Saturday, May 24, 2008

Things we truly do need to get a picture of...

It was just too dark in the arena tonight so you're going to have to visualize this. We finally found a saddle that fits the VLC.

It's a saddleseat saddle, left at the barn by a boarder many years ago. Use your imagination and picture a 16.2 AQHA stallion with a cutback saddle on. It's hysterical. I seem to recall many years ago there being some kind of AQHA saddleseat classes, weren't there? Or was that just weird shit that happened at 4-H shows? I swear I remember it. Either way - good God it looks ridiculous. But at this point I was happy for anything that allowed me to get my damn legs on the horse and definitely was not pinching him in any way.

Of course, he still doesn't like the idea of the English girth. I do not know why it is worse than the Western cinch, which he is fine about now. I have fleece girths on both with elastic on the english girth. I guess just because you can do the western cinch so loosely to begin with. He's so round that if I put an English saddle on him, I have to at least connect it with contact on him at first or it rolls right off. He didn't kick at me but he did paw way out in front of him twice. I growled, he stopped.

He was antsy about mounting again but gave up and stood after a few tries. He's funny - he will resist something a few times and then just give this big, long-suffering sigh and give up! It cracks me up. Oh, poor, poor abused colt! You might actually have to walk-trot in a bitless bridle with a petite woman on your back! My heart bleeds. Do you have any idea how many colts your age are being ridden into the ground by some 200 lb. man with a twisted wire snaffle in their mouth and spurs? You'd better be grateful, young man. You do not know how good you have it!

OK, first comment on saddleseat saddles: How the hell do you people ride in these things? They are freakin' SLIPPERY! My landlord had helpfully dumped a pile of sheet metal next to the arena door and when the VLC sidestepped away, I thought I was going to slide right off. Fortunately he realized that while the Scary Sheet Metal Pile looked funny, it was not actually moving or making noise and therefore was safe to pass by. It was nice to have my legs on the horse and stirrups the right length again.

We did have another couple of balky incidents tonight but he gave up more quickly. I am not being shy about going right to applying the rein ends to his ample butt, and he's figuring out that it's easier to trot on the wall than make mom mad and get growled at and smacked. I think he's bored with the arena, and I think now that it's warm out and he actually has to break a sweat, he's testing me a bit to see if he really has to keep trotting. Answer: Yes.

He really hates it when you pull on his face, so I am trying to redirect him mostly off my legs. This doesn't come naturally for me. I'm more of a traditional hunt seat rider, not an AQHA hunt seat rider - pitching them away is not exactly second nature to me. I am comfortable on high-headed Thoroughbreds that you ride right between your legs and your hands and they're fine with that. Well, that's not going to work here. The VLC wants to be pitched away all the time and I know that I need to ride him like that, but it's something I have to remind myself about all the time. Like let's say he's getting really fast at the trot. I can circle but there's only one place I can circle (I can do half-arena circles but nothing smaller - we have this fence in the middle of the arena that is open at the two ends and has one opening in the middle) and that's kind of a big circle, not really small enough to slow him down very much. He does not care for half-halts. This is when he's most likely to overreact and just stop and grow roots, ignoring my legs. If I had a normal arena, I'd spiral in for smaller circles, spiral out when he slowed down - that's something I can do on very long reins, but I just don't have the room to do that here and it's frustrating.

I think I am going to try to talk my friend into hauling us down to the big public use arena this week, where I can do all of those things. The only question is, how will he behave at a new place? And with other horses riding with him? And if I don't find another saddle to use, will other riders fall off their horses laughing at my saddleseat Quarter Horse?

Tune in soon...and in the meantime, tell us all how you're doing with your horses!


Princess Jess said...

What do you mean- how do you ride in a saddleseat saddle? I'm not sure I understand the question..... Is it different?


I think I'll have to haul mine out and throw it on my old Saddleseat Show Horse Extraordinaire, and see if, between the two of us, we can figure out what you're referring to..... LOL

cdncowgirl said...

OT but training related:
Does anyone know where a person could buy some orange pylons? (or "safety cones" or "traffic cones") NOT the little dinky ones, but normal sized ones used by the likes of the Department of Highways, schools, construction crews, etc.
Thanks in advance!

Mads said...

Aww he sounds cute! I mean, he might look ridiculous but if it's doing the job, right? I'd be more nervous about riding with other horses but I'm sure VLC will be fine.
Lexie, my TB/Australian Riding pony mare is going well.
I have her on a sweet iron snaffle and she's doing fairly well.
I rode her Saturday and today in the outdoor arena as the indoor was full (damn children doing lessons) and she's lovely to ride.
She was trying to cut corners at the canter today but we worked on that and she calmed down. We also had a minor spook at a OMGBIRD!!!! but she calmed quickly. I'm learning that she always is interested in everything that is happening. My job is to make her focus on me and what she is actually doing. She just gives a little sigh and tends to calm right down.
Okay, my main problem is stopping. I am able to stop her fairly quickly and without pulling much, and I am teaching her to 'HO'. We did an hour just on the ground and lunging and it really seemed to help. However, once stopped she does tend to try and toss her head. I'm telling her it's not on and she stops but if it carries on I might put her in a breast plate.

I'm not quite confident to ride her around the property. Yet. I walked her around it all today. She does tend to get a little pushy on the ground, it's just excitement and nerves- the other horses around the property were calling to her.
But hey, it's very early days and she is awesome. Runs up at the paddock, loves being groomed, loves being worked, friendly, good looking. I think I’ve done pretty well with her actually. She’s 15.2 and 7 years old. Just the right credentials for me. Something easier would be a little dull and anything more difficult would be too much. She’s a pleasant challenge and we’re both enjoying training.
Lexie has the hots for the black warmblood gelding across from her paddock, they stare at each other happily. She’s just your average girl, I am learning, she likes boys, food and being fussed over. It’s not a perfect fit or anything, but it’s working out. Well, up next the dreaded hack I suppose! It’s one thing to do it all in the arena but …
I don't want to get stuck being comfortable only in the arena. She is a young horse who deserves to get out and about and do some trails. I'll just get my nerve up first :)

My other great lumps were perfect on the weekend riding. The haflinger/QH pranced around and had a lovely time being admired by the children in lessons. He's such a show pony.

Shelley said...

As a saddleseat rider I had to giggle a bit at this. :) Our saddles are notoriously slippery, and unless you're interested in sinking a couple thousand into a not-so-slippery one, that's how it's going to be.

Typically, we only put our upper leg (inner thighs) on the horse and push our lower leg away. (Not everyone does, but that's what's considered 'proper' equitation). Therefore our horses are guided with our seat and hands, as opposed to huntseat leg and hands. Having never ridden huntseat, I have no idea how you'd equitate huntseat style in a cutback saddle (I would really love pictures!)

Anyways, I don't think anyone will notice and/or care. We use cutback saddles on our AQHA school horses all the time, and really it looks fine. Now, go in full saddleseat show attire and exaggerate saddleseat equiation.. then you might get some funny looks :D

appywoman said...

I have seen pictures of Appaloosa "saddleseat" horses in the Appaloosa journal and I really don't get it. Of course I have never actually seen a class but can only imagine what it would look like...ewww. The point has been made often enough that the stock breeds only change tack and call it good instead of actually having the expectation that these animals be suited for the job...for example HUS. Versatility is great but I think it involves more than just changing the type of saddle you are sitting in.

TexasMissy said...

What is meant by "pitching them away"?

Ohio said...

I love the saddleseat. Think of it as bareback with stirrups and a tree, good time to practice balance! I credit the saddleseat training for my ability to stick on anything, no matter how far to the side they want to jump.

melissapc said...

that stuff is amazing, it dries the saddle a tad so you stick s little better

melissapc said...

oh, and have you seen the Wintec saddles? they have adjustable gullets:

verylargecolt said...

Jess - it's SLIPPERY!

And there are no knee rolls. I love knee rolls. Love them.

Of course you actually like your PDN and I simply remember those as "saddles that made my ass hurt."

I like couches!

verylargecolt said...

>>What is meant by "pitching them away"?<<

Giving them that super long rein they need to travel with their neck flat out in front of them, as is desirable for the AQHA show ring and (fortunately) is very natural for the VLC, assuming I don't F him up.

And yes, I'm going to be buying him a Wintec or something similar but just too many vet bills coming up this month to invest in a new saddle...for now we'll make do with what we can borrow!

icepony said...

Oh, VLC, I know EXACTLY what you mean with that saddle! I used to have to ride my BO's hot Arabians and NSH's in one of those, and it was downright nervewracking. For those who have never had the "pleasure" (and I'm using the term loosely), imagine putting a greased coffee table on your horse where the saddle should go - hard, flat, and slippery as h*ll!

I'm scheduled to go ride the SOG today; I'll post later how it went. I'm hoping for company in the arena today.

MsFoxy said...

Well as you know, Foxy has been tacked up with both a bareback pad and her real saddle. She did fine with both but we are on temporary hold due to the lameness issue. I did find a good barefoot trimmer that is about 80 miles away....I know there must be someone closer but at this point, if she is willing to come out and not charge me a completely ridiculous amount...I will go with it just to get it done. She sounds like a newer trimmer but has good pics on her website and her philosphy sounds about right. Best part of all is that she is female and a fan of Natural Horsemanship (I know, this is where you and I sort of split off! but Foxy likes it) and so I think may have better success with Foxy in general than all the "good ol boys" around here.

So hopefully I can get her out here, and then I am going to get some of those rubber boots (easy boots, old macs, whatever!) and hope that she may be sound enough to work lightly. Once I can get her sound enough to hack around the arena, I am going to hop on up there and hope for the best.

She is about as wild and crazy as your VLC....without the added testosterone and with a few more rides under her belt. And a successful dump, but hey, we'll just pretend that did not happen. She wants to play horse soccer! I can see it in her eyes :)

(perhaps that is just an eye booger)

Fleeting said...

Cdncowgirl - try your local Princess Auto. There's stores in Saskatoon and Regina. I was looking for some this past Christmas and I found some good ones.

SOSHorses said...

Ok Saddleseat is very slippery and TWH's have those issues also, especially when you are wearing polyester jods. LOL

Saddle tight helps but you can also get suede seat saddles. Bedford Tack in Bell Buckle, TN is a good place to get a inexpensive suede seat saddle.

**cdncowgirl Orange Pylons, try Granger Supply or Lab Safety Supply. You can look them up on line but don't be shocked at the price. They are not cheap :-(

You can also check with Lowes or Home Depot. You might have some luck there.

If all else fails contact your local county highway department and they may have some that they will sell you that are slightly faded or damaged that they won't use anymore.

SOSHorses said...

Oh, also, VLC if this is a saddle that you are going to continue to work him in you can if no one else is going to claim it. Take large grit sand paper and rough up the seat a bit. That will take the slick off of it and your jeans will stick better.

Sagebrusheq said...

It's tempting to ridicule knee rolls but my own instructor uses a dressage saddle that has blocks from hell and recommended I try it. Used it twice, hated it. Like Jess I like the old CCs like the PDN or Crump's Prix de Saute. My D saddle is a Stubben Tristan of '80 vintage, pencil roll, hard seat-so called (actually it's cushy compared to my McClellan, love 'em both). Same thing with western; you can have your lazy boy recliners, give me a smooth hard seat for long hours in the saddle. That's what calluses are for. However, there's no disputing taste.

re cones. As SOS has said the good heavy rubber ones aren't cheap, but worth the few dollars more. There are cheapos but they're crummy. 10 - 15 bucks per should do it. I've picked up all of mine by the side of the road where they were (no not stolen) discarded or left behind in the tall grass. I figure after riding by them for a year they become community property. Keep your eyes open.

Princess Jess said...

>>Jess - it's SLIPPERY!

And there are no knee rolls. I love knee rolls. Love them.

Of course you actually like your PDN and I simply remember those as "saddles that made my ass hurt."

I like couches!<<

I don't remeber my saddleseat saddle being all that slippery, but then, I was 10 when I started riding in it, so I'm pretty sure at that age you don't care what you ride on....

And I was thinking about this last night after I shut down the computer, but don't you keep your leg OFF in saddleseat? I mean, it's been about ten years since I rode saddleseat, but I'm pretty sure they're not designed for use of much lower leg.....

I LOFF my PDN, and figure if it's hunt seat, my ass isn't SUPPOSED to be in the saddle all that much, anyway. (I still think it's comfy, though... I've taken it on a trail rides and been fine).

You sound like you need a dressage saddle. I sat in my trainer's old Passier... OMG I MUST own one someday! You just sink right in.... SO comfy. I have a secret theory (don't tell my fellow DQs!) that the REAL reason they don't post the trot in anything above training level is because the dressage saddles are just so damn comfy that it's too much work to actually bother posting. :)

Besides, your old polo saddle is just a hair shy of being a dressage saddle, anyway.... and if you love knee rolls, new dressage saddles have MASSIVE ones.

Of course, if you got a dressage saddle, naturally I'd have to try to tempt you into coming over to The Dark Side. Bwa ha ha ha!

Magna Cum Mule Trainer said...

1. The Wintec "easy gullets" suck. I bought one and had to shave 1/8 inch of steel off (with a motor tool) of the extra gullets so that it would line up with the holes in the saddle. It takes 3 men and a boy to wrestle it in there.
And it still didn't fit my very round mule.
The best fit I've got for an English saddle for her is a Courbette Magic saddle, with an e-motion tree.
2. Lots of horses hate the double elastics. I use elastics on one side of my English girth, myself. I guess the don't like the wiggly feeling?

Anyway- from my end-
I've been at my parents all week. The mofo F2 or F3 tornado that hit Windsor, Colorado either swiped the barn or came nearby. Lost the roof off one of the loafing sheds.

I'm driving back today and just want to see my baby. I got so panicked and upset over the thought of something happening to her.

mugwump said...

The only way I know to get those is by an excursion of the late night appropriation committee...ahem.

mugwump said...

magna cum mule trainer-
Yikes!!! I knew that twister went through mostly horse property, I'm glad you didn't lose any stock...

Redsmom said...

Cathy, congrats on your successes with the VLC - don't be self-con self-conscious abut your "sissy" saddle as my friend Mr. Eddie would call it -- also, there's some kind of spray we used to sue to stick to English saddles on trail rides - also suede full seat breeches can't be beat!

On to the reason why I am postin without reading all comments: I CANTERED ON DUDE yesterday!!! I've been so scared to do it for so long that the fear had gotten way out of proprotion in my mind. We hauled down to the sand arena at the park yesterday and no one was around. I learned something VERY IMPORTANT. All I had to do with my very mature, smart and trained horse was breathe and say "Easy lope" in a soothing tone and he slowed down immediately and was under wonderful control. The extremely deep and damp footing helped. I've been glowing with pride ever since. We cantered in each direction a few times and did a pretend barrel pattern. He stopped and started under supreme control. I had been practicing transitions and halts before I tired the lope and he was listening and relazed so I thought I'll really regret it if I don't try it today. Tada! Sucess.

SOSHorses said...

Anyone got any advice on getting my 3yr old on the bit. She is having a big issue with me asking her to collect. When I ask for her face to bring her nose in she just throws a hissy. I have tried gentle pressure and thought that she would give as all my other horses have and learn that it is easier if she will give to the pressure but she is determined to find any way or position to do everything but what I want.

She is doing so well on everything else, yielding to leg pressure and flowing from a walk to a trot to a lope, but she will not give her face to round up.


crazyhorse said...

You can get large pylons/cones via Dover or SLT I believe...pretty costly so I just 'adopt' them from the tree trimming companies when they come thru here (ASSplungie or whatever the hell) or else get them little cheapies in the sporting goods dept. at Wal-Mart for $4...
On a side note, took the Doofus to another open show yesterday where we LOPED in a massive schooling class!!!! Okay so we didnt place but I was so proud of him as he held up his gait both directions, didnt freak or panic when the pounding horses thundered up behind him (I fully expected him to get a little blurry when a strange horse would run up on him!) but he was 100% good and I was so freaking proud of him!!!!!!!!! We ended up the day as high point walk/trot rider. I think we are ready to advance to the green horse LOPING classes at our local saddle club!!

crazyhorse said...

Soshorses, what I would do is bit your mare and leave her in her stall with JUUUUST enough contact on her face (you be close by but not IN the stall) and let her discover she is alone in her she relaxes, (and do both sides equal times/pressure) commence to tighten up the contact as if you were on her back...she is starting to associate the aggravation (she feels) of collection with you on her back and, being a mare, must blame with NO ONE near by, she will get used to the sensation of collection and ACCEPT it when you are on her...
Just my suggestion...hope it works...broke enough pissy mares in my lifetime to know how their pissy mare minds work...

verylargecolt said...

Soshorses - have you had her teeth checked? I used to ride a 4 year old who was resistant and I suggested they check his teeth and, voila, big wolf teeth causing him grief. After that he was fine.

Redsmom - CONGRATULATIONS! That's fantastic news. I am so happy you did it and it went great!

verylargecolt said...

Crazyhorse - congrats on the great show. That is wonderful news!

ellen said...

Hey the only saddle I had as a kid was a Crosby equitation cutback and I did everything in the world in it and loved it. We jumped, we trail rode, we did whatever. It does force you to find your own balance -- and to this day I can not STAND a saddle with "aggressive" knee rolls, thigh rolls, high cantle -- I feel trapped. I ride in Ansur saddles mostly, with the smallest knee roll.

Pylons can be had for relatively cheap from stores like Tractor Supply, Farm & Fleet, or Rural King -- in the automotive department. I like the stubby square ones, but you have to fight the soccer clubs for them around here.

Princess Jess said...


Do you want her to work "on the bit" or in a "frame?" Because there's a difference.

First and foremost, you should understand that work on the bit is extremely physically taxing on the horse, and many of them can't do it (correctly) for long periods of time until they've been thoroughly conditioned. That's why dressage tests are only a couple minutes long, yet those horses are FIT. They're like bodybuilders. I wouldn't ask that of a 3-year-old yet. Heck, I'm not asking my 5-year-old (almost 6) for that, and I dont plan on it until next summer. And even then, it will only be for brief periods at a time.

Her being resistant could just be her telling you that she's not ready- physically or mentally- for work on the bit.

I would work her with more groundwork. More longeing. Longeing with a surcingle and side reins. That way, she's not pulling against your hands, and you can push her forward into contact from the ground. I would keep them loose for now, because willingness to go forward and light, steady contact is way more important at this stage.

Quite honestly, IMHO, I simply do not believe that 3-year-olds can or should do collected work. But that's just my personal opinion.

Princess Jess said...

Oh, and I personally like Wintecs with the interchangeable gullets.

My friend has one and I can change the gullets out by myself.

My friend's mare is a WIDE girl. Like a barrel. The X-Wide gullet was almost a hair too narrow (it was okay, but could have been better LOL) so when the farrier was out next, we just asked him if he could heat it up a bit and widen it a hair. He did and now it's perfect.

My trainer also has a dressage Wintec and it's very nice for all of the horses that she has in training. Only one saddle works on everything, and it requires virtually NO care.

And they're not uncomfortable saddles to ride in. I think they're a great value. My friend was happy because she keeps telling me that it's the last saddle she'll ever have to buy.

Sagebrusheq said...


You may not be doing anything wrong. At three maybe she isn't ready for real collection (assuming you're not looking for a flex-o-matic response). The military started them at four and took up to a year of conditioning before asking for a rounder frame; or, reflecting my own difficulties and experience that way: maybe she's stubborn. I have one like that. It's a fine line with a sensitive type and I rely on my teacher's guidance so I wouldn't dare advise others when I have trouble advising myself. I'm reminded though of something I was once told, 'Everything the horse does is an evasion. It's just that some of those evasions are things we want'.


PS: I see others have expressed similar thoughts while I was away.

Heat Stroke in FL said...

Fugs - PLEASE post pics soon. I would love to see VLC in a saddleseat saddle, LOL.

My 3 year old girl is doing very well. I rode her yesterday and she was superb. I still need to update my blog. I even got pics!!

However, she is SPOOKY. I am working on despooking, but do not usually have to do this, so it is new to me.

Is ANYONE good at despooking (as in you have had good success) and if so, can you post some tips??

fuglyhorseoftheday said...

To give you an idea of what I really like to ride in, my dream saddle is a Barnsby Whitaker. I would kill for one of those! I used to work for a guy whose wife had one and I used it to exercise the polo ponies. You felt so secure, like nothing in the world could offload you. Excellent saddle.

Princess Jess said...

Wow, I'm a postin' fool today! I was even posting training tips over on COTH today... normally they intimidate me! I wonder what the deal is?

De-spooking (I have an extremely spooky horse, too, so I feel like we can be friends, LOL) Let's see, how can I word this so it makes sense?

My biggest piece of advice is this: when introducing them to something scary, take it away/back off BEFORE they spook at it.

It's better to push them to the point of *almost* scary, take it away, and then bring it out again (closer) until it's *almost" scary, then back off, etc, than to have them spook at it once.

Keep bringing it a little bit closer every time, then before they freak out, remove the Scary Thing and tell them how wonderful and brave they are for not spooking at it!

Yes, it takes longer, but I've found that I can get Jack used to most anything in a session or two, and then he's extremely good about it FOREVER. My goal was always to introduce new things without having him snort at it once, even if it means going super-slow. But once he snorts at something, it seems like he's convinced himself that the Scary Thing really IS scary, and it ends up taking longer. :)

Does that make any sense at all? (it makes sense in my brain, anyway)

mugwump said...

When I'm encouraging a young horse to collect I try to intoduce it with bending. I'll make light contact one rein at a time. Say a 12 foot trotting circle to the left. I'll concentrate on the feet, not the face....I try to push the out side hind foot towards the inside front. I keep light contact with the face, the inside rein indicating direction, the outside rein for support as needed. My inside leg is at the cinch, giving the horse something to bend around. My outside leg is about 8-12 inches back from the cinch, giving a strong push with my calf.
If I focus on cadence, and a perfectly round circle the horse will eventually round his back...then the face softens and the horse will break at the poll.
As soon as I get two or three strides with a soft face I relax, release my reins and legs, and let them come down to a walk.
I'm a HUGE believer in it's all in the feet. If they don't know where their feet are going they won't be able to soften in the face...

Sagebrusheq said...


Jess' method is good for this and that object. I use it initially to get the saddle on and so forth. Also things that run away, rather than stay still or come at them, embolden them. But beyond that there's no substitute for miles a day for a few years, where they learn to trust and ignore. You can't change their basic personality but every horse can improve. A few days ago someone mentioned that giving them a job to do, focusing on that, and riding through or past the rest makes a steady horse.

I used to go out with a pointed stick and a duffle bag strapped to the horn of my western saddle and focus on picking up trash on the trail. They got handy and blase pretty quickly. What couldn't be poked from the saddle meant getting off and on a lot. The duffle bag was unwieldy and made a lot of noise and neither you nor the horse knew what direction you would need to take next. Sounds a little whacko maybe but it really worked well. It's basically about focus on the rider's part and taking advantage of the way that nature throws unexpected problems and situations at you that are beyond your own ingenuity to devise. If you're focused on stabbing a can you have to maneuver the horse into some odd places. He learns from that. Learns leg and rein in subtle degrees, learns to stand stock still and ignore your leaning out this way and that- with a lot going on around him- until given the office to move. If at first he spooks when you get the can so what? You got the job done and soon he won't be. Forget it . After a few weeks you get a horse that looks for trash and stops on his own.

From that point you can impress your friends when you halt in the middle of a steep hill drop the reins and stand up on your saddle to cut an offending branch off the trail. It's all related.


Sagebrusheq said...

BTW, I haven't mentioned Merlin for a few weeks because it's all been more of the same. (and nobody asked me, Fugly... sniff**) He's a nervous nellie and I did more ground work with him than I've ever done before. A day or two is the norm but I don't want this particular horse to ever buck and scare himself. But I finally got on today, several times, then grabbed a big hank of Morgan mane and walked a few circles, carefully tossed the lead rope over to his off side and walked a few more to the right- and called it good. And it was.


Fleeting said...

On the topic of saddle fitting, I've just agreed to a 30 day trial (and possible purchase) on a 4 year old OTTB. The only problem is that he is NARROW. My current saddle is okay on him but pinches at the shoulder a bit. I'm hoping I can buy a big floofy sheepskin to raise it up, but if that fails, does anyone have any suggestions for a hunter saddle brand/type with a narrow tree? I probably don't want to spend more than $2000. The upside is that he doesn't have huge withers.

We unfortunately do not have any professional saddle fitters around here or I would pay to have one out... I want to make sure that he is as comfortable as possible so that I don't have any more issues than necessary in re-training him!

Lisa said...

Hahaha... saddleseat QH. It reminds me of my 4-H days!

Does nobody have a Wintec you can borrow with a changeable gullet? They really are great for hard to fit horses. Plus, you don't move in that grippy synthetic suede stuff!

I had a great ride on the filly today. About a week ago, she started rubbernecking and popping her shoulder when I asked her to turn, completely ignoring my leg as well. Not unusual for a baby... but can I tell you how difficult it is to sort that out when you have NOWHERE enclosed on the entire property!?! Let's just say we did a lot of moving sideways this week. LOL! Finally today the power steering kicked back in when she remembered mom always wins and there's no point fighting it.

Smurfette said...

Yes. AQHA had saddle seat back in the 70s. Never went over real big, but I knew a guy who rode his youth mare in it. Mainly consisted of making them raise their head and extend the trot until you got a "float." Thats about all a quarter horse could do to pretend to be saddle seat.

I spent one summer keeping a Arab country pleasure show horse legged up, while she was taking a break from training. Enter saddle seat. I FOUGHT with my legs, trying to get under me, never won. However, I found it not to be as unsecure as it felt. Mare was a spooky fool, and one day, I had the misfortune to be riding in the ring, which was located by a railroad track, when the train came by. Well, round and round we went, but when train left, both horse and I were together!!!!

Phoenix said...

Fugly, I've been following your VLC and I'm wondering, what's his, well, real name? He's gorgeous, and I'm glad to hear he's not being TOO much trouble :) Good luck!

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm no expert on saddle fit... Now that I have a horse with high withers, as opposed to the barrels I'd gotten used to, I'm looking for a better saddle too. I can use one of my saddles, but... neither of them really fits right. I can't explain, they just don't seem to be right on him.

Of course, I haven't actually been on his back in eight months. I don't wanna talk about it. I'm disgusted by the amount of time I've spent in a car on the highway, moving snow all winter, cleaning out the barn, and feeling nauseous. Things can only get better, right???

I got two rides on my coach's horses this week. One ride was a one hour walk-jog lesson, the other a quick tune up on the pony after a 3-kid lesson I taught (still wracking up practice hours). It is really really hard to ride a lope on a lazy pony when you're feeling like you could barf. Point is... I got on. I stayed on.

As for slippery saddles... CHAPS. Good suede chaps. I swear by em - and as much as I hate the side effects of this prescription, at least I can fit into my chaps again.

Monstah said...

There is no such thing as saddleseat here, I've seen a few photos online though and it looks bizarre!
Actually here your saddle choices are pretty much GP, dressage, or jumping.
That's a slight exaggeration, and people do in fact ride western, there are some nice endurance saddles available, and you can't beat a good stock saddle for breaking especially, (it's almost impossible to fall out of a good stock saddle!)
Saddle fitting can be rather a bugger with some. I've just bought myself a rather nice Kent dressage saddle that will fit my gelding, but I'm going to need to find something for "short, fat and white", my rather broad backed undersized appy mare. Not one of the dozen saddles I own is really a fit. I've been reading with interest on the basis that I'm doing sod all right now, as I'm past my due date, and not much use for anything outside of feeding out and the odd rug change, but have 2 of my own to bring back into work under saddle, 2 to "finetune" as they're in work with a friend, and only really greenbroken.
I also have one harness racehorse,(trotter) to bring back into work, (she's been spelling about 10 weeks), another young pacer gelding who is started and gaited, to prepare to qualify, and a trotter filly to start from scratch, and hopefully qualify for next season.
All this will start about 2-3 weeks after the bundle of joy currently kicking hell out of me from the inside decides to make his arrival.
I'm seriously thinking though that as it'll be about 6 months from my last ride I may be a wuss, and go and ride a friends gelding for a week or so before I start on mine.
At least he's quiet and sensible, and looking at the shenanigans going on in my yards at dinner time I think it's fairly safe to assume that mine are going to be a smidgeon hotter :)

Monstah said...

I almost forgot.
I totally agree re the teeth and dentistry thing. I had the dentist here about 2 weeks ago for mine, and all of them see the dentist BEFORE they get a bit in their mouth. It saves having to correct problems that have become habit, caused by things like pain from wolf teeth.
The rising 2's here were all done in anticipation of their being mouthed in the nmext few months.
I also agree with the comments re collection in the 3 year old. I simply wouldn't expect collection from a baby like this. If you must ride them at 3 then looking for acceptance of a contact is plenty.
I don't think there would be many 3 year olds around with the balance or maturity necessary for true collection. If your baby is willing to accept a contact then I would be very happy with that.

deanna may said...

I know what you mean about riding with your horse between your leg and your hand. When I get on a horse, it's totally natural for me to pick up a decent amount of contact, and use a lot of leg to put them into it.

My friend has a wee little solid paint, who is totally cute and quiet but still really green. I got on him (which was already silly enough, seeing as I am quite tall, and he is very small... well, not like PONY small, but small for me) and the first thing I did was pick up my contact. He was SO confused. He kept stopping and way overbending and he was clearly getting frustrated. And he wasn't really moving off my leg properly and so then I became hell-bent on getting him to respond to my leg and come into the bridle! Like I couldn't get him to just trot out, forward.

I finally got some decent walk and an okay -- albeit wiggly -- trot, so I had my friend (who owns him get on) and I could see what my issue was right away! He was quite happily trotting around on a loopy rein with nary a swish of his tail.

If I didn't ride with a lot of contact/leg with my VLG it would be a total gong show. He would sprout five more legs, throw his hips and shoulders every which way, and break into frenzied wrong-lead canters at every opportunity! I think in his case, my way is the better way! Haha.

OutRiding01 said...

I'm a strictly h/j rider as well and know exactly what you mean about having a hard time pitching him away. I personally think AQHA hunseat looks slightly ridiculous, but I've been riding h/j my whole life so I'm a just tad biased ;)

Anyways, I like my horses to be really adjustable and versatile so one thing I do is voice train them and train them to go off seat completely alone if I choose. If he has a good "whoa" on him, try sinking your weight back and down when you say whoa, but back it up with leg to keep him moving forward, just slower. Eventually he'll slow on his own when you just sink your weight (like sitting on the brakes), no face touching required. Kind of a built in half halt. If I didn't back it up with leg, I could bring my jumper from a gallop to a halt in a second or two like that once he got good at it.

Even though none of my horses was ever ridden western a day in their life, I teach them all to neck rein as well. Any of my horses could easily pick up barrel racing or gaming, dressage, cross country, etc. after I was done with them. I never did any of that stuff, but I think it's good for them to know a variety of things and are flexible.

Heidi the Hick said...

I agree with outriding: neck reining is a good skill to have.

AND I am really discovering the joy of stopping a horse with seat!

As for contact and leg... in western, a horse is trained to collect and stay in that frame, on a loose rein. (Sorry, I'm not really sure what english requires. Do you ride with contact at all times???)

If he falls out of collection, we give a lift (light bump) to remind him to round up. Of course my terminology here might be all wrong.

To get him that way, you have to really use your legs. Much more leg than hand.

Considering that I spent the first 15 years of my riding life only using my legs to hang on for dear life, I'm totally puzzled when riders from other disciplines accuse western riders, of not using leg. Huh??? It's all leg!!!! When I learned that, my life changed, I kid you not.

Now I'm learning so much more about riding from my seat. (My kids think it's hilarious when I tell them to ride with their butts.)

Heat Stroke in FL said...

Thank you Jess and Sage!

I never thought to take the object away BEFORE she spooks. So far, I have been making her face it until she gets over her fear and lets me rub it on her.

Normally, spooky horses don't bother me and I will ride through it, but THIS girl spooks like nothing I have ever seen. All I can think is HOLY COW I cannot stay on that. Thus, why I am trying to despook, LOL.

Twist said...

Saddle fitting is a royal PITA. I have a wonderful Antares saddle for my showjumper that I bought cheap and used, and when I bought it three years ago it fit her perfectly. Now that she's a big strong 8 year-old, it's pinching her shoulders. So, after trying several saddles and finding that none of them have a wide enough tree for a small horse (she's only 15.1 haha) we're looking at customs. It's . . . financially painful. So right now Lola has to tolerate a ton of pads and fleeces with a poorly fitting saddle.

And I agree with previous posters about neck reining. Even though my horse showjumps, she neck reins. It's saved my butt more than once in the showring, even if it has raised a few eyebrows lol.

In the training arena Lola continues to be terrified of liverpools. I don't know what it is about them - at home she alternates, depending on her bravery level for the day, between running at the fence and jumping it with at least five feet to spare or flat-out refusing to go unless she follows someone once or twice. She's jumped them at shows though, but of course I always have excuses as to WHY she chose to go over the liverpool at a show (one show had a black liverpool instead of a blue one, the last show we went to had a very muddy liverpool, she probably didn't see it, etc.). Other than that and slight issues with getting her on the bit (directly related, no doubt, to my atrocious hands haha) she's been lovely. Looking to move up to level 4 soon! :D

SOSHorses said...

Ok, I am going to give kudos to trainers of troting horses. I have only trained Gaited horses so some of the terms you guys are using are escaping me.

I guess I am wanting my girl to work in a frame. I do not want her to have to stay on the bit but I want her to learn that if she sticks out her nose and hollows her back I am going to ask for her to round up and bring in her nose.

so any specific advice on that.

SOSHorses said...

VLC, I had her teeth taken care of before we started with a bit. She has no wolf teeth, and was floated last spring. She is due to be checked again whent he vet comes. That is something we always check before saddle training.

cHAoS said...

Only an occasional commentor (but a Fugly addict!) but my heart goes out to you on this one! Just wondering if by chance you have tried an old delgrange on him (I know they can be hard to come by). In my experience the old PJ's (10 yr's or older) will fit most anything...You can sometimes find them on ebay and occasionally on the PJ Euros are the best! I had the same getting pitched forward problem (I blamed it on DD's and a broken neck!) and this saddle has helped tremendously with that. I ride many different horses and it fits most of them very well. Good luck and many thanks for all that you do!

Samantha said...

Fugly - I think I may have a better saddle solution for you.

I too have a recently started horse - a very large gelding - he's 16.3hh (Belgian x tb) who was rather difficult to fit. I ended up with a Regency brand saddle - they're lower end, but not rock-bottom 'made in India' or anything - it's actually English leather. I got it used on Ebay for $150 (including shipping) so I don't feel bad using it as a colt-starting hack around saddle.

Mine is an AP, but leans heavily on the dressage side - but what really sold me on it was how generous it was in sizing - it's a regular tree, but it fits my big bodied horse better than my full QH bar Circle Y. In fact, I suspect it might actually be a little TOO wide for him so I'm using a waffle pad with a half pad on top.

Hopefully that helps. :)

which_chick said...

Today I rode PH from the house down to the covered bridge and back (2.5 miles on the shoulder of a quiet, low-traffic hard road). It went great.

For company, I took along a friend leading a green-as-grass three year old gelding who needed to see the big, wide world. The friend and gelding followed us, frequently behind by fifty feet or more.

PH had a few minimal balks which we worked through. She also did a bigger balk at the flat bridge but then followed green gelding across. She refused entirely to go onto the covered bridge (the footing is wood) until I got off and led her across, back, and across again. She heaved a *big sigh* (she does that when she decides stuff won't kill her) and then we rode back over the final time to head home like she'd been doing it for years. If she stays true to how she's been up till now, she will not ever spook at the covered bridge again.

PH did a couple of Spook-In-Place maneuvers at other obstacles but they weren't balks b/c she did the SIP and then kept moving. The young dairy cows that trotted in a tight herd to the fence line to meet us were kind of scary. She didn't like the ruffed grouse flying up five feet in front of her, either.

Spook In Place is by far my favorite horse reaction to unexpected stimuli -- I sit it beautifully and find the whole thing kind of funny. (Discipline-wise, I ignore every SIP and continue on with the goal at hand.)

Traffic Safety Skills: Two normal cars passed us sedately while we rode along at the walk. No excitement there, which is good. A weird crop-spraying vehicle (wheels on ground, big stilts up from wheels to vehicle, could have driven RIGHT OVER PH) also went by but I hopped off and held her as we walked onward for that one. She didn't leap but did give it a big hairy eyeball.

Brakes: Totally on-line. Downward transitions MUCH improved with pre-cue stuff now in place. Fixing that worked the way I'd hoped it would. Yay!

I also learned today that we need to be better at standing-still-while-mounted. PH doesn't have more than twenty seconds of patience and then she starts to fidget. We need to work on this because I know she can do better. Projected solution: drill hq/forehand yields and sidepassing when horse fidgets. Offer opportunity to stand still when maneuver is complete. If horse moves again, drill more. Pretty soon, they want to stand still on their own and if not, well, you're teaching a useful skill to them so the time isn't wasted.

Steering: She's getting much better working off my leg, at least as that applies to "Get on the shoulder of the road, please." I think better rhythm of my leg bumps will improve this further.

Trotting: Horse is going along with steady gait and rhythm at the trot, does not feel tight, picks up and drops trot without feeling unacceptably strung out or stressed. PH also has *more than one speed of trot* and will stay in a selected speed without constant correction. Nice.

Areas for more work...

1. We shall make big circles and serpentines in the upper field. We shall do this with buckets to steer around and we shall do it at the Walk and Trot. Yes. Steering AND trotting at the same time. Feel the excitement!

2. I will introduce bending on both sides, start basic lateral work. Backing up (she does it, needs more practice) and sidepassing (has no clue yet) can be taught once she's got a grip here.

3. Does PH trailer load? Have I even tried? (Boy, is my face red. I haven't the foggiest. I've made a note.)

4. Have feet trimmed (because she will probably stand for that now) and start putting easyboots on her for every ride to (a) maintain existing feet and (b) accustom her to additional foot handling for farrier readiness.

(Man, this goal posting thing is really motivational. I'm getting things done. Go me!)

Chezza said...

VLC....check out and the HDR Synthetic saddles...They have a Dressage one for under 300. I have ridden them in lessons...very good.

Training update on my kids:
Chai and I are having lessons (sadly with a kid I used to babysit, but she is GOOD) and she has really helped me to her responding and listening to me after and before jumps. It gives me alot of confidence that she is listening to my seat and legs. My confidence is giving her confidence. YAY!

As for Kiz, we did some longing over poles today and he was doing such a nice trot over poles and I lifted the last cavaletti to 18" and to the left he went over awesome. I praised him, gave him a pat and sent him the other way. He refused...and spun and went back left...and got cantering through trot poles and then misjudged the last cavaletti and scraped a nice sheet of skin off his right rear. (poor Kiz). I let him walk and it was 'just skin' so I made him do it once to the right (and boy does he pick up those back legs now). Then I gave him a pat and praised him. Took him to the wash rack for cookies and clean up his scrape. POOR BOY! He handled it pretty well and aside from having to grow back hair he is unharmed.
I will be back to riding him as soon as I get a dressage saddle (had to return my borrowed one) as I just don't feel as safe on him in my CC.

Shadow Rider said...

Full seat jodphers...
it's the only way to go.

I once described riding in a cutback saddle to a friend, I told her it was like sitting on waxed cardboard wrapped around the horse. Now I had it easy, I showed a TWH, so didn't have to post in it, but I did once jump in one for a versatility class. Won too! :-)

Char said...

Hey Fugly...
I didn't see this in the previous comments so maybe this will help:

RE: Slippery Saddle Seat

If the saddele is crappy and you don't care what condition it ends up in....

Try ruffing up the seat with sand paper. I did this with a hunt seat saddle that was cheepy and really slick and it worked wonders - no more Armor-all feeling seat.

Hope that helps!