Friday, January 4, 2013

Back in the (new) saddle!

New Years Eve was amazing. I finally rode!! I hadn't ridden since Thanksgiving, due to the knee injury and horrible weather. It was amazing. We only did walk-trot, doing circles in the small area of the arena that wasn't mush, focusing on not letting his shoulder fall in nor his hind quarters fall out while bending.  But boy it felt good to be in the saddle again.

Speaking of saddles, allow me to introduce Roxane, my new saddle! 
This is a Stubben Roxane, which I purchased used from a friend-of-a-friend. For only $900. Including a cover, and including the Stubben stirrup leathers and irons. And it was delivered by a hot guy who drove an hour up the coast to drop it off at my office. It's barely been used, is in immaculate condition, and to top it off he let me have it on trial for several weeks! SCORE!!

I haven't jumped in it yet, but it was so comfy during the flat ride that I didn't want to keep the poor guy waiting forever, so I officially bought it. Plus if it doesn't work out, I can always sell it. At a profit.

To catch up on our winter progress, most of my barn visits have consisted of grooming and feeding. I also have practiced my clipping skills by doing designs on his neck. I figure if it looks too horrible, I can always do a heavy-necked trace clip or something.
Heart and half-moon
 The half-moon came out more like a pac-man, so I abandoned my true calling to do a fleur-de-lis. I'm gonna need different clippers and lots more practice before I can handle that!  My trainer has offered a few times to help me "finish" clipping him. I think she's mildly embarrassed by my horse's fuzzy coat and childish designs. But too bad - I love 'em!

Even though I wasn't able to ride for a few weeks, I have gotten some lessons on how to bit-up, aka longe him with side reins. This is a really cool training tool for when you can't ride. Here are my main takeaways from the longe lessons:

Proper procedure:

  • Start off without side reins to warm up in each direction. Then connect so that his nose is just a few inches in front of the vertical.
  • When walking or trotting, make sure is at a forward pace - to almost breaking. Unless you're specifically working on slow trot. Need to make sure he is always marching forward.
  • If he falls out of a gait, do not rush back into upwards transition. Its no longer about obedience - its about demanding balance at all times.  If he falls out because he's getting tired or unbalanced, that's okay. Wait until current gait is balanced and then ask for nice upward.
  • Its okay to have the whip in front of us. Use it to prevent falling in.
  • Do not crack the whip. Only flick it. (This is a hard habit for me to change!)
  • Use the same verbal commands you'll use under saddle. Keep it consistent.
  • Try to minimize hip swinging, and head/neck counter-bending. Little tugs plus clucks to keep him focused on me.

Notes from Hemie's trainer rides and bit-ups:

  • Hemie falls in on the circle, especially when tracking right. Need to block by having whip in front of us when longing, or by dramatic inside leg aid on shoulder. Kick!
  • Hemie will still sometimes counter canter when tracking right. Need to move hip to the inside to correct.When riding, note that dramatic outer leg aid (moving back towards hind) is okay.
  • Hemie is doing good with increased contact, both at bit-up and under saddle. Keep this level of contact going.

Tomorrow, we take our stool sample to test for worms! Ah, the joys of horse ownership. Weather permitting, I'll get a lesson too!


  1. Glad you're back in the saddle. I like the roxanne. :)

  2. Congrats on finding a nice saddle at such a good price! Enjoy your lesson. :0)

  3. Yeah! Glad you can ride again! Congrats on the new saddle.

  4. Great deal on a great saddle!

    And interesting commentary on the longe lesson - that's how I do it too. Glad to have some confirmation! :)

  5. yay for a new saddle!!! :) What a great way to start the year!

    Love the clip art lol.. i thought it was a candy cane and heart lol!

  6. Can't wait to hear how you like the Stubben...I'm looking at them and very interested!

  7. Hi there! I'm a new follower directed this way from The Owls Approve blog! I have a great admiration for eventers as I myself do what you guys consider "the boring phase" :)

    My own blog follows life with two retirees and my new half Andalusian mare.

    Looking forward to following your adventures!