Monday, 24 November 2014

Saddle Woes

When I bought Dee I owned 5 saddles (I know, I'm on my way to being a compulsive hoarder):
17.5" M Santa Cruz monoflap
17.5" MW Forestier monoflap
18" M JES Elite by Schleese dressage saddle
18.5" MN cheap synthetic dressage saddle
And a mediocre sidesaddle.

The Santa Cruz remained with the red mare while she was in training and she apparently had a hissy fit about someone touching her ears and reared, fell over and busted the tree.  I'm currently in the midst of an insurance claim to repair/replace the saddle but the insurance company is taking their sweet time about it.

The crease at the cantle is where it broken :(

This left me with the Forestier to jump in.  I knew it wasn't a great fit, it is snug in the shoulders and not wide enough in the back and slides back.  We compensated by purchasing a breastplate and an Ogilvy pad to try and protect old-lady back.  This has gotten us through the first few months but now every time I try and ride in it she is uneven.  So it's officially been shelved :(  I have no desire to sell this saddle because I got an amazing deal on it and it fits Merlin like a glove.

Purdy Forestier with snazzy Ogilvy

The synthetic dressage is for sale since it is way too narrow for Dee (a girl at the barn is actually trying it right now).

Cheapy synthetic

My Schleese is an awesome saddle.  I completely fell in love with it when I got it.  It's brown, puts me in a great position and fit the red mare like a glove.  Unfortunately it doesn't work too great for Dee.  It actually fits her not bad except it is too long for her super short back.  It ends a few inches past her last rib.  So for right now I am riding her in it with the Ogilvy but I know it is only a short-term solution.
It's brown and beautiful.

I sold the sidesaddle (for more than I paid for it!) after I bought Dee since it never fit me right and it was WAY too long for Dee.

I love riding sidesaddle, just not in this saddle.

So right now, my best option is bareback.  Which is fine for the occasional ride but I really need to find saddles that fit both me and her.

I've started looking, but she is remarkably hard to fit.  She's actually a medium width at her withers but she's almost flat across her back.  She also has a very short back and a giant upright shoulder that makes everything more difficult.

I'm also not really ready to compromise the monoflap.  I have a major love affair with the monoflap and my new jumping saddle must be one.  It'd be awesome if I could get a dressage monoflap too!

I'm completely open to suggestions!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Red Mare Finds A New Home

She sold!

I"m so excited.  Not only because my budget will go back to balancing but also because the mare found an incredible home!

A couple drove up from Seattle (which Google Maps tells me is a 15 hour drive!) this weekend to come try her out.  I really liked them from the get-go.  The husband is an equine vet and the wife is just getting back into riding after a 10 year hiatus.  They're looking for something solid and sane to allow her to get back into the horse world.  They wanted something that can do multiple disciplines and is comfortable hacking out.

After a quick demo of me riding, she hopped on and it went really well.  The mare highlighted some of her weaknesses and it inspired her to really sit correctly (if you half halt without backing it up with leg the mare will stop).  Both of them really liked how she's been there, done that and hasn't been pigeon-holed into one slot.

I was shocked that the mare really liked them, especially the husband.  She's normally quite aloof an will rarely take cookies from strangers but she took cookies from him right away and was constantly checking back for more.

So on Friday it's a quick trip to the vet to get her coggins and paperwork done.  Shipping is currently being arranged, and then she will be on her way.

I'll miss her but I'm so very glad that she has found an amazing home where she will be loved and used.

And now I can get serious about shopping for a new saddle to fit Dee.
The mare and her new human

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Red Mare Comes Home

Well since there has been very little interest in the mare it was time for her to come back to me.  I couldn't afford to just leave her with the trainer indefinitely.  So for now she's back with me and her and Dee are vacillating between best friends and enemies.

I've ridden her a few times now and I have to say, I really, really like this horse.  It's just too bad she needs someone else if jumping is on the table.  If I could afford both horses long term I think I would keep her and make an effort to conquer dressage-land!   Sam and Anne both did a fabulous job so she's soft and supple like she never has been before.

 But alas my finances are slightly strained by three, I cannot so here's hoping she sells quick.

In the meantime she'll get a clip and some work to combat the fat and fuzzy :)

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Fuzzy Pony Isn't So Fuzzy Anymore

Best Pony has officially been clipped twice this season already.  The first one was in defense of how incredibly fluffy she was.  The weather has been unseasonably warm (and we don't have any snow!) so I gave her a modified trace clip since it hasn't been cold enough to put on a winter blanket with a neck but it's gotten cold enough over night that I wasn't comfortable turning her out with a completely naked neck.  She lives out year-round so it's always a delicate balance between her comfort and me not having to spend my entire day drying her off.

Now that the weather has gotten slightly cooler I felt justified in getting more aggressive with the clip.  The nice thing about having my own clippers is that I can pretty much do what I want, when I want.  So Dee now sports a clip that leaves a bit of hair over her back and rump but has enough gone that she dries much quicker.  Unfortunately she hates being in the barn and refuses to stand still.  This left m with some lines that left a whole lot to be desired, but it is what it is.

I had a dressage lesson on Friday and it was so nice to not have to hang out forever to wait for her to dry.

Mostly Nekkid Pony

Monday, 3 November 2014

And We Go Hunting!

A friend and I decided that we were going to haul down to Calgary to join their Halloween Hunt.  I've only been on one hunt, and it was by turns the most terrifying and exhilarating experience.  It should be mentioned that I was living in Ireland at the time and participated in an actual fox hunt.  I jumped giant fences and hedges where you have no idea what is on the other side.  It was an experience for sure.
The Huntmaster dressed as a fox so we could chase an "actual" fox!

From what I'd been told the Calgary Hunt Club runs a really enjoyable afternoon so Jacky and I loaded up and hauled 3 hours down to one.

Best Pony'd regin of awesome remains intact!  It was a blast but it turns out that out on a hunt I will likely need something just a touch stronger than a simple french link snaffle.  Dee was convinced that "zoom" was the only acceptable speed and I was hard pressed to tell her otherwise.

She was brave and bold, jumping the scary spider jump without hesitation (after the hunt master and 3 others refused it).

There were some awesome costumes, I obviously did not partake

Next fall I'm hoping to make it down for more of the hunts because it was great fun and everyone was super friendly and accomodating.

Best Pony thinks the Spider is no big deal (contrary to popular equine opinion)