7/3/07

Saddle Time

Since my last post Indy and I have had three rides of about 20 minutes apiece. What is the main thing I have learned from these rides? That I'm much more out of shape than he is.

The Aussie saddle I'm using weighs about 26 lbs. That's the same weight as the saddle I used on DJ for almost 20 years. DJ was something like 2-3 inches taller than Indy, and I had no problem lifting the saddle onto his back. Now, I struggle and push and sort of slide the saddle up Indy's back instead of lifting it up as setting it straight down as I always did before. SHEESH!

My first saddle - 1978 - weighed 36 lbs! I guess I couldn't even pick that one off the ground these days. Have I gotten soft of what? Of course I am older...

We had a couple of interesting things happen on these rides - mostly concerning my efforts to find a way to make the saddle stay put without having to girth so tight. On the first of the three rides under discussion, when I dismounted to quit I decided to see if I could get back on if the girth were just one notch looser. The answer is NO. When I put my weight in the stirrup, the saddle turned a full 90 degrees.

So here we are, the saddle is now on Indy's side, and he's looking at me with a "What the heck?" look on his face. Fortunately, he decided it was just one more thing that goofy humans do, and he stood quietly while I struggled to hold the heavy saddle up with one hand - lest it slide completely under his belly - while trying to loosen the girth enough so I could boost the saddle up on his back with the other. I thought for a few minutes that I was going to have to call for help. The saddle wouldn't budge without the girth being looser, and the girth strap was almost out of my reach and didn't want to give an inch either. Finally I managed to loosen the strap and get the saddle on his back again. I also assured Indy that he was indeed a good boy!

I've often heard about people with round backed horses using the rubberized mesh non-slip shelf liners under their saddle pads to prevent slipping. It always seemed to me that wrinkling would be a problem with such thin material, but what the heck, it's cheap and I decided to give it a try.

It does make quite a difference, and since I ride an Aussie saddle with a fitted pad, I tied the thin liner to the straps at the front and back of the pad. This keeps the stuff from wrinkling much - enough, I hope. We're still in the testing stage with this stuff. I'm not sure Indy likes the feel of it next to his back as well as he likes the sheepskin. We shall see. It's up to him of course....

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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra