Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I Heart Autumn AND the Trails!

Seattle fall started off quite warm, then in came some nasty storms. From there, it got better, but we've been sitting under this thick layer of cold fog for weeks. The air above was warm in the 70-80 degree range- but we didn't get to benefit at all from it. Finally, this weekend, things changed for us - and after a small storm, the sun and blue skies were beckoning us to go play outside!

So play we did. My friend and I decided to FINALLY go explore the trails off our property. Who better to do that than my wonderful big guy, Ben. So we had a nice warm up/schooling session in our outdoor arena. Ben's canter has seriously just blossomed overnight. I can put him in canter and he just stays, and its slow, and balanced. I showed my friend and she was in shock at how he was going.

But that is not the point of this post...the point is...we finally rode out to the Pipeline trail. Ben was fantastic. He doesn't have much experience out, so I never really know what to expect...but he was honest and wonderful, albeit a bit SLOW. He'd much rather just take it all in at an ambling walk (hmm and maybe stop for some nibbles...naughty!)  vs his friend who wanted to blaze trails. We had a lot of catching up to do.

It was tons of fun. Except on the way back- friend's horse decided to be naughty (he's new, we didn't know what to expect from him) and so she ended up having to get off and school him in hand all the way home. In solidarity, I got off too, and hiked home. Ben was a rock star for that too - having loads of patience while his friend learned to pay a bit more attention to his owner, vs getting home so quickly.

Admiring the distant mountains while waiting for our friends to get ready

So of course the next day we headed out there again, this time for a shorter trip (losing daylight), to make sure the new guy learned his lesson. Learned he did. Ben was the same, and we had a nice on-the-buckle-hack.

Today marks our 3rd session and week of stretches and massage- how time flies. So far, Ben is doing much, much better. Still have a few trouble spots to figure out - but overall things are going much better for the big guy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Saddles, Anyone?!

So, after a summer of saddle fitting fun for 3 horses, I am left with 5 to sell I can of course start saving for jumping saddles! LOL

That said... know anyone who might be interested in the following:

17.5" Wintec Isabell - FLOCKED, 2013 model. I cut off the stupid over-girth thing that is supposed to hold the flaps down, otherwise, in GREAT condition. $950
Wintec Pro Jump - brown fittings (see heritage below) included.

17.5" Wintec Pro Jump - CAIR panels...had hoped it would work for Ben, and too long for Finn. $450

Heritage Bespoke Olympia Monoflap- fittings not included
18" Heritage Bespoke Olympia Monoflap. Brand new, and pretty dang wide - gorgeous in so many ways, just not the right fit for my body. Very, very sad about this one.

Enlightened Equitation Flexee
18" Enlightened Equitation Flexee VSD - leather treed saddle. This one I'm on the fence about selling...but if it finds a home I won't be heartbroken.

18" HDR Austal. Pretty much brand new. Purchased for that little red gelding I had featured on my blog awhile ago. I was going to keep him, had found a saddle to suit his short back...and he sold to someone else. I haven't really talked about it on here as it doesn't involve Ben, but the situation was heartbreaking and now I have this leather reminder of life-gone-wrong sitting in my house.

I'm in the process of taking pictures, putting ads up, etc - but if any of these interests you, please let me know. Thanks!!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cross One More Thing Off The List

Ben is doing SO much better. His 2nd body work session was last night, and prior to that, I thought it would be good to get him out and loosened up. The sun was shining, a rarity in Seattle in October, so a sunset ride was in order. It was so beautiful out there. I wish I had had my phone on me to snap a picture, oh well.

Our ride was all about just loosening and warming up...but then I decided to see if i could maybe execute a training level test. And much to my surprise, it didn't feel half bad! To cool out, I untacked Ben and was walking him around and then decided on a whim to hop on bareback. It is something I've always wanted to do with him (I even put it on my 2013 goals), but never really get around to, or make time for.  So up I went, and we puttered around bareback for 10 minutes or so, watching the sun go down. It was such a quiet, beautiful evening.

His check up and 2nd massage went well. The exercises and stretches have been paying off- it is very clear that his range of motion has increased quite a bit. Ben still does have issues, however, all across his topline- and will likely take a bit longer to fully resolve - no one thought it would happen in 1 session. So, armed with some new exercises along with the old, and keeping up with the weekly appt's, we're going to try our darnedest to get him feeling top-notch.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

We Did It!

After a few more days of trialing, I decided to go ahead with the Black Country Eloquence X. Is it perfect? No - in a perfect world the seat would be smaller, and the flap would be a touch more forward rather than straight up and down. BUT - it is workable - moreso than anything else has been. The important thing is that Ben seems to be alright with this saddle- he has lots of freedom in his shoulder, and the saddle is not bouncing everywhere. The panels have nice contact with his back, it is level, and there is no pinching anywhere. For me- the twist is rideable- it is actually quite comfortable. I can sit in the saddle, I can rise out of it- and I feel balanced. SOLD.

Today is Ben's 1 week check up/ 2nd massage. We've been doing our exercises all week, with the exception of a few days I've been sick and at home. I don't know how much improvement the bodyworker will see, but I have seen quite a bit. His walk and trot are not so short strided in the front- he's got even reach from left to right. he no longer swings around to look at me when I'm brushing him or tacking him up. Yes, he still has crooked issues - esp to the right - definitely more to work on. But- it has gotten better.

So between the saddle and the massages- I'm poor. But hey, my horse is happy...

Monday, October 14, 2013


Ben has had a bunch of time off since our last show in August- small rides here and there, but nothing overly regular or strenuous. He's had lots of turnout, and overall just been doodling around.

A result- a happy horse but a fat horse. And stiff.

I was hoping the time off would help resolve some soreness issues I had been noticing - but no such luck. If anything, he looks worse lately. So, last week, Ben was reintroduced to the concept of working. Last week has been ground conditioning - walks and longeing. Despite his stiffness- he looks SO much better on the longe than he has in the past. For the longest time, Ben could hardly hold a trot let alone canter on the longe. He has always needed a rider to help him along. But not so much anymore- Ben can absolutely do this on his own. His canter still needs development, but boy oh boy, he has such a lovely trot now, even just in a halter going around in casual circles.

A couple of really important things are happening this week:

1. Ben's *hopefully* new saddle arrives today. I cannot wait to get home to see that box on my doorstep!

2. Ben is getting a massage tomorrow. The masseuse comes highly recommended, and is known for giving exercises/ stretches as homework to help limber up and straighten out these guys. My hope is that we can identify the trouble spots and come up with a plan to make them better.

Given that the massage is happening on Tuesday, I am not sure what our prescription for exercise will be for the coming weeks. I sure hope it involves a well fitted Black Country Eloquence X ;)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Winner Winner....Sort of.

Finally! Ben was looking and moving okay- so I was able to actually SIT in the saddles I paid buckets to try on him.

Winner for the both of us- the Black Country Eloquence X. LOVED the seat on it, Ben moved really well in it. My test(s) - will he canter, and can I sit the trot - both passed with flying colors.

The only problem was that the saddle is much too small for me, i need more room in the seat and also for my femur to hang right and not jam up.

Lucky for me Trumbull Mountain has one in an 18.5" and a guess what is being shipped over for trial =) If all goes well I'm going to just settle on this one and be done with it.

Hooray! ...Until I have to seek out our next saddle...for jumping. Does it ever end?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Getting Warmer...A Continuation of the Saddle Saga

Last week was a whirlwind- traveling across the country and back. When I got back, 2 more saddles awaited me - a Black Country Eloquence X and the Detente Luna. Both beautifully made saddles. Yum.

Sitting in them- if I could hybrid the 2, I'd be a happy camper. loved the Detente's angled thigh block and twist, however, the seat felt just a bit too shallow. LOVED the deep seat on the black country, but the twist was a bit wider, and I think overall I would need a larger seat size in this one- I felt pretty jammed, especially my femur.

I was able to sit them both up on Ben, and was immediately happy with the fit of both - from the gullet to the channel to the shape and surface area contact of the panels. Girthed up, both looked great.

However, that is as far as I was able to take it, because Mr. Ben is a lame :( I *think* he may have an abscess brewing, it is certainly that time of year. Unfortunately I can't get up to him until tomorrow to re-evaluate- but if he's still lame I will make an appt for him.

I was really hoping to be able to try out both of these saddles- but my trial period, even with an extension, may expire faster than he will get better. Best laid plans, right?!