Monday, June 29, 2015

HGBH: Every Day Tack Setup


Annnnnd sneaking in right at the end...

It can be tough to find appropriate tack for an equine that is between pony and cob size. Most is either made for little kids on tiny ponies or for small horses. However I enjoy the challenge and for me it takes the place of a hobby like antiques shopping or something haha. As it happens this is a very exciting time for my everyday tack setup because as most of you know my setup has gone through some major changes recently. Because of that I think this is a perfect time to go through it again.

 Previously I was riding in;

Bridle - Pink lined FSS bridle that I bought on EBay in cob size. I LOVED this bridle and the leather was amazing.

Reins - Horze, pony sized plain leather reins. I miss these but they are black so don't match my current set up. I'll be holding on to them for a back up pair. I love plain leather reins but they are tough to find.

Saddle - Passier Vector dressage saddle with 17" seat. I honestly have no idea how wide it is but will need to figure it out as I will be listing it for sale now. This saddle actually fit Katai decently but I hated it. It put me in a horrible chair seat since it was meant for a much taller person and the overwhelmingly long flaps made it tough to put my leg on my pony. 

Girth - Total Saddle Fit girth, 18",Havana. I ADORE this girth! Unfortunately this one is too short for my new saddle which has shorter flaps and thus shorter billets. I will be ordering a longer one from the same company.

Bit - Neue Schule 4.5" pony sized Eggbutt bit. Another piece of tack I adore. The best things about this bit is that it's smaller diameter as well as smaller width. Katai's got a low palette and previous bits actually made it so she couldn't close her mouth all the way.  It was pricy but totally worth it and if I ever need to try anything else I'll buy another Neue Schule.

Saddle Pads - Mostly I use Horze dressage pads in pony size. These are the best pony sized saddle pads I've found. They've got multiple styles in pony size and all different types of colors. I have the style in the picture in two different colors, grey and lime green, as well as a new one in brown that I like even more which will show up later. I also have a Mattes, Euos, Baker Plaid baby pad, and a couple no name pads I picked up at tack swaps.

Boots - Normally I use my People on Horses pink sheepskin dressage boots that I'm sure all of you have seen by now but in this picture she's wearing grey fleece polo wraps from Horze. She's also wearing her Davis pink bellboots that I bought in XS from Just for Ponies.


New Setup;

Saddle - Custom by Heritage Custom Saddlery. I'm already completely, head over heels, in love with this saddle! Be sharing more pictures soon :-)



Bridle -  Micklem bridle in brown. Both Katai and I really love this bridle. The leather isn't amazing but it has softened up really well and it actually fits her well.

Reins - Horze pony sized brown reins. The only way I could order these is with stops so if I can find another reasonable pair of pony sized brown leather plain reins I'll trade them out.

Everything else is about the same!




Wednesday, June 24, 2015

So Beautiful

Look at how beautiful!

It's almost like it was custom made for her ;-)

I'm officially in love. It's comfy and puts me in a wonderful position. It's much easier to keep my leg in the right place and yet I'm not stuck in one spot. The leather is AMAZINGLY soft and luscious but there is still a little breaking in that needs to happen. This is actually the first new saddle I've ever owned so it's a new thing for me. 


Old saddle vs new. Don't get me wrong, I really have liked my current saddle for a lot of reasons but there are several things about it that I really don't like and I'm so glad that I bit the bullet and ordered a custom saddle, especially for the amazing price.


The detail on this saddle is amazing (the panels only look uneven in this picture). The piping is so even and nicely done! I'm honestly very, very impressed. I would buy another saddle from Heritage Custom Saddlery in a heart beat and I can't wait to ride again on Friday :-) 

Again, not great pictures but I'll get some soon!



Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's Here!!!!

So sorry I've been absent but things in my life have been nuts!!

The other news I talked about in my last post is that I received a job offer :-) Finally!!! It's with an amazing local company and means that I'll finally be able to move into the cities and closer to my boyfriend. I'm so, so, so excited and can't wait to move. Life is going to be so crazy for the next few weeks that I'm not sure how often I'll be able to post but getting my saddle today was way too exciting to not share.


Sorry for the horrible picture. I was too excited not to share. Proper pictures on the amazing pony to follow :-)




Friday, June 12, 2015

Baited Breath

Still no more concrete info on when I'll receive my saddle but since I wasn't expecting to hear until the end of next week I'm not too concerned about it. Just so, so excited to see it!!

Posting in this blog is on a temporary hiatus since I'm at my sister's wedding for the rest of the weekend in New Jersey. 

         Beach at Ocean City

  Proud of the signs my sister and I made


The boy is watching Wedge while I'm away and they're having a "bro night" complete with Hunt for Red October.

We'll be back to our regularly scheduled program next week and most likely with even more exciting news!!




Saturday, June 6, 2015

Lesson Recap x2 and New Addition

So this is just a bit late which means it will be long. If you finish it I’ll send you a cupcake ;-)

 

My life has been so busy lately that I just don’t have time to do the things I want to be doing and after feeling like I was having a panic attack yesterday I’ve decided that needs to change. I’m not exactly sure how I am going to eke out more time with a full time job, long distance relationship, pony, applying for new jobs, running, etc. but I need to find some answer to the problem. Until I do these posts are going to be less frequent but I do want to make sure I am at least journaling my lessons.

 

Two Sunday’s ago my lesson turned out to be a bit rough. Katai’s whole world had been changed around since she was moved out to pasture and so that whole week she had been emotional and tougher to handle than normal. For the most part it was affecting her ground manners but she was leaving it at the door of the arena for rides, however, the pony that I started warming up on Sunday was an emotional wreck. Thanks to my recent change in thinking I was actually excited for the opportunity to show L what Katai is like at her worst because I knew that L could give me some great tools to use when this happens.



Again L was just so wonderful and started off by telling me not to antagonize her, start anything new, push her over the edge, or let her pick a fight with me. I really needed to hear the last since between having previous instructors try to get me to “make her do it right” “push her until she gives in” etc I have escalated the arguments that Katai starts. As I told L, she gets emotional and then I get emotional and we pick at each other until we both fall apart. Instead L just had me go back to basics, in this case a reasonable trot with Katai bent in the correct direction, and just expect her to do what I was asking but not punish her for not. As she said “It’s uncomfortable having your human posting at a different speed than you are trotting.” and every time that I focused on just riding properly while allowing Katai to do things right she would come around without too much of a blowup.

 

I did specifically ask for help with my canter transitions where Katai has been throwing her head in the air and L identified that I’ve been blocking her with my hands. She asked me to think of pushing the reins forward, she doesn’t want me to really do it but just to think it, as I’m asking for the transition so that she doesn’t feel blocked. This did immediately make things much better and although she did still throw her head we think that it’s more of a habit at this point and it was much less than before. 

 

Then, at my lesson last week Katai was totally amazing!! She was really following the contact down, working through her back, trying to find her balance etc. Where we weren’t pushing her two weeks ago because she was too emotional this past week we didn’t push because she was being sooooo good! L complemented her several times and was saying how nice she looked and she certainly felt amazing, like she went from green pony to dressage pony overnight. I was grinning ear to ear for pretty much the whole ride :-) Of course L also gave us more great stuff to work on and helped me identify that I’ve been dropping the outside rein which is letting her fall out. She also wants me to keep more of a dialogue going both verbally and through my contact. She said that “green horses need a constant conversation about what they are doing correctly and what they need to change.” and of course as soon as I did that correctly she relaxed even more and seemed to LOVE the bit. She encouraged me to talk more and reward Katai verbally because she pointed out how much Katai feeds off that praise and how much more relaxed she is when I’m talking to her.



That same day that I had the incredible lesson I picked up a new addition to my little family! His name is Wedge Antilles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_Antilles for none Star Wars Fans) and he is a 1 year old Italian Greyhound/Chihuahua cross. I got him from a friend of a friend who can’t care for him anymore and I’m amazed at how the stars aligned on this. I had DREAMED of getting an Italian Greyhound when I was growing up and even spent time with some people who owned them to see if I really did want that breed. I loved everything about them from their cat-like-ness, to their size, to their short coat, and most of all how much they love their people. I am just as totally in love with him as I would have hoped :-) It helps that he is just a REALLY good boy. He hasn’t had a single accident, comes when he’s called, sits when he’s told, and listens to the word no. This is especially amazing for a little dog so I’m very impressed. 



 Finally, my saddle is almost done!!!! The original estimate for a saddle from this company was 4-6 weeks which I was already impressed with. Then I completely redesigned the block and was told it would take a bit longer so I estimated 8 weeks so when I received an email yesterday after about 5.5 weeks that it was almost done I was amazed! I sent the balance of my payment this morning and will hopefully hear back, because of the time difference, tomorrow. I really can’t wait until I finally get my first custom saddle and can try it on my amazing dressage pony to make sure it fits. I’ll admit that I’m a bit nervous but based on all the positive reviews I don’t think I have anything to be nervous about :-)