Monday, January 15, 2018

Second Saturday

 Two months ago, my friend and I decided to start taking confirmation shots on the second Saturday of each month.  This last Saturday was our third time taking pics and we also took some videos.  We're hoping to be able to better track general fitness, weight, training, etc.  I figured I might as well post these to the blog as well, as I've found it helpful to go back and look at prior blog posts for inspiration (inspiration such as "man, we used to suck so bad!  We don't suck nearly as bad anymore!").  So here we are for January 2018!

He looks so tiny!  He's actually 14.2 1/2!  Top is January, bottom is November.  He's leaned out since November (not surprising considering my riding program has changed pretty significantly).

WTF am I doing with my hands at the beginning of this trot video?  I'm not sure.  My left hand is and has always been a zombie, but it's really gone rogue.  Must quiet the hands!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals

2018 Goals


Not a horse, but look at this cute pugger

I’m a little late on the 2018 posts (per my standard blog behavior), but I did want to share my 2018 goals


Horse goals

1)      Qualify for RMDS championships at training/first level and compete

2)      Get my first level scores towards the bronze medal

3)      Ride 4-5x a week

4)      Monthly confirmation shots on second Saturday of each month

5)      Lesson twice a month with local trainer

6)      Lesson once a month with one of two different ‘S’ judges that frequent the area

a.       Try to get these recorded

To sum it up, my goal is to ride more, learn more, and show. 
Old man puppy boy

Personal goals

1)      Gym 3-4x a week (2 classes a week)

2)      Learn more about the CFP (certified financial planner) program

3)      Continue to slowly grow EQ Accounting (my very small accounting services business that I offer to friends, family, and equine-related businesses)

To sum it up, continue to work towards good physical fitness and to grow professionally in a direction I enjoy.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Oh Suzannah!

(much word vomit, pics of new saddle at bottom)

Sure, Christmas was 5 days before, but on Saturday I woke up with that sort of early morning kid at Christmas excitement.  It was NewSaddleFitting Day (a holiday only horse girls are aware of).  

Before I talk about the saddles, I want to talk about the method in which this saddle fitter works because I really believe in it.  

Step 1) you go to her shop and you sit in any saddle she thinks might work for your build and your budget.  She makes notes on which saddles to bring with her for the actual fitting.  This is important because it weeds out a lot of saddles that she'd otherwise have to cart around.

Step 2) she comes out and takes sketches of your horse's back.  This is done for record and she saves them for future saddle adjustments.

Step 3) She sets each saddle on the horse's back to see if the saddle fits the horse.

Step 4) You ride in each saddle that fits your horse's back.  Bam - bam - bam - bam.  This is something that I really believe in now that I've gone through the process twice.  It's a great way to quickly compare how you feel and how the horse feels in each saddle.  I always used to take one saddle on trial and then another.  This works, but I prefer trying them all during one ride.  It allows you to compare each saddle with the impression of each one fresh in your mind.

Step 5) You buy a saddle.  She doesn't do trials.  This is a bit of a bummer, but it's how she works and I get the impression that she is rarely wrong on finding the "right" saddle.

So back to today - I was so excited.  There were so many saddles to try.

-Adam Ellis Avanti 
-Prestige X-Breath, monoflap
-Prestige X-Breath, regular flap
-Prestige Passion
-Ideal Saddlery Suzannah, monoflap
-Keith Bryan Santis Boutique
-Selleria Equipe Emporio

I had sat on all of these saddles in the store and the saddle fitter deemed them all worthy of a visit to Gav's back.

We sat each one on Gav's back, and the saddle fitter sorted them into two groups (winners/losers)

Winners on Gavin's back:
-Both Prestige X-Breaths
-Ideal Saddlery - Suzannah
-Keith Bryan (would need modification)
-Selleria Equipe Emporio

Losers on Gavin's back:
-Adam Ellis (I was surprised by this as he went well in an Adam Ellis jump saddle and Jen with CobJockey rides in one)
-Prestige Passion (just no)

First up to try: Prestige X-Breath, Monoflap.  This saddle may have not got the best shake.  It felt weird to sit in a dressage saddle for the first time in two years, my stirrups were too long, and Gav was still in his early warmup phase (as was I).  This saddle had my pelvis tilted at a weird angle and that was no good.  It was uncomfortable.  After about 5 minutes we moved on to the next X-Breath.

Prestige X-Breath, Regular Flap (the favorite coming into this competition).  Fixed the stirrup length and found that I sat totally differently in this saddle compared to the monoflap.  No pelvis tilting/junk smashing going on.  We rode around in this for awhile - seemed like a winner.

Selleria Equipe Emporio - I got on and got about 5 strides away from the mounting block before getting off.  This saddle just did not work for me.  I've never felt so locked in by a saddle before, which was an odd sensation, but what really sent up the red flags was it's almost immediate junk smashing/pelvic tilting sensation. I'm pretty sure it would've destroyed my nether region at the sitting trot.  TMI, I know, but that's important to determine when trying saddles.  

Ideal Saddlery Suzannah, Monoflap - I had absolutely ZERO interest in this saddle when she sat me in it at the shop or when she brought it out and sat it on Gav's back.  It was just meh to me.  There is no denying that the Prestige saddles are gorgeous - and this saddle is no Prestige in terms of dashing good lucks, but it felt great to sit in and it felt great to ride in and it even felt pretty damn good to sit the trot in (god, I am soooo rusty at that - poor Gav).  I approved, Gav approved, and the saddle fitter approved.  And so, that's how I wound up with the Ideal Suzannah.

I didn't even try the Keith Bryan.  It wouldn't have been a great fit on Gav without adjustment, and it was an extra $1300 over the Ideal.  The choice was obvious.  I bought the Suzannah!  :) 

The next day was horribly cold, so I spent it indoors obsessing about the saddle.  I finally got to ride in it again yesterday and it was just as awesome as I remember it being the first time around.  It definitely needs some breaking in, but I think it'll do perfectly for me and Gav.


Imagine my surprise at lifting the flap and only finding this...