Monday, April 16, 2012

Dogs, Deals, Dads and Daytime Rides

Boy, I feel like I just have too much to blog about in one post! But I'll do it anyway!

For starters, a quick recap of my little trail ride with the Moon-pie last Saturday...

After we'd reached a point where he'd stand with his front two hooves in the trailer, I decided I'd best be tacking up and riding over to H's since it was already getting late and I'd promised to hold horses while they received their flu shots.

Moon seemed happy to leave the trailer "adventure" and was happily strolling up the road in no time. We headed up the highway two miles, which meant crossing two bridges on the way. Moon took it all in stride, with only one "incident". We were walking in the ditch of a beautifully manicured yard where the owner was driving his lawnmower around. No biggie. Until his dog came charging out at us barking.

The owner was yelling "get over here" and other pointless things that owners with poorly trained dogs seem to yell way too many times without doing anything to prove that the dog has to listen. Honestly, if you've yelled twice and he's still going for a horse and rider, it's time to get off your lawn mower and go deal with the situation. Say, grab him by his collar and drag his little dog-arse home...

Needless to say, I turned Moon on him and strode forward. Then barked deeply "BAD DOG! GO HOME."

I don't think he expected that. He dropped down and stared at me. "Go home. Bad dog" I repeated and he moved a few steps away from us. The owner continued to make pointless commands at the dog and the dog continued to ignore him. Until he finally wandered over and held the dog by the collar as I walked away. Probably because I refused to walk away from a dog that chases horses. That just instills chase and I was NOT being blind-sighted by ANY dog.

Of course, the owner offered the dog no punishment, no correction, nothing. Ger. So of course, I can't blame the dog, but the abysmal quality of dog training and dog discipline running amok these days.

But this isn't a blog on bad dog-ownership (though it so often goes hand-in-hand with horse ownership).

We trotted after we were out of eyeshot of that dog and then I asked Moon to continue his trot for the next mile. He did! : )

The mile after that we mixed trotting with cantering and made good progress. I turned him to the last mile (we did 4 there and 4 back) and thought about letting him gallop a stretch...

Until I head the steady clomping of hooves behind us. Turning to look at the road, a horse galloped past on the gravel road. Full-on galloped. Moon started to dance, wanting to run with them.

Then the rider galloped back the other way.

Okay. ??

We ended up walking the last 1/2 mile just to keep him from thinking he's allowed to race any horse that runs by.

At H's we had just dismounted when T from W's (don't you love the initials!) stopped by for a visit! : ) How awesome! So us ladies went about vaccinating ponies (Moon included) and enjoying one another's horse-obsessed company.

Moon stood tied to the tie-rail while we were wandering about, calling like the devil and refusing to stand still. Hence, why Moon was looking for China as he slowly dug himself a hole. I swear if I left him for another hour, he'd have half dug his way to the Asian land...

Mounted back up and headed home. This time I cantered him the first 1/2 mile and as we were coming down a nicely mowed road allowance at a hand-gallop, there was suddenly a small ditch in front of us. Which I hadn't seen.

...I thought about pulling up but at that speed, we didn't have the time. But what would Moon do??!

What else. He jumped over it, and continued on at a hand-gallop like it wasn't there.

: O


That means...

I jumped!!


I first "cross-country" jump! A ditch!!


(stop laughing my xc friends. Baby steps!...or baby ditches!)

I was happy to see I actually managed to maintain a nice balance as we went over, kept my hands in a nice release and didn't bang mouth or back during our descent. Score! I mean, it wasn't Hunter-class worthy, but I was in a dressage saddle! : P

I can say, honestly, that in this case at least (small ditch), Moon seems to enjoy natural jumps a lot more then artificial ones. Maybe we DO have a chance at being eventers?? ; ) ; )

We galloped the next mile down the side of the road, and despite my best attempts at keeping him on the grass he kept drifting over to the gravel road and barrelling down it. He just didn't care.

Not sure if this is the durasole helping, but I'm liking his new farrier more and more. Especially since he was 100% sound this afternoon...

He LOVED his gallop. He's such an easy ride at that speed that I just sat there and let him go.

The next mile he was sweating a lot so I brought him back to a trot and then the two miles home we just walked sedately. He wasn't tired and seemed to improve as far as contact and being on the bit went. We had some lovely trot going along and I swear I'm starting to see a nice neck developing on him. Probably no surprise either how easy it was for me to do up his 32" girth that previous required a lot of pulling to get on... : )

He was sweating, hot and happy when we got back. Did I mention happy? His breathing was back to normal, so I just untacked him and let him out for a roll. I knew he'd want that more then any type of grooming I could do to him.

And he rolled, and rolled and rolled. And probably slept well that night too!

Sunday, my dad had invited me out to an auction which was supposed to have horse tack as well as some fencing supplies. I'm hoping to buy my t-posts and poles at auction to save a couple of $$, so we're always keeping our eyes open for good deals.

Now, I admit this with the knowledge I'm probably now gonna be competing at auctions here with a ton of my lurkers, who thanks to me, discover the great deals that are to be had. And we'll wind up driving the price up for one another!! : P

But regardless, the fencing and such was all pretty crappy. I put a bid on a collection of harnesses, having an interest in a really cute driving bridle in the lot. The price got higher then it was worth for me (since I just wanted one thing out of the lot), so I bailed.

When we got to the western saddles, the seller started bidding on his own stuff, driving the price up to $500 until the auctioneer realized who in the back was placing the bids! So he called it void, and started again, making it clear the seller isn't allowed to bid.

The price went up and up, until it reached $375 which was still great for the saddles for sale. The winning bidder had the option to buy as many saddles as he wanted for the price, and to the chagrin of the other bidder (a nice lady), he took the two nicest ones.

...and then we watched as he carried the two saddles quickly over to the seller and the two of them deposited them in the seller's shed. Hmmmmm...inside job?? : P

It started to be clear to us then that there was some underhandedness of the seller. I'd caught him yelling earlier at the auctioneer about wanting to start placing reserve bids on things, and the auctioneer telling him you can't start changing the terms when there were 200 people outside ready to bid. And the seller was PISSED.

Never mind after two rounds of bidding on different selections of fencing material, he wandered over and said "Those aren't for sale", even though they were in the line up! One lady offered him $10 a fence post anyway and he still refused. A little while later, we saw him grabbing stuff in the line-up and chucking it over his fence to keep! Dirty!

The other western saddle went for about $300, but wasn't as nice. I'd been interested only if I could get a stupid cheap one, as I'd love to try some western events here and there with Moon. As the BF informed me over supper that evening he "needs a western saddle for when he rides".

...right... : ) Now I have an excuse to buy a really nice one!
The last saddle on the row was a little dried out, beaten up looking english saddle. Close contact.

The tree was sound (I checked earlier in the auction) and it would make a decent little saddle for starting young horses when you don't care they're rolling on it, biting it or trying to kill you with it. Granted, I haven't any young horses and don't know if I'll ever venture that route, but for the right price, why not, right?

I love a good deal. And chances are, someone would outbid me anyway.

Well, wasn't I surprised when the auctioneer asked if anyone would pay $200 for it...or $100...or $50...or $40...or $20...or $10...or $7.50...

I finally raised my hand, kinda feeling like if it went any lower, they'd end the bidding and not sell it at all (which did happen a couple times during the auction...once they even offered to pay a lady $4 if she took the box of stuff!).

So we had a $7.50 bid...and no others. SOLD!

I bought a dried out little saddle for seven dollars and fifty cents.

Score! : )

Especially since it came with a 52" english girth that was in great condition! And was a name-brand to boot. : ) The Aerborn!

It's only about $30 to $20 brand new, but has to be worth $7.50 cents used, no?? ; ) So let's consider the saddle free, and I bought a cheap girth!
Next out came the bridles. The auctioneer said that if no one wanted one specific bridle with a starting bid of $10, then he'd lump them and sell them as a set. Well, that wouldn't be a good thing for me, because as I learned earlier on (over the western saddles, breast collars, chaps, tie-downs and halters), we were in a Western riding crowd.

And there was one cute little dressage bridle in the lot.

When I checked them out earlier, the other two bridles were such cheap leather and dried out that the leather snapped in your hands. Ick. The other bridle had the brow band rubbed and scuffed.

But this little dressage bridle...

While dry and stiff, was clearly of nice quality leather and with some loving, should come back to life. It had pretty white padding and a flash nose band.

Even cooler, was that the leather noseband and flash barely even have grooves from the buckles!! They'd never been used!

So I jumped. I said I'd take the one dressage bridle and he started the bidding...

"We've got $10, do I have $12???"

..."Do I have $11???"...

...."Do I have $10.50???...."


Nope. : )

$10, english dressage bridle.

The only other thing I bid on was a running martigale, but someone bid against me and since I never plan on using a martingale on Moon anyway, I bailed at $10. So the gal got it for $10 ; )

I can share the wealth!

This morning I brought in my new tack (, don't come to my auctions! I want more deals!), and starting oiling it up.

The bridle is cleaning up nice, but will need a few more treatments with my leather CPR. In time, it should be supple again. I tried it on Moon and it's not too bad. Not my favorite look on him (almost too much to look at instead of his cute face), but certainly a good spare bridle. It's not black unfortunately, but a dark, dark brown.
The saddle I decided to have some fun with, and only started oiling one side. I searched and searched for a maker's mark on it (at the auction too) but nothing. I measured it as a 17" seat and about a medium gullet to boot!

As I was searching around, wasn't I surprised that tucked up under the flaps that cover the stirrup bars, way up there, was a little saddle makers plate.

I had to do a lot of scrubbing (DIRTY) and shine a flashlight up there, but I made out:

"made in England,
Exclusively for
The Tack Shop
311-17th Ave SW Calgary, AB"

Huh. English made (plus!) for a local (aka. Canadian) tack store.

I googled the tack store and nothing. The place was long gone, replaced by some sort of uptown shop.
(Where "The Tack Shop" used to be...)

Well, a little more cleaning and I could make out some letters...




So I googled it. It was some sort of European parish or something. But I can't find anything relating to a saddle maker...

But google suggests I try "Eldonian".

So I do.

And surprise, surprise, there's a picture of my saddle plate and a saddle very similar to my own. Eldonian.

(similar saddle for sale online)

(same company name, but mine says "made for The Tack Shop")

A line previously made by Jefferies in England, they're a decent saddle in their day. Probably about 15 or 20 years old and if it was in better condition, you can still buy them used here for $349.  : )

Not a bad buy for $7.50 : ) With a girth!

(pretty ratty condition when I brought the $7.50 saddle into the house...
and yes, my dog DOES have too many toys...)

(my saddle after one going-over with neats foot oil)

(the maker tag, pre-cleaning)


Today I headed out to the barn with two plans in mind.

First, as a birthday treat for a friend, I went out and rode her boy. He loved it, I loved it, and I got to practice my canter circles! : ) I threatened him that if he didn't behave I'd tell his owner, and no surprise, he gave me just one "halajula" buck at the canter and did lovely in our practice working deep into the corners.
Lastly, I decided to try his hand as a trail-class horse and we successfully opened, navigated through and closed the arena gate! : ) Score!

I unpacked a few more odds and sodds at the future place and then headed over to visit Mr. Moon.

Another application of durasole and then out into the arena. I'd swapped around my thinline pads so the thicker ones were in the front and the thin ones at the back, so I was excited to see if that made any difference.

I'd also been reading up more on bit placement, as I've noticed sometimes I hear Moon's bit hitting his teeth when we go around. I'm not keen on having lots of wrinkles in the corner of the mouth, but raised the bit a hole to make sure it wasn't banging his teeth either. He was a little unsure of the change at first but eventually settled in and moved out nicely.

I was a bit sore still from Saturday's 8 mile ride (!) coupled with standing in the cold and wind on Sunday at the auction (which equaled a sore lower back) and then add in another 45 minutes riding The Black, that I just did 45 minutes on Moon and considered it well spent.

He was moving nicely, we did lots of serpentines, some good work at shoulder-in and lots of leg yielding. His walk-trot transitions were nice and we worked through our dressage test without doing the free-walk like a drunken couple.
(Just doesn't suit him, does it?? Not that the lame expression is helping anything...)

I was beyond happy to see that he had no lameness as a result of A. Jumping the ditch, B. Galloping down the gravel road, C. trotting all that way, E. having his flu shot and THEN galloping/cantering/trotting

But nope (knock on wood!). Happy, sound, and more flexible then he is after three days off! : )

: ) I love, love, love my pony! : )

Just because I have too much to post and figure I'll force you to read it all at once, a quick in-photo recap of the pony trailer repairs to date. Since it came home yesterday and is now looking dirty and ready for further repairs in my driveway...

(Trailer rear door after we removed it and cut off the bottom rusted bit...then my dad cut off another 18" off rusted out metal. This was done to both rear doors, as both had rusted through behind the wood liners.)

 (the poorly installed, after-market "rock guard" which was just thin, thin metal was so poorly installed that sediment got behind it, trapped the water and rusted out the front of the trailer in a couple of spots.)

Now, be amazed by my dad, my hero (for more then just his stellar welding job!)...

He also welded on some plates to prevent dirt from building up behind the lights, made my rear doors removeable, ground out the old front window covers, welded closed EVERY rivet hole in the front and in the wheel wells, installed a new front hitch and emergency chains AND even wired my temporary rear lights : ) .

(Tidied up those ugly rivet holes and the rust spots; grey and black are primer/paint to keep his new welds from rusting until it's professionally painted)

(Inside the tack storage compartments, he welded on new sheet metal after cutting out all the rusted stuff! As close to new as you can get and SOLID)

 (And the piece-de-resistance, the new rear doors!)

(I mean, he welds as a HOBBY and look at that job! Pretty near flawless!)

I think I'm gonna have to get him an incredible birthday present this year!! : )

...did I mention, my non-horsey dad, then offered to give me a hand test-loading Moon into it? Granted, he also told me to wear my helmet ; )

: ) Best dad ever.


  1. I'm jealous of your auction finds! I would love to find a $10 dressage bridle for Shy, just to tool around in while she is being a dressage pony. I would love to find a nice western bridle, too!

    Amazing ride down the road with Moon! How awesome!

  2. Sounds like you and Moon had quite a weekend. I love horse/country auctions. Best deals ever till you get stupid people.

  3. Oh my goodness so much stuff! Congrats on the awesome cross country jump! I wish I wasn't such a chicken because sometimes I do miss jumping. Almost set up a cavaletti the other day. Almost.

    Your saddle find. I got some stuff called Leather Therapy Conditioner and Restorer, or something like that. It's really hardcore! Like I wouldn't use it on happy leather (it just never fully absorbs on happy leather). This is for that really dead dry molding miserable leather. And holy cow but it can breath life into it! You might want to check it out.

    Crazy progress on the trailer. I tried a similar project once and was so overwhelmed I gave up. I ended up trading my partially complete project for training lol.

  4. Yay, ditch! A lot of horses seem to think that natural/solid obstacles make more sense than dumb bunches of sticks. :)

  5. The first thing I ever jumped was a ditch that my horse and I didn't see. After that we jumped ditches, hay bales, poles on buckets, you name it! Sounds like you and Moon have a lot of good stuff going on!!

  6. What great auction deals! I never seem to find the really good deals, but I know lots of people who do!

    Your trailer looks amazing! I bet you can't wait to have it finished. :)