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31 October 2015 @ 01:52 pm
I have an English saddle that will soon be 12 years old. It is a General Purpose Wintec 250 and has seen a fair amount of use both under me (until I realized it was too small for me, ha!) and under students. I have never had a saddle reflocked and figure it might be time. I would rather fix up what I have than buy a new one if at all possible.

I have tried contacting some saddle shops and the one I am familiar with that sells just about everything referred me to an English-specific shop, but the big English tack/appearal shop has no one to refer because the guy they used recently retired so I'm not quite sure where to go from there. While there is more English type events going on here than there used to be Arizona is still a very Western-oriented state.

But here are some questions for those more in the know than me:

How do you know your saddle needs to be restuffed?
How often should it be done?
Would you recommend anyone who might accept a mail-in? (You can message me on that one.)

I use the saddle on a few of my horses and I am not noticing any weird sweat patterns or soreness, but my goal is prevention and I'd rather not wait around until it becomes a problem.

Thanks in advance!
My Horse Says I'm: curiouscurious
28 September 2015 @ 01:35 pm
So anyone have any mental tips on riding in the ring while lessons are going on and you're not in the lesson? I'm super-excited to finally part-lease the schoolie I love, but there'll be no avoiding riding at the same time as lessons. I think I can avoid the large group IEA lessons, at least. Anyway, I know the general ring rules - calling when passing, yielding the rail to faster gaits, generally being aware of other riders/horses. But how do I make myself not get so flustered by the other riders that I end up just bopping around and not doing anything? My plan right now is to ALLOW myself to bob about the first couple times, just so I can get an idea of what the ring is like at the times I'll be there.

It's not that I haven't ridden with others in the ring before, but I've always been the one in the lesson so had direction and a plan to follow. I'm worried that my lack of confidence will lead to unproductive rides!
09 July 2015 @ 09:48 pm
Thanks for the responses on my last post about how to cue for gait and trot on a five gaited horse.

After another couple months off and on I am gearing up to work Cinnamon in earnest and hopefully get her well-broke instead of just green as she has been the last four years....

This is ride two. I noticed her canter is a little lateral on occasion and she does do some intermediate gait steps from walk to trot while lungeing.

I think we're doing a little better separating the gait and the trot, using "trot" and both legs for trot and "step-up" with alternating leg aids for the gait. Not as much success in getting her to hold the gait, but I figure so long as she's trying it's good in my book.

Cell phone on the mounting block, feel free to ignore the random conversation with a client and turn down the volume. I trimmed up the parts where we disappeared from the framr. I did cut out about 5-8 minutes of lungeing her in the middle after she kicked out at my "go" aid, which is something she did a lot when I first got back on her a year ago after the other trainer worked with her. Escalating my aids causes her to escalate her response so I've learned to keep asking quietly and if I get a grumpy response we "talk" about it on the ground and then she goes much better.

I think the hardest part right now is following with my elbows as I ask her to gait as she wants to invert a bit right now. She's OK, but not at her best. I think I'm still working through some recalcitrance built up with the other trainer. I thought I had worked through it last spring, but life happens and she sat again so there you go.

Still working towards relaxed and forward and hoping that if I can manage two or three rides a week on her we can make actual progress and I can hang up the vest. My arena is fairly small and I do have access to a larger one, but she's worked in this one for years and is fairly comfortable. I figure after a month or so of consistent work we can think about working in the other one.

Commentary welcome. I think she looks at least a little better than the last video I posted, but I admit she hasn't had a whole lot of work between then and now (so many horses so little time).

Part of my goal is to get her to where one of my more advanced students can pick up the ride on her and she can get miles put on her better than I can manage (two kids, six horses, riding lesson business, etc., in-law's mare takes a bit of a back seat unfortunately).
24 June 2015 @ 07:51 pm
My in-laws have a mare who is a little behind on her training. I feel partially guilty as I have done pretty much all of the work on her except a few months that they had a trainer out to put a few rides on her while I was pregnant. It's been a bit of a fault of circumstance. I got her going fairly well (walk/trot, out on trails ridden twice) before I was pregnant with child #1. Between kids I had my own filly I started under saddle and after child #2 arrived I again focused on my filly getting her riding and driving well until her untimely passing last year (heart failure, sucked a lot).

The short version is I am FINALLY getting back to Cinnamon Strudel and trying to get her going well undersaddle. We had a slight set-back with her being resistant to go forward because the trainer had less-than-stellar timing when it came to getting her to move out. That appears to be mostly sorted now, but the "problem" I have now is that she decided she was gaited in the last year. There were some suspisions as she grew up, but she didn't really start to show it consistently until last year at eight (she'll be nine in December). She is a Quarter HorseXFox Trotter and just as happily gaits as she trots and apparently she just as happily canters as she gaits and trots all at approximately the same speed.

This is where I have my dilema: figuring out how to aid/cue for all of her gaits as at the moment she pretty much offers whatever feels best. Because of the aforementioned issue with her "go" button I am not discouraging any forward movement right now, which I realize perpetuates the "problem" to an extent, but I'd rather have her move forward willingly instead of bucking, rearing, or otherwise being sour.

The funny thing is that she doesn't gait when lungeing. She does know "walk, trot, canter" by voice form the ground, but the latter two are a little weird right now under saddle as sometimes she trots, sometimes she gaits, and sometimes she canters.

How would you go about teaching a horse to differentiate it's gaits? I know some of you have worked with gaited horses before so I figured I would pick brains here.

Here's a video of the stinky monster gaiting:

My Horse Says I'm: curiouscurious
27 April 2015 @ 10:54 am
My fiance were discussing honeymoon plans, and I had the great idea to look for a dude ranch. However, my fiance has never been on a horse, so a horse-focused vacation doesn't seem ideal. I like the idea of an all-inclusive resort-type place that has quality horseback riding but where horses aren't the main focus, and/or there are plenty of other activities. US, Caribbean, or Mexico.

Any ideas, personal experiences, recommendations? 
24 April 2015 @ 11:04 am
I recently bought a horse trailer and am getting comfortable hauling it. So far, so good!

Question: Are weight distribution hitches (aka sway bars) recommended?

It's a small, 2-horse, straight load bumper pull with no tack room (so short); pulled by an F150. Only reason I ask is because we have them on our travel trailer... and they make a BIG difference. But the travel trailer is 30' long.... the horse trailer's half the length of the truck.  Just want to be safe!

17 April 2015 @ 08:36 pm
So there is a big name clinician doing a three day horsemanship clinic down the road and I dropped by to see how it was. It was $50 per day to audit. The last time the clinician was here a few years ago it was $25 a day. I decided to pass on it and figured I would buy a training video from my wish list instead.

I don't go to a whole lot of clinics, but $50 a day to audit seemed steep. What do other clinicians charge to audit that you are aware of?
My Horse Says I'm: curiouscurious
14 March 2015 @ 10:08 pm
What have you all been up to lately with your horses?

Last weekend we did a Draft Horse Show/Expo during our local rodeo and took three of our horses, my husbands two mares Ruby, a Belgian, and Charm-N a Percheron as well as my Fjord mare Kitt.

We think we know why the rodeo put us in the arena they did ... it was right next to the carnival with the ferris wheel and the centrifical force rides that whirl and spin and cause people to scream. All that considered the horses did great. Charm-N buggered slightly once in the cart as one of the rides made a strange noise, but came back to me quickly enough and Kitt was actually mostly bothered by the audio system over anything else. Ruby was awesome and rock solid and my husband drove her most of the time.

Charm-N wondering if we'd help her remove her collar the rest of the way...

Kitt and I doing a breed demo with a lady and her Clyde I asked to join us (afterwards I realized Kitt probably couldn't have cared less about having company). This was the first time I had have ridden Kitt in her bitless bridle in public, which she did really well in (especially when I remembered to use my legs, eesh).

Kitt has also been brushing up on her driving skills and figuring out how to jump, which I need to get some decent video of. We've gone 2' thusfar (I am sure you hard core jumper people scoff at such a low height, but it's a big thing for her stubby legs!).

We also acquired a coming yearling filly last month. We weren't really looking, but it was one of those perfectly timed things that just fell into place like it is meant to be and so it is. She is a HaflingerXBelgian cross and went from a barely-handled wild child to a friendly pest in five weeks. We're excited to see how she matures over the next few years.

We call her Tru-DCollapse )
My Horse Says I'm: accomplishedaccomplished
02 March 2015 @ 05:22 pm
My Morgan filly Josephine is one year old today. I never would have imagined buying a foal but I am so glad I did.

These photos were taken on Saturday when she was enjoying bouncing around in the snow. Filthy, furry, and butt-high, but man, she can MOVE.


(In case anyone is wondering, I do still have Feronia. She's actually doing remarkably well; this is her first New England winter living outside, and what a winter! We are both sick of the indoor but I guess I'm happy it's there, so I can ride at all. She is starting to show her age a bit... 17 is not old for a Morgan, but she's not your typical Morgan in most ways.)
Photos under hereCollapse )
02 March 2015 @ 01:52 am
Friday on my way to work I got one of the first horrid calls ever made.  "Melody is colicing.... it's bad.  We're taking her to Mountain View."

ColicCollapse )

snow 2015 047
(This picture is from last week of Melody chilling in the never ending snow)