|March 31, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Do you see what I see?
Funder told me “your saddle is off to the right, but you are centered on your horse”.
I found that odd because when I looked down at the front of my saddle, my crouch was generally lined up with the center of the saddle, which was also generally in line with the center of the pad, AND Farley’s centerline.
I did feel like I couldn’t quite get my hips straight but since I’m not a remarkably straight person I usually chalk it up to some inadequacy of my part.
It’s so hard for me to remember to do, and be motivated to do, tack adjustments.
Let’s face it. To really fix anything the whole damn thing has to come off the horse and usually there is a million thing to unsnap/untie/unvelcro until you can get to where the real problem is.
Nobody got time for dat!
So in the moment I sorta curse and poke at something and convince myself it is “fixed”, and that I will *absolutely* get it fixed before my next ride.
But then the long ride is done, I’m usually later than I said I would be getting home and it’s a mad dash to throw everything in the trailer and be on my way.
And if you ride as infrequently as I do, then it isn’t until that next long ride that you mount up and realize that it’s still not fixed.
But surely it can’t be as bad as I remember it? So I do some more minor cursing and poking and of course, it’s still not fixed.
Case in point. The position of my stirrup leathers.
On my very first trail ride with hills (the trails by my house are very flat) back in January I realized the stirrup leathers were too far back. It was IMPOSSIBLE for me to bring my leg and thigh underneath me enough to keep me balanced trotting down hill, especially if there was a sudden halt (or buck) thrown in.
But since I hadn’t actually fallen off the horse and all the afore mentioned reasons, it STILL wasn’t fixed when I went out with Funder last weekend.
However, finished my lunch in typical chow hound fashion, Farley being a complete ass about bucking (she must have heard my comment earlier in the week about how safe a horse she was), and still being on lunch break due to some un-named post pregnant women secretion business, I had time on my hands.
I unhooked one saddle bag. Untied the seat cover, unvelcroed the seat….and voila! managed to position my stirrup bar about 1/2” farther forward.
It was a bloody miracle. Gone was the struggle to keep my thigh in the proper position when trotting down hill, and as far as the bucking? Go ahead Farley! Give me your best shot! (she didn’t, perhaps sensing my current patience level with 16 year old ponies impersonating their 3 year old sisters).
I sorta kinda hoped that the saddle leathers being slightly off would also explain the saddle’s persistent tilt to the right.
When I pulled the saddle and pad off post ride, I had a perfect sweat pattern with no back soreness. Yeah! Proof that all was right in the world.
Except it wasn’t.
Because then Funder shared the pictures.
YEEPERS. (The one above isn’t even the worse one. THAT would be the one that my saddle is off center AND my stirrups are off as well. I just couldn’t bring myself to put it in public yet. Don’t worry. The time will come when I will feel the need to share “worst riding photos” and it will be posted)
OMG I have to fix that NOW. Pictures are powerful things…..
I suspected what had happened was that the specialized foam pads I velcroed to the underside of my free form (to form soft panels) had slightly shifted.
I went out to the stable the NEXT DAY and checked it out.
Sure enough, one of the pads had shifted about 1/2-3/4” at the back. The front was still perfect.
I *think* it was enough to shift the saddle over, explain why the front of the saddle wasn’t affected, and explain why I in the last ride or two (which takes us to the beginning of February, since I’ve been too lazy to get the saddle out of the trailer and just ride bareback at the barn) I couldn’t get my hips straight.
Note that I didn’t bother actually putting the saddle on the horse and mounting up – that would have been too much work. Much better to obliviously go on another long ride, convinced I have solved the problem.
Note to self. Be more OCD about my tack.
I’ve started another out of town externship (2 weeks). I don’t have internet where I am staying, so I’m writing these posts offline and then will post them whenever I get into town. Which will entirely depend on the frequency of after hours calls I get! My only internet on a day to day basis is my (rapidly pissing me off because it keeps freezing) smart phone.
They found Whitney’s dog. I’m trying to do what’s good for my mental health and not be too obsessive about the news. I’m also trying to stay out of, and not be bitter about the media in general. I am not choosing to make my grief into a public spectacle and really trying hard not to resent some of my classmates that seem to thrive by being in the spotlight right now. Each of us has a different way of processing our grief and if that is helping them, then how wrong can it be? I guess having been through a personal tragedy recently I’m angry at how oblivious some of the comments are and the assumptions of “what the family wants” – but again, who am I to define either the family’s or my classmates grief based on *me*?
I STILL have freakin’ poison oak on my arm. I am NOT reinfecting myself. They are NOT flea bites. It’s definitely a contact reaction (little blisters). And I am DONE with it. It’s just such a weird pattern. Reminds me of chicken pox. Only on my arm. EXCEPT ITS NOT CHICKEN POX. You know when something itches it’s like 1/4 of your self control well that keeps you from totally overreacting at things is already empty? Yeah. It’s like that.
ML is doing well. I’m slogging through a backlog of posts, but notes of when I got out to play with her last week are upcoming. She’s dominant, smart, and confident and if I’m being completely honest, sorta scares me right now. Because in another month it will be my job again to entertain that horse. And let me tell you. That is harder then in sounds for a pony that would probably be fully entertained by conditioning for endurance, but is WAY TOO YOUNG for that so I’ll have to think up alternative shit. Sigh.
The house: Thanks everyone for the comments and advice. Because our lease is handled by a property management company instead of directly with the owner, our situation is a little different from just not paying the rent. We are under contract with the PMC and for the sake of a future rental referral and/or credit, not paying the rent is not an option. There’s an upside to it as well: our massive deposit (3 large dogs) is safe and we will likely see (most) of it again! I think we’ve settled on renting for at least another year rather then buying and so now the nail biting begins on whether we jump ship or wait until the bitter end. Because really. With the year I’ve had, who knows what the bitter end might look like? Intriguing….
I need somebody to take off-kilter photos AND throw rocks at my head to make me move my tack around. What a PITA….
Gonna pm you about the rash.
(Glad the rent this is just a pita and not an emergency, though…)
You don’t have a tag for your saddle. We picked up the same saddle over the weekend and have the same issue I remember you having regarding it sitting on the withers. I wanted to look at the post where you discussed how you shimmed it up. Can you link that here for me?
It doesn’t look like I ever did a full write up of what I did….but you might be able to get better idea with the pics that are in the last half of this post here: http://wp.me/p4kCCN-1xP. The panels are just specialized pads that a friend gave me that were sorta worn out/older (http://specializedsaddles.com/fitting-cushions/) and I attached them with heavy duty velcro that I got at home depot. The cushions were old enough that the velcro they original had didn’t work. If I get a chance I’ll do a more thorough write up and post it here!
Thanks so much. If you do a longer post, that’d be great. Just those pictures were really helpful though.
Hahaha, your infrequent tack adjustments are so wonderfully the same as mine. We had this talk at lunch and it’s still freshly delighting. Speaking of…I still haven’t dealt with my uneven stirrup leathers..
Thinking of you every day!
endurance tack/gear is such a huge arsenal of crap that changing our “rig” is a total pain. . tack is so annoying..tack issues, even more…. What kind of saddle do you have where you can adjust your stirrups? I can do that on my Specialized but didn’t know there were too many other brands you can do that with ( it was part of why I chose my Specialized in fact)
Really wish jumping saddles came with that option because that would totally solve my current issue with my jumping saddle.
Glad your deposit is safe, that would be a major concern for me as well, moreso than finding another place.
regarding ML- you know it won’t be the end of the world if you get her home and “let her be” after her couple months of training. I am a big fan of putting concerted time on a youngster , for 30 days or so, and then leave them.. in a few months, come back and do some more stuff. She is still only 3. She will be fine if you don’t pick up and keep the momentum. Try not to put that added stress on yourself… you have plenty of that from other avenues in your life right now! Believe me, I learned this the hard way!
I’m riding in a freeform saddle. I like the sensation stirrup plate better – it’s wider so I feel like it distributes the weight better and it has bars that the leathers can slip on and off of instead of closed loops, so I replaced the freeform stirrup piece with the sensation one. I can position it *where-ever* I want because it’s all velcro underneath the seat. It’s the first saddle I’ve had the ability to do this with (well, I did own a specialized for a very short period of time but hated it so I don’t count it) and it’s SO NICE. Especially because I can count at least 2 saddles that I really liked EXCEPT for the stirrup bar position that I had to sell because it was an “irreconciable difference”.
My current plan is to turn ML out to pasture for about 6 months after getting her back. A friend of mine just offered me space in one of her pastures last week, which is a gift from heaven and makes that notion even possible. The struggle in my area has always been a lack of pasture. So then the horse goes in a smallish dry lot paddock, which is OK for an older horse and in fact I’ve found is as “good as” pasture for endurance purposes, HOWEVER I think it would be different for a young 3 year old. I just couldn’t in good conciousness do that which means I was going to have to walk that balance again between “time off” and “entertainment”. With this pasture now available I’m a LOT less apprehensive about the next year or so. The friend (more details on this whole situation as I get it hashed out) also offered to let me rotate Farley into the pasture, which means when it is time to pull ML back for a few months, I will TRULY be able to give Farley a couple months on PASTURE again, something I was only able to do once before, which preceeded one of our better endurance seasons. So very excited about that possibility. :). Anyways. More deets on that situation as I get the details hashed out.
I’ve been reading (and enjoying) your blog – sorry I haven’t been able to comment more often. I’m on my phone driving most of the time (I know I know I know) and I’m often thwarted.
just saw this response.. sorry.. and thanks for the response back.. really , you hated the Specialized??? I love mine, as much as the Duett you sold me.. (ok, I think that is still my all time fav though:)
The Freeform is treeless.. I looked at those way back when but have never been convinced of a treeless working well .. ( obviously it fits the bill for some horses). Great alteration on the stirrup bar.
So happy you got pasture. You girls will love it. I was stressing about pasture as well about a month ago because normally we pen everyone up this time of year to allow our limited pasture to grow in, so they have something to chew on starting in July… but I was in a pickle with Otto. I absolutely did NOT want to pen him up . I was looking for pasture close by but then had the added issue of finding pasture that would not be too lush for his companion, Cassidy, who absolutely can’t be on that sort of pasture for risk of founder.Anyways, long story but it all worked out, my neighbor has a pasture we are using and they get turned out daily to it.. and it’s not the best quality grass due to neglect , which is fine. I really only wanted it as Turnout space for the ever growing long legged wonder.
No worries on reading my blog. It has mostly been about jumping anyways.. 🙂 which is probably boring for the endurance folks.. but that’s just where things are at for me right now. I am having a blast. I hope to get out on the trails soon, maybe this weekend.
I used to think that my hatred of the specialized was because I had an older model, but the new ones feel the same too. There’s just got to be something with the way my hips are built/thigh angle etc that doesn’t work for me because I know they work for a LOT of riders and horses!
As far as treeless goes….as you know that was the only thing I was unwilling to try on Farley because I was darn sure that it wouldn’t work on my high withered horse and I was very skeptical of the weight distribution and physics. So yeah. I hear you. I only tried out of desperation and I’m still in shock that it’s working so well. Time will tell.