Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Good Horse Makes For Short Miles

Good morning and Happy Tuesday!

The past few weeks I have been spending quite a bit of time in the barn and riding.  The weather has been great, and my training horses have been doing very well, so I feel very fortunate to be able to spend that time in the saddle.  It won't be long, and the cold will deter me, so I am taking advantage of it now.

On the 11th of November, we will reach the 90 day mark in Candy's training. [I have covered Candy before - read here]  This is a great time to evaluate how a young one is doing, as it is enough time usually for them to trust you so you can get something done with them.  Candy, whom I like to call 'Little Sister' in honor of her two wonderful older brothers, Atley and Broque, is doing wonderfully.  When she came to me, she had spent most of her life outside, in a herd, being handled only to do basic vet procedures and occasionally being tied up to be fed.  She has been a sweet girl from Day One though, never seeming to be adverse to the training process; rather, she has always been eager to please, even if she wasn't sure what exactly to do.

I am now riding her in a snaffle rather than a sidepull, and have moved from riding her in a round pen to working her in my large, open, riding area.  I am happy to say that she appears to handle much like her brothers - she is light on your legs (without spurs), sensitive to the rider's movements but not jerky or hot, follows her nose beautifully and is proving to have a nice, soft mouth.  She backs, circles well, and is just starting to rate her speed.  She is thoroughly un-spooky, and up until this point, she and I have not had any major blow ups, nor do I expect to.  I just LOVE riding her!  So often, a trainer must spend a big chunk of time fixing what the previous trainer did to a horse.  It is a wonderful thing to get one that is untouched and have the opportunity to create a horse free of bad behaviors and/or fear.  Her owner is very happy with how she is doing, and I am pretty sure Candy is happy too; when I walk into the barn to get her out, she nickers to me - - and no, she doesn't get treats! :)

One thing that I have had to adjust to, though, is a different saddle.  I have been complaining lately about all the wear and tear that my work tack is taking, and Candy's owner suggested that I try one of her 'extra' saddles - a treeless Sports Saddle.  I was wary*, but gave it a try, and have been pleasantly surprised.  First off, I love how lightweight it is.  And it is REALLY comfortable.  This saddle isn't meant for collection work, or for schooling fast turns at speed, but for putting miles on a three yr old?  Perfect!  And I don't have to feel guilty this winter about getting on my leather saddles with muddy boots!

Have you ever tried a Sports Saddle?  How hard is it for you to ride in tack that is different than what you are used to?

*I had tried to ride in one last year, on a different horse, and it felt very awkward to me at the time.  The one I had used previously had a fleece seat cover on it, making me feel like I was sitting WAAAAAY up on the horse, and it was 'roll-y' to boot.  This time, no seat cover, and I am much happier.  This saddle is tricky though - when you sit down in it, everything compresses, meaning your girth is immediately loose, which, of course, lends itself to rolling.  I have gotten very good at tightening the girth while mounted, which helps tremendously!