Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shots and Saddles


On Friday I had another good lesson on Bear.  It was a beautiful and relaxing afternoon at the barn.  When I brought Bear in, though, he was probably the dirtiest I'd ever seen him.  So grooming took some time.  He was good for it.  I think the groundwork we've been doing has made him more trusting of me as a leader.

We also started this session off with groundwork.  It was by far the best yet.  We did a lot of circle work, and it was the most relaxed he has ever been on the line.  We then combined lots of our usual tricks to make the exercises more demanding, and he responded really well to this.

Under saddle he was very relaxed.  Robin finished her ride before we even started (Steen was not as dirty) and she was watering the arena while we did groundwork.  Bear remained so relaxed we decided she should just keep watering.  We went through all our normal patterns.  The tight right turns are still tough, but he was working through them nicely.  In the end I thought about trotting some (we've really got to get back to working at the trot), but I didn't feel super comfortable.  Like Bear, I've got a really tight hip, and I often feel stiff and unstable in the saddle.  Friday it was a little more noticeable because Bear felt wider.  Again.  Last Friday he felt trimmer, but this Friday I had to readjust his off-billet he was so big.  That wideness doesn't make my hip feel great.

Big Bear hanging out in the muck.

So we ended the day with some more groundwork in the arena sans rope and halter.  He was good going in circles both directions.  He didn't really want to come to me, but after one longer running session he was pretty excited to come in for pets.  We ended it on that high note.

Saturday was vet day.  We arrived to lots of commotion and teeth drilling.  Our horses only needed shots as they had their teeth done in November.  Oh, and we needed a poop sample.  They'll get tested this spring to see what kind of parasites (if any) they've got, and then we'll worm accordingly.  Hopefully it will be cheaper and mean less medicine for them.  Bear is a super pooper, so I got his sample just moments after we came into the barn.  Steen on the other hand, we'll, he's a little shy.

While waiting for our turn (and Steen's poop) we spent a lot of time grooming and washing the mud off their legs. Bear was great the whole time.  Oh yeah, he even came up to me from the bale!  He never does that.  So yesterday's work must have been good for him.  Then today he stood wonderfully.  He didn't react at all to the shots or all the other squeely and nervous horses.  Steen was good, too, but Robin really had to work for that stool sample.

The really big news of the day is I ordered a new saddle.  As I mentioned above, I'm often uncomfortable on Bear.  I've thought for a few months that my saddle was too small for me.  I'm not a big guy, but I am quite tall, and I don't think my long legs ever fit well in the saddle I've been riding.  So after much reading on line (for perhaps the dozenth time), watching old videos of me riding different horses in different saddles, and trying out some larger saddles (16 and 17 inch) at our local tack shop, we finally ordered one:

  

It's a Bear Trap Rancher by American Saddlery.  That's right, Bear Trap.  But that isn't why I bought it, though it is kind of why I initially wanted it.  I settled on this one for the stellar reviews, good price, elegantly simple design, and secure pommel, seat, and cantle.  It should be in next week, and I can't wait.

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