Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Different Kind of Rigging

I just had to share some pics and thoughts about the rigging on my friends saddle. L has had this Saddlesmith reiner for a few years now but I don't get to ride in it very often because the stirrups will not go nearly short enough for me. Damn you long legged women! I would kill to be the leggy type. This was the first saddle L bought for herself.. We saddle shopped together for a few months trying to find one that fit both her and the horse. Every time I had her sit in a saddle I would say, "How does it feel?" and she would say, "It feels like a saddle." I kept telling her that when she sits in one that fits just right, she would know what I was talking about. When she sat this Saddlesmith for the first time I didn't even get to pose the question, she looked at me, smiled and said, "Oh! Oh yah!" Luckily the stars aligned as they do so rarely when saddle shopping and the saddle fit both her horse and her budget. The only "hiccup" so to speak was that it had a unique style of rigging. When we first went to cinch it up I have to admit I didn't really have a clue how to rig it up. Right or wrong, since that day we have been doing it as seen in the photos and I have to say that I LOVE this rigging. It lies FLAT. No bulge at all under your leg and the buckle feels much more secure that with a straight rigging. I also think that the rigging helps keep the saddle centered on her back and helps disperse the pressure over a broader area. I guess other people don't love it like I do though because the saddle makers don't make this type of rigging. Martin makes an adjustable rigging that is also nice and can really help with saddle fit. What kind of rigging do you prefer?

(please ignore that the pad isn't lined up right, I just threw it on to take pics)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What I Have to Prove...

This evening I was talking to a friend about horses, training, and how we are perceived by others. Specifically, we discussed to what degree we care about how we are perceived by other horsemen. I would like to think I don't care. But I do. It would never expect someone to think of me as a really good horseman... but if one were to think of me as incompetent, now that would bother me very much indeed! What I discovered in admitting that truism is that my ultimate goal as a horseman is to be competent. To be able to get the job done. What is my self assigned job as a horseman? Catching the cow? Running a clean barrel pattern? Jumping the oxer? None of the above. My job is to have a horse that guides willfully. A horse that is soft and light, happy and relaxed; one who drives from behind and gives their face; a horse that lopes and jogs and stops hard and fast when asked; a horse whose body I can bend and flex and send in any which direction I please. My self assigned job as a horseman is to create a finely tuned partner. So why does it bother me so much to think that someone would perceive me as incompetent? Because I am. Because I can not and have not yet been able to create or maintain a horse that is all of the above.

So the next obvious train of thought would be, how do I become the horseman I want to be? Experience, time, lessons, clinics, DVDs. These things don't fall out of the sky. I have to invest in and further my education. The problem with that... I'll have to write about next time!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Frustrations in Hiring Equine Related "Professionals"

I am done with trying to find competent so-called Equine professionals.

                                                   What a bunch of bull!

 In 2011 I went through a half dozen farriers who didn't work out due to either scheduling issues (ie- not showing up), affordability ($50 a trim), lack of  knowledge on "barefoot" trimming (or just lack knowledge on trimming in general), and/or over aggressive trimming (hack half of my horses foot off). Finally, I couldn't stomach trying out yet another farrier so I picked up a rasp and learned how to do a basic maintenance trim. I am not better than any of those farriers but I am reliable, consistent and I try hard to do a good job. And I'm cheap too!

Earlier this year I accompanied a friend on a visit to the vet with her mare who had chronic diarrhea. I had done some reading and narrowed down a few possibilities one of which was insulin resistance. The vet quickly decided that the likely cause was ulcers and recommended (an expensive) treatment and blood work. I asked him if it was possible that insulin resistance or hind gut acidosis could be a cause. He said he wasn't overly familiar with insulin resistance symptoms. Huh? Really? Because IR is kind of a hot topic in the horse community right now! Or did you miss the memo? Four-hundred dollars later my friend figured out that the mare had normal blood work and that ulcer treatment had no effect on her diarrhea issue. Forty dollars worth of psyllium husk, as recommended by good ol' google, had a much better result.

                                                   (Penny, Hereford heifer calf at the barn)

Finally, last week I hired a chiropractor recommended by a good friend.. I was excited to have Marm assessed and adjusted.  So five minutes before our first appointment she texts to say she will be twenty-five minutes late. No problem. Forty-five minutes later she shows up. Not a huge deal... her less than professional appearance, also not a big deal. But her cloth KED paper-thin shoes, not exactly safe especially while adjusting horses, especially horses she doesn't know. I liked this lady and I liked the work that she did... at the time. The day after the first adjustment I got on Marm and found that she was seriously out in her back end. She wasnt noticeably out before the adjustment but the chiro had done a lot of adjustments to her hips and stifle. Now I understand that it not uncommon for something to come up after a big adjustment which is why this lady recommends an second adjustment shortly after the first. We had an appointment for Saturday at two. Well, two o'clock rolls around and she doesn't show. I text her at 2:30 and ask if she is on her way. Ten minutes later I get a text back saying she lost track of time and is on her way. I say fine but ask where she is coming from so I have an idea of time. She says, "can you give me two hours?" Huh? Really! As in 4:30? "Ok" I say because I really want Marm done. She shows up at 4:50pm. I tell her that Marm has been really off in her back end since the morning after the last adjustment. She says she cant really feel or see anything at that time and after looking at Marm for a while declares that she feels fine. The next day I am back on Marm and she is so "off" she is unridable. I decide to give her a few days but no luck, she is still very off. I get back in touch with the chiro and let her know what is going on. She says, "How about tomorrow at 11". Great I say! *bangs head against wall* Sure enough, eleven rolls by and she is a no show. I text her at 11:40 and tell her to not bother coming. She texts back at 11:50 and says, "Sorry, how about tomorrow at 11." Thanks but no thanks.

SO... I have a new chiro coming out on Friday and have fingers and toes crossed he shows up sometime within an hour of so of the appointment...  Is it too much to hope that maybe he will do a good job too?

God I hope so.
"Hola, always the clown"