At Least I Can Type Now

Well, I can sort of type now – thank god for spell checkers! I have been having the strangest problem with the middle finger of my right hand. At first I thought I had gotten a foreign object down the side of the nail. It got sore and kept getting worse instead of better. I assumed it was going to abscess shortly, I could open it, end of problem. But, it hasn’t worked out that way…

Now I think it must be some sort of injury to the nail itself, because it seems to be growing off. In fact, it’s now right at the tip of my finger – which makes typing difficult again.

However – I have been riding the saddle! Yes! I’ve ridden in it three times, and the last time was for a good half hour. It’s extremely comfortable for me and very secure. It’s kinda heavy, at least compared to the synthetic ones, but that’s the price I paid for it having an old fashioned Aussie adjustable tree. Anyway, it weighs about the same as DJ’s trail saddle, and DJ was three inches taller than Indy. The problem isn’t the saddle weight – it’s my being out of shape!

It looks like this saddle is going to be a great success – finally! The most impressing thing is how Indy has reacted. He seems more relaxed and willing with every ride. I don’t get that feeling that he’s absolutely desperate to get this deal over with and get that thing off his back. He still doesn’t realize that he can urinate with me on his back – the saddle, yes. He’s done that, but only after I dismounted. I’ve heard about this problem with geldings before, but sooner or later he’ll have to go with me up, and with him it’ll only take once. End of problem. :o)

I’ve got him back on the full cheek bit, since he seems to like that one a bit more than the D ring. Actually, he seems to love both of the Happy Mouth bits. He’ll grab onto it before I’m even ready to slip the crown piece over his ears. Then he happily sucks and mouths and plays with the roller. Couldn’t do that in the show ring of course. Mouth must be closed and quiet – even if you have to crank it shut with a dropped or flash noseband. But, since we’re not going near any show rings, as long as he responds to my cues, he can play with his bit to his heart’s content.

All I care about is that he’s finally relaxed and content in his mouth and his body while being ridden. Now we can start having some real fun!


Not Yet....

No, I haven’t had a chance to ride the saddle yet. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised – I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a new piece of tack in my life that didn’t cause the weather to go rotten and stay that way for weeks. I think it’s some kinda unwritten law or something. It’s not that it’s wasted time or anything. Since Indy and Ami have just started shedding for real, I have more grooming than my arms can hold up to – especially since it’s been wet and they both are muddy on top of being shaggy. Maybe I don’t want to put my brand new sheepskin pad on Mr. Grunge’s back just yet anyway!

The delay has also given me a chance to get a good application of Leather Therapy Conditioner on the smooth leather parts of the saddle before they get dirty and have to be cleaned first. Mold on tack is a serious problem around here, and the Leather Therapy is the only thing I’ve found that does a lick of good preventing it. Even it works much better if you can get in onto the leather before any mold has a chance to dig in with its nasty little spores. YUK!

Last but far from least, I’m also working on the full Bates rig that I purchased – not only to get it conditioned as well, but also figuring out how the heck the thing works. Actually, it’s quite easy once you “get it.” The full instructions that came with it didn’t hurt either…

I knew I’d be glad I paid extra to upgrade the girthing system to this. It doesn’t just convert the usual English style girthing that Aussies use to Western style – it adds what they call a Bates buckle, which is a quick release between the near side tie strap and the cincha. You get the leverage of the long Western tie strap, but without having to thread it around three times every time you saddle up. You just have to move the strap a little bit to release and only a bit more to refasten the buckle. Not only much easier on my repetitive movement injured hands, but a lot less pulling and tugging on Indy too. Since snugging up the girth is his most unfavorite part of the whole process, he’ll probably benefit even more from this thing than I will – which was the main reason I bought it of course.

Maybe all this seems like going to extremes to some, but how could I possibly be comfortable if my horse is not? After all, riding is my idea, certainly not his. I figure keeping him comfortable is the least I can do.

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