When I brought Jingle home, I also brought home a brand new saddle - a Jeff Smith Cowhorse, that I really, really liked. It was a bit too much money, but it was good quality, and it was pretty, and I thought that me and my boy deserved it! I also purchased a Classic Equine ESP pad.
Shortly thereafter, I decided against the ESP pad - way too thick, and didn't conform to his back at all. This was when I first noticed "slipping" of my saddle, I contributed it to the pad, and purchased an SMX Professional's Choice Contoured Pad, seen below.
It was at the same time that I was riding Jingle in a D-Ring, Three Piece Snaffle with Copper Roller, and a noseband, to try to get through his wicked head tossing/mouth chomping issues. It didn't seem to work. So we moved into the sidepull.
His first Sidepull was Weaver brand with a rawhide nose-piece that I wrapped in red vet-wrap, to match his Red Professional's Choice SMB Elites, and his Black Bell Boots. Very quickly we found a happy medium in the sidepull - my horse was stomping his hoof down, he's bitless gosh-darnit!
Yet, I was still feeling that "slipping" issue, and proceeded to take thousands and thousands of these types of photos...
This would occur right after I took Jingle's saddle off, uneven hair, odd dry-spots.
I contacted Frontier and was informed that with winter-hair coats, sometimes the sweat doesn't have a chance to soak through the entirety, which causes these "dry-spots". Uhm. No. You are wrong. Thanks for playing. My saddle wasn't fitting right, and so I found a lady that specializes in cowhorse saddles, but also takes a lot of trade-ins, I figured I would find a used cutting or reining saddle from her. But, once again, my "spend more for higher quality" mentality kicked in and I ended up with a very nice saddle indeed... too nice...
It was a Don Rich cowhorse saddle, but I discovered I still felt that "slipping" feeling, compound that with the fact that the fleece lining underneath was uneven... I quickly returned it, and got a second, even nicer one, as an apology.
what an awkward stance my horse has going on in this shot...
So nice. so dang nice. I loved it, it was beautiful. However, it was "slipping" too, always on Jingle's right side, I could just feel shifting. My trainer wondered if I'm so used to the feeling that now I over-compensate for it, and try to adjust before it actually does slip. My massage therapist commented that my right side is tighter. Jingle's massage therapist commented that his back is uneven, especially in musculature, and slightly lowered.. you guessed it... to the right.
Add to that, Jingle actually has a nice normal back, except just behind his shoulders/withers there is a slight dip, causing those dry-spots and uneven places.
I knew I needed something almost a bit too wide, and something that would accommodate my horses funky back as we tried to get him back to being evenly muscled, and working properly. All these saddles I had been trying were just too narrow and sitting right up on his withers, even though EVERYONE and their dog told me they were all fitting fine, I knew that it wasn't.
During this time I found a lady via Facebook that make's very nice bitless attachments for bridles. I purchased one from Amanda's Halters, and it works wonderful, not only is it attractive, it's made out of parachute chord so it's tight and has a bit of a bite if I need it. Finally, I was tickled pink because I finally had my horse back in one of his pretty bridles, not those ugly plain sidepulls i'd been dealing with. Now, my next plan is to bling up the Sidepulls I have!
The Lady I had been working with found me a nice saddle, a Don Rich, but more of a Ranch Cutter/Cowhorse, it was a bit wider so it could sit right down on those darn withers, and it fit me really nicely. We had to ride in a demo, and then finally, mine came. She even oiled it two-tone, especially for me. I love it.
Looking a bit dirty here after a couple months of riding - the only downside to roughouts is how quickly they show use, but I love roughouts, and don't think I'd go without one now.
I am also riding Jingle in a Professional's Choice Air-ride with the built up shoulders. These pads are hard to find because Prof. Choice has been phasing them out in replacement with the contoured pads, which I don't like as much. The only built-up pads you can get right now are generally stupidly expensive, ugly, or round-skirted for barrel racers. This pad has been perfect.
Jingle also got new black SMB's, as his red ones were falling apart, and I need to get them re-stitched. I think they look quite nice on him, I really like the contrast of all the browns, blacks and whites with his tack right now.
& of course, I had to throw in some bling... a pretty little saddle cross I picked up at Lammles.
Finally, I'm riding him in a professional's choice neoprene cinch. I don't love neoprene, infact I have quite a few very nice (read:expensive) mohair cinches I'd prefer to ride Jingle in, but the fact of the matter is Neoprene sticks, and with a hard to fit horse, that's what you need. I may switch back into mohair for summer trail riding, but for right now, neoprene is serving us very well.
Jingle says, "How crazy do you think my mahm is? I think she'z at a 10 for sure. Rumour has it she bought me a bosal for my birthday. She haz a problem."
So, what's the point of this post? I guess that I am a nut-job and completely, totally addicted to shopping for my horse. Holy moly.