extra few days off before I try the dressage saddle on her. She isn't built for it, but she may make a classy lower level dressage horse... time will tell.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Rain, rain

I enjoy the rain and usually it is very welcome in the summer time. Except when I want to ride. I had hoped to hop on my mare on Friday, so I raced to clean stalls and get things done, leaving plenty of time for it. There was wind, there was plenty of blowing dust, I got two of the stalls cleaned and those two horses turned out and brought in, started on the third stall

...and then it started to rain.

Nice big drops, not a downpour, but a steady rain enough to get everything wet. I wanted to ride in on of my English saddles, either the close contact or my dressage saddle. Being the leather snob that I am, I didn't want either of them getting wet. They're made of sugar and might melt you know... lol

I put a lot into my tack, I generally take pretty good care of it and I want it to not only last and retain it's value, but more importantly, I don't ever want it to fail me and fall apart. Let's face it, if something is going to fall apart or fail to work for you, it will likely crap out at the worst possible moment ever. That's just the way it works.

So I raked up the last stall, horse still in it and she wasn't thrilled. She wanted to get out and roll, stretch her legs and relax a little, even if that meant pacing the fence line in worry because the other horses may get fed without her or something like that. Like that has ever happened or like she has ever missed a meal. Ha!

I went and sat in the truck playing games on the phone and waiting for things to let up. It just wasn't going to happen until I left, because that's the way things work and sure enough. I started to drive away and there goes the rain with it. I had already put everything away and called it off, so there was no sense in going back. Not unless I wanted it to keep raining for a while. Hopefully I can get some saddle time in on her soon under the English tack. I'm also hoping to get her into an arena setting soon too and get to work her more at the trot and maybe the lope. She's going so well I'd hate to stop now.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Back up to speed

I haven't been on my mares for a while now. First it was the holiday weekend, then it has been just life in general- having to go here, be there, pick this up, grab that and be somewhere else all at the same time. We all know how that goes and I do try to plan things out in advance, but something usually happens to throw a wrench in things and screw it up.

The other night I decided to opt out on riding and go with ground work for both mares. The WB mare has been off in the front right from the abscess and is finally starting to come back around. The TB mare, has just been chillin' and relaxing. Why tempt fate and just hop on? Besides, I wanted to make sure I haven't screwed anything up so far and also to try and teach her a little more about counter flexing. To the right she's fine, but the left she wants to cling to the rail and just go on 'ignore' and 'auto pilot'.

I'm finding it is far easier to incorporate something new from the ground and let the horse figure it out on their own, then get on and add leg, seat and weight to the equation. If it sinks in while I'm on the ground and without me getting in their way, it's got a better chance of sticking in their mind and being there to build from later on.

While the WB mare wasn't too sure what I was asking, she managed to finally 'get it' and was showing some really beautiful movement, crossing her legs over both front and back. The TB mare seemed to struggle with the concept a bit more. She has only been taught to go forward and go fast, so all of this lateral work is new to her. She does pick things up rather quickly and with the reins in the lower rings on the side, it helped to exaggerate the cues a little more, making it crystal clear for her, what I wanted.

After a little work with counter bending, I let her relax and just go forward. She picked up a trot that the only word coming to mind to describe it is 'Springy'. She just seemed to bounce with every step and lift off for the next one with lightness and ease. It was quite beautiful to watch and since she was doing so well, I kept it short and let her stop. A few laps the other direction with the same graceful movement and I stopped her there. Again I find myself itching to get on her. I can hardly wait to get her under English tack and see where it goes.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


For a while it seems I lost it. I'm  realizing now, I have had it all of the time. My mojo might have been siting on the shelf collecting dust, but it was there all the time. It was patiently waiting for me to dust it off and own it again.

I own it!

I have been riding my tb mare and last night she had her big girl pants on. We went for a stroll not only around the yard, but down the street. She was beyond awesome. The last time we only ventured out of the round pen and made a few laps in the yard. She was nervous and kept looking across the street when she seen movement. This time, she looked but kept on walking and was totally relaxed about everything. I can't wait to get her into an arena and start working on trotting and loping.

The whole time we were out of the round pen? Miss Thang- Aruba was bouncing off the walls like a total jackass, squealing and whinnying and having a bit of a conniption fit. Apparently the gig is up on her being sore and it was likely a stone bruise or an abscess. Time for her to go back to work too. Part of that may be just making her stay home while the tb mare gets some wet saddle blanket therapy off the property. She is so much fun to ride and I feel both of us improving every time. That's how it is supposed to be. Isn't riding supposed to be FUN?