Freeform update with a BONUS story
|June 6, 2014||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
I have exactly 20 min until I need to be in the barn doing treatments……ready set GO.
After the first ride I blogged about here, I got 2 more rides in the free form before I had to to return it to my friend
– a short (I was planning on going out longer but I could not make it happen) ride around my “orchard” loop that has a few short elevation changes (like 4….), a variety of footing, and tends to be a trail that Farley is *very* forward on and tries to dodge the nasty little start thistle clumps by not always going in a straight line.
– a pony ride out with Merrylegs. Ponying a horse puts different stressors on the saddle and rider than just moving forward and I wanted to make sure I didn’t randomly pop out at inopportune times, or that ML pulling wouldn’t shift the saddle.
I set up the saddle differently each time – different combination of pads, with/without breastcollar/crupper etc. and it performed well enough over the 3 rides that when it was offered to me for sale for a good price….I bought it.
I’m still not in *love* with it. I like it. It’s interesting to ride in. I can’t tell whether Farley has the same opinion. It’s going to take more miles and time to tell.
Three things pushed me over the edge to buying the saddle (beyond a really good price).
1. During one of our rides, at a big trot, Farley spooked at a tree branch/stick on the ground. If you’ve ever ridden Farley, you know this is her *thing*. She doesn’t break gait, it isn’t violent about it, but yes – my 100 mile horse who has taken me through more crap than imaginable is still not convinced that cut logs or sticks are *entirely* harmless. The spook felt totally different in the freeform. It actually popped me out of the saddle a couple of inches because instead of her popping beneath me and me continuing to sit on a relatively immobile firm object elevated as she moved….her back AND THE SADDLE curved below me as she arched her back like an offended cat. Trippy.
–> Solstice is more secure, but I don’t always need that security and the way I can feel her movement differently intrigues me.
2. Because shes such a strong trotter who really pounds out the speed with a giant stride, it’s hard for me to feel subtle differences in movement at that gait. She’s too good at it, and as long as she’s willing to go forward and offering me her big trot, it’s hard for me to make conclusions of how the saddle might be changing what she’s doing. The canter is different. On the first ride in the FF I noticed her stride was longer than usual. On the second ride I noticed she was playing with the canter – 1-2-LIFT…..-1-2-LIFT. The moment in suspension is more pronounced. She was using her hind legs differently too – it almost felt like she was “skipping”. Not in the way animals do when they are lame, but this free and easy feel like a kid skipping across the play ground.
–> She moves really well in the solstice too…..but it gave her white spots, even though there was no evidence in her behavior or on palpation that there was an issue. She is NOT a tough mare, so her lack of response to what is obviously uneven pressure confuses me….which is one reason I’m saying “what the heck!” and trying treeless.
3. As I trotted down a more technical portion of the trail (the one with all the thistle clumps that she tries to veer around) I noticed that I was slightly bracing before doing the sit down portion of the posting trot. Just an isty bitsy tiny bit….but it was there. It comes of not wanting to slam my butt and saddle into her back, and me not wanting to slam my hinney into a saddle that underneath all the leather and fleece, is still hard wood. As a result, I’ve gotten into the habit of not letting myself truly settle into the motion of her gait, and trying to protect her and I…and in the end introducing tension, and increasing the work load on my muscles. The freeform feels so different I found myself being able to release that tension and not “protect” her back or my hinney.
–> I think that we all develop habits – good and bad – with any piece of equipment we use regularly, including our saddles. The solstice works for me in a lot of ways so #3 is not a reflection of me “dissing” my solstice, rather it’s an observations. I think me working in the freeform for a while, or even alternating between the FF and the solstice will help me identify things in both saddles that will overall improve my position.
And now, a story from Melinda’s life for you
That brings us up to today. Where I am 5 hours away from my new saddle…..but still having fun, even if it’s the non-saddle kind.
What kind of fun?
For example, after a particularly long day (and night) Wednesday I was a bit fumble-fingered and brain dead on Thursday. The thought of my Grandma’s pool a mere 7 miles away got me through the last of the afternoon as I battled against a stress/dehydration headache. Minutes before leaving (and calling my grandparents to let them know I was on my way) I dropped my phone.
Where it promptly flew apart, the battery skittering across the floor.
I put it back to together.
It wouldn’t work. I thought maybe the impact of the battery hitting the ground discharged it.
Plug it in, it would flash a light, vibrate and go dead. Even if I left it charging for a while.
Even if it was ruined, normally I wouldn’t get unduely stressed by something like this – it’s why I have chosen a provider without a contract and don’t have expensive phones. My life style isn’t condusive to the longevity of expensive electronics – I’ve never ruined any sort of electronic by dropping it or getting it wet but it’s like endurance pulls: somewhere, someday – it’s just a matter of time.
Here’s the problem. This was an expensive phone. From my boyfriend, as a gift….6 months ago.
This is why I cannot have nice things.
Three hours later I had decided that I would be buying a replacement samsung galaxy, admitting to my partner I had ruined it within 6 months, and adding one more thing and expense to my long todo list, as well as putting one of those annoying facebook status’s up of “I broke my phone, please fb message me if you have anything…yada yada yada”.
And then I went swimming. Gloriously refreshing water. And ate dinner.
And took another crack at the phone.
After prying the battery out with a butter knife, I determined I had put it in backwards, reversed it…and voila! Working phone.
Time from dropping phone to figuring out backwards battery: 3 hours.
Minutes after fixing the phone I started getting text messages – “Tess has puked 4 times, should I take her to the vet?”. “Tess ate most of my guitar strap and is still puking”.
Wonderful. Once Tess finds something in the house that she wants….she uses her deviously smart brain to figure out a way to get the said thing.
If she really wants said object, she does a quick cost-benefit analysis and decides whether the scales are in her favor
Leather and stuffed animals are the usual culprits.
What works really well is keeping doors to rooms closed.
Which I had failed to do the day I left for Tulare when I found her in the music room chewing Matt’s beautiful guitar strap.
She was unceremoniously hauled out of the room, and Matt drove to the store to buy a new one with my promise of a check for the full amount.
Apparently sometime yesterday, the door was left open again, and Tess spying her opportunity, wholfed down the greater portion of the NEW guitar strap.
After dealing with Tess (no, don’t take her to the vet she’s already puking and has puked up most of the strap. If she doesn’t look back to normal by tomorrow night, call me. No, Tess is not the worst dog in the world – Reed chews pillows, Harley paces and digs in the trash. They are dogs. Yes, Tess deserves cuddly sympathy even if she chewed the strap) I drove back to the clinic to find….
The colic surgery horse that was recovering wonderfully was no longer quite so wonderful.
1 1/2 hours later I was in bed.
I did NOT get up early and go running this morning. But we will blame it on the fact that my knee still doesn’t feel 100%. And I get to cut myself some slack for running a marathon a mere week ago.
I can feel another “(insert the blank # of days) ’til graduation” post coming :).