Monday, March 23, 2020

Double Slalom

Every once in a while it is good to have video proof of what is happening under saddle. I know what it feels like and I am still doing regular lessons (maintaining social distancing) so I have feed back from Amanda. However, it is good for me to SEE what he is doing.

We have an issue with holding our body straight in our flying changes going from the left lead to the right. It could be in part due to him wanting to protect his left hock, or it could be residual from him wanting to protect his left hock, or it could be my awesome training/riding technique that has taught him to throw his left hip in and do the boxer kidney bean move. (Anyone with a boxer will understand that comment.)

Either way, I have shared with Amanda and she has a game plan to work on it. If it is partly physical, we might just need to do what we can until we can have the doc come out to do injections. Here is the video my barn wife took during our joint ride yesterday (she rides a mare so the social distance is a couple of horse lengths. :) )

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


The new saddle is now mine. The woman who had it for sale traded me straight across for the Alta (she was very happy with how her mare liked the saddle and found it very comfortable for herself). The new saddle is a Circle Y Park and Trail with a Flex 2 tree. The only issue has been the attachments for the cinch are dropped down on both sides, which makes most of my cinches way too long.

 Nice profile for my boy's short back

 This is how dropped the cinch attachment is, which for such a small girth circumference is a lot.
Not a lot of room between his elbow and the D ring on his cinch.

I replaced the nylon latigos with leather ones and then started trying to find a cinch that will work. I am trying the mohair string cinches, either straight ones or the ones with the widened area across the bottom of their belly, with the leather holder for the off side and double roller ends for easy tightening.

The straight style

The one with the widened area across the belly

My biggest issue is that the cinch that allows more than a couple of inches on either side between the D ring on the cinch and the D ring on the saddle is a 26". The draw back is the D ring on the cinch is too low and causing issues with his elbows. The 28" places the D ring on the cinch in a great spot, but only allows a couple of inches between the two D rings. 
I tried a 26" straight cinch on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday was okay (we did a group lesson that was so much fun) but on Sunday, Ashke gave me a ton of attitude and began fighting me at any gait over a walk. After about ten minutes I finally got smart, jumped off and ran into get the 28" cinch. Ashke was so much happier afterwards.

This is what he gave me after the cinch change.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

New Saddle

New saddle 

So, in October of 2018, I decided to try and find a western saddle for showing. In my head I thought that I would ride in the Alta all of the time, except in the show. I knew I would need to practice some in the western saddle so that I wasn't going into the show cold, but what I wasn't expecting was for Ashke to like it better. The saddle I found was $350 dollars and weighs about six ton. The seat is really flat and not very comfortable for a long time spent in the saddle. Ashke loves it, but I am less of a fan.

Since last October, I have been conducting a soft search for a new saddle. It needed to be used, since my budget is less than a thousand, and it needed to be lighter, especially for trail riding. I haven't found anything, although I wasn't really searching, mostly just waiting for something to fall into my lap. 

A couple of weeks ago, one of the barn ladies saddled her horse in her western gear and the saddle made me do a double take. Small footprint, curved skirt, light weight (23 lbs). It's a Circle Y Flex 2 Trail Saddle. I mentioned it to my barn-wife ( I guess that is a thing) and two hours later she shared a FB marketplace ad for that exact saddle in dark brown and black. I reached out to the woman who was advertising and after several messages back and forth, I picked it up from her barn a week ago.

It is an awesome fit. Like, perfect even. I rode in it briefly a week ago (before heading out for my newest tattoo), Wednesday night and then I rode in it in my lesson on Thursday. Half way through the lesson on Thursday, Amanda looked at me and said "buy the saddle". 

A couple of changes at the end of the lesson

We had agreed to meet this morning and I took over the Alta for the seller to try. It fit her mare better than it fit Ashke, if that is possible. The woman rode in it and it seemed to work for her. We agreed to wait a week for her to try the Alta, and if she likes it we will do a straight trade (best option on the table) and if she decides not to get it, I will buy the saddle and then sell the Alta.

This was on Sunday, 3/1

We have been struggling with the right to left lead change (hocks, my riding, hocks) but they are miraculously much better. I can't wait to try my first trail ride in it. Although, the muscle pain in my back is a thing right now. That tells me I am sitting differently in this saddle and moving differently. Hopefully, the muscles will adapt quickly and get strong.