Sunday, July 8, 2018

A good morning

Because I know that sometimes there can be many reasons for a behavioral issue under saddle, I really wanted to also rule out my saddle fit as a cause. It's been quite a while since I last had the fit checked and I'm certain Gwyn had changed shape in that time. I contacted a local-ish saddle fitter a couple days ago and fortune had it that she could fit me in early this morning before another appointment she had further out. It worked out perfectly!

She spent time checking the current fit and determined that while the saddle was well balanced on Gwyn's back, her gullet size was too narrow. She showed me on the wither tracings how my current gullet was not quite right (MW from thorowgood) and how the wide would be better, especially after the wool flocking was rebalanced. If I was in the market for a new saddle, she recommended that we move to a hoop tree instead of a V tree. That is good information to file away!

In general she said the wool was in good shape, so that's good! Once the saddle was back together we went into the arena to test it out and see how it felt for both of us.

Gwyn has doubts about this whole thing...

I immediately felt balanced and not tipped around weirdly, so that was good. And Gwyn immediately moved off in the biggest, swinging walk I have ever felt on her. It was AMAZING.  We tried a canter under saddle but with not having ridden in over two weeks and her feeling REALLY good she was a bit too light and was crow hopping happily everywhere. But willingly picking up the canter when cued and not turning to bite at my foot.

So I guess there's that to know. Saddle fit should be checked if she starts exhibiting that behavior. She's such a good mare, I feel terrible that I didn't put two and two together before. But I've got it fixed now and that's what matters.

This is the face of someone who, despite being covered in poison ivy rash, is actually finally feeling better! I had a cooling scarf on my head and another one wrapped around my neck to keep my zipper on my sun shirt from irritating my chest.
So after the fitter left I went back up to the arena and lunged Gwyn, letting her get the wiggles out and she was SO bouncy on the lunge line and moving very uphill. I think it felt good being able to really move her shoulder.

She was sproingy, lol.

We had a great ride in the arena and I decided to go on a brief trail ride to see what the farm fields were like. Last year they were planted with soybeans, but this year it's corn. I didn't particular feel like fighting a wiggly, feeling good horse in a straight line through corn, especially since I really don't want to damage the crops at all (and there isn't a good field edge to stick to). So I got onto the road as soon as possible and headed out to the main street. From there I decided to just see how Gwyn did on the road.

We haven't road ridden here in Michigan because there is definitely some baggage left over from both our pasts. However, Gwyn was feeling good and I was pretty sure I could at least finish the block and get home. And if really necessary I could get off and walk.

Well, we got spooked by a motorcyclist and she went sideways down a steep bank and refused to turn around to get back to the more quiet road. But she did the bank drop really well! I was impressed. Good mare practicing for cross country! So then I figured since it was early ish on a Sunday that traffic wouldn't be too bad and we could make it. Like I just took it chunks at a time. We had one more incident at the main cross roads when a large box truck just really did not slow down early enough but there was enough space I could be off the road and steer her around to get her back under control.

We had a lookie incident when she saw the horses across the street from daycare and they came running over but I could let her stand in daycare's lawn and watch them and just breath a moment. When I saw another motorcyclist I turned her to face them and she did just fine. At a calm point we crossed the road and went over to the high school and walked around there. I wanted to see if getting to the fields on that side was possible and it seems not, because of a wire fence. Balls. We turned around and headed home.

She got a nice cold bath and I turned on the fans in the stalls. And I stayed relatively not hot, despite the rash I've got. My outfit seemed to work. I'm excited to use these cooling towels for endurance rides. I think they'll work really well for me.


  1. Th cooling towels are a life saver down here in SC. Glad you are feeling better and so is Gwyn.

    1. I am really loving having them. Evaporative tech is so cool!

  2. It is wonderful that the fitter was able to help you make your current saddle work! That sproingy canter depart makes me laugh every time I see it! :-)

  3. So glad you got the saddle squared away and she's back to her old self :) Loved the video of her being 'wild' on the lungeline.

    1. She thinks she's such a wild thing, it's hilarious. I just need to get the all clear to get back out and ride her with these issues fixed! I want another lesson!