Things we truly do need to get a picture of…

It was just too dark in the arena tonight so you’re going to have to visualize this. We finally found a saddle that fits the VLC.

It’s a saddleseat saddle, left at the barn by a boarder many years ago. Use your imagination and picture a 16.2 AQHA stallion with a cutback saddle on. It’s hysterical. I seem to recall many years ago there being some kind of AQHA saddleseat classes, weren’t there? Or was that just weird shit that happened at 4-H shows? I swear I remember it. Either way – good God it looks ridiculous. But at this point I was happy for anything that allowed me to get my damn legs on the horse and definitely was not pinching him in any way.

Of course, he still doesn’t like the idea of the English girth. I do not know why it is worse than the Western cinch, which he is fine about now. I have fleece girths on both with elastic on the english girth. I guess just because you can do the western cinch so loosely to begin with. He’s so round that if I put an English saddle on him, I have to at least connect it with contact on him at first or it rolls right off. He didn’t kick at me but he did paw way out in front of him twice. I growled, he stopped.

He was antsy about mounting again but gave up and stood after a few tries. He’s funny – he will resist something a few times and then just give this big, long-suffering sigh and give up! It cracks me up. Oh, poor, poor abused colt! You might actually have to walk-trot in a bitless bridle with a petite woman on your back! My heart bleeds. Do you have any idea how many colts your age are being ridden into the ground by some 200 lb. man with a twisted wire snaffle in their mouth and spurs? You’d better be grateful, young man. You do not know how good you have it!

OK, first comment on saddleseat saddles: How the hell do you people ride in these things? They are freakin’ SLIPPERY! My landlord had helpfully dumped a pile of sheet metal next to the arena door and when the VLC sidestepped away, I thought I was going to slide right off. Fortunately he realized that while the Scary Sheet Metal Pile looked funny, it was not actually moving or making noise and therefore was safe to pass by. It was nice to have my legs on the horse and stirrups the right length again.

We did have another couple of balky incidents tonight but he gave up more quickly. I am not being shy about going right to applying the rein ends to his ample butt, and he’s figuring out that it’s easier to trot on the wall than make mom mad and get growled at and smacked. I think he’s bored with the arena, and I think now that it’s warm out and he actually has to break a sweat, he’s testing me a bit to see if he really has to keep trotting. Answer: Yes.

He really hates it when you pull on his face, so I am trying to redirect him mostly off my legs. This doesn’t come naturally for me. I’m more of a traditional hunt seat rider, not an AQHA hunt seat rider – pitching them away is not exactly second nature to me. I am comfortable on high-headed Thoroughbreds that you ride right between your legs and your hands and they’re fine with that. Well, that’s not going to work here. The VLC wants to be pitched away all the time and I know that I need to ride him like that, but it’s something I have to remind myself about all the time. Like let’s say he’s getting really fast at the trot. I can circle but there’s only one place I can circle (I can do half-arena circles but nothing smaller – we have this fence in the middle of the arena that is open at the two ends and has one opening in the middle) and that’s kind of a big circle, not really small enough to slow him down very much. He does not care for half-halts. This is when he’s most likely to overreact and just stop and grow roots, ignoring my legs. If I had a normal arena, I’d spiral in for smaller circles, spiral out when he slowed down – that’s something I can do on very long reins, but I just don’t have the room to do that here and it’s frustrating.

I think I am going to try to talk my friend into hauling us down to the big public use arena this week, where I can do all of those things. The only question is, how will he behave at a new place? And with other horses riding with him? And if I don’t find another saddle to use, will other riders fall off their horses laughing at my saddleseat Quarter Horse?

Tune in soon…and in the meantime, tell us all how you’re doing with your horses!

Published in: on May 25, 2008 at 5:35 am  Leave a Comment  

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