Monday, November 28, 2016

More demo fun

I've gotten in some good rides on the Ghost Quilty through today, but now I have to wait till the weekend to ride more due to everything else going on.

I think I've figured out the correct stirrup set-up, and now I'm just tweaking the saddle pad. It really feels comfortable for me, no hip pain, I've remedied the knee issue from the first ride (and resulting ruffling of his coat as I kept adjusting in the saddle during our ride), and I still have a few more adjustments I could make for myself if I need to.
I rode with the Ghost wool pad without inserts for a few rides and then Sunday tried my Matrix without inserts. I didn't get it centered up into the saddle as well as I should have (resulted in pad shifting), but I will have to play with that next time.
Based on Prophecy's build the recommendation was to start without pad inserts as the panels have their own "inserts" for weight distribution and I'm not heavy enough to 'require' pad inserts as well, however they are a good idea for long term use and distances in general.

Monday night I tried out a friend's Skito (with the inserts) over in the arena next door.  Another short ride due to loss of daylight and boredom, but it gives me an idea of how it feels with inserts in the pads and if it is still able to maintain levelness and stability side to side as well (one of the major issues with most saddles we've tried).  It did hold the side-to-side level but seemed to perch it off his back a bit and caused it to be lower in the front (which can be fixed with shims). We'll see how the Matrix does when I add inserts back in next weekend if it is any different.

One of these days I'll get around to trying to mount from the ground and see how much shifting there is, but since the girth is actually a little shorter than he apparently needs, and tacking up is still a dance, I'll wait till I have my own saddle in hand and some more fitness.  Being able to do so would be nice, in case there is nothing around to get me a boost on a trail. He really hasn't huffed and puffed much at all with our trotting or having him walk uphill to engage the butt so cardiac wise he is keeping himself in shape in the to get the muscle tone!

All in all I'm feeling like the Ghost is a successful fit (and wondering why I didn't trust my gut earlier this summer to demo it).  I will have a little bit yet to figure out on the best pad option for us, but I think this is a good saddle to get us going for 2017!  As we get to true Endurance distances (50+miles) I will have to keep an eye on everything and make sure - but I know several others having much success in this brand for 50 & 75 mile rides.

Sunday I took the kids and Doug out to meet Prophecy (finally) and he snapped a few pictures of us on our short ride in the paddock.

                               The kids loved helping to brush him and of course gave a few treats too!

Monday night coming back to the barn from the arena next door

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Overall Prophecy has done well with the move. The first day he definitely ran a bit and had a sweat matted coat when I visited.  I brushed that all out and when I returned the next day there wasn't anything new so he had calmed it seemed.

I went back Wednesday morning (took the day off of work) and met the 'new' farrier.  He liked Prophecy's feet (other than not much concavity going on) and agreed the WLD is basically gone. But we'll all keep a close eye on them in the spring for it to return.  We talked shoes and boots, and what my riding intentions are.  He is willing to do the composite types, but will not guarantee them to stay on unlike his own steel shoeing jobs. All things to consider - but he won't be sporting any shoes for a while yet anyway. Planning to stick to barefoot friendly areas for a bit.

Prophecy was completely worked up after the trim (new horse arrival, etc), and I ended up turning him out figuring I wouldn't get a chance to try out the Ghost on him.  After a whole lot of fun chatting, we all decided to go ahead and ride for a bit before JS's lesson at 12.  I grabbed him back from the field and tacked him up - took pictures of the saddle with and without a pad.  It actually stayed level after adding a pad!  Every other saddle the stirrups looked uneven as soon as I added a pad.

Level even after lunging!

                                                                           Post ride

We walked down to the outdoor next door and tested it out. My stirrups were way off length wise and of course had to tighten some more on the girth!  We rode back to the barn with JM &K, and picked up JS to head out on trail. He was definitely full of it for a bit but I think he did pretty well for not having much riding in the past month... The saddle didn't move much at all even without a breast collar or crupper and we went up and down some hills. I didn't attempt to mount from the ground as I know that is almost futile with his build!

The Ghost is super-lite and was very comfy for my hips. I didn't feel like I was straddling a barrel :) The thigh blocks didn't bother me, and came in handy on the hills and when Prophecy took to spinning when I said we're done but 2 of the other horses kept going on trail.  I had a little bit of pain in my right knee, but I'm not 100% sure of the stirrup position and also the bars on the stirrups need to be switched out to a shorter one (which I have) as they are 2" now to accept fenders from before.  I'll get back out again this weekend to keep tweaking things and play during our demo period.

The 23rd marks 2 years ago that I picked Tesla up... I remember it so vividly, just as so many other moments.  I still can't believe he's gone, or Traveler really.  I now have a bracelet that combines both boy's tail hair in one...


While this year has certainly dealt me some sh*t, I'm thankful for so much in my life. My little family of 4, my health and theirs, a job, and much more.

I hope everyone has a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Moving day

So this weekend before Thanksgiving seems to be "the time" for me to make major changes...

2 years ago I was on my way to pick up Tesla... which turned out to be just shy of a year of when I moved Traveler from TN to join us in VA

And now, I'm moving Prophecy to a barn that is a bit closer to home and work with lots of trails for us to enjoy.
The owners have recently acquired this place and have been doing some major renovations and learning along the way.  They started their own blog to catalog the process :)

Prophecy will remain in field board. He has a good fuzzy coat, and is obviously at a good unless he is shivering I will not be likely to blanket him (maybe the winter cold will help him shed some pounds keeping warm!).  He does have a lightweight now, and got to try it out earlier in the week due to a cold night with rain expected.  He was much less worried this time about getting it put on, maybe he wanted it?  It was kind of funny to see his expression as he walked off in it, but settled into wearing it easily and it stayed on without any rubs overnight :P (or undressing attempts by his pasture mate)
Green is not my choice of color, but you get what you can in their size!

72" seems to fit well

This past week I got to put new tires on the trailer!  They are maybe a little overkill for my trailer weight (Load Range F), but even when empty the ride was much smoother coming back from install.  Main difference is these are radial ST's, not the bias-ply LT that was on there before.  The ride was nice and smooth Saturday morning to the new barn too!

New tires and peace of mind!

Our demo saddle from Ghost is due to arrive Monday, and with my time off work around the holiday I'm planning to put it to the test! Marlene at Badlands Equine is great to deal with, and we have already been talking about what adjustments might need to be made for him as we trial it, and the demo time allowance is generous.  The hard part will be waiting on my order to arrive if it works for us!  And even harder will be starting over again if not...  I have researched a ton of saddle makers at this point and have a few directions I could go to find a "good enough" fitting tree for him.  I don't want to go full custom unless we really have to, and after he's gotten some of the excess fluff off.

The move itself went well...though my day did not start out great.  Heading out to the barn and not even 3 miles from home I got clipped by a van going the other direction. They crossed the yellow line just as we came upon each other. I had very little room or time to respond. He attempted a slight recovery as well and ended up taking out my mirror (old work type van with metal mirrors I assume).  Tried to chase him down to get some info for insurance but could not find him.

Prophecy loaded pretty well, traveled nicely and came off the trailer gently.  A little worked up and confused, but turned out and explored a few before a roll.  He will be in a field alone for a week, but he is across the driveway from another horse (a TWH named Marty) and they were running the fences together.  They are similar personalities (very playful people loving horses) and should have a blast once together in a field :)  Ransom (their QH)  returns this week from his boot-camp as well, so the 3 boys will get to have their own little bachelor parties in a week.

Coming to see me after exploring his field

Getting some attention from Joanna as I was leaving
I'll be out to visit him almost daily this first week there.  Wednesday we will meet the new farrier as well. Looking forward to our new adventures!

*I've also recently noticed something funny going on with google and not showing all my pictures on the blog :(  I'm going to try and get that figured out!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

too many choices

Good grief...trying to find a saddle again!

So many choices on treeless and treed.  Custom or trying to make a standard work.  My head is spinning!  I'm glad there are options, but so many is proving difficult to determine my next move...

I now have 4 tires to put on my trailer, and it is going in Tuesday to have them mounted and installed, so some freedom again!  Seems like I can't have both the trailer and a saddle going at the same time so that we can get out and condition though...

Saturday I tried out the Barefoot Cheyenne lent to me.

It seemed to sit nicer on his back, staying in the right spot and not creeping forward. But I know the pommel size isn't right for him (those can be changed out) and it felt very wide/lack of twist.

This is the Saga personality...must play with something and keeps pulling the corn stalks apart while we groom!
Fuzzy pregnant gelding lol

> Post 20-30min working in the arena.  No saddle rolling when we trotted.  I had to work to get the girth tight so we wouldn't have rolling to mount (mainly because he is so 'puffed' out to start with).

Cleaning up some crumbs when done

Then came over for a scratch

And yawning

He asked for a little hamstring massage

and then picked up a stick and drew while I massaged (zoom in)

He kept looking back at me

But finally decided to head out to the other boys

I'll head out again Monday early evening to give it another spin with shims on the right... then it is a waiting game for the Ghost to arrive!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Saddle fit...again

So, while I love the Phoenix and it super comfortable for me, it appears it is not the right match for Prophecy even in the wide version... sigh.

I have been through every saddle pad and cinch combo I have, tried adding a shim to his "lesser" shoulder, and setting the saddle in different places on his back.  All to no avail in keeping it centered on him lunging or riding.  And it even seems tight on his left shoulder, yikes!  It was at least a better fit than the standard as his head tossing stopped, but still not ideal.

Getting better with his ground-tie

He was decently putting up with all the trials this weekend... Peppermint treats greatly helped of course!

So Friday & Saturday I didn't actually ride but just worked on how the saddle fit in the round pen and the arena...Watching, moving him, feeling under as he moved.  Once we finished on Saturday I gave him a bit of a massage - found some good spots, and a few not so happy feeling ones.  He has an official massage with Hands Hooves and Hearts on Monday night so I have notes for her!
He was very cute with me after and didn't want to leave me.  I have to remind him not to get too mouthy, but never more than verbally. He was trying to grab my shirt (I think!) as I tried to snap this photo!

Led him out to the pasture...he was not interested in leaving me!

Sunday... My good friend Amanda came by, armed to help me assess the Phoenix and with several of her own saddles to try on him (dressage and western types of various tree sizes).  And his shoulder size and angle did not fit ANY of it! In the end, she left me with 3 different saddle pads, shims, and a Barefoot treeless to try on him while waiting on the next one to demo and/or see how treeless works for him.

The only really good news front his week is that his feet are really looking great! He had a trim on Thursday and love what I saw on Friday.  I see only one spot that is left from the WLD and resections done over the summer.  We will continue to treat and hopefully prevent a re-occurrence as well.

no huge v cuts on toes anymore!

For anyone curious about what a ride is like...from an outsider point of view - this blog sums it up! :)
 Part 1:
Part 2: