February 25, 2017

Will the Micklem Bridle Fix the Chomping?

After the big saddle purchase, I decided to try out a Micklem bridle that I borrowed from a friend. I really want to get to the bottom of Gentry's chomping issues.

Gentry in the horse size Micklem bridle

The weekend I borrowed the bridle we still had a bunch of wet snow on the ground, so I decided to just go for a trail ride on the road rather than attempt to haul anywhere. Gentry was a mess. He chomped worse than normal. I quickly decided the bridle would not fix the problem, I also had no idea why he was being so bad about the chomping and was acting like a fool anytime I asked for a trot. I was perplexed and aggravated.

Then I got off him.

Poor guy Gentry had huge snowballs on the bottom of his feet. No wonder he was acting up and not happy. So, I can't say that this ride was a fair assessment of the Micklem. Without the snowballs he may have been dead quite. However, shortly after that I went for another ride in his regular bridle and he was dead quite. I am now thinking that my old saddle, which didn't fit him at all, was the cause of the bit chomping.

To be fair to the Micklem, I found it to be a nice looking bridle. In fact, I was surprised by how much I liked it. The horse size fit Gentry perfect, and if for some reason I just wanted to mix thing up I would splurge on purchasing one for him. However, I do not like cleaning and oiling numerous bridles throughout the winter, so one dressage bridle at a time is enough for me. Since he has now stopped the chomping, I will be sticking with our Keiffer bridle. The problem seems to be solved.

February 10, 2017

Mother Nature Migraine

Following my big saddle purchase; I very excited to start riding in my new-to-me Dresch. I started imagining all the things that we will accomplish in the saddle. I got excited about the show season darn it! Then Mother Nature promptly did this to me:

1' foot of snow in one day. On top of the snow we've already had on the ground since November.

Icy/snowy roads promptly put a halt to hauling a trailer at night across town and riding on the road. I did try once to ride on the road and poor Gentry had softball size snowballs on the bottom of his feet. For both of our sake, I have not tried to repeat that experience. Just as I decide to throw in the towel, accept that winter is hanging around for a while longer, and self medicate with some more equine retail therapy (more on that later), this happens:

Yep. All of a sudden it warmed up to 50 degrees, and started raining. Everything promptly turned to permafrost mud, and flooded. Oh joy. The only silver lining is that our roads are now sporting beautiful ride-able gravel again and (fingers crossed) I will be able to ride on the road tomorrow.

January 25, 2017

Trying out the Dresch Legolas Monoflap

After ruling out the Ryder Lux saddle, the saddle fitter had me try three saddles that she had with her. Two were used Dresch saddles and one was a new Patrick. I do not recall the model of the first Dresch or the Patrick. However, when I sat in the Legolas I felt as though it was made for  me.

Dresch Legolas Monoflap
If you don't know what that feeling is, all I can compare it to is wedding dress shopping. When you know you know, it is an instant yes. There is no talking yourself into it.

I actually liked the Patrick a lot, however the seat did this weird thing where it pitched me forward. Being that I am doing everything in my power to erase my hunter/jumper perch from muscle memory, I did not think having a dressage saddle that encouraged me to perch was a good idea. I did like everything else about the saddle though.

The first Dresch was quite nice too, however the seat was too big. That was one of the greatest things I got out of this saddle fitting, was realizing that I do not need as large of a seat as I thought. I've always had larger seats to accommodate my very long femur, but really what I need is the right size and shape knee roll and flap.

Anyway, I liked the Legolas so much that I decided to keep it on trial. Given that we were fitting the saddle at my barn with only my snowy pasture available to ride in, I couldn't really try it out that day. However, A few days later I was able to haul over to my friend's indoor and give it a good go.


Gentry was a different horse! I couldn't believe it. I rode him for a good 45 minutes and did not once have to pick up my whip. Usually he has energy for 10 minutes and then completely dies and I have to carry the whip to keep him in front of my leg.

Gentry just kept going, doing anything I asked, with enthusiasm, and never even attempted to break at the canter. One time during the ride, he picked up the wrong lead and even gave me a flying change to fix it!

The saddle is a keeper...and I guess my saddle purchase budget just got A LOT bigger.

Upon reflection, I think my Bates Caprilli was so ill fitted to Gentry that it was hurting him. Beyond the fact that it is too long for his back, there are probably other pressure points bothering him as well. When I would ride him, it must not have been so much that he was out of energy after 10-minutes, as it was that his back hurt. Not the kind of epiphany I like to make, but it is one none the less.

Another epiphany I made was the my Bates has not sprung a leak! While riding in the Legolas I heard the same pshew sound once again coming from the right side of my saddle. Clearly the Legolas doesn't have CAIR panels, so I deduced from this that the Bates was not in fact leaking. Instead, the sound seems to be coming from the sued inner lining of my Ariat winter riding boots. Its a relief to know that the Bates is still sound and doesn't need the CAIR panels pulled after all.


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