Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gettin' Shimmy With It

 Yep, patting myself on the back for that "punny" title, extra points for a Will Smith reference (not linking to the video because there's some booty shaking and I do try to keep some decorum about the place...*snort*)

Yes, it's true, we're mostly self employed and generally have the luxury of creating our own schedules, so I had some time this morning to play with the shimming set up on my Specialized Eurolight saddle. My focus has been on Desire this season of course and Blaze has been doing some low trail mileage, nothing much. When I rode him with N at the lake last Friday I could tell my shim set up for him on the Eurolight was a No Go. At 15 yrs old he has a pronounced wither followed by a dip in behind the shoulder and a slight sway to his back, so needless to say fitting a saddle to him is not the simplest.

This is sweaty post-ride, you can see his pronounced wither and then "dip n sway" effect behind the shoulder..can't tell in this how narrow his wither really is though, oy vey

 I could feel on last Friday's ride that there wasn't enough support at the dip and sway, so that I was sort of sitting "down" in the middle of his back, if you know what I mean. It gave me a weird chair seat and I was more butt sore after those 6 miles than after the 90 miles on Desire the weekend before! And no doubt not a comfortable set up for him in the long run, either.

So this morning I broke out the shim pile and scissors and went to it. I ended up with wedge shims at the front and rear and the long flat supporting shims running down the middle of the saddle on each side to help with the "sway" area. 

Okay new to taking saddle pics clearly, but you can see the wedge shim at the front right and the long flat shims running down the length. There are wedge shims at the back, too.

Blaze is very patient fortunately, aside from perking up and looking cute for treats every time I come and go from the cross ties he generally just hangs out and falls asleep in the cross tie stall (unlike the Great Tap Dancing White Wonder). I had the saddle on and off his back probably 10 times screwing with things and then rigged him all up and headed down to the arena for a warm up lunge.

Blaze tends to dog me on rides from home--as in, walks out at 1 mph and is constantly looking behind him like hmm, maybe we should turn and go back?--so I decided to start with Arena Torture (how he views it) so maybe heading out on the trail would be a Good Thing.

Warming up in the arena, the footing is NICE and fluffy since I rototilled it, but kinda deep,a good workout to slowly increase time spent working in that footing as a change from the rock hard ground everywhere else..

He still dogged me heading out, oh yes, he was meandering along the dirt road above the house so slowly (and ignoring my cues) that I broke off a twig for a crop to snap him out of it! This little guy can trot and canter out, tears through LDs no problem, but to ride his walk you would think he was an old, possibly ill, farm plug. I've been having trouble really wanting to *ride* him when I can blast around on Desire without that frustration, but I've also been whining to myself mentally about making sure Blaze has a job/isn't ignored. 
Cool, quiet day in the neighborhood

With this intermittent lameness/hoof issue with Desire in the last week or two I've decided re: Blaze: Suck it Up and Ride Him. As in, it is my dearest hope and intent that Desire will be 100% reliably sound and good to go for more 50s this season, but if for whatever reason she isn't, I might as well have my little LD horse ready  to go so we aren't totally out of going to rides, and then he is also kept busy (and my guilt is under control!). His slow walk drives me crazy, so when it's time to walk I'll just dismount and spend some time walking/jogging next to him like I did today. He is a perfect jogging partner as he doesn't rush (or step on you) like the White Wonder.

Emerging from under their shade tree when they heard us coming back down the road...

Wait, isn't that supposed to be my yearling filly, not a giant horse???

With a much better saddle fit and the Power Strapped, taped, size 1 Easyboot Gloves staying on his fronts at speed and over terrain remarkably well (he rocks the bare hinds even in LDs), Blaze is Back In Business, whether he likes it or not ;-)

Oh thank god she stopped fussing over me and just let me ROLL

I always wish our Lab mix, Tady, was a horse because he would be a HECK of an endurance mount. Here he is lobbying to come to the next ride: "Look, I'll help mark trail!"  


  1. this post reminded me of princess buttercup's walk. she walked so slow i didn't hardly ever ride her at a walk. i'd just jump off and lead her or tail her because it drove me crazy.

    that's a yearling?!

    1. Oh my goosshhhhh his walk drives me NUTS!! I have seriously developed an eye twitch riding him at the walk and absolutely nothing makes me feel saddle sore more than it. It's so funny because all his other gears are quite correct and functional!

      Ummm yesss that is my yearling and I am scared..she has so many growing years ahead of her! *GULP*

  2. Now I feel somewhat guilty. I was just thinking Sunday that I REALLY should be doing some riding with my mare, Dazzby. She can certainly still do trails and loves to have a job and get attention. I was troubled to realize I haven't ridden her in almost a year!

    OK. Next weekend I'm going to do it.

    Your yearling is lovely! Gotta love those chestnuts:)

    1. Yeah I'm wondering sometimes why I have 4 horses and 2 pairs of legs to ride them all with....I got myself into it though!

      Thanks, she is a fiery chestnut indeed!

  3. Tady's adorable!

    When Dixie does that horrible Zombie Horse Walk I make her trot. Like, you can walk if you walk like a normal living horse, but if you do the .5 mph zombie walk you gotta trot. It took a while for her to really ~get~ it but she doesn't sandbag me NEARLY as bad now.

    1. I think I've done that in the past but maybe not consistently enough..I really have to get back to it because after getting used to Desire the Zombie Walk is worse than ever!!