This morning was an "experiment and ride" day, so I did a quick fit check with the lightweight western Abetta and Woolback on Scrappy, grabbed the S Hack and boot bucket, and away we went for the Lake Oroville trails. N and Willow met us there and we rode about 13 miles at a mostly leisurely pace with a few good trots and a sprinkling of hills.
First of all, the S Hack worked great and Awww, isn't Scrappy-doo cute?! Such a soft eye. Thanks for the picture, N.
I decided not to try a new saddle AND hinds boots for the first time at the same time, as that could confuse diagnosis of a possible problem during the ride. Before I left in the morning I took Scrappy's heels back a little and rolled all 4 toes and he was great for the hoof work, too busy eating or staring/snorting at the goats to be too interested in what I was doing to his hooves. He took wo ouchy steps on big rocks with bare hinds in the entire ride today but otherwise was good to go, and the front boots worked great again despite his right front being pretty well right between a size 0 and 1. Renegade Vipers may be in his future for the more exact sizing potential, but for now the 1s are working on his fronts pretty flawlessly.
Scrappy was a nice, steady ride again today but about 3/4 of the way through when I clicked to him to move up from a walk he pinned his ears and turned and sneered at me! At first I thought he was directing it at Willow but they weren't riding that close and when he did it again when they were farther back I jumped right off and stripped his saddle and checked everything, afraid his back was hurting or there was something under the pad. Everything checked out fine so I re-tacked, walked him for a minute, remounted, and he only did it a few more times when I asked him to up his pace when it wasn't his decision, otherwise he was walking and trotting happily and apparently uninhibited. He didn't seem like a horse in pain but he was letting me know *something.* We started theorizing that it was his reaction to me messing with his pace, as he is generally pretty well left to his own devices on choosing the right gait and speed for the trail and bumps his reins irritably if I screw with his pace. He did it a few more times on the way back to the trailer and upon stripping tack off I didn't see an issue right away.
While chatting with N at the trailers, I suddenly noticed 2 or 3 bumps along Scrappy's "arm pit" girth are and some small black spots of rubbed off hair. He was flinchy to the touch on bumps on both sides of the girth area, so he clearly didn't like the synthetic cinch on the saddle and the pinned ears may well have reflected pinchy moments! I felt pretty bad about it but c'est la vie. I can but try. Next it's wool/fleece or mohair girth for him..and Desitin is my friend..
So a win on the S Hack and hoof work, a possible win on the saddle fit, and a major lose in the girth department. The western saddle didn't seem to move at all today, I may not need a crupper after all if I use this saddle, but we'll see. Work at solving the Great Tack Puzzle must cotinue!
Scrappy looks like a lil cow pony in the western saddle I think!
Karen Chaton and Bo again at Tevis! I am very much looking forward to it and wish the best of luck to all horses, riders, crews, vets, and volunteers participating in this amazing annual event. See you there!