Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Saddle Fit Woes aka In Which I Need a New Saddle… D’Oh!

So I had the saddle fitter out to Copper the other day (a week and a half ago now? Gee, that went fast!) because of the way his saddle has been slipping around on me.

Basically the long and short of it is: the Wintec 500 All Purpose saddle fits him just fine. It does not fit me.

The Random Hat sits - A Riding Habit - The Random Hat sits on a fence -

I need to shorten my stirrups two holes from where they are at the moment so that my weight is keeping the saddle anchored in place as I rise to the trot/circle/go faster – as in canter –/etc. 

Ouch.  Yeah, I know I generally tend to ride long, but that is way short, and really my joints won’t like it. My ankles and knees tend to hurt if they are jammed up like that for a long time. Now from my reading I know I could potentially help this problem by purchasing some composite stirrups with a wider foot bed, but there’s also the problem of that pesky stirrup bar.

I know that’s the point of All Purpose saddles, to BE all purpose, but really, can’t I get one with the stirrup bars set back under the thigh, but with a shallower seat to get the best of both worlds??

Basically, if I want to keep pursuing dressage, I need a dressage saddle. I’m fighting with the positioning the AP shoves me into every time I ride. It’s messing with my leg position, which is messing with my seat and back. My saddle fitter told me I had a “duck butt”.  (-__-‘) Yay.

Now, to be fair, that’s partly my posture post-three babies and two c-sections. Yeah, that stuff really messes with your abs. My lower back is slightly sway because of that. So my butt is going to poke out more than is correct until I can get the abs strength back to correct my skeletal alignment.

So. There it is.

Copper's ready to hit the trails! - A Riding Habit- Wanna to do moar of dis - 

Now, the conundrum remains – do I sell the AP to fund the dressage saddle? Or do I say goodbye to my ‘new camera fund’ and buy a second saddle?

A break down of my rides usually consists of 2/3 training in the arena, and 1/3 trail riding. Yes, I would totally use a dressage saddle on the trails because why not?

But the thing is, I like jumping. Even though I haven’t jumped in years because I’ve been pregnant/post-pregnancy, had a young, green horse – Joey for a year and a half instead of Copper, etc, I still want to be able to jump.

I can’t if I don’t keep the AP. Which also could probably use longer billets on it to help anchor the saddle in place. $120 odd dollars plus whatever I need for the new girth as well as a new dressage saddle. Fabulous.

So is anyone looking to sell a Wintec 500 dressage saddle with CAIR panels, an adjustable gullet system that is less than four years old?

Because I’m looking to buy.

See ya,


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Paddock Drama, Rug Monsters & Bareback Rides

I’ve been so busy running around and actually riding that I haven’t had a chance to write up any blog posts. Of course, that also means I have another TLDR right here for you…

IMG_2165[1] - I iz handsom -

So the story starts when we had a run in with some animal activists. I will try to keep it short, but the government has a kangaroo cull running in the hills behind our paddocks. It’s necessary, but some people don’t really agree. So in order to try and ‘discourage’ the culling, someone/s decided to open the gates and let our herd of thirteen horses loose.

Yes, you heard right.  They decided that letting the horses out into the paddocks was the best way to stop people from shooting.

Never mind the fact that even if the horses had decided that the safest thing to do was to run towards to the loud scary noises in the dark, (ha!) I sincerely doubt it would actually stop the work of the culling.

To add to that, the gates towards the road where open. So really all they had to do was go down the wrong way and they’d be out on the roads. At night. No street lights. In a 80 kilometre (50 miles) an hour zone.


Want to know what happens when you hit an 800 kilo animal at 80 kms an hour? Yeah... People die. So do horses.  And I thought you were animal activists because you cared about animals.

There are no words.

But the results are that thankfully the whole herd came back, though they were panicked, scared, and more than a little freaked out.

Copper was sore, and strained in his hindquarters/loin area. He has been ever since, though he’s slowly getting better.

IMG_2167[1] - I eatz rug monstaz! Rwah! -

Then last Monday, we had a run in with the horrid rug monster of doomed!

It wasn’t good. One of the horses, a Thoroughbred called M, has string halt, and he’s gotten tangled up in one of his rugs before, but unfortunately the same thing happened again.

He flipped out. He was bucking and kicking, and basically running along on his front legs, with his back legs in the air because he couldn’t move them fast enough to keep up with the front end.

All of this started just as I was walking Copper down the lane right next to the paddock. Of course, he just about lost it himself. He stood staring and snorting, and almost kept it together, but that other horse just wouldn’t stand still, so Copper freaked too.  He spun sideways, and it would have been fine except my saddle slipped big time.

I ended up hanging on his right side as the saddle had come completely off his back and all I could think was “GET OFF NOW!”. I kicked my foot out of the left stirrup easily enough, but for one heart stopping moment I doubted that I’d get my right foot free at all. All my weight was pressing into the stirrup, making it hard to kick off.

Somehow I did get it free and I immediately pushed off Copper’s side to the ground. He didn’t realise what I was doing so he tried to take off, but I had a firm grip on the reins, so he spun around me instead.

I walked him back up the laneway as fast as I could; I had to get his gear off and help that horse who was still loosing it the paddock.

I lead Copper to the mounting log (yes, literally a fallen log we use to mount from) and started to strip off his tack. Unfortunately, I automatically started with the girth, but realized my mistake when the saddle was hanging by the breastplate alone!

I was supporting the saddle with my torso by pushing it against Copper’s side, wrestling with stiff, weighted breastplate straps and praying that he didn’t move or the whole thing would be swinging free around his front legs and then we REALLY would have had a disaster on our hands!

Thankfully, Copper seems to be mostly sensible in a “I’m too freaked to move” kind of way when he gets scared so I managed to get all the buckles undone to free the saddle and put it on the log, along with the breastplate.

IMG_2168[1]- I haz treat foh bein’ good rightz? - 

Then I led him to the arena area, which is fenced, stripped off his bridle, and shut the gate, only to find that the gate wouldn’t shut! I hastily jerry-rigged some bailing twine around the gate and clipped the chain to that in hopes that Copper would still be sensible and not test the gate’s security.

Then I ran and grabbed my halter and hot-footed it to the paddock.

By this stage M had worn himself to pieces, and was too injured and tired to move. So I crept up to him murmuring soothing noises, and offered him some liquorice I luckily had in my back pocket.

He automatically took the liquorice, though I think he hardly knew what he was doing. Then I slipped the halter on, and hastily got to work on the rug.

The neck elastic was still done up, but down around his chest, and the chest buckles where down at his knees, so I was glad I still had my helmet on!

The rest of the rug was in tatters, and tangled around his back legs. I was able to slip it down his body and coax him to step out of the wreckage.  He couldn’t walk anywhere though, so I called around, and thankfully his owner turned up pretty quickly.

- Stap playin’ wit that silly fing Mom an’ take I out to mah fwendz! -

In the meantime, Copper was cantering up and down the arena fence instead of grazing like I’d hoped he would, so I went back to rescue him! He was too wound up to tack up (again) and ride, so I fed him instead.

Plus, that’s the second time my saddle has slipped badly and this time was the worst. It was an extremely dangerous situation to be in.

His saddle cannot slip like that during freak out moments – that’s how we both end up hurt, or worse.

So that brings me to the next part: bareback rides.

I’ll be riding him bareback until I can get a saddle fitter out to assess the problem.

I’ve already had one ride and it was actually pretty fun! You really can feel everything that’s going on in his entire frame, which makes it easier to figure out what’s going wrong as well as how to use your body to fix it.

I think I’ll be adding bareback rides to our regular ride schedule even when I do get my saddle fixed. It’s really cool! 

See ya,


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