Saturday, May 23, 2009

Catching up

Okay - I'm down to only 47 new blog posts to read. Some of you guys are way to prolific! Just kidding, as H would say. But getting caught up on a week of horse happenings may take me a day or two!

I got my horse time in yesterday. Headed out to the farm eager to try out some of the exercises Mary showed me. Brought the horses in - they met G's new bull, who is in isolation from the cows (he's lonely) across the fence in the lot where the yearling calves used to live. I was a bit surprised to see this huge red guy in their instead of the four little heifers, but he just hung out and socialized. At one point, he and Amyra were sniffing noses, and he must have smelled good, because I swear she licked him.

Anyway, penned the herd up in the lot, and took an English-saddled Sunny out into our usual field. He proceeded to be a pill. Wouldn't stand to be mounted, and once I was finally up he was all stiff and on his toes. So we spent twenty minutes doing a "feet will stay planted while I get on" reminder.

But he still felt... not hunchy, but all sort of tense underneath me. So I pulled his saddle off, and he gave this big sigh and started licking his lips. I wasn't giving up, though. I hopped on bareback - he stood perfectly, and we worked on big walk, small walk, half-halts and walk trot transitions, along with some neck suppleing exercises for about 45 minutes.

I've been thinking about this. Sunny's usually only really fussy about things when he's uncomfortable. The saddle itself fits him, but there are a couple of other things I can try. First, I need to get a longer girth - he may slim down some, but I think the one I have is a bit too short for him, and using the extender is a) rubbing a spot in the stirrup panel, and b) setting the girth off center.

Second, I need a wither-relief pad. He's so round, that by the time I've ridden for even a few minutes, the pad has worked its way tight over his withers. Really tight - even when I've left a nice tent in it when I saddle.

And third, I need to find a breastplate that really adjustst to fit him well, or figure out how to make the one I have fit better. He's mutton-withered, and fat as he is, the saddle just wants to slide round when I mount unless I have it girthed super tight. Neither over-tightening or slipping can be comfortable. A well fitting breastplate should help that problem some.

Other than that, it was a successful evening. And if it's not raining too hard this afternoon, we'll try again.

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