Monday, September 7, 2009

Sweet, sweet success

Two hours.

That's how long we were out trail riding today. The temperature? About 75 and a tad humid. The sky? Sunny with a bit of a cooling breeze.

The horses? WONDERFUL!

We encountered cows, cars, scary rustling cornfields, farm equipment, a barking dog, hills, mud, mud puddles, fields, ditch crossings and one big creek crossing. Gabe stepped right into the creek without hesitating, reached down for a sip, played in the water with his lips then started pawing and folding his knees. That booger was gonna ROLL in the water! But I kicked him on and prevented that little inconvenience. At least I know he's not terrified of water puddles, always a good trait to have.

The scariest thing on the whole ride was riding next to the dry, rustling cornfields. He wasn't too sure about all that noise! And when birds fluttered through the field, it was way too scary and he had to snort and jump at it. By the end of the ride, the cornfields were no longer an issue for him at all. Cars along the road didn't phase him a bit. The barking dog caught his attention, but wasn't a big deal either. Even the cows running up to the fence to visit didn't get his dander up. He pricked his ears at them, snorted, and walked on. No big deal.

He did prance a bit at some points and did his head flinging thing a few times, but nothing major, just him feeling good. We rode most of the ride on a nice loose rein with him just looking around and watching things.

However...I need a new saddle. This is the longest ride we've had and the ill saddle fit just won't work for long rides. Shorter rides are okay, not ideal by any means, but okay. When I pulled the saddle off after our trail ride he had one big bump right on his spine where the narrow channel was pinching him. I've known the saddle didn't fit perfectly, but I guess I didn't realize how imperfectly it fit until after this ride. It also needs to be reflocked, but there isn't a local saddler that can do that and I'm really hesitant to give up my only saddle for 6+ weeks to get it reflocked. I guess it's time to start saddle shopping! I hate saddle shopping...but most of all, I HATE the price tags on those saddles. *sigh* I guess I need to get out there and take a couple of tracings of his back so I can find one that really fits him. I have a couple in mind, I just need to get out to the tack shop and sit in them.

He has a high wither, but he's much, much wider than most Thoroughbreds, so he's going to be a tough fit. I think I'll go with the interchangeable gullet saddle this time around, just because I know his back is going to continue to change shape as he gets fitter.

I wouldn't be surprised at all if his occasional misbehavior is a direct result of the pinching saddle. I would be pissed too if my gear pinched and the person responsible for it didn't remedy the situation!

I'm very proud of my big guy...he's definitely a gem! Even with occasional tantrums he throws.


  1. Yay for baby trail rides! Gabe sounds a lot like Jasper on trails, although better behaved about water. Isn't it awesome that he doesn't jig the whole way?

    I too am looking for a new saddle! I've decided to get a used Wintec Pro Dressage. I've never owned a dressage saddle before and he's going to change shape soooo much over the next 2-3 years. I'm going to overcome my leather snobiness. Currently scouring the internet looking for a cheap one.

    Good luck with yours!

  2. I was so, so proud of him! He handled everything so very well. The things I thought for sure would get the hairy eyeball from him didn't even get a second look. I thought for sure the water would be an issue but he took to it like a fish. :D

    It was very, very nice to ride a horse that doesn't jig the whole time! My last Thoroughbred, Star, was a major jigger...she'd jig the entire ride and it was absolutely exhausting! It's such a pleasant difference to have one I can ride on the buckle and stay so nice and relaxed.

    I have a pretty good idea what I want as far as the saddle goes...I have an all-purpose Collegiate right now and it will be 10 years old in November. There are some things about the "all purpose" in that brand that I don't like. The flaps are very forward so it is really geared more towards jumping and cross-country than dressage, I want something a tad more dressage-y but not all dressage. Can't jump well in a dressage saddle!

    I would like to stick to an all-purpose (since I want to event Gabe but really can't afford three different saddles!) I'm kind of looking at the Stubben Roxane VSS. If I can find a used one that would be fabulous. I really like the spring tree on the Stubbens and the Roxane VSS has a slightly shorter, straighter flap for those of us who are not endowed with 6' legs. :P

  3. Sounds like a nice ride!

    Ugh, saddle shopping, have fun ;) All I can say is I am completely in love with my Duett. I am so thankful for a company that really understands how to make a saddle for a wide horse and keep it super comfortable for the rider.

    Good luck!!!

  4. successes with our horses are definitely cause for a serious happy dance!! Have had one too monday and today... amen, amen


  5. HI Jenn!
    So nice to see you over at my place!

    Yea..the headlamp really did work I said though gotta keep your head up of the line of light crosses the head of the horse and she would look at it wierdo like. Am Looking for a breastcollar lamp(or maybe I will make one myself).

    Gabe..he is so awesome. I have LOVED every minute of your journey with him and really think the word of your experience. I gleen tons from you. You remind me of my sister..she has done most everything and I can learn just listening to her talk about the old days. She is 11 years older..while you are younger than I.

    Gabe and the rustly corn..well, that is not at all bad! Mine only dislikes the rocks that are sometimes in watery creekbeds..she has never pawed or threatened to roll.
    Yea..saddles..I have a used Dressage I found this really seams to make her happy...verses the other.I defineately can contribute some of her misbehaing to the fact my Jump saddle is too tight for her since she's developed a noice topline now., I either need a crupper strap or? Our hills are steep and if not steep...L o n g and her saddle slips. Ordered a new girth in hopes it may keep the saddle more in place (Soft Touch- vrs wintec girth).

    Happy riding that wonderful Grey!