Sunday, January 17, 2016
Make tracks around every sagebrush in this area. It could take you all day- but once you do it you’ll have the best riding you’ve known yet. (Loosely quoted from Buck on the 7clinics set)
The saddle came right before my 2 busiest days of the week which called for great self-restraint.
I never truly GET sick… Maybe I could call in sick and ride in my new saddle?
Inner voice: you don’t actually get sick days.
Oh yeah. Never mind.
Finally I had a short time window on Friday to take a ride before we headed out for an overnight errand near DC. I went to bring in Khaleesi and it was the first time in months she threatened to avoid me in the field.
Was it my energy or the de-wormer in my pocket? Or something in the air? Hard to know for sure.
The logging crew was making noise up on the mountain and the girls seemed to be looking intently across the road at the sounds of chainsaws and dozers in the distance.
I went ahead and caught Faygo first – needed to give her the dewormer anyway- and Khaleesi came around.
As usual Khaleesi and I danced into the barn and she is getting really good at moving with me now and it helps us start the day more connected.
Saddled up with pad and decided to start in the yard. I got on and she did not stand still. I got off and asked for her to pay more attention. Once she stood nicely we walked.
It’s always exciting to try a new piece of tack- in this case I got to try both the saddle and a beautiful red and black biothane breast collar Ed got me for Christmas.
We walked first to get used to the new feel. Now that I’ve gotten so used to the freeform it feels funny to be in anything else. Also I learned last time that a brand new saddle from this company (and probably others) feels different than one with a few miles on it. I also wondered if they might have made me a smaller seat (my first saddle was a 15″ last year and they ended up replacing it with a 16″ which felt more comfortable to me- so if someone looked back they may have made a mistake this time?)
It could just be that it isn’t broken in yet and feels more snug. I don’t dislike it- but it feels a bit different. I did measure both later and it’s still hard to say because the old seat has a pencil roll and this seat has nothing at the cantle in order to save weight on every excess piece of leather.
Khaleesi for her part seemed to like it. She wasn’t bothered as I put in on to fit her or when I tacked up. She still sometimes gets antsy when I cinch (which I do slowly over time with both girls) but I hope a well fitting saddle will keep her comfortable.
We moved on to some trotting around the driveways and then walked some circles around the trees in the yard. I rode with my dressage whip which seems to help settle teenager whining more quickly and of course just having it usually means I don’t need it much. A quick tap-tap-tap at my leg or her shoulder (depending on what she tried to do) puts us quickly on course.
I made sure to be always clear in my intent and choose a tree and which direction to approach and if we would go a complete circle or weave through a group. If I wanted to go through a space she missed I always slowed or stopped her and went back through. I tried to use as little aid as I needed and always began with looking at the tree and imagining what we would do and in pivoting my upper body-shoulders practiced staying square in the seat and legs and not leaning my balance. (Helping her stay in nice form) I also used more legs than rein and tried not to push her but to ‘hover’ at her shoulder or hind if I needed to direct and time it with her foot falls so she could move more efficiently. So I was working on knowing where her feet were as well.
Occasionally I would go back to the trail and we’d trot or canter straight for a stretch to give her some release from the focus and the turns.
We did over 4 miles without leaving the property and she was a good sport and we were moving well I thought.
It was cold and we didn’t work up a sweat but her back looked good when I took it off.
I saved my tracks to see our mileage and tried to call it serpentines so I could easily pull it up. The touch screen isn’t always so friendly and it ended up serpentinas. I ended up liking the sound of that anyway. That’s when a mare does them… Serpentinas.
Here are a few more saddle shots! For the centerfold 😊