Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thinly-Lined.

I haven't seen pony in days. Yes, days.

I should be sad, especially after reading everyone else's blogs and seeing how everyone made Easter weekend a pony-obsessed weekend. Me, not so much. Well, not directly anyway.

You see, I was clearing trees. Yup, progress is being made on "accessing Pony-land", but it's a slow process and will probably take well into next year. Great progress was made this weekend and I can only sit-back and dream of the day when I'm putting up fencing and dragging Mr. Moon home. To our home. It makes all the hard labour worth it. My question though, is if you built a barn, would you rather it be close to your house but far from your pasture (imagine 1000' of heavy bush between the two) or close to your pasture but 1000' away from your house? I just can't decide.


I did have some non-riding, non-visiting horse-activities as well. For starters, I got my new fleece saddle pad. The Thinline Saddle Fitter I'm so excited about. Let me say, Valley Vet did a fantastic job with their package. For one, I opened it up and there was two boxes of "freebies". Okay, okay, nothing amazing but some free allergy meds. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm the queen of allergies. I mean, I'm allergic to leather!

Next, was the strange bag in the middle of the box. It reminded me of those snazzy LuLu Lemon bags you get when you spend a ridiculous amount of money on yoga pants in an attempt to have a "sexy a$$". Apparently, when you spend way too much money on something, you get a cute free bag to make you feel better about it. I can't be convinced to spend the money on yoga pants (let's be honest, my a$$ is sexier without pants on...), but that saddle pad...wowsers.

I pulled it out of the bag and was immediately impressed. Lovely spine-free, quality made, came with the two sets of shims like promised. But even more awesome? The QUALITY of the fleece. My Roma pad is claimed to be merino fleece. It's fine. Kinda plush. But getting my hands on the Thinline pad...wow. I don't even want to put it on my horse! I want to sleep on it. Cuddle it. It's seriously like wrapping your fingers in the hide of a big black merino and for once, it doesn't A. Try to kick you and B. Try to chew your hair. Awesome. Just soft.

And I got a free Thinline bag!! It's all worth it! ; )

I also found, in a ziplock and surrounded by layers of bubble wrap, the world's tiniest bottle of Durasole. I mean *tiny*. Itty bitty. I thought it was just packaging at first! Thankfully it was well wrapped because it did leak too.

The purple liquid is caustic, dangerous and a lot of work to apply. But I'm gonna give it a go. I can't do it twice daily as recommended (for a week?! Get serious) nor am I bringing my hair dryer to the barn. So I'll test out the effects of once daily application on an on-going basis. The "Modern Rider" application, shall we say?

So tonight, I'll head out to the barn and test out the new pad AND the durasole.

I'm also looking forward to my "new" pair of breeches when I get home. I've seemed to have come into the windfall of some "freebies" from people who were looking to rehome their no-longer needed gear. In this case, I covered the cost of shipping and have to say, worth it. I hope to come home to a nice pair of white show breeches, self-knee patches and cared for well enough to make it into my own first show season. Which goes well with my current project...which I might reveal later this week. That one has had a few ups and downs, but it might just come out up this time. Hard to say. If so, I suspect I *might* just be a little less dorky in the show ring then originally anticipated. *little" being the operative word in that sentence. Though maybe I can distract the crowds with my horrid appearance and overall lack of fashion sense and they won't notice my that my horse is pulling his rabbit face as we go around... ; )

That being said, I also received, from Sulky-Horse owner, a string girth. Nice, bright white and in great condition. I don't use string girths and I haven't found anyone at the barn interested, so Bloggers, if anyone needs a larger string girth (I'll measure) and wants to pay shipping, it's all yours. No charge for the actual girth. She wasn't going to ever be using it, and thought I might have a better chance rehoming it. : )

My new diamond-plate rock-guard has arrived and I'm again in aww of the quality. Nice thick stuff that's going to stand-up to the dings of gravel roads no problem. It had one corner bashed in transit, but hopefully we can hammer that back to straight. I'm thrilled. Unfortunately, even though I also picked up my clear-coat for the fibreglass roof, I wasn't able to do any work on it. Well, I suppose not completely unfortunate. For one, my dad did a STELLAR welding job on the back doors. Solid, strong and look awesome! The interior patches are also way better then I thought (not that he's a bad welder, but you think patches and you think of your grade school jeans where your mom hand sewed multicolored patches with thread that didn't match and you wished you could just be one of those kids with the holey pants instead). But it's near flawless.

Every rivet hole was welded closed, the front poorly made panels are gone and ground smooth and the trailer was about ready to head in for sandblasting.

Except...

The BF suggested we cover a spot behind the wheel well and bumper where gravel gets caught. This of course would make that area more susceptible to rusting and it's a pain to clean out. So guess what? My dad agreed and is spending this week welding patches over those areas. I also dropped off the replacement hitch and he showed me how the old one was about done. For starters, the spring that holds the latch tight had broken off and was lost. Which meant the latch flips open easily. Hence why the last owner used a bungee cord. In addition, the collar that hold the latch had broken previously and been crudely re-welded. Needless to say, time for a replacement. The new one not only allows me to put a pin in to prevent the latch from accidentally opening, but I can also lock the trailer to my vehicle. VERY important! So of course, I'm more then pleased to leave it with my dad for an extra week to have these add-ons completed. Especially since the weather this week is cold. Brr. We had a mini snow-storm yesterday and I'm looking forward to the weekend when things are supposed to warm. Just in time for my pony trailer coming home...

I've been convinced to do a fecal egg count on Moon in preparation for the move, which worked out well timing-wise since I've dragged my feet on getting him dewormed. Of course, that means getting poo in a baggie, which let's be honest, isn't enjoyable when it's small from your dog, never mind large from a horse. Do I just put that in my car?? : O

Tomorrow is the Interlake Rider's club member's meeting and I'm in charge of reading the minutes from the last meeting AND for collecting memberships for this year. Go me. The meeting will include a presentation on "Horse Agility" a new sport that's sweeping the province. Not really something for Moon and I, but I can say that I love doing dog agility with Halo. That's a blast. Too bad Moon doesn't fit through my agility tunnel so we could give it a try... ; ) I suppose it seems like a version of trail class meeting horsemanship classes, all on the ground. I guess it would develop a good horse on a lead? And good desensitisation? I think it might be pretty darn awesome though for people with Miniature horses. Personally, I struggle to imagine my fellow barn-mates with 17hh warmblood crosses leaping over fences WITHOUT accidentally being trodden on.

Tonight's saddle pad trial will have to be a bit experimental. I only have so much riding time and I REALLY want to start breaking in the new pad. Come'on Moon, let's see a difference!

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Time elapse...
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I hurried home from work and found my new breeches waiting. Let me say, that they're in awesome condition and look swell with my other gear. You know...except for the fact that noone looks good in white pants. Seriously. I tried it when I was a teenager, and while it may have been passable back then, there's no way it is now. Seriously. White pants? Can you say it makes my butt look big?

Oh, and fact they get dirty so easily. These, will be staying in plastic like old ladies' couches until show time.

Ah yes, showtime.
I took my new pad and durasole to the barn today. I cleaned Moon's hooves and used the durasole on the two fronts, wanting a chance to observe any changes by having the hinds for comparisson. Especially since we know he can have strange reactions to some things. I did as prescribed, wire brushed, cleaned, put on gloves and applied. Here's hoping it works!

Then on with the Thinline.
I put it and the saddle on him in advance while I did his hooves so the thinline could maybe warm up and start molding to him. Or something.

We headed into the arena and I confess, a part of me dreamed of my tubby little QH suddenly piaffing around the ring, beautiful head carriage, perfectly collected and lips *gently* chewing his bit.

Oh how I envisioned it.

And oh, how it didn't happen.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not on the verge of calling Thinline a hoax, returning my pretty LuLu Lemon bag and bemoaning the fact my horse isn't suddenly PSG-level.

That, would truthfully, be insane. Realistically, I expected him to go around as he always does, maybe stretch a bit more and if I was lucky, not spend as much time with his rabbit face on. And truthfully, even that was a little unrealistic.

He went stiffly. He braced. He went as Moon goes after 4 days of no riding and cool temperatures. He had a bit of heat in his right fore from what looks like a kick and he had his regular stocking up on the left hind. He pulled rabbit faces and while he would stretch down, he'd often brace down there and refuse to move.

After some other folks joined us in the ring, he reverted to calling and stopping whenever he got close to them. Which is my newest irritant. He needs to know that he maintains pace until I say otherwise. So we spent a lot of time working on transitions and I focussed less on softening. After awhile he improved and we even got some nice turn-on-the-fores.

I asked for a canter transition and that made a bit of a mess of things as he suddenly wanted to rush everywhere and got rather tense. So we worked some more on softening and bending and transitions, and I just kept reminding myself that he's always tense after a couple of days off. No biggie.

Did the new pad do anything? Well, not that I could find in him.

But it DID seem to make my sitting trot a little more comfortable and easier to sit. Whether this was a placebo effect (hey, I deserve to get SOMETHING out of this pad, even if it's a mental lie!).

I'm going to play around a bit more with the shims to try to figure out where they need to be positioned as I'm no saddle fitter. Anyone have any suggestions based on these images???
We worked for an hour and 15 minutes and Moon had broken a sweat even though the weather was cool. Finally I walked him out and called it a day. Lucky me discovered that importance of being able to maneuver a horse trailer and truck...as the visitors parked directly behind me so I had to drive a bit on the lawn to get out. Not like there isn't ample room for parking at the barn, but instead they parked in the middle of the driveway...hmmm...I think I best practice with my new trailer just to be sure I don't do the same to anyone else!

So there you have it. No miracles. No amazing ride. No sudden Olympic prospects. But the new pad certainly fits a lot better then my old one and we don't see rubbing marks even if it's still collecting more dirt on his rear panels then front.

Tomorrow we ride again and see if he loosens with that...

5 comments:

  1. I don't know how people use white breeches without stains everywhere, I can't even keep tan ones clean. I'm not a saddle fitter at all but I think your saddle needs to be a little more forward, like two inches. I could be way off tho. Your boy sure is a cutie.

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  2. I'm considering getting some coveralls for horse shows so that I can stay clean between classes. Most of the time at the barn I look like I'm auditioning for Dirty Jobs.

    I recently got a regular ThinLine half pad (also from Valley Vet). Miracles? I'm not sure, but I feel better having it. I mean, it's got to be better than the crappy pad I had, right? Although I admit when I took it out of the box I really questioned the price for a small piece of rubbery material. I'm still not sure. I do wish I'd gone with a shimable version, like you did. I'm tempted now to buy the shims anyway and just go ghetto with duct tape lol. Something tells me that might void the warranty though.

    Looks to me like you have a pretty good fit but I'm terrible at that sort of thing.

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  3. Lots I could yak about but I’ll try not to, I think if it were me I’d have the stables next to the house but that’s just me and its best you think it through well before you decide.
    I’ve recently done a bit of horse agility with Murphy, Pip and Niko, happy to say Niko didn’t tread on me he’s 16.1hh so not quite a 17hh horse but still plenty big enough. I like your new half-pad it’s very nice, shame it didn’t have too much effect on his performance but you are probably right about it making your seating trot easier, I have a saddle pad and I think it helps me with sitting trot. As for the fit of your saddle I am not a professional and I can’t really be sure with out being there and checking it in person but from the images it looks to be about right.
    Regards
    Edward

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  4. Oops that’s meant to be sitting not seating sorry.

    Ps I like your blogs new look.

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  5. Oh, I forgot to put in my vote for having the stable near the house. I just think that having the barn convenient to the house can sometimes be important. Like if the water freezes and you need to haul water from the house. Or if your horse needs some extra TLC on a nasty winter night. Just don't let the manure pile gravitate in too close. I never notice horsey "aromas" but Husband sure does lol.

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