Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Saddles, Heat and FINALLY, some pics.

I finally made it out to the barn last night, and somehow in the heat managed a long conversation with T about life and work. As much as I love riding and pony-time, there's something to be said for hanging out and sharing with close horse friends. Just makes the time extra special.

After she had headed home, the skies were starting to darken and I figured there was no point in attempting to ride, as Moon was already sweating just standing there. I did take the time to get some half decent saddle fit pictures, though I'm still new to this, and just sort of gave it a go. T had been to a Rick Payne clinic on Sunday, plus Kiirsten over at Prairie Nerd gave him high recommendations to me, I've come to realize that late this fall (hopefully), I'll try to have him out to do some scoping work regarding a new dressage saddle for MoonSox.

In the mean time, I'm awaiting the arrival of my CC saddle (delivery still on track), and have come to the decision that I'll pick it up on Friday after work and then be able to test ride at the group trail ride on Saturday. T and I are going together, and confirmed yesterday to be ready to haul out around 9 am. I'm really looking forward to the morning ride, the beautiful trails and the opportunity to ride with her. It's been way too long (actually, it's been never), and it just sounds like a wonderful summer adventure.

So my goal after picking it up is to get it all conditioned, switch my stirrups over (it did come with leathers), and swap him to his brown bridle. : ) Hopefully everything fits the way it should...

After getting my saddle pics to post on the Horse, Grooming, Supplies forum, I gave him his vitamin supplement, groomed him down, and then took him for a nice hosing. At first he was less then impressed, but when I started hosing his 'man bits' (what he has left anyways), he suddenly dropped his head, sighed and lifted his back leg. Yip, that MUST feel awesome!

Scraped him down, spoiled him with a few more treats and then put on his fly mask. He's got a big white nose, and while I'm wishing I had gotten the extended one to help with sunburn, I do like the thought of protecting his eyes from the UV, what white I can from burning, and all the while protecting him from bugs. I was hesitant before to use it when I wasn't checking on him every day, but I've learned he's more then capable of taking it off, and feel pretty confident he won't get into any bad situations.

Tonight I'm still scheduled for my lesson with Coach W, however the forecast tells me the hottest part of the day is when I'm scheduled to ride. : ( So we'll see how that pans out.

T and I are also making plans to go out to meet two possible new hunter/jumper horses for her niece, and I'm pretty excited about the older mare. She seems very capable, has a great and talented history and is bold enough for a young rider. I seriously think I would consider purchasing 'Willow' myself if I had the room for two horses!

Last thing, for anyone interested in the group trail ride with IRC, here's the details:
REMINDER: THIS SATURDAY July 23rd is the upcoming Bird Hill’s Park Trail Ride.

PLEASE NOTE and spread the word - Due to the forecast of HOT (remember winter we can’t complain! lol lol) the ride will start earlier (10 am!) to beat the heat!!!

The plan is to meet at the Equestrian center (polo fields) but to be In the saddle and READY TO RIDE OUT in the morning at 10:00 sharp. Please plan to arrive at the Park well before that so you are ready to go on time, so we can avoid the late afternoon heat.

I will not be there for this ride so please Call Pres. Michael Moore with questions/concerns re: ride cancellation due to weather, etc. at 482-4182 or 782-9743.

And – MARK THOSE CALENDARS for the IRC Fun Show #2 on August 7th – in Teulon, Green Acres Park Rodeo Ring! Start time 10:00 am, with small lunch canteen, and wrapping up approx 3 pm’ish. $10 all day unlimited fun adults, $5 all day unlimited for under 18 – or $2 per class.

REMEMBER it’s all FUN, casual day, for young & old alike!! ALL INCLUSIVE, non-competitive yet safe & educational games! Please join us!!!

Watch for email re: cancellation or if in doubt as to weather or ring conditions call Holly 886-2505 or cell 513-0505 or Heidi 389-3401 or 641-4455, Michael at above numbers or any other IRC Exec member.

My Saddle Fit Pics:

Where the saddle naturally wants to sit.

How high it sits off his back:

Positioned behind the shoulder??

Looking down his wither:

Moving it back a bit, it seems too far back:

Would love people's comments/thoughts on this saddle fit. It has a changeable gullet, and I'm wondering if he needs a wide...


  1. I am by no means an expert, but Moon's back is somewhat similar to Handsome's so I can share what I learned from Rick.

    1. Rick would say your horse has a lot of "shape." He's not sway backed, but he has a high whither and high croup. When you ride, you probably have sweat marks concentrated at the front and/or back of the pad. Your Wintec has gussetted rear panels, and that's meant for flat-backed horses or uphill-built horses. Moon probably needs non-gussetted panels that follow the curve of his back.

    2. I know you're saying that's where the saddle naturally wants to sit, but it looks too far forward. Rick would push the saddle back until it stops. If you find the saddle is creeping forward when you ride, you might need to get a contoured girth.

    3. The front panels should sit just behind Moon's shoulder blade. Right now, it looks like the front panels are sitting right on it.

    4. Regarding the gullet - could you take a photo like this one:
    I know Handsome has his wool pad on here, but even without the pad, the entire length of the front panels touch Handsome's shoulder evenly. If the front panel is tight at the top and flares away from the horse at the bottom, you will need a wider gullet. You can also tell by sitting in the saddle and looking down at the pommel area - if it looks like the top of the panel is digging into Moon's whither and then flaring away closer to his girth area, the gullet is too small.

    5. I wouldn't worry so much about the space between the back of the saddle and Moon's spine. The extra space probably closes up when your weight is in the saddle.

    6. I know you said the saddle looks too far back in the last photo, but I actually think it looks better there. In the first photo, it looks like the pommel is higher than the cantle and the girth looks like it's pressed right into Moon's arm pit.

    I hope that helps! Saddle fit is so tricky.

  2. Thanks Kiirsten! I can't find a good picture, but I'm pretty sure the front panels follow his contours...which bugs me, because I'm fairly certain it's not fitting properly, and is likely not a gullet thing...

    I admit that the 'too far back' picture (the last one) seems wrong to me because of how angled the girth is, as I was always taught it should go just behind the arm pit. But you're right, the pommel and cantle are more aligned and it definitely looks like it's off his shoulder.

    He has such a flippin' long back, and as you say, curvy! Hopefully this fall I can get a pro out and start shopping for a better fit. SOO hard to ask anything of a horse that isn't comfortable in his gear. : (

    We'll see how the new CC has non-gussetted panels, so maybe we'll see a difference...

    Thanks again for the advice. Has me googling more info (and looking up some of your terms!)

  3. "...he suddenly dropped his head, sighed and lifted his back leg. Yip, that MUST feel awesome!" Loved that!! :-) I hope the weather cooperates and it's not too hot for the trail ride. It's 35C here.....sigh....