Saturday, May 11, 2013

Riding Diary: 57... Just kidding...

Preface: Last week, Jingle and I's lesson was a bit of a combination of tornado, and bratty behaviour. However, I ended up housesitting near the barn all week and so from Thursday to Monday, Jingle got ridden, outside-inside-down the road, he got rode. Tuesday I worked, so I gave him the day off, and then Wednesday was our next lesson.

Throughout the week, Jingle pleasantly surprised me, we worked really hard with our speed, and our transitions from trot/jog into the lope, and down from the lope into a trot/jog or walk, as well as stop. On Saturday I even loped the entire pattern on the correct leads the whole time. We also worked a lot on stopping in unexpected ways on the pattern, I don't want a runaway. A lot of true barrel racers will never stop their horse beforehand because they want them to run solid and fast all the way to the end, but Jingle and I aren't heading to the NFR soon and I feel as if it's embarassing as heck if my horse is at a gymkhana and wont stop by the time we almost hit the gate. So, Jingle got his ass hauled into the ground quite a few times before he'd listen to me wherever I wanted him to stop. It's effective, and I think it's also helping us with our "rate" going into the barrels.

So, now I'm just praying that 6 hard days of riding (in some GORGEOUS heat by the way - yeehawww spring has finally sprung in Alberta) and one tiny day off, will provide for a solid lesson where we can actually do some werk. and keep my horses brain working!


^^ I wrote the above before heading out to the barn for what was to ey my 57th lesson on my horse that was going beautifully all week. I got to the barn and noticed he was flinching when I brushed him. He's been doing this the past couple days but I had done pressure tests on his back, spine, withers, flank etc. and he wasn't sore anywhere. Well, on this day he definitely was. About 8 inches down from the top of his withers if I put direct pressure on his spine he would completely cave. He was clearly agitated by it, and definitely sore, and my heart just broke. So, there was no riding my boy today. My trainer let me jump on two horses to ride for the evening, one who needs warming up with his mama, the other whose mom recently can't ride this week. It was nice of her to let me do that, but the whole time, even though they are both really nice horses, I couldn't help but wish I was just on my own chargey, messey, freight train horse that I love so much.

Of course, this soreness in his back is almost 100% related to bad saddle fit, and, as many of you know through reading my blog, fitting a saddle to Jingle has been an absolute nightmare for me. One will fit him wrong in the withers, the other in the back, the other will be too tight, another will slip right off his withers. He looks deceivingly easy to fit, and then, a couple weeks down the road with a saddle that seems to be working - BAM issues. dry spot. sore spots, etc etc. however, this is the first time he's ever been noticeably sore in his back and of course, I am a worried anxious horse mom. Not to mention I have been pouring money into saddles and pads, and nothing seems to be working.

At the moment I have him in an orthopedic pad with built up shoulders, I am also wondering if maybe there was just too much pad underneath my saddle and it was causing bunching. However, I doubt it, as the pad is structured and contoured in a way that I can't see that happening. So, we're going to haul him to a big western store on Sunday and see what they think - hopefully he's not too fresh, and isn't sore anymore and we'll find something that works. If we don't... I think my best bet is custom, but that launches me into a whole other bunch of worries... price, whether or not his back with change with age and time, etc.

This sucks.

To top it off the hackamore I bought him for his birthday is too tight...

Why is it that my horse just has EVERY tack-related issue known to man?!!?! UGH.


  1. Its like every time we turn around it is something new, huh?
    I don't have any good advice for you on the saddle. I like my Circle Y flex trees, but they don't work for everyone.

  2. Oh no! This kind of thing is so frustrating, particularly when it comes on the heels of making some good progress.

    I have to say, we struggled and struggled with saddles until we discovered the Wade. Both Brian and I now have McCalls, and they fit all four of our horses without any trouble in spite of the pretty dramatic size and conformation differences between them. A nice Wade with a simple felt contour pad will fit just about anything. We were at a Buck clinic once where his assistant rode first a huge, lean, Warmblood, a stocky Fresian, a standard Quarter Horse, and a narrow Tennessee Walker, all in the same saddle. And all those horses were moving considerably better in his tack than they had in what they'd been wearing before.

    As far as the bosal goes, is it stiff or soft? They will often fit a lot better after they've softened. Also keep in mind you can reduce the number of wraps in the mecate to leave more space for the horse's nose. I ride Steen with only one wrap because he apparently has a rather large nose.

    Good luck! I hope you get everything sorted out soon.

    1. It was indeed very frusterating, I will admit that there were some serious tears and whyyyy meeee's on the way home from the barn.

      I've never ridden in a wade, although I thought about getting one as my first saddle last year. I like my ranch cutters and cowhorse style saddles, just the way they sit you is mostly how I naturally sit in saddles. I did find a saddle (a ranch cutter) made by a local saddlery up here, and although it's not the most expensive, nicest saddle i've owned, it's nice, and seems to really fit my boy, which I am happy about. I'll blog about it tonight!

      It's still stiff, but I wouldn't say rock hard. I've looked into the posts you previously linked too about softening bosals and will try that first. I also emailed the company to get their advice and am waiting on a response. I didn't think about the wraps on the mecate - good tip! I'm just worried I wont be able to retie the fiador once i've undone it all.

    2. Haha. I must admit tying the derned mecate onto the bosal still confounds me every now and then. It's not that hard though, and the web has diagrams and videos that will show you how to do it. :)

      Also, if you loosen up the wraps, you can sometimes slip one wrap off over the button and save yourself having to re-tie the whole thing. I hope the new saddle and hackamore both work out!

  3. I agree with robin....McCall saddles are some serious money saddles but the one my trainer uses and I ride in is SO COMFORTABLE and I have never found a horse that it doesn't fit.