As most regular readers have probably noticed, it’s been a little content-lite around here of late…and very horsey-content-lite. There’s actually a reason (aside from my laziness and lack of motivation) for that.
I was dealing with a frustrating and somewhat disheartening issue with Mimi. Even since last year, I’d started having some intermittent problems with her tripping on the hind end, specifically when we were working in the sand arena. I did some basic evaluations of how she moved in-hand (sound), gave her a good trim, booted her all around…and it would still happen, every time I would ride in the arena, we’d hit a deeper patch of sand, and she would stumble or catch her hind end.
It got really, really frustrating, to the point where I basically didn’t ride her for the better part of the summer/early fall. The fatalistic part of me thought, “Well, that’s it…years of use has finally caught up to us, she’s gone permanently crunchy, and one of these days, she’s going to fall down on me.” It was upsetting to me because I didn’t know why (and don’t have the $$$ to throw at a lot of vet diagnostics); it was upsetting to her because she’s a careful, sensible horse with smart footwork — I could see it visibly upsetting her every time she would trip, and she would try so hard not to.
So I gave her some time off from riding. I still went to the barn, still spent time with her, still trimmed her. She was obviously feeling good, watching her run out to the pasture (moving sound!).
About six weeks ago, I needed pony time. Don’t even remember the specifics now, just that I needed to be on my pony’s back. I had gone down to the barn not intending to ride, but something compelled me to hop up on her, bareback, using the only gear I currently had down at the barn, which was her dinky little sidepull.
She was perfect.
She gave me a smooth walk, and her trot was more than eager. My bareback seat is less-than-impressive (especially on what is essentially a 55-gallon drum), so I really don’t do anything other than a slow trot pace, but she wanted to do more.
A week later, I repeated the experiment, this time slightly better equipped with bareback pad and actual headstall-with-brakes. Again, excellent, and even offering to canter. (Umm, no. Canter + bareback = Ash hits the dirt.)
The only thing that was different was a lack of saddle.
A part of my brain had toyed with the idea that maybe my saddle was too narrow (again!) for her. Part of me argued that we did all of our 50s in that saddle without any soreness…but she’s a lot softer and out of shape now. I also didn’t want to look too seriously at this possibility because it would mean needing a new saddle, which isn’t in the current budget. (So, a permanently retired pasture puff was somehow the better option here? Don’t ask me how my brain works sometimes…)
A couple of whiney texts later (that would be me whining), Lucy offered up her spare-spare treeless saddle — a Barefoot Cheyenne model — for me to test out my theory. I got the saddle last week, and after doing a make-over to one of my Skito pads to bolster it up to treeless saddle requirements, I headed out to the barn yesterday to test it out.
|all decked out…maybe now we’ll have somewhere to go?|
She loved it. We got a good 45 minutes of arena work in — walk/trot/canter/circles — and she was an angel. I’ve had a lot of resistance from her of late with wanting to rush the gate/acting arena sour…and that wasn’t the case this time.
she is SO fluffy this winter…all of them are. which
probably means it’s gonna be cold. brrrr.