Monday, July 19, 2010

Weekend update 1: Rodeo & (no) new saddle...

This weekend was the 40th annual Corn Palace Stampede Rodeo, a 4-day long, major summertime event for Mitchell. Inevitably hot & sticky, the crowds don't care, and this year was no exception. The stands were packed all four nights, the streets were lined for the parade, and vats of chili disappeared in record time at the cook-off Sunday morning.

T was volunteered (not by me) to be a judge for the rodeo parade Saturday morning. He had a ball, of course. And also ended up helping out checking IDs at the contestant gates all four nights. Me? I went to watch!

Parade pics:
Of course there were queens...

and whatever the requisite amount of tractors is,
the quota was more than met.

There were clowns - and the Ethan Trail Riders,
a Stampede staple!
(they always park the cars and rake during the barrel runs),

if you enlarge the picture,
T's the one under the canopy
on the far left in the cowboy hat & shades

There were wagons...

...and mules.
The trainer who started
Sunny for me,
with his latest long-eared project.

The rodeo entertainment...

Yes, that is a real little girl
on a very small pony
on top of that trailer.

The "Texas Kid" standing next to her also rode in.
On a Brazilian Gir bull. (HUGE)

This little lady sat next to me
and enjoyed every minute of the spectacle.

Our kids declined to attend the parade - M was working the state trap shoot all weekend (that's him under the yellow umbrella scoring) although he did go to the actual performances on Saturday and Sunday night and enjoyed every minute of the action. H said it was too early and too hot.

Weekend update 2: Sunny & the saddle...

The saddle - yep, had to try it - didn't work out, darn the luck.

Sunny was not thrilled at all initially, and even after he stopped walking on his tiptoes the whole works felt rolly. He's way (maybe I should spell that WEIGH!) too round, and the cinch I dragged along probably didn't help, but the saddle didn't feel like it sat down on his back properly. Even cinched up snug, within the first few minutes the pad had slipped back and wanted to go sideways.

The mosquitoes were terrible in the grass that we ended up in the driveway. Not conditions conducive for a great test, but it didn't feel good enough to keep going for very long.

Sunny's too round, too witherless, and too flat backed for this one - even when we pulled the pads and set the saddle on him "naked" it sort of floated oddly above his shoulders. Sigh.... What I have might not be perfect, but it's a darn sight better than that. Maybe I could pad him differently, but I've done that whole trial and error business too many times to want to do it again. So I guess the right saddle for the two of us is still out there... somewhere...

Form & function both get a resounding "bleh..." here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saddles, saddles everywhere...

I have too many. We have three horses, and there are 8 saddles taking up space in various corners at the moment, and T still hasn't found one he likes...

But would one more really be so bad?

This weekend we scoped out the saddles available at the local tack place again. T's still looking - he really needs something other than the one he's been using. for both his sake and Rufus's. Trouble is, T needs a 16" seat. And it needs round or at least rounded skirts (short-backed Arab), and a tree that will fit a narrow-ish horse with withers. It's not an easy combination.

The only 16" seats they had are brand new Colorado A-forks. They're gorgeous, of course. And the owners will let him take either of them to trial if we want. The price tag is steep, though, and we haven't checked out the local saddle repair shop yet. The owner's been sick and it's been closed, but her ad's back in the paper so he has an appointment to check things out next week.

My dilemma? Wandering around I fell in lust with a well-used, round-skirted Hereford roping saddle that sat - on the stand at least - like it was made for me. It's a bit dinged here and there, but the tree's solid. I don't really need another saddle... But the price is really good. And if I let T trade a couple of the ones sitting around the house in on his...

I may have to go back and look at it again this weekend. Maybe try a test-ride....

Monday, July 12, 2010

Weekend update: Finally, Riding!

I've been scanning everyone's riding posts with jealous eyes these past few months, wondering when I'd actually get a chance to hear some hoofbeats on the trail myself. So, I'm thrilled to report that I've actually managed two rides in the space of a week (well, three if you count the 5 minute jog around the pasture on Sunny Saturday a.m.).

Holiday Monday after the 4th Rufus and I had our ride - doesn't he just look thrilled?
You'd think we loped 10 miles
rather than the four we walked

He was a good boy, and didn't have hysterics over the moving road-carpet of baby frogs we encountered, although he did look askance at the plinking and plashing from the ditches as the bigger hoppers hit the water. Most of the ditches are still brim-full from all of the rain, and the frogs are taking advantage of the water to multiply like crazy - hopefully in such numbers that they're cutting down on the mosquito populations at the same time!

This past weekend we loaded Sunny up - first horse in the new trailer! YEAH!! - and headed over to the vets' place for a ride. The trailer must ride okay, as he loaded nicely for the return voyage, as well. I got a hard time for letting him turn around and walk out when I unloaded him, but really - he'll back out if I want him to, and given that he can stand completely sideways in the trailer with room left over (yeah, I know, I have a short horse end to end, not to mention top to bottom!) I don't really think letting him step out head first is that big a deal.

We rode about 8 miles walking most of the way with a bit of trotting here and there. Sunny was prince charming considering he hasn't been out of the pasture since last September/October some time. I didn't take the camera along, so no pics, unfortunately.

Passing the first of several herds of cows we encountered the two Quarter Horses in the group had "avoidance issues" and kited backwards repeatedly until we'd passed them. Not sure what was up with that, as both are seasoned roping horses - herding anxiety? They did fine with all the other cows we saw, including the three or four loose ones (the owners were in the process of putting the fence back up) that spotted us coming and high-tailed it for safer ground.

In contrast, both of the "flighty" Arabians, Sunny and Rufus, checked the bovines out and moved on - Sunny kept looking around to see what exactly the other two were so worried about. You could almost see the thought process: "Huh... I see cows... something out there must be scary...". He just kept walking along head up, ears swiveling busily as he tried to spot whatever they were so concerned about. Of course, I was giggling to myself and trying not to smirk. *grin*

Thankfully, after the initial cow episode aside, it was an uneventful ride. We had enough breeze to keep the bugs off, which was nice since it was also pretty warm. There were still a ton of tiny frogs hopping every which direction.
In the trailer post-ride

In other news of my world - M had his second riding lesson. (He's getting so TALL!) I took some pictures inside, but managed to capture nothing but blurrrr.

He rode Justice, a 19-year-old Arabian who's seen a lot of kids. A really lovely boy not just personality-wise. He looks about half his age.

Thunder's gash is almost completely healed -
This is actually from last week. This week it's just a fine black line with hair starting to grow.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

Sorry about the sporadic posting, but between being gone most of the week, and as busy as the weekends have gotten - not to mention the lack of anything substantial to report on the horse front, well...

Ducky is getting bigger.
Soon s/he'll be going to live with someone
who has ducks.
But for now the spare bedroom
is the duck room at night,

and days are for paddling outside in a box of water.

The inside of the horse trailer is now clean and disinfected. I love trailer mats, but I don't want to move them by myself again. T helped me get them back in - or they would have stayed out!

Sunny the escape artist.
One reason why I like having
a bottle of green Tabasco sauce on hand.

The horses all had a pedicure yesterday and a dose of wormer. Thank goodness for the stiff breeze we had, because the mosquitoes are awful - all the rain is keeping the grass in, but it does have a pesky downside.

The horses were mostly good in spite of the bugs, however, although Sunny had the fidget and Sahara decided she didn't like the fly sprayer. I can sure tell they haven't been messed with much this summer.

And yes, that is a top down pic - I managed to snatch a few minutes of riding tonight. Rufus and I have a date for a ride tomorrow a.m., but I haven't had Sunny out at all. Bless his heart, he doesn't fuss if I hop on and steer him around the pastures with a leadrope - although I wouldn't bet on his manners holding if I tried heading down the road cold turkey without company after no real riding since last fall.