Saturday, July 25, 2015

Gravel in my hand and saddle fun Saturday

So today was Tesla's saddle fitting appointment.  I met my barn owner for a ride early in the am, trying to get our ride in before the heat returned, and our appointment slot!

It was one of THOSE days... I knew during tacking him up that it was going to be "FUN"...not!  We got out and were walking around for warm up, then we started trotting to his "bad" direction and all was good.  So we went the other way, but apparently when I asked him to continue and turn again and we had major objections! Big bucks that I decided not to try and ride out and bailed... Unfortunately not gracefully and realized later I had gravel from the arena in my hand.  Oh well.  I regrouped, remounted and worked him more at a walk until we calmed down and could trot again.  All in all, he got a 1.5mile workout in the arena today!  Gravel is now out of my hand, my ego is a bit bruised, but I now have some answers too... 

Things have been getting progressively worse for us with the bucking, and now back to head tossing too.  I had scheduled his saddle fitting to get an idea of what size/type saddle he needs to look for a 2nd in the future earlier this month.  Melissa is a Reactor Panel saddle fitter and also does equine body work.  We did the measurements & pictures, she did a body eval on him, as well as an impression pad workout of my current set up.

Things I learned:
1. Tesla has uneven shoulders.  Right is more developed and forward.  Based on his tight areas for body eval, she had suspicions on how it was affecting our riding and later proved it to me.
2. He was very tight and goosey in the lumbar-sacral region.  A typical issue with indication of bucking trying to get into a canter.
3. My Bandos and HAF pad combo do a great job with weight distribution and the saddle is not too long for him. *Win for Treeless*
4.  Due to said left shoulder issue, the saddle moves laterally and is causing wither pressure/pain on the right side = head tossing horse, and the reason I feel "kicked" to one side sometimes during a ride and with certain padding combos (Equipedic)

So what is a girl to do?  Thankfully, we have marching orders! lol
1.  Add some padding on the left side to even him out and *hopefully* stop the lateral slip and wither pressure. Try it on the right side if that doesn't work.
2.  Research barefoot pommel inserts and see if one might match his tracing and then figure out if they can be put in my saddle.
3. Ground work him backing in a straight line till we get to 60 steps, then backing up hills to help the L/S joint and build up the booty muscles.  Work him 1.5-2x more on the 'bad side' than the good when doing arena circles (already knew that one).
4. Get equine chiro to adjust L/S joint.
5. More body work sessions...need to figure out if I am going to use Melissa or the girl I have had working on him 2x previously.
6.  Try a girth like the Mattes...
7.  Seek out another saddle at a good price.  RP Heraldic being the #1 choice.  If I want to stay treeless find one with more structured design. Try out Specialized Saddles.  Try out the minimalist styles - Pandora, Holmbros, McClellan S.

And so it goes... the saddle hunt begins! (along with knocking down the list of stuff above)

Back picture showing how the left shoulder "falls off"

Sweet eye while hanging in his stall together

Such a handsome innocent face...Post morning ride in his stall

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