Thursday, January 27, 2022

saddle skeptic

broad and flat
It would be easier to sit on a propane tank. At least it wouldn’t trot. Q is very round. And while overweight (1050 according to vet weight tape) it’s also just her shape. Mutton withers blend into wide back, also short backed, oh joy! 

She got her own sign, can't have a no-name horse in pasture!
Of course my favorite Solstice wide is far too narrow. I tried it anyway and rolled side to side like a drunken sailor, as the too tight saddle couldn’t settle. Q was quite tolerant but after the short ride she had totally dry patches on the “shoulders” (they’re so meaty I’m not even sure I can call them that!), so certainly a bad fit. But I’ve ridden that saddle probably 10,000 miles, it’s amazing, not getting rid of it. But not for Q. 

saddle skeptic

Onto saddle two: Freeform Elite dressage. It’s treeless, It has extra panels for taller withers (she certainly doesn’t need those!). I have a good pad with equipedic inserts. I tried this on about five rides. Good sweat patterns, and she doesn’t object, but I feel like a flopping beginner up there. After a trail ride she did the whole body shake and I almost fell off! I don't hate the saddle, but me learning the saddle and learning the horse is a tough combination. (I didn't even take any photos of it!).

old standby: Wintec 2000

one of my favorite trees didn't survive the storms
So out to the dusty saddle trunk, where I dug out an old standby: Wintec 2000. Why did I keep this? It was the saddle I first rode Major in, but mainly it wasn’t worth selling and has fit quite a few horses. I stuffed the widest gullet plate in there, got out my trusty thin line pad and sticky girth, and tried out the combo. Better, still a bit of rolling, but secure. Maybe my best option?

Duett Tango test, rear panels nice and wide
I’m not buying a saddle for a lease horse. Ok, whoops, I wrote some of this a few weeks ago…yes I did buy a saddle for a lease horse! (But you know how horse math is…I can always resell it…). I found an amazing deal on a Duett Tango. I tried one owned by another boarder on her, seemed very promising. Duett is a hoop tree, wide rear panels. It’s not as comfy as my Solstice, (twist is too wide for me) but with my Haf saddle pad (no inserts), breast collar, sheepskin saddle cover and endurance stirrups, we had a few good rides, though I still had to get off and adjust the saddle slipping. Upgraded to a non-slip anatomical girth. Better, but arghh, still some rolling! 

current setup, need to take better photos (and shorten the breast collar)
I was at my wits's end. I read some used a piece of shelf liner under the saddle pad? Seemed like it could bunch or rub. I went for the actual horse version. It showed up and was tiny, flimsy and sure looked useless. 

dumb thing is a miracle worker

back on the trail
This stupid little thing is amazing!! A lifesaver. Saddle is solid (still have to really watch placement, it’s much farther back than I’d have thought). I really thought I had a lot of tack available until now, hah! At this point the only other saddles I own are a very old charro kids saddle (my uncle's or grandfather's?) and my uncle's huge heavy western. Both are old, dried out leather and not safe (plus my butt is not fitting in that kids saddle!!) 

old saddles, not for me (but cool tapaderos!)
 I think the saddle hunt is solved for now… until she gets in better shape and changes? Oh no. 

My other adventures: taking Wesley for his daily walks!

Friday, January 7, 2022

meet Q

In November a friend texted me "Are you only interested in a gelding, no mares?" I said if it was the right one, but I wasn't interested in buying right now. Then she said the owners were probably interested in a lease, and I got more intrigued.

Off of a couple pictures and a short conversation I went and saw the mare. Short, dirty, fat, friendly, pretty easy to work with, seemed sensible. Well-bred for endurance, had been started at 5, then pretty much sat for 4 years, except for the 1-2 times a year they pulled her out to trail ride around the property. 

meeting, who are you?

living in red dirt is bad for a gray

Hmmm, not ridden much, out of shape, moving to a new place, you know what, why not. I've made worse decisions lately (fatalism at it's best). Feed lease (except insurance) for six months (or when I want to stop it.) Picked her up the next week. A bit reluctant to go in the trailer, but did get in and rode home quietly.

Her name is Qamara, but I'm not a huge fan of that. I'm just calling her Q, it is short and cute (and happens to be an excellent Star Trek character besides). I was able to take her back to my old stable, which was a comfort. Luckily she really likes eating, so settled in pretty quickly, saying hi to the boys. She was so dirty the stable owner thought I'd bought a roan, not a gray!

settling in…oh food, cool!

meeting the boys
First week I let her settle in, just some short walks and grooming to get that red dirt off of her. She was respectful of my space, has very good ground manners and does like a good brushing! She even stood nicely for a bath! Second week I took her on some forest hikes, she was looky but not stupid, snorting softly at the new surroundings. 

forest hike

after her first bath

meeting her doppleganger down the street

Time to saddle up…in the arena. Did some ground work for a few days, decided to go for it when she stood nicely at the mounting block. We worked on walking, turning, listening, bending, all the basics. She had a lot to remember, I could tell her brain was thinking about all the changes, but she was good about it. After a few rides just in the arena, I warmed her up in the arena and then I took her down the road after each ride, where we'd been walking the previous weeks. We had some discussions about certain areas where monsters must lurk, but consistently not letting her get away with it resulted in a forward walk past the spooky place, yeah!

ready for the trails

after a few rides I felt I could take a chance at a photo
Then into the forest we went. We've now done some shorter and longer rides, single track and wider trails. She is spookier than I'd like, but has taken me with her spins (for now), and is pretty sure footed and more importantly seems to really like it. Working up distance as she's been a pasture puff all this time. Also working on saddle fit, which when riding a horse shaped like a propane tank can be difficult (she has no withers and is super wide).

green, and very muddy in places


awkward after ride, but mmm, grass

there isn't much mud in her field, but she can find it all

every day is like this, sigh…
So for now I have a project that is helping me look forward instead of back, though some days I'm still quite lost. I don't know where this is going or how consistently I'll write (not sure where my heart is right now) but 2022 is starting off better…