Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Reflections

Here we are, the close of another year, and time again to reflect and look ahead.

By all 'normal standards', I feel pretty lame this year.  In the creation of our yearly letter to go out with holiday cards, I became upset.  I did not feel I accomplished anything I set out to this year, especially related to riding.  I know I much more than a rider, but riding is my passion and I found myself floundering this year trying to understand my horse.
     We had a failed attempt at an intro ride in March, a wild ride at a fun weekend camp/ride that messed up my ankle, more saddle fit hell, bit changes, and lameness questions.  But all this just kept me pressing for answers, especially if I should continue on with Prophecy or if I was in over my head.  I got many answers, good and bad along the way, and we have started over.

In my last post I mentioned how much improvement I've seen in Prophecy on the ground and now working in full tack, I felt it was time to step up the game and work on mounting.  That picture in the start is me on the block, hanging over him, while he is playing with whatever he can find (my hat, gloves, the flag) and not trying to run off.  We did some lunging right around the block and I stood up top asking him to stay put while I loved on him. The first time I put a foot in a stirrup he got anxious and moved off.  So we went back to just standing, scratching, loving, rubbing and eventually he gave many yawns and some licking and chewing.

Must play with the flag...

I successfully mounted 2x with little drama.  Still not the best at not walking off before asked, but not as bad as previously.  I did not use a bridle, we just worked in the rope halter with the lead rope and saddle. I gathered up the excess line (our 12' treeline rope) in my hands and just held the pommel letting him wander in the round pen. He did get hind end bouncy and wound up and I just held on and let him do it. He quit on his own, and then would walk off again. I asked him to bring me back to the mounting block and then lunged him a few more circles up into the canter to make sure there was no "reason" for the crow hopping from his saddle.  We called it good, and he nickered at me his job well done lol

Saturday Erin came out to do an assessment for me with Prophecy.  I woke up to a little bit of snow in the am! I knew it would be cold, but now had to deal with taking the longer way to the barn due to roads too! At least I gave myself plenty of time beforehand to get there and catch him.  I stuck him in the round pen with a flake of hay to hang contently.  I showed her what we have been up to and we talked about the issues we've been having.  She worked him a bit herself too, found a few of his sticky spots, and also commented on how smart and sensitive he is as well as his attention to me.   We will be working together a few days a week (and her on own with him) to get him and I on track in the new year.  I really want to be involved in the process as much as I can and continue to move forward.  I will send him off to boot camp if really necessary later, but we are both confident we can make some real strides with getting us on the same page and riding again.

πŸŽ†Cheers to 2017 and all the memories made, and I say "Bring it On!" to all that 2018 holds in store!πŸŽ†

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Slow and steady

... Wins the race"

The saddle pad finally arrived which meant time to start working Prophecy with a saddle again! So I brought him in to the round pen and started out free lunging.  He was quick focus on me.  I moved him around a little and then we put the halter and line on after doing some grooming at liberty.  I groomed him near where I stashed his saddle, pad and girth on the outside of the pen.  He kept an eye on it all, and held the flag for a while being brushed.  I walked out to grab the tack and he watched me.  He stood nicely for everything, and did not turn to nip.  I loosely got the saddle on and sent him off in a few circles slowly tightening his girth.  <somebody is a little chunky monkey at the moment too!>

I ended up setting it more forward than ideal, but he didn't care :)  He moved out nicely, no bucks, no objections, following my requests and being his silly self.   We did some work on and off the line and called it good.

Wednesday the 20th started my vacation - yay!  Though I also ended up with cold just in time for it! Before our farrier consult appointment I went out and grabbed him to work in the outdoor, which is right next to his field.  Because of that fact, I drug out my tack and grooming tote before catching him figuring he'd haul the tack back in when we were done lol.  And I completely forgot the flag!  To my surprise, I didn't need it, not even to get him into a canter.  Did a little bit of line work before adding the saddle back again, this time setting it up further back.  He was tense for saddling because his field mates came charging up out of nowhere, but still didn't evade or dance for the process.  Again, he did great working for me, nice relaxed head for trotting - though his shifted his "sticky side" at the canter from going right/clockwise, to going left/counter-clockwise!  All part of the physical development.

Finished up, waiting on me
I set up a consult with a farrier that does composite shoes (located through Easy Care site) as I believe I want to go that route for our competitive season (when we get there!).  Prophecy was very well behaved - he isn't normally one to stand so nicely while I stand around and chat! Maybe the 'work' before hand helped?  George was very nice and took at look at his feet, we talked about what our goals are and all the different options for him, and lastly he sized him up for glue on and nail on options.  He commented on how nice his feet are (size and substance) and was surprised we have had the rock sensitivity, but some horses just do.  My plan right now is to continue to "condition" his feet riding mostly barefoot and use hoof armor, I will use scoot boots on front as needed, and go for the shoes when we start to get into some competitive rides, especially to any of the boot eating rocky local rides. Of course my hope is to start out 2018 with some spring rides (after his training boot camp), but only time will tell!

He had another magna wave session to finish out the year, and while not as chill about it compared to last time, there wasn't anything major to note in her findings.   (someone was right up in my face!)

While I really dreaded the idea of not riding, and starting over, I can see a change. He is much more relaxed, he knows what is expected of him, and he enjoys doing it.  I know I am building up step by step to be able to step back into the stirrups with him. 

It all came to a head and I decided to lunge him on the line and then free with full tack - Breast collar, crupper and bridle (and the addition of his line looped through the pommel of the saddle!). He looked pretty good!  I tried moving the pad up some, but don't think it worked well that way. He didn't mind it at least. Crupper hasn't been on in 6mos+ but no reaction to it a the canter at all.  And of course he knew he was being such a good boy and nickered to me each time we stopped and I came to give him a pat.

Next I'm hoping to add in the mounting portion... this was a trouble area for him before (rarely standing still for it, or walking off before I was situated), so I'm going to slow it down and change that too.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Backwards is Forwards

Seems counter intuitive right? But going backwards means going forward many times with horses. So that is what we have done. I have taken steps back, stopped any riding, and gone back to groundwork. He knows it, and knows it well, but our videos showed a lack of respect and challenging of me not only in the saddle, but also on the ground. I just didn't push to fix it that day, because I had 'other things' I needed to accomplish in my mind. Lesson learned, don't blow by what you might think is small stuff at that moment!

And so with a new flag stick and 12' white tree line lead in hand, we did our first session and corrected his challenging attitude on the line. The next session was nearly two weeks later due to traveling for Thanksgiving, and boy was he a typical Arab that day!  On the line he quickly came around, and then when I turned him loose to play in the round pen I saw this "Arab" like he has never been before. Unlike Tesla did, Prophecy does not typically run around and "snort and blow" when he plays.  But that day he did... and dang he looked pretty! I let him blow off some steam, gave a few directions at liberty, and then had a pretty sweaty horse of his own doings...  I missed some of the really floaty trot he has, but the video is still fun to watch!

The following sessions have all gone well (I'm usually out 3x week). I use my flag less and less to enforce my requests, and in one of our liberty sessions did not need to at all unless asking for a canter to the right/clockwise.  I notice that is definitely his "weaker side" for cantering and he struggles to keep it going vs. going left/counter-clockwise.

He cracks me up when he knows he's done good ; when I've stopped to walk up and praise him he nickers at me. He loves being told he's a good boy and got it right 🐴  And of course, he is always trying to help with taking things out of my tack bag while I'm grooming him (at liberty), and even playing with the flag for giggles when I leave it on the ground.

I am slowly adding things back in... The first item was his scoot boots on the fronts which he hadn't worn in ages. I could occasionally hear the over-reach steps, more in one direction of movement than the other. Next we did the same work with this snap on bridle, and once all the parts are in hand, I'll add back on the full saddle set up all the way to including the crupper (which he had little problem with before thankfully). The 'new to me' Synergist arrived just before Thanksgiving ; we also have a new mohair girth on hand and new sheepskin pad that is due to arrive this week (back-ordered) - Scored during black-Friday online deals πŸ‘

When he's moving, he doesn't look as tubby! 

Strike a Pose!

I have been talking to several trainers for his tune-up/restart coming up, somelocal and not ; jotting down notes and attempting to decipher who the best fit is for us...It is going to happen regardless of where we are at when the time comes! (riding without bucks or still stuck on groundwork)

In other news, I have also now measured and cut all the pieces to finish insulating the trailer LQ area and install the foam floor I've had over a year now... Just have to find the time to spend out there putting it in! (probably will happen over vacation)

Just waiting on insulation and flooring to be put in
I also snagged a used SnugPax cantle pack, but I will need to make a few mods to get it working.  The original designer is retiring, but Bobby Marley at Mai Packs has taken over continuing on the product line (which I like their durability and feel way more than Stowaway packs).  Bobby custom designed a cantle pack for the Ghost (which I sold with the saddle) that I loved and I contacted her for help on making this used one work.  I just have a to give a shout out for supremely helpful folks -  She agreed with my thought on how to modify and gave me some ideas for future pack designs. If you are looking for new a saddle pack, check her stuff out! Mai Packs

Lastly, I have to admit, there are times I'm insanely jealous of my friends out riding, or just that they have a horse they can hop on and not worry about anything, but I am learning a lot from the ground as I am approaching it all in a totally different mindset than I did a year ago.  I credit the SET method for that - helping me to work on thinking more like a horse rather than human; how to be a leader to him and give clear and concise directions; to be in the moment, like a horse is. Not wrapped up in my past, his past, our past.  He is a very willing partner when we are out there and wants to work. I can even see some physical changes in he how uses his body now - nose nearly to the ground in a trot on and off the line, and trying to keep his head down when cantering (rather than a more flighty canter). Things I now also see he needs to be able to do comfortably and confidently with the tack on as well before adding a rider. 

Sunday, November 12, 2017


You must be willing to take criticism and learn from your mistakes... A hard lesson on any person as it dings the ego, even if you aren't an ego-monster.

This blog is out there to share my journey, and this is part of it - as hard as it is to say out loud.
I've made mistakes; Prophecy needs a better and more confident leader. I'm committed to stepping up my game, and getting help where needed.


Amanda came out last weekend to help me video 3 different configurations of us using the Balance and 1 in her Synergist to have Dee review...
While Prophecy does have reminiscent saddle issues, my recent trials of the LL Enduro Wide, the Balance 8XC GPD, and the Wide Synergist all worked for him and were not causing pain.
{I also now have in my possession an Thorowgood Cob and Franco-C derby saddle to evaluate thanks to Lynne and Kate - we shall see how those work as well!}


During all his antics (above just a few of the naughty moments in the Balance) I did not get tossed off, but I did dismount when things went far enough that I did not feel I could stick it out further ... and so now he has this wonderful habit <said with sarcasm>.  My concern for him being in pain from a saddle led to me prematurely give up, thus making him think he can refuse forward movement with a buck (and some mighty ones at that too, I believe Amanda's words were: "If it is any consolation you are doing really good!").  The interesting thing I noted about myself though, is if I felt more secure in the saddle, I could push him past much of it, but he still would continue to challenge.  So far I have felt the best in the Enduro and Synergist, and it shows because I could continue to keep him moving and even trotting.

Synergist Lunge
Playing with the poles
So my solution to this is two fold... #1 I am getting a Synergist. Amanda located one used in a much easier price point for me, as well as it has a more secure seat compared to the Balance ; because of #2 - he is going to be put into training for a restart in my equipment (as to not chance a reversion of pain).  I would love to get the LL Enduro, but right now I have to do the financially smart thing too, and those aren't around used.  As it turns out, the Synergist's specs that we found are darn near perfect to what I would order as a semi-custom for maybe it is meant to be?!

Currently I'm in the research phase...I have had a list of trainers for a while in my back pocket; now we just need to figure out who the best fit is for us and our goals.

As to when... well, that might not be until February or March so that when he returns I can maintain a consistent riding schedule under improved weather and daylight vs. sending him in December. Until then, I will be doing a lot more ground work with him, and maybe some other ideas that Amanda and I have talked about.

On a more positive note, I have finally found someone who is willing to come out that is an experienced farrier using Easy Shoes. We will see how this all fits in over the next few months! Hard to put shoes on when I know he isn't going to be hard at work, but definitely the plan for him later.

Things might be quiet for a bit, but I'll be sure to update on occasion!

Hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 2, 2017


Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

So the first two rides in the Balance GPD have not gone as hoped.  I have enlisted help this weekend to obtain videos to send Dee to review.  We have 4 different combinations of padding using the Balance saddle, plus 1 of a Wide Synergist to see if that is an option (first we'll see if static fit looks decent and give it try if so) to record. Going to be an interesting time! I only wish I still had the Leon Liversage to re-record us working in it.

In the meantime, on Wednesday when I went to see him we did nothing with saddles.  I got a chance to use Janie's 'knock off Sure Foot Pads'.  Prophecy really enjoys them on the front ; I had to walk him off each time rather than him moving off himself (and he had no restraints to stay there).  The trance is pretty cool to watch πŸ˜ͺ

Back feet he is more hesitant to put down all the way on the pad, so I didn't push it.


cute mustache muzzle

I'd love to buy a real Sure Foot Pad set, but considering all my money is going toward saving up for a saddle purchase, it just isn't in the cards yet!  Obviously Prophecy gives his stamp of approval when I can.

When I put him out, he wouldn't leave me...Someone enjoys pampering 🐴  I did have to draw the line at playing with my ear though!


Saturday, October 28, 2017

The magic touch

Continuing on the saddle journey, and all around discoveries with Prophecy.

I continued to ride in the Leon Liversage Enduro Wide after the last post and found a few issues that seem to be related to the pad & girth combo. I was able to pick up a better fitting pad from a friend and a buy cheap long string girth to ensure we are avoiding the nerve that he is so sensitive about (another discovery at our SET Clinic in Aug); and gave that a run on Sunday eve.  He really was stretched down in the trot - so much so he maxed my rein length out - but still had some objection to turning/bending and a bit of head shaking/tossing.  I really liked how the saddle sat and felt with a Christ Horsedream Sheepskin pad under it (non insert type). I had no rolling issues in this saddle combo (we experienced it only once on the fleece pad), and could still easily put my hand under the tree all the way down without pressure.  However, since I was not 100% certain and was running out of time to decide, I opted to send it back and I have videos for reviewing and comparing against the last 2 saddles...If I come back around to it, just means waiting on one to be ordered for us!

Snapshots at the trot Sunday eve from my sport-cam video, not the best at dusk!

While I spend so much time listening to him, I learn.  One issue he was telling me about was our reins. The beta with overlay just stays too stiff in that portion and I think was sending mixed signals, or giving him a constant one that he was not happy with.  I went back to our rope reins the second ride in the Enduro and I could see a change immediately. While the reins I'm using in the pics are a standard 8' long, I do have another longer set that I realize would have been helpful while he is stretching down so much - I think we'll be switching back to his 10' blue rainbow reins!

And video...oh that will teach you a lot! I realize that I fell into the trap of "no, I want more/better" with Prophecy last Sunday.  I was so set in my head on getting more than a few steps at a time in the trot that when he did give me that I didn't stop to praise him, just wanted him to repeat it and do it longer.  <smack head>

In non horse news, Monday the 23rd was Doug's & my 12th anniversary. Funny how things get so toned down when there is work, kids, and sports in the mix!  We will get to out to dinner tomorrow/Sunday on our own to celebrate  πŸ’˜πŸ˜

A dozen years ago!

Monday morning Prophecy had a trim with the barn farrier - and he was not lame Tuesday so I am happy about that!  Tuesday morning started out with a vet appointment in the am for fall shots and I also had her check out something on a back heel bulb that he has always had, but recently I became concerned that it might be something like a sarcoid. She felt it was just an old scar that healed with proud flesh.  Unfortunately, it appears in a location that could cause rubbing when using back boots... Which means I have to rethink that idea and see what we could do with strap on types, or if only glue on would work.  I am actively searching for someone with experience nailing on Epona Shoes or the Easy Shoe in our area, but not having a ton of luck!  Not really needed until spring, but I'd like to be prepared.
Finishing up on Tuesday evening he had an appointment for a Magna Wave session with Sarah. She loves to see how much he changes between sessions - confidence, calmness, fitness level.  He really was more into it this time around with the Pulse machine. It can do bilateral treatment at the same time, which I think is more comfortable to him than the single sidedness of her other machine. Overall he is doing pretty well and we will schedule again when she is back in town. He got some hay to much while we chatted after, and then happily walked back out to the field.  Probably the thing making him the most happy - I took his grazing muzzle off for fall/winter on Sunday eve!

Friday I took a day off to work on the trailers with Amanda, but first Skyler had an eye doctor appointment as we were referred to one by the school after a computerized screening.  Turns out .... they were wrong! She has 20/20 eye sight, no issues with color and sees just fine for reading.  No idea what the machine "thought" she needed to see a doc for, but that is done and off the list!

Amanda & I played with some storage ideas for both our trailers and then we (well really her daughter was helping me the most!) did a major cleaning inside & out on mine.  I think we have the back of mine figured out and the monster saddle rack is out! Can't believe how different the trailer looks cleaned up, and how much space in the rear tack there is without the rack. Of course it will probably sit most of the winter, but it is clean and not under trees at our place.

Here it is back at home, white again!

The Balance GPD arrived Thursday eve! I got it set up at home and put everything together to start trying it Saturday.

So did it have the Magic Touch???

Well, ride 1 did not go as well as I hoped! He looks good on the ground, but not happy under saddle. Very resistant to even walk...sigh.  I sent pics out for review in case I'm messing up the placement/set-up with the JB pad, and watched my videos for clues.  So we finished up and I put him in the cross ties do put some Koppertox on his hooves (just to be prepped for tomorrow's rain as I haven't done his hoof armor yet since the trim) so it wouldn't get on the barn floor lol.  Turned him back out with his buds and will back be this week to try again.

Monday, October 16, 2017

4 to Go

Before we got to the work side of things last Tuesday Prophecy was his silly self exploring all aspects of my helmet with his mouth while I sat on the block ... Yawning upon his satisfaction it was not a toy or something to worry about.

He's got my camera mount!

and now yanking on the visor!
Sometimes life moves fast! I went from having no saddles to work with, to one brand and 2 styles of it, to 4 rather quickly!

The trial of four saddles...

1. The Boz - We started earlier this month with an all leather 1994 model for a week that gave me hope it was what Prophecy could use, so we borrowed a 2010 fleece seat version that I could hold onto longer.  One good short trial of that and then we steadily went downhill in his comfort in each subsequent ride. The last attempt, Tuesday eve, I adjusted the panels wider instead of touching at the center, and moved the saddle back off his shoulders (against Boz's 'design' but per other users with wide horses recommendations). Result: a very unhappy Prophecy still (saddle now looked borderline too long for his back and still felt tight at the tree points). I hopped off, removed the saddle, told him I heard him and put it up on the top rail of the pen, and decided to play with him on mounting for bareback from the block. We made a good bit of progress on that ; he started out leery of me just draping an arm over his back from above. Eventually we ended with him allowing my right leg to be resting on him behind his withers while the left leg was still on the block.  This is something we will continue to work on.

The Boz was returned to its owner (today in fact) - but I must say that it is a comfortable saddle (especially fleece seated version) and the forward stirrup position isn't that odd a feeling, nor did it tweak my knees or feel too wide a twist. As for other folks I think it is a saddle worth trying if you can, just didn't work for us in the end. Every horse, and rider, is different!

When I brought him in to start with I noticed he was crusty with sweat in spots from how humid it was out during the day and his thicker coat starting to grow in already, so I gave him a much enjoyed hose down after ; which I admit was also an attempt to "wash away" the bad saddle feelings.

I guess because I see him so often I don't see the change as much, but I've been told he is looking fitter πŸ‘  I'm sure the pasture he's living in now is helping with that. He still has a grazing muzzle on since our weather is bouncing a bit and I don't want to take any chances with a reaction to the grass after being muzzled so long.  I am really hoping to remove it soon!

2. Leon Liversage Enduro Light - Wide tree: arrived Tuesday. I have to say it is gorgeous, and light!  I had to take it home to work on setting up the stirrups - which had me confused and reaching out to Lori (USA saddle rep) to help!

I finally got it figured out and brought it out to try on him Friday evening. First, we had our first experience ponying in from the field using the gator with Jeff. Prophecy did pretty good and kept himself out of trouble while we drove back to the barn.  He came in with a bit of a boo-boo on a hind heel bulb so I just worked on fitting the saddle to him in the barn and doctored him a bit (the round pen being muddy I just didn't fell like subjecting his hoof to that in a raw state).  I must say that I was really skeptical of the wide being 'enough' for him, but I think this is the first saddle I have put on him that without a pad there is AIR between it and his shoulders!  And when I add the pad I can still easily slide my hand under the front edges with minimal pressure felt.

Pad wise I don't have what I would want to use long term, but do have a fleece barrel pad from Traveler that rarely got used.  He really liked and did well in the HAF pad under his Bandos treeless, this was just an extra for under the treed barrel saddle I had for him. So of course that means complete clash of colors on Prophecy!

Color mismatch! and a bit too long a pad lol
Sunday we got a chance to test it out further - lunging and then some riding in the round pen, his heel bulb looking much better. I made sure not to grab my summer tights to ride in as this seat seemed slick itself and I don't want to have to worry about sliding about.  I thought I might need to invest in something other than my knee patch riding pants but it really wasn't all that slick when riding!

I would totally count Sunday's ride as a win and +1 point for the Enduro.  He was not short striding when lunging, he even cantered in it which I was not able to accomplish well in the Boz lunging. He was not balled up and never once went to buck in 30min of riding in the round pen. He didn't flinch when I would stand in the stirrups, and he put up with me dismounting and starting over a few times to get my stirrup length just right, and once I did we had our "best trot" in a long time. Oh, and I was also really comfy in the saddle too. I switched to my Reflex stirrups tho, instead of the caged ones shown, as I like them for lightweight support.  Next, I'm planning to borrow a shorter coolback pad, and change out my reins back to my rope set with a popper, as he needs a little extra "push" to get into the trot when in the ring!

I'll keep at riding in this saddle this week and seeing if we maintain his approval, or if this was just "better enough" than the saddle before it per say.

Still remaining to try out:

3. Thorowgood T4 Cob:  from a semi-local endurance rider being sent to me through our team mentor that I can grab when we figure a good time to meet.

4. Balance Felix GPD: this is similar to what I am seeking (GPJ) just a different leg angle, in the right tree and seat size, from a fellow SET implementer who is needs to move to another size.

Upcoming we have another Magna Wave session with Sarah, his fall shots, and dental appointment as well to get scheduled.  He will be getting a trim with the barn farrier again in the next few weeks, and hoping he will keep him balanced so we don't have the lameness right after trim.  Sometimes I think I ought to just learn how to do it myself, but finding the time and funds to go take the courses I would want to is tough!

Friday, October 6, 2017


That is what I am doing... mentally struggling with things that I can't control or feel like I can't get a handle on.  Struggling with jealousy of my friends out riding, enjoying the beautiful fall weather, while I scour for a unicorn of a saddle.

I know I have plenty of friends/acquaintances who are saying shut up and ride, make him deal, etc. but this is our path to walk and I want to do right by him. So many times it hasn't been and I want a decade partner out of this journey ; and the way I do that is by listening to him, giving him the answers he needs, and having him trust me as his leader. Am I frustrated, yes - I admit I'm dying to be out there reaching goals and milestones, but I know sorting this out now will be the best for us long term, however long that takes.

I love being with him, and work on his leg circles and TTouch when I see him (which I have noticed he tends to stand more square in the hind after), I just miss the riding part with enjoying the trails (arena and round pen work get old fast unless I'm taking a lesson - but that also requires a saddle that works).

I've been lucky and found 2 different Boz saddles to try out. Now I'm trying to perfect my learning curve with set-up, and make sure he feels right, before committing to buying my own (used or new).  Still we have had issues with the cinch pushing forward (someone needs work to lose his gut and trim down/muscle up), but Boz has ideas to fix that. I tried my breast collar on it one day (as seen in the pic) and think I messed myself up fiddling ; he was not nearly as thrilled about riding with that - straps seem to sit right on top of his shoulder, but not impinging enough that he can't put his head to the ground.  I have a few more adjustments I can make to it, but I'm going to go without it and take it out of the equation for a bit.

I did manage to get his curb strap all figured out on the snaffle, and now he can't as easily grab the reins, nor do the D-rings become "winged out" to the side.  The rein thing is just his way of expressing himself when we aren't doing much it seems, as he will only try that when we are at a halt. My full review of the curb strap is HERE.  Next item will be the breast collar, once I know exactly what I need size wise, and finally the crupper.  Eventually he will match in all his gear! (maybe minus the reins, as I still find I like rope over beta in my hands)

Since that string cinch can grab his now starting to fuzz hair, and really just a cheapo thing I had around in the right length, I borrowed the same length woolback cinch from a friend to see if it makes any difference.  I've found wool to be rather slippery on him in the past so I didn't have high expectations for it when it comes to it wanting to creep forward. Wednesday eve I got to give it a shot and ... well that didn't go so well!  He was really ready to rodeo immediately and I was literally on for just a few minutes at a walk before I could tell he was NOT having it! I loosened the cinch a notch to see if that was the issue but any time I placed weight in the saddle he'd turn to bite.  No go.  So we just did a bit of lunging work with it on and called it a day.
One may say that he was just being a jerk - but this was very uncharacteristic of him in the Boz to date, so I believe it was a legitimate pain/uncomfortable reaction somewhere.

So, back a few steps we went on Thursday night to the string cinch, no breast collar and to tack up on more level ground inside. I have spent on average an hour+ a week on the phone with Boz, asking questions and getting more insight into the design of the saddle and how it might best work for us (plus he gives lots of training tidbits in our convos).  I do like the feeling of being able to make contact with his sides, as it has been very difficult to do so on other saddles due to his wide barrel. Thursday evening I slowed things down tacking up and pushed Wednesday as much out of my mind as I could. This was a new day, not a continuation of what was - Move forward. He gave a few releases during his TTouch work and more willingly did his leg circles as we groomed.  He had a few new teeth marks on his rump overnight so I guess the boys are starting to play rough in the cooler nights/mornings!  We started out with lunging and he stood yawning for a minute or so right off the bat. Mounted up and set off, not so ready to explode. Mentally I said - Ok that is good!  However as soon as I stood in the saddle to check gullet clearance we were back to what was - definitely objecting to the pressure the tree was placing on his withers.  We continued to walk to see if warming up and getting the saddle to flex more would help. Slight improvements, but a few crow hops and head slings... We called it a day and I will give him a break from the saddle for a bit.  I do have a Leon Liversage Wide coming to try and hoping to find that unicorn Balance Felix 8XC saddle yet!

Just about ready to mount up

This weekend will be just chill time with him and starting to work on the trailer again :)  Doug & I took everything out that I needed to last weekend so I can finish the last 2 areas I want to insulate and lay down the 'wood' foam floor. Sometime in the near future Amanda & I will get together and clean the outside & inside of the horse area before the winter freezing temps arrive!  I've got lots of ideas now to work on over the winter and I get to help Amanda with her new BP 'conversion' too :)

I'll leave you with the contented looks of dinner mash face!

Monday, September 25, 2017

And the beat goes on

I admit it, sometimes I struggle for good post titles!

But, it is exactly what is going on. The beat goes on, so we keep marching forward.

We had a bobble with the farrier and his last trim, but I was able to have him fixed up within with a week by the farrier that takes care of many of the horses at Wild Air (enough that he comes three weeks in a row to get through everyone).  I also managed to pick up a Boz saddle for the weekend from Amy, therefore getting to catch up with my teammate and her husband Ricky in the process :)

I had a few fitting issues with it on our first try, but likely some is related to how thick the sponge pads are that are currently on it (apparently older ones and have a lot of wear).  So I called Boz and we chatted for a good hour on it all.  This is an older one, 1994 date, in really good condition otherwise and been through Tevis.  Prophecy gave it one half-hearted buck on the initial trot off (free lunging) and then turned, stopped and faced me and started to lick. I think he was processing how different it felt.  I sent him off several more times with no issues and then hopped on for a walk about the round pen.  Realizing I needed some more insight on fitting, I did not push to do much on our first time (plus he was still taking off steps on occasion as this was before 2nd farrier came). I did not find the seat feeling overly wide like I had found some reviews saying, and that was definitely a concern for me having such a wide barrel underneath me already!

We've done some more work with fitting the new bit, and I was able to add a matching Curb Strap
from Two Horse Tack to his bridle. I got a cob size because he does have a cob size nose - but is a little big.  Its only purpose on the snaffle is to prevent the bit from being pulled through, so not meant to be tight or engage the chin, just could be a little tighter for less flop. This is an easy enough fix to poke another hole. It is well made, easy to set up and of course looks smashing on him all matched up!  I also specifically chose this type as it has very little metal, something else learned at the clinic in Aug; As much as I 'hate to do it' because it takes away from the ease of use per say, I will also remove the metal scissor clips on his reins as now I understand how annoying that dinging around could become.

Sunday was the long awaited TTouch & Bemer day for him! 

First, I had some time beforehand to ride in the Boz Saddle again and set it up with Boz's first set of tweaks.  We did get some long low head stretching, but the pads are definitely not the right ones for Prophecy.  I will be returning this one back to Amy this week and borrowing a different one that has pads in better shape and a fleece seat to try. If I can get a few good rides in then I can work on finding used or deciding on a new one while still waiting for a Balance to pop-up.  No bucks when free lunging, and no off steps :)

After that bit of playing around, we finally got to meet Pam Woolley for a working session.  She brought her whole arsenal so we could play with whatever was needed.  We did a quick history dump about him and decided to focus in on the back and that right hind awkwardness that you can see from time to time.  First, just basic TTouch body focusing, then some leg circles where he presented stiffer in the RF and LH for ROM.  Next we played with the Sure Foot Pads giving him time on all four (individually and in pairs) with firm pads and the wedges. His hips freed up and ribs started to swing more with the walk, as well as his back legs really reaching under better. We finished up with an 8 min session of the Bemer pad, which he was practically asleep for.

Our homework: Do the TTouch intro and leg circles every time I mess with him and should start to see some major changes in how he feels/moves.  Overall his back was in pretty good shape, just need to free up the shoulders and hips.  Also, get a firm sure foot pad set if I can! (I'll be stalking for sales if anyone happens to notice one!).

Lastly his dinner after spending over 3 hours with me, and then headed out to the field calmly.

I could really sit for hours and enjoy watching the horses and the amazing views we have...  I always find it funny to watch Prophecy search for his herd when I turn him back out. He ran nearly the whole 22 acres one day going to the wrong hill first and having to come back down to the other hillside.   He seems very happy overall, greets me in the field, is never really worried about leaving, goes back and finds his buds and doesn't turn up with lots of marks on him, so I think he gets along just fine!

Monday, September 18, 2017

New Norms

I thought finally having both kids "school age" would make things easier, but so far that is not true! We spent the first 3 weeks having to shift our work schedules around to pick them up after school until Skyler was officially 5 and could start the after school program.  Top that off with soccer starting up for both of them, Karate, band practices and barn time... we have little in the way of calm evenings!

Prophecy's been adjusting to the new place nicely, we turned him out with 5 other boys on the 9th and it was completely uneventful and drama free.  He is such a pretty mover with that Arab tail flagging. The trim had to be rescheduled a week off, and then I did another (now 3rd) application of hoof armor. Only one front had started to flair a little, so we will try 5week trim cycle here on out. I feel like the hoof armor has been doing him good. He can walk on the driveway gravel and is definitely happy and sound in the pasture, feet are staying tough and soles looking nice.

grazing before meeting the new herd

A new friend, Rio
So far I haven't had much time with him past grooming... We did manage to try out and set up his new bit, a French link, on his bridle.  He is definitely one who tells you what he wants, and I think I discovered how he wants to be bridled and offered the bit to take.  Many yawns after the 3rd on/off and ready to go do something.

I'm still on the great saddle hunt... No luck finding the Balance I'm searching for, so still exploring some options.  Buying one new even has some difficulties associated with it as there are no trained fitters closer than 200miles.  I'm planning to trial a few different style Boz saddles in the next few weeks (thanks so wonderful local endurance friends!) and see if that flexible tree is all it is cracked up to be and makes him happy.  I can tell a lot from the ground at this point, then we can try it out in the arena or round pen.   One step at a time...

In other news, the deck is done and usable - with a new grill added and our cleaned up patio furniture!  Fire-pit is next on the build list so we can do Smores with the kids this fall :)  We even had dinner out there this past weekend!

The trailer is home now so I got to do a bunch of re-organizing, and then had a bolt shear that makes the hand crank work!  Fortunately I was not hooking or unhooking, just adjusting the height.  New bolt and nut (and spares) bought after consulting with one of our machinists who used to work at Blue Ridge Trailers.  If it keeps happening I will need to see if there is something wrong in the jack.  Right now the thought is that the bolt type in there was way too soft and I just got lucky on when it happened! I also replaced the LQ door handle - which the previous owner had given me a new one when I bought the trailer two years ago... Now the door actually stays shut and locks! (should have done this sooner!) Next will be having Doug help me move some stuff out of it so I can finish up insulating the walls.  I still need to get a 'new' spare tire (though the trailer place told me not to worry, it is a spare and will get us to where we need to go regardless of a mismatch from the other tires) and replace the battery so I can run inside lights, etc.  I need to take a count and type of all the lights so I can replace with LED bulbs.... and hopefully before it gets freezing out pull it up to wash it and the awning. No shortage of things to do!

Before & afters of fixes:


Prophecy is enjoying the big field and he and Rio seem to be BFFs.  I had to stop Rio from following us out on Sunday eve and then he stood over the gate softly calling to us a few moments before heading back.  Prophecy & I played a bit in the round pen and seem to have our Left/Right sends nailed down again (it was all my issues as I learned at the clinic). The weather is bouncing around, we had 3 "cool" weeks so the horses are starting to get winter fuzz, but now it is back to low 80s.

I've gotten to meet a few of the other boarders now and look forward to getting to ride with them sometime!