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 👍  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!

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