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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've debated starting a journal for a while. It seems in the past I just didn't have enough drive and...well, horse events going on that it really seemed worth it.

Last year was the first time I actually felt involved in my horse activities and I'm really looking forward to 2020 being a great year. I have a lot of lofty goals to accomplish and really hope we are on the right track to obtaining them.

First, an introduction.
@phantomhorse13 and her journals really got me interested in endurance, so I found some local groups and that is what we are doing (or trying to do).

My main riding horse is a 21 (almost 22) year old Standardbred gelding. Tiger has been with me since I bought him from the track when he was 3. Last year we did our first CTR event - we managed to complete an intro endurance distance as well as two - 25milers. Our very first 25 miler we placed 3rd in our group.

My mare Amber is my challenge...she is 6 and I bought her as a 2 year old. I have been taking lessons with her with our focus being on western dressage. Last year we went to our first show....I also took her on various camping trips as well. I really want to condition her for CTR/endurance, however we have some things to overcome first. First thing being finding a saddle!!

I also have a pasture pet - Chevy is 18 years old. I bought him straight off the track and he has never been sound. So he has a retirement home with me until the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@tinyliny, yes @AnitaAnne is right, they are in order :)

This week has been a bit of a bust. Weather has not been bad, but having to deal with moving hay and then going to the city for work ate in to any horse time I would have had.

I buy round bales and I tried a different way of storing them as we do not have a covered shed. Well, turns out my 'great idea' was not so great. I hate dealing with tarps and I spent nearly all my time after work on Wednesday sorting out the tarps - which were frozen to the ground. Let's just say many choice words were said.....

As some of you may already know from some of the other threads, I am having a saddle fit issue with my fat mare. I have tried a number of options and have not been really happy with any of them. I do have a very well respected equine body worker who is also very knowledgable about treeless saddles coming out next week to let me demo a few brands. I will also get her to check the fit of the IMUS saddle I am currently trialing.

Below are some pictures of some of the saddles I have tried. Starting with her current one - which definitely does NOT fit her anymore (not to worry, I have not been riding her in this saddle at all) I am planning on driving to the store I bought this saddle from and putting it on consignment. It is basically still brand new - I will be sad to see it go, but it just does not fit her and I don't really need a saddle like this at the moment.

The second is a saddle from the States I trialed (a Pawnee I think?), but it just looks ridiculous on her. The last is the Imus I am trialing. I actually really like this saddle, but also don't think it is a good fit for her. It does allow more clearance in her shoulder, but still bridges. Ironically I put Tiger's back templates against the Imus and it actually seems like it would be a good fit for him!!

Anytime I see saddles on her, I always think of Chris Farley in Tommy Boy - Big Guy in a Little Coat!
 

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Awww, she's so pretty! :loveshower: LOL that's funny, it really does looks small on her LOL! The 2nd picture looks like she has a little kids saddle on her! :rofl: She is probably a comfy ride! I hope you can find a saddle that fits her. I know the pain of saddle shopping, it can be super stressful. Everything is trial & error. Ugh! Fingers crossed you find the perfect one! Bridging can be a pain, although some people work with padding to fix that, but you want the saddle to fit well, so definitely keep looking! Oh, good 'ole tarps...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think the third saddle I had placed too far back; it is tricky with some of these saddles to see where the saddle should actually fit to ensure proper shoulder movement.

We are getting a bit of a blizzard here at the moment, but I am still hoping to take fat-Amber out for a walk after work.
@PoptartShop, Yes, a few people have suggested certain saddle pads to help prevent bridging, but I would ideally like to find a good fitting saddle since I do plan on doing so many miles with her. So far she hasn't shown any signs of pain, but i figure it is only a matter of time.

I know you ride in a treeless - is it a barefoot? I bought the Barefoot Lexington but think I will sell it. I don't care for the leg placement, but I think it could just be that specific model b/c it is more dressage styled.
 

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Frozen tarps and buried hay :frown_color: Not Fun!

None of those saddles fit. She has a VERY forward girth groove! Worse than my Chivas and I didn't think that was possible...

I am certainly no expert, but seems like if you can find a treed saddle to fit, it would need a cut back to fit around the neck.

Treeless may be your only answer. The BF Lexington is fine for arena work, but I didn't like it for trails. The Cheyenne was the best for trails.

Have you considered some sort of bareback pad over a treeless pad?

Hope your saddle fitter can find something...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@AnitaAnne, I am no expert so learning as much as I can. But yes, I am finding where her girth wants to sit is causing issues b/c it hikes the saddle up onto her shoulder. Ugh, the frustration never ends!!

At least with treeless, if it pops up onto her shoulder it shouldn't cause her any discomfort?

I think my saddle fitter has another Barefoot model, as well as a Sensation and an EZ Fit. She seems to think I will like the EZ Fit the best. Time will tell I guess.

I did work with Amber a bit after work today. She has become increasingly hard to bridle. Her teeth have been done so I'm thinking I must have hit her teeth with the bit at some point to cause her to become so difficult. I am usually very gentle when I bridle, but she can be a sensitive mare so wouldn't take much for her to decide to not like something.

So I spent some time with bridling, and she was so much better. Just took it nice and slow and worked on getting her head down, then just standing there with the bridle over her head (not put on), then slowly progress to putting the bit in. I'm seeing some huge improvements and she is so much better than she was. I hate using food as a reward as she can be quite nippy so didn't want to use the method of bridling then rewarding with food.

We also did some ground work - working on her bending and maintaining true bend from the ground, then some haunches-in work. I decided to also take her for a short walk down the road so the dogs could come too. It was snowing the entire time, but temps were not bad. I will have to post pics later.
 

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Yes! My treeless is a Barefoot, I have the Tahoe English one. It's really comfortable.

I use this pad with it as well for extra support (it comes w/ shims, but you can change them out however you like):

HAF Enduro 8300 trail saddle pad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
@PoptartShop, that is a nice pad and looks like it would breathe pretty easily too. Where did you order it from??

This past weekend I managed to get quite a bit of horse time.

We got more snow, so on Saturday morning I took Amber for a hand walk with the dogs into one of the nearby fields. Poor girl had to work hard, and we didn't go very far before I turned around. It still ended up being a 45 minute walk.

Afterward, I trailered Tiger to a friend's property for another group trail ride. I wanted to take him for a decent ride to try out the IMUS saddle - I had no complaints from him and although it seems to fit him well I wasn't sure what the sweat marks were telling me. He was very tired by the end of the ride - going through all the deep snow and up & down hills was hard on the old guy.

Sunday I took Amber to riding lesson; and since I still do not have a saddle for her I rode her bareback. She did pretty good (and I did not fall off!!) but I sure was sore afterward. My instructor asked if I wanted to try riding her bitless (which I have never done) and I said OK. It took a couple circles for her to figure it out, but she is also very good about moving from my seat/legs. I may attempt to ride her bareback today when we do our trail ride - although I told the girls "no judgies if I fall off!"

Holiday Monday the weather took a turn and it ended up cooling off again, so horses got a break from me. I focused instead on baking - since my stress fracture is back in my tibia and I can't run a whole bunch, I have really cut back on the baking. But I figured with the cool weather it was a baking day. So I had made homemade sourdough buns, banana loaf and some cookies. Also tested out a new broccoli soup recipe in my Instant Pot. YUM!

I have booked this afternoon off as I have a couple friends trailering their horses here. Our plan is to go for a short trail ride before the saddle fitter/treeless demo person shows up. I'm very curious how I will like some of these treeless.

I plan to take some pictures of them so will share here.

Below are some photos from the weekend - my walk with Amber as well as trail ride with Tiger.
 

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Looks so fun! Our snow was "ruined" by an inch+ thick layer of ice a few weeks ago, so it's really not been fair to ask the horses to traipse through that. I actually had one who ended up cutting up her foot around her coronary band and bleeding everywhere just from plowing through it in her paddock without a rider :sad: We got about 6-8inches of fluffy new snow yesterday but the ice is still under it. So, we wait...and handwalk...and wait some more.
 

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Looks so fun! Our snow was "ruined" by an inch+ thick layer of ice a few weeks ago, so it's really not been fair to ask the horses to traipse through that. I actually had one who ended up cutting up her foot around her coronary band and bleeding everywhere just from plowing through it in her paddock without a rider :sad: We got about 6-8inches of fluffy new snow yesterday but the ice is still under it. So, we wait...and handwalk...and wait some more.
Haven't be able to ride for 3 weeks now because of ice. Everywhere is an ice skating rink. Snow has a crust on it that could very well cut legs. Maybe this weekend, if it gets as warm as weather man says.
@cbar lovely pictures looks like fun.😊
 

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@cbar The snow looks lovely :love: I am sure the horses were tired after the ride! Walking through deep snow is hard work!

@egrogan ice under the snow sucks!

Here we don't have to worry about ice, but our rides are careful, slow walks at the moment :cry:
Almost took a bath last time, as Raya missed a deep hole and we went from knee-deep on her to knee-deep on me :oops:

20190105_163005.jpg
 

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An old friend actually gave it to me, but I'm not sure where she got it. I did a google search & it looks like this site sells them!
https://store.treelesssaddle.com/HAF_8300_Enduro_Trail_Saddle_Pad_p/8300-end.htm

It's amazing. & super easy to clean. It definitely is very breathable too!!

Such pretty snow! Walking through that is a total workout! :lol: Bareback sounds fun, & bitless is actually really good too. It makes you really focus on your seat/legs like you said. Glad you had a nice trail too! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
@egrogan, that sucks about the ice. The nice dusting of snow we got made all the fields look so pristine. But definitely a work out; I was sweating like a pig!! And I felt bad for my dog - the dog in the picture is my 10+yo german shepherd Cisco. He is always game to come walking, but I worry about tiring him out too much. It's a great workout for the horses though, and the deep snow can be a great conditioning tool.

It is supposed to be +5 (celsius) here tomorrow, so I'm sure in no time our yard will be a skating rink. I hate the ice :(
@SwissMiss, must be a bit boggy where you go riding then with holes that big!! I always worry about bog as we get a lot of areas like that out West. It can be very easy to mis-judge and be belly deep in mud and water.

I will have to check out that website @PoptartShop. I am hoping after today I will have a plan for a new saddle!!!
 
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