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Discussion Starter · #262 ·
Yea, that's definitely not a dressage saddle. And some may say that it looks a tad small for you, but you seem really secure in this saddle, you look really good. I'd stick with this saddle.
Ok, thanks for the comments! :) And thanks for being kind! I'm looking for something like a gel cover that will maybe make the back a little wider and help me sit a little deeper. It's an 18" which should be plenty big for me--it's just a little narrow in the back. But I didn't feel like it was actually too small for me.
 
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a gel cover is going to make the seat smaller and not larger - Once you are more comfortable in the saddle you will sit deeper in it. I have found that the all purpose saddles seem small compared to the dressage saddles. My daughter rides exclusively english and moved from her AP saddles to a nice Collegiate dressage saddle and she said the difference is night and day. As your riding progresses your tack will upgrade as well - we all started somewhere!
 

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a gel cover is going to make the seat smaller and not larger - Once you are more comfortable in the saddle you will sit deeper in it. I have found that the all purpose saddles seem small compared to the dressage saddles. My daughter rides exclusively english and moved from her AP saddles to a nice Collegiate dressage saddle and she said the difference is night and day. As your riding progresses your tack will upgrade as well - we all started somewhere!
Ok, that makes sense. I am going to try to get used to this saddle and the seat position. I know it will make me a better rider. And the saddle did come with an "oh no!" handle, so that might help when Strider LEAPS into his canter. :) I have another lesson coming up the third week of April. It's gotten moved twice. That instructor is really an English and jumping instructor so I might get some more benefit from this lesson than I got from the last one--in the Western tack.
 
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Discussion Starter · #266 ·
Had a (sort of) last minute Easter trail ride! The owner put the call out late yesterday to see if anyone wanted to do a trail ride today. So I took her up on it! There were only 3 of us, which was great. The normal place she goes for trail riding is closed for muddy conditions, so we went to another place--which just happened to be the very first place I ever went trail riding--when I was probably 5 years old! So it was a homecoming as well a new beginning. The trails there were almost completely dry! We rode for about an hour and a half and only did a little running, because it's a mixed use trail and there were some people out with their dogs. AND Strider's owner's horse was/is a huge ninny. Scared of her own shadow. And then the other girl was riding a horse for the first time b/c her horse came up lame this morning. And he's normally a pretty good horse, but when we took off at a canter finally (the horses were all VERY frisky and wanted to run), the owner's horse started bucking and then the other horse started bucking a little too, so that was the end of that. All Strider did was slow down into a trot after a minute--because he was out front. We had to put him in front a few times because the spooky little mare wouldn't go over bridges, or ride past benches, etc. But she DID want to be out front otherwise. LOL MARES! The only thing Strider was doing was trying to bolt whenever we started to trot a little--he would leap into his canter for a stride or two and the first couple times I held him back he tossed his head and danced around. But that was it. Nothing major. He loved being out there. It was such a change from being in the arena. In the arena I have to push for all I'm worth to get anything out of him, on the trail, I was holding him back. I like the trail better! :) Fun day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #268 ·
Definitely the Western saddle! LOL I am not comfortable in my saddle yet. I'm crying inside a little because I don't like it, but I think I need to give it some time before I decide it's not for me. I've never ridden hunt seat before and it just feels weird. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #269 ·
Frustrated today. Just found out my lesson is canceled for tomorrow. I haven't ridden since Easter since we had the lesson coming up. Not only is the lesson canceled, but all riding is canceled because two of the horse's on the owner's farm are sick and might be contagious--one of her own and one boarder. Until she knows what it is, she has told everyone to not come to the farm and of course the horses can't leave the property. The vet will be out today or tomorrow. If it IS something contagious I may not be able to ride for a while. Maybe if that happens I will go back and ride Missy a couple times if she's doing ok.
I hope all the horses at the farm are ok. Strider is 20 years old, the oldest horse there, but he's in good shape and really good health, so crossing fingers.
And I was SO looking forward to riding tomorrow. Have only used my saddle once and I've been psyching myself up and getting all prepared. Oh well. Stuff happens. Meanwhile, my husband is making a wooden saddle stand that we can use to actually "ride" in the saddle. He needs to work on stretching his hips out to ride a real horse. This way he can control how much weight he puts down in the saddle and he can get off in a hurry (he'll start with feet on the ground) if his muscles cramp. And I'll be able to use it with my stirrups and practice things like two-point and just general seat refinement and working on keeping my heels down. I have recently realized the problem here. Everyone keeps telling me to keep my heels down. Well, I have some conformational challenges due to my disorders. My calf, achilles and gastroc muscles are all abnormally tight and short--and that seems to be why my heels keep popping up. I can barely keep my feet flat on the floor without the heels popping up a little. I've already been through physical therapy and this may just be as good as I get. I will have to "mind over matter" this issue while I'm riding to keep actively pushing the heels down.
 
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Discussion Starter · #270 ·
Bad news. Strider's farm has Strangles. So far only two horses have it. They are isolated and hopefully everyone else will be ok, but with strangles who knows? Apparently it's going around in the area. And the owner just had one of her horses to a nearby barn for some photos--just 2 days ago. The horse she brought there is not one of the sick ones. Crossing fingers. But all of this means I can't go to the farm for at least the next two months! I feel so bad for her. She has four boarders and 5 or 6 of her own horses. One of the boarders has it and all of them are now quarantined and can't be ridden or taken off the property. It's all such a mess. I've never been involved with a farm that had strangles before, been lucky up until now.

So, I've just contacted Missy's owner to see if she's available for the nest couple of months because I cannot lost this prime riding time. And I've been going nuts just having had to go a week and a half without riding. Crossing my fingers on Missy!! And praying that Strider stays safe.

And so the horse adventure's continue!
 

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Strangles is a horrible disease. I hope all horses come out OK - it can take months for a horse to fully recover. Fingers crossed you get to ride Missy and spend time getting used to your new saddle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #272 ·
Thanks. Yes, Strangles is horrible. I am so grateful that so far Strider doesn't have it because I know if he gets it, not only will I worry that he won't make it, but it would also mean most likely I wouldn't be riding him all Summer.
GOOD NEWS though, Missy is available so I will be riding her for the next couple of months. I think my new saddle will fit her, but I don't have a cinch yet and I want to buy a half-pad and regular pad so protect her back. Shopping to do today (online--LOL).
Also, Strider's owner said the strangles came onto her farm with a new horse she got in --she called her a QT horse "I decided to bring in a QT horse" or something like that. Sounded like a rescue or something. She had her tested and it was negative and the first horse that got sick didn't show symptoms until more than 3 weeks after a clear strangles swab on the new horse. I guess she had had it in Feb, before she came to the farm. So what is QT? She said it many times, like we would all just know. So I feel stupid. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #273 ·
Oh, I just realized it might have meant Quarantine, since the horse had strangles before she came. Apparently, a clear Strangles swab doesn't mean ALL the bacteria is gone. Bacteria is tricky--it hides from tests and flares up and sheds again later--at least in other illnesses.
 
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Discussion Starter · #275 ·
Well, I rode Missy today. It was great to see her and be at that relaxed farm where I'm pretty much on my own. Problem again finding tack though. I wanted to use my saddle. I think it fits Missy, but the owner ended up being gone so I couldn't have her help me check fit. She left pads out for me and 3 girths. Well, the pads were all ancient and thin and filthy, except for two sheepskin contour pads, which were too small for my saddle. So I grabbed the one small half pad and a really old all purpose pad and put all that on. thought two of the girths were too small, so I grabbed the long one--which was SO old and so STIFF it wouldn't lay quite right, I didn't think. Well, it also took forever to get it all on--that girth was longer than I needed (more about that later) so it was really hard to get tightened. Finally, ready to get on. The whole arrangement just felt "off" and too teetery--like it was all going to topple or slide. And Missy was kind of flinching and I wasn't sure if that was due to poor fit, bunching saddle pad or what. So I got off and took her back to the barn and completely re-saddled her in the saddle i used to ride her in. I changed out the stirrups and leathers for my own and used one of the contour sheepskin pads. Then I got the cinch I usually used and I realized it wouldn't have been too short--I was just flustered. Took a while to get my leathers on--they are brand new and stiff and my hands were already tired by this time. FINALLY got everything on and got back on. As I said, it all fit better and felt more secure, but I realized my butt is just a little too big for that saddle. I didn't realize it before when I was riding Missy--I just thought it fit snug. It's not uncomfortable, but I do find myself having to shift here and there to stay centered.
My stirrups were also too long, but after adjusting them three times, by the time I realized I really needed them shorter, my husband was gone back to the car and I just did not want to get off again. So I dealt with it. Again, I wouldn't have realized this a few months ago. Now I see that I really can't keep my heel down and put my weight into my heel, AND keep the side of my leg on the horse(instead of the back) with them this long. So off we went. It took only a few minutes to re-adjust to Missy's gait again. Strider has SUCH a beautiful trot and canter (when you can get him going), so smooth. Missy is more just your average quarter horse type, nothing special, but just fine.
Now for HER condition. She is out of shape from the Winter. But she's also raring to go. So I finally let her run fter about 10-15 minutes of warm-up and she did fine, but as soon as we slowed, she was blowing and wheezing a bit. She had been coughing intermittently the whole ride. She normally only does this the first minute or two of a ride. So we walked a bit, we trotted a bit and then we cantered again. We were doing 20-30 seconds of canter on a straightaway in their cross-country track. There's room to go a little further, but it gets a little mushy father down the track, so I didn't let her. As it was, she tripped at one point and it felt like she almost went down on her knee. I didn't run her again after that. And she was pretty tired anyway by this point. That coughing was a bit concerning and felt horrible, like she was going to heave me off. And she kept walking and trotting with a very droopy head. At first I thought she wanted to graze, but she kept doing it in the arena to. Just really low headset, I had to keep pulling her up. And from the pics, it looks like her back is hollowed out a bit. Anyone notice or is it just me? I know there's some stuff I can do as a rider to get her to NOT do that, but I don't know how. I'm going to look it up.
I told the owner about the coughing and she didn't seem overly concerned. Maybe Missy is just really out of shape. They don't ride all Winter and it sounds like no one has been riding Missy except some very little girls for lessons once a week.
I'll see how she is next week. And the owner promised to be home to help me with my saddle. I should have both of my new pads in--the sheepskin half-pad I ordered and the regular all purpose pad.
All in all, I had a good ride and enjoyed the day. Oh, and wonders never cease--I discovered the saddle I'm used to riding her in IS an all-purpose saddle like mine. I had though it was a dressage saddle. So, I should be fine in mine. I think I felt weird on Strider the first time I used it because I had been going Western for three months prior AND the owner insisted I ride with traditional shorter hunt seat stirrups--and I felt "perched" and not secure. I will find a happy medium with the stirrups and gradually get them shorter, once I'm more comfortable.

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I am feeling veryblessed to have access to two good horses. I hope they both stay good. :)
 

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Missy should not cough like that - ever. Even when you first get on to ride. I know she is not your horse and is older if I remember. She may have seasonal allergies or even the start of heaves. Do not try to hold her head up or impede her coughing in any way. She is not doing it to get out of work she is doing it because she feels out of breath.
 

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Discussion Starter · #277 ·
Missy should not cough like that - ever. Even when you first get on to ride. I know she is not your horse and is older if I remember. She may have seasonal allergies or even the start of heaves. Do not try to hold her head up or impede her coughing in any way. She is not doing it to get out of work she is doing it because she feels out of breath.
I'll check with the owner. I wasn't holding her head up while she was coughing, she wasn't coughing constantly, just consistently throughout the ride--every 10 minutes or so. I am hoping it's not heaves. When I first started riding her, the owner said she always makes one or two coughs in the arena when you start trotting, and then she's done. And she has done that most of the time. I thought it was just from dust. Dang, now I'm gonna be worried. I'll see how she is next time. The owner will be home next time, so I can go get her if Missy is still doing it.
Thanks
 

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Oh no about the Strangles. :( Hope everyone will be OK. I hope Missy's cough goes away too. If it continues I wouldn't ride until she's better. It could just be from the dust, but just keep a watch on it is all & let the owner know (which you are doing anyway). You guys look good though! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #279 ·
Oh no about the Strangles. :( Hope everyone will be OK. I hope Missy's cough goes away too. If it continues I wouldn't ride until she's better. It could just be from the dust, but just keep a watch on it is all & let the owner know (which you are doing anyway). You guys look good though! :D
Thanks! Yea, it's all a bit of a hassle. We'll drive an hour to get there and I'll get her all tacked up and then if she's coughing I have to be done and go home. Ugh. I can try to ask the owner ahead of time, but she's not always real communicative long distance. And I don't know if anyone else is riding Missy to know if she's coughing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #280 ·
Good news!! Had a good ride on Missy--in my own saddle and my own pads! Missy did her usual one or two minor coughs when we got into the arena--before I even got on her. Then, she coughed once after cantering about 20 minutes later and that was it--it was a minor cough. The owner said she seems to have allergies and it's been very dry and dusty out there. I watched her very carefully. She was not "heaving" to get air, nostrils not flaring, etc. And she didn't get quite as sweaty this time either and I rode for a full hour--w/t/c in the arena and the little trails around the field. She also didn't slip or trip this time. I could not get her to wake up the first half hour. She would barely get into a canter with a lot of urging and then wouldn't hold it. But there was a woman letting her horse graze on the side of the arena (there's no fence). She was helping me make sure the saddle fit and that Missy was looking ok when I started riding. Well, when she left, all of a sudden Missy perked up and was very willing to move out again. I realized the horse that woman had out there was the same horse that I had seen when I went out to get Missy--it chased her away from the hay. She tends to be the bottom of the herd and some of the horses pick on her. So I figured that's why she was reluctant to "work" when going past that horse--and why she wouldn't stay along the edge on that side.
So, I cantered my new saddle! It will be ok. With the good half pad I bought (Excelle Wither relief) the ride was very comfortable and I think it was for Missy as well--lot of cushion on her back. It felt weird at first, having so little contact with the horse, but then I got used to it. And I shortened my stirrups two notches and it was better. I don't want to go any shorter--even if it is proper hunt seat. I guess whenever I have another lesson with Strider, if the instructor wants me to try them shorter I will do it then. But I'll have had a couple months to get used to the saddle by then too.

In other news, I am worried that my jeans rubbed my saddle. When I got off, I noticed it was all white from rub marks, and I didn't think it looked like that before. I rode in the same jeans in all the other English saddles I've ridden in and never noticed this to be a problem. If this is the case, that my jeans are making rub marks, will it damage the saddle, or just look look scuffed? I really don't want to have to invest in riding breeches on top of everything else.
Here's the new gear. We realized the shirt I was wearing looked like jockey silks, so we had some fun.
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