Monday, February 11, 2019

weekend news: in chapters

Part the First: I bought the damn saddle haha.

I love dragging out a story for as long as humanly possible as much as the next girl, but this saga has officially concluded.

but omg guys we rode outside!!! at faster than a walk!! and jomped too!!
Basically you already know most of the relevant details:

- The saddle appears to fit Charlie in all the important dimensions.
- I freakin love it for myself.
- Charlie has gone well in it.

i feel good about this
The only issue I had with the saddle after last week's jumping lesson was that there was a bit more movement at the point of takeoff than I felt quite comfortable with for a newly purchased saddle.

my prolite half pad has three pockets per side, and two sizes of shims that can be used separately or together
It's totally normal for there to be some movement, and some degree of "float" under the panels at the most extreme point of the horse's bascule (I found this article helpful and informative on the subject), just by nature of putting a rigid structure on the horse's dynamic and articulated back.

current configuration: large shim up front, small shim in back, no shim in middle pocket
As with everything in horses tho, it's all about balance and moderation. For me, I wasn't completely satisfied with the degree we were seeing with the L'Apogee. Thus the trial extension and half pad experimentation.

we interrupt this broadcast with a doozy of a slip on the wet clay tho, ugh. charlie was fine luckily!
It's so crazy to me that everything with horses is such a game of millimeters. My first test ride with the different shims (just a simple flat ride), I had a big shim in the front pocket and a small in the middle, and felt like I was posting up Mt Everest with every step of trot. It was insane, I kept losing balance and getting left behind.

still a star tho!
All I kept thinking was, "If this is what the saddle needs to fit better on Charlie, there's no way it's gonna work for ME!"

Half way through the ride I couldn't stand it any more and hopped off to move those small shims from the middle pocket to the rear pocket (they were the wrong shape but for a quick ride it was fine) and was immediately relieved to have balance restored to our universe haha.


So that's the configuration I used (tho obviously with the appropriately shaped rear shims swapped in instead) for a lightning fast jump school before full dark. We jumped like.... four things, and nothing particularly large. I literally just wanted some more video footage (above).

The video is obviously a bit limited bc of the circumstances, but it was enough for me. I felt good, the horse still felt good, and the shims appeared to reduce the noise I had seen in our earlier jump video.

do you ever feel like.... you're being watched?
Another important detail to consider? I've been riding Charlie a TON since the saddle arrived for trial. Every day, generally for an hour (tho obviously with a lot of walking and stopping involved). For everything from low key conditioning type rides or hacks, to focused dressage rides, to jump schools.

for one brief moment it looked like the cat was legit considering jumping down onto charlie...
And actually I've been tracking all this in the EquiLab riding app that I'll probably review my thoughts on sometime in the near future.... It's been useful tho for ensuring I'm logging adequate mileage to test the saddle.

those barn cats are such sneaky little beasties...
Especially considering before and after every ride I've been palpating the crap out of Charlie's back, looking for the slightest hints of back soreness. I thank my lucky stars every day that Charlie doesn't suffer with the same chronic sorenesses in his back that always plagued Isabel (unless he has rainrot, in which case he is DYING OMG).

And fortunately, that has remained the case throughout the saddle trial. So. That's that. I finally pulled the trigger this weekend and am the proud owner of a new-to-me L'Apogee monoflap cross country saddle! Woo hoo!!

omg we rode outside again!! 
Which is mighty convenient bc we're really starting to get hints of impending spring around here! Obvi there's still a few weeks of winter left, historically our worst actually. But still. The days are getting longer! We could actually ride outside after work twice this week!

and during daylight!! on a workday!!
This magical sunset hack through the cross country fields was exactly what I needed too. It was so pretty out there, and so nice to be riding out in the open outside of the dusty tiny indoor again. And all those xc jumps.... oh man it was SO tempting to aim Charlie at a couple of them!! Alas, I don't want to be that asshole who tears up the ground tho, so we wait.

charlie thinks he deserves treats for the fact that the sun is still up. lol...
We're not just sitting idly by tho. I mean, obviously hacking out is always fun and relaxing and is an important and refreshing part of my approach to riding and working with Charlie. It's a critical aspect to the whole "enjoying each other's company" piece of the puzzle, part of those "in between" moments that color the whole horse experience.

But ya know. I really love the training aspects too haha.

one day in the not so distant future this ground will dry and we can actually jump some of these things!
Luckily, regarding that, two months into the new year and so far my plan of investing in educational training opportunities monthly is still on track. This weekend we went to a super cool dressage + cavaletti clinic taught by the dynamic duo of my long-time dressage trainer C plus upper level event rider K!

dis charlie's "Tired but Proud" face
The clinic was a really neat format with the ring split into halves (roughly 20x30m each). Riders spent the first part of their lesson with Trainer C in one half working on their dressage fundamentals, then moved over to the other side of the arena to put those fundamentals to work over cavaletti exercises with Trainer K.

i can't wait to share the full post. charlie has come so far, guys <3 <3 <3
It seemed like a pretty inspired clinic idea, rolling all sorts of attractive qualities into one big fun day! I've been dying to get back to a lesson with Trainer C for a while now (again, per my stated goals for the year) and this arena is legit one of my all-time favorites haha. The footing is so magical and the horses all seem to love it there.

this photo of charlie and his spicy little nugget of a trailer mate makes me LOL
Charlie was a super star for the lesson, tho actually we ended up working more on me than anything else. I have lots of notes (and media! thanks Austen for all of these pictures!) to share from the day, so stay tuned for more soon.

more lol'ing happened when said nugget needed a cooler after the ride but all i had was charlie's QUARTER SHEET. and, it totally almost sorta fit hahaha
For now tho I'm just excited to see all our preparations and plans and hopes and dreams for the upcoming year to start materializing. Starting, naturally, with the year's earliest outings and adventures haha.

Is anyone else feeling hints of spring too? Or maybe you're still buried under snow and ice?

41 comments:

  1. Soooo excited that saddle is going to work for you guys. Plus your dressage is kicking it, so I can't wait for you guys to tackle this year's shows!

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    1. thanks so much for coming out this weekend! i'm pretty excited about where charlie is right now, and it feels really good to really put all these pieces together. here's hoping we can keep it up lol!

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  2. YAY! I'm glad the shimming helped. I love the prolite pads.

    The little pone wearing charlie's quarter sheet made me LOL.

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    1. dude that prolite pad is freakin awesome. it's like three years old and is used almost every ride (not with the hulsebos dressage saddle, but with everything else) and the shims are still in perfect, non-compressed condition. it's pretty cool material!

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  3. Woohoo! So much good stuff! New saddle that sounds pretty perfect for you guys and a fantastic clinic too?! Plus outdoor rides! What more do you need? Besides actual spring, of course.

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    1. ha yea, actual spring would be nice!! (i say this as i look outside my window at the new overnight snowfall lol....). but yea, lots of good things happening around here, lots of reasons to be happy! i can't wait to write about the clinic, it's so much info to synthesize tho!

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  4. Woohoo! how exciting! vive la cuire fran├žaise! (Long live French leather...?) lol

    I'm living vicariously through you being able to do stuff outside! We are buried in snow and ice with more snow coming.

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    1. ha vive la french leather indeed! i've kinda purposefully avoided looking at french saddles in the past bc i had SUCH a tough time fitting my arab mare, and was extremely reluctant to go with foam panels that couldn't be adjusted. charlie luckily tho, bless his TB soul, is a much more straight forward fit. and after having spent more time sitting in these saddles, i definitely understand the attraction!!

      and yea, boo snow :( we just got new snow last night too so it's def gonna be a while before we can actually get outside with any consistency! oh well, soon enough!

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  5. Yay I'm so glad it ended up working with a simple fix! You look so tight and sticky in it!

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    1. thanks!!! my butt definitely feels happy in the saddle :D

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  6. You said hints of spring and it immediately started snowing. Ugh!

    So happy the saddle worked out!

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    1. omg i know right??? i looked out my window this morning and was like, 'i guess i deserved this after tempting fate!"

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  7. We are gearing up for another winter storm with lots of ice and I am just over it. February is a last hurrah and I just want March to be here because the end will be nearer in sight.

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    1. ugh yea i'm with ya 100% on that. march is actually usually a bit brutal here just bc it's soooooooo long. but i'm still ready for it!

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  8. Yay for the saddle! I'm so glad it worked for you two! And I can't wait to see the dressage post! Just that one picture looks fantastic and you guys look AWESOME <3

    I don't think it's spring yet here. It took a while for the results of the polar vortex and other weather to reach us, so Vegas got snow last night lol. It didn't stick at lower elevations, but there was still snow!

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    1. oh man i'm so excited to write the dressage clinic post too, hopefully i can finish internalizing and processing all that info into something cohesive and meaningful soon!

      and wow, snow in vegas? how often does that even happen????

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    2. I can't wait to read it!

      And not often lol. But I remember getting a good 3 inches of snow fall in 2008. I believe it got a teensy bit of snow a few years or so ago, but I wasn't there so I don't really remember lol. It doesn't happen often though!

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    3. that's unreal. i can't even imagine it haha. then again tho the one time i ever went to vegas was in JULY so.... yea.

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  9. OMG that quarter sheet, BWAHAHAHAHAH!!!

    And congrads on the new saddle!

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    1. anything to keep the little nuggets toasty!!!

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  10. Yay saddle! I love my prolite pad. I don't use it on Maestro but it was perfect for Phoenix and now my friend has it on loan for one of her horses. Really it's so versatile and horses seem to love it.

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    1. it really is such a great pad! and the shim material is so so so nice, it does such a nice job of distributing pressure without compressing to nothing.

      the only thing i sometimes wish it had was sheepskin, and sometimes i toy with the idea of DIY-ing a sheepskin lining. not sure how well that would work out tho, but who knows?

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  11. Yay congrats on finding a saddle that works for both you and Charlie! Curious about the movement on the back - is that something you could feel? Or see on the video, or both? I've never noticed it (but maybe that's just because I only do tiny jumps, lol)
    Love the pic from the dressage portion of the clinic, looking good!!

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    1. yup it's something that's actually pretty easy to spot once you start looking for it. the moment when the horse's back is most arched there is likely to be some degree of "float" between the rear panels of the saddle and the horse's arched back. it becomes a problem if the saddle is rocking so much as to consolidate all that force and pressure to the small sensitive area behind the horse's withers.

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  12. Nothin like that new saddle swagger!

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    1. ha oh man, i'm stupid excited about it tho ;)

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  13. Congrats on your new saddle!!! It’s so exciting when you can ride outside again! :)

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    1. omgosh it is SO NICE to get outside, even briefly! alas we got more snow and ice today so it's not spring yet. but SOON!

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  14. Congrats on the new saddle! Seems like it checks all the right boxes.

    Love the outtake of that slip... glad everyone was ok. Eek!

    The clinic sounds like such a fun and productive way to spend a day. Very cool!

    I feel the spring vibes as well and am looking forward to ride season amping up!

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    1. thanks - lots of good things happening all around, hopefully will have more to write on at least some of it ASAP!

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  15. It's so pretty, and shiny! Now you can have EVEN BETTER JUMPING ADVENTURES!

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    1. yasssssss!!! that's the hope, at least haha!

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  16. Awesome on the saddle! I’m so glad it worked out with some simple shims. Now if the ground would dry you could get out and school those tempting xc jumps.

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  17. Saddle! Yay!

    Oohh the clinic sounds SUPER cool.

    And your outfit for it is perfection.

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  18. WHOOO saddle!! Also, that dressage pic is awesome. Can't wait to hear more details.

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