Friday, May 27, 2011


Last week was fabulous in my neck of the woods. The UFO sightings of the large, bright object in the sky were identified as the SUN!  It appreared to us for 5 days straight -blankets came off the horses, fly masks went on and the mare and me enjoyed some grassy field hours.
 Mid week above, I sat in the grasses waiting for my Equine therapist to arrive. The day before Wa and I had ridden out, but with unusual behaviour due to hoof boots, I got off several times to check on them and finally to take them off! They rode with my attached to Wa's breast collar.

I have been noticing the mare's gait really off...but only while trail riding and not in the arena. I thought it was her tender hooves with out boots.
So, I had purchased the NEWEST CAVALLO "SPORT" boot for her hinds and tried out the Newest easyboot "Trail" on the fronts last Monday. I rode twice with that set up. It was mid week now, still sunny as I waited for my Equine therapist( her link is on sidebar) Miriah, to come out to the stable and do a baseline on Wa's legs and hooves. I plan on applying the EASYWALKER horseshoes again for the summer's main riding outings.

So I layed in the grasses, while watching the mare and thought about my plans to  ride after the Apt. with the stable owner, since we now had 4 hoof  boots again.

Miriah came, we started the baseline Thermography...all was going well. Wa seemed to be the picture of health like last year, when we did this baseline...but ooouy, Miriah suddenly said, " THIS IS NOT NORMAL". As she stood behind Wa shooting  the heat read out images of enflamed fetlock/pasterns of Wa's hinds.

I recalled to her outloud, the last 2 rides with the mare having the "Stringhalt" actions, in the hind. Last year too, she had a simular action, while wearing the Cavallo hoof boots on her hinds. I had to take them off -then too...wondering what was going on.

Photo of me, taking the photo of Miriah

Wa's hinds told the story of the hoof boot design being presses into the tender fetlocks, below the pasterns. The hind leg reaches at a steeper, horizontal  angle than the fronts.

This was the only abnormal heat readout on Wa's body this day.

This 5 year quest/venture  into hoof boots to keep the mare
unshod and barefooted,  but also sound for rides on the very rocky terrains -has proven DIFFICULT at best.
My link to the EASYWALKER horseshoes, in top tab- "The hooves"- has a photo of the 3 sets of Easyboots, Boa boots, Old macs G-2's. Unfortunately, I will have 3 sets of "Cavallo's" to add to the list, I think soon.

While we were having a go of the images and talking about what stable owner came in and announced, "WE ARE IN LOCK DOWN". The EHV-1  has made it to Oregon.
I had plans  to go horse camping to Eastern Oregon! I quickly TXT'd my girlfriend to cancel the reservations..she could still get the money back being it was 7 days out. She was hesitant to do it, and offered me her horse to ride, since mine would not be allowed back onto the property if I went to this heavily populated- with strange horses from- ALL OVER- camp out (with memorial day rodeo planned too).

All this was amazing timing. I would not be able to ride my mare in a new place without hoof protection, most likely. And having my  horses health advocate there-right after I had purchased the new boots to show me why I could not use them anymore-PERFECT TIMING. The lockdown before we went out and camped-Perfect timing again! Thank you Lord!

 For how totally depressed I am not getting to go, I would never jeopardise my mare's in health. AND...the final blow is that my saddle IS STILL NOT READY anyway, for being promised on week 10. It is now week 15! This makes me a bareback rider for almost a year. The timing issue points to WAIT IT OUT.

 With all this kind of riding...I have gotten to practice my sitting trot, alot.  When I rode the "ANSUR CLASSIC" last week...I was shocked at how easy it was to sit the trot with stirrups! Though-I have to say, I felt disconnected from my legs, them jingle jangling about,( it felt like) with my butt staying firmly planted in contact with the saddle. I think one HUGE-O- differance is that my mare's back was lifted each time  I trotted. Makes a huge difference to -have a place to sit!
I have noticed the riders in the Olympics on You tube- with the jingle jangle legs. It is the contact point of the upper calf, I think, that is the important part. Please correct me if I am totally wrong. The loose ankle in the stirrups, gives stability to the entire leg, making the line up the body flexible, unblocked, I believe. Again, correct me if I am wrong. adding  back into the equation(stirrups) will be different! The angle is slightly different, raised. When I sit the trot bareback, I've made it a point to keep my calves upon the mare with my heels downward, but almost reaching backwards to touch the flank by simply weighting my knees and thinking of my thighs sinking straight down, as the mare's front hooves land upon the ground. It keeps me from gripping.
My descriptions are so -not fine science- just how it feels.

So the last weeks sightings of the now over and back to the cold wetness of what so many are experiencing. ICKY CRAP! But, in Preparations for the Horsey trip, first of many planned this summer, I had the trailer serviced last week. I have had the trailer a year almost, and it is 8 years old. I have no idea what work had been done to it, so I began by looking under the floor mats again...still sturdy and clean there! Next, to get the trailer wheel bearings packed and brakes checked. Off I went to Les Schwab.

My service dude was so accommodating to allow me to shoot photo's of the apt. with him, and his dirty fingernails in the frames! Good Bearings, he discovered and nice colored grease too.

Made me feel good to know the tires, brakes, pads, bearings and all are  in fine working order!

Now, just need some better spring weather since all is about ready to go... 
Even got my new under garments all ready to ride in!

" Fine timing" it takes theses days, stars aligned and all, to get all things to work for a ride!!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Timing-Kacy's KONKLUSION photos

Thanks Carole, for taking the time to look at these photos.
        The mare and me appreciate it!!

The "Timing" seems to be after she sheds winter hair and also the summer coat -for discovering white pressure marks, if a saddle does not fit correctly for my mare. While she has been without ANY white pressure hairs for over a year, as I stopped riding in a saddle last May or June 2010.
 We have ridden exclusively without any saddle, but a "Thinline bareback pad" and my Cashel "Softsaddle" bareback riding pad- seen below-

Lunging before an indoor ride Spring 2011

Spring 2011- Cashel soft saddle ride

Konklusion underside- with pillow incert-

First time Konklusion upon mare-June 3rd /2011
there does seem to be 2-3 fingers clearance- with the brand new saddle- from mare's withers. The gullet panels have always been snug, starting high and being right next to her withers~

Ride at home on KONKLUSION before beach outing June  2011- Sweat pattern using "HAF" brand saddle pad

First ride upon the Konklusion- sweat patterns

Third ride on Konklusion- 1 hour ride- 6/9/11

From the beginning, the sweat patterns were more on the left shoulder than the right. She may be bigger on a shoulder, which is typical of most horses

June  12th 2011- 1 hr ride-

June 12th 2011- First outing to beach with my New KonKlusion- No white hairs

Wallowa trip July 14-18th 2011

Tacking up the Konklusion-no padding
October 5th 2011

Leather girth with elastic on one side

Ample finger space

Saddle sits  close and right on wither pocket-no rider weight

I got on, we took the girth off- and there is no longer any clearance between saddle and withers

New White hairs from pressure that appeared Early Sept 2011, after summer coat shed

Bare mare

Once I saw the White hairs this past Sept.2011 on Washashe mare, I was horrified. I thought,"oh, my padding must be too thick!" My "Haf" pad that is billed for "treeless saddles". The spine is flat for 1 1/2 inches and the pockets are filled with anti microbial closed cell foam.

I switched to my cotton "Thinline" pad.

Last  outdoor ride on Konklusion

For outdoor rides, I use a "Professionals Choice" girth. I have watched your informative "Proper girthing videos" and always make sure that I can pull down an inch at least, under her belly.

Carole, I think that it is not a  girth problem. I have been ultra careful to do things right this time..since this is my 6th saddle in 5 years with all sorts of problems fitting this high withered and deep wither pocketed mare.
My weight on the "flexcore" tree, makes this specific build of saddle flatten upon my mare's withers.
 I don't think it occurred at first. But as the time has passed,  I have noticed my mare "groaning" and not wanting to go downhills again.

I would love it if Brent could come out and assess the saddlefit upon my Washashe mare. I truly HOPE there is something we may do for this saddle.
I hope that not fitting her beforehand, turns out to be the problem. She, like I said and I know you understand from experience Carole, is one of the toughest horses to fit for a correct saddle fit.

Sincerely yours, Kacy and Wa mare

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Riding a different horse

WOW! Riding a different horse kinda opens up my mind and shows me where the hope lives.

This horse I rode is just like mine in breeding and coloring but, this mare seemed much more "Uphill" in movement. Her back rising to meet my seat in the saddle. Yes Saddle, I got to have stirrups!!!
I borrowed my stable mates "Ansur  Classic" saddle. The mare I rode apparently liked it very much, as her walk was loose and swingy, as she stretched down seeking contact. This "Classic " Ansur saddle is the Co.'s first model and is made to feel as bareback as it could. It has no gullet but is formed to fit right on the horse. It has their patented "Trauma system" inside for rider and horse's comfort, also for distributingg weight of the stirrups and  the rider. I used my "HAF" pad that has a channel and extra closed cell foam padding w/ my "Thinline" inserts  inside.
 I had to put the plush sheepskin cover on the saddle's seat to make it stickier for me and to protect it. The seat size is too large for me being an 18 inch seat. The sheepskin really helped small it down a bit.

Riding in this  ANSUR saddle makes me all the more excited to see mine!! I ordered it back in February, the owner saying it would take 10 weeks time. I thought this was perfect timing then, for raising the second half of the $ payment and also- for the camping trip I had planned in Eastern Oregon for May. UM- that is like next week!!!

I was notified via e-mail,  the ANSUR saddle Co. had experienced an increase in demands, making it difficult to finish my saddle on the time table we arranged since they have lack of the required amount of experienced saddle makers, at present.
 I am HAPPY FOR THEM...disappointed for me.
My stable mate that loaned me the "Ansur Classic", has recently begun an apprenticeship for learning the trade exciting!
She told me just last week, she saw my saddle was on the list for finishing! So, we shall see if  it is finished in 14 weeks- instead of the 10. The latest I am able to pick it up is next Monday the 23rd (actual 14th week)before my Must Ride partner and I jet to our caming trip with O.E.T.

So, I might have it for the trip..I might not.

Back to this totally delightful ride I had last week on the ONLY sunny day we had. Starting out going down the Big hill we have from the stable to the rest of the trails, being on a "Different horse" and saddled with stirrups, made it sweet feeling to be able to put weight into the stirrups. The horse under me was not like mine, being pensive and hollow and stopping frequently so, going down hill. This mare was willing and loose. What a feeling of freedom of movement, this was! I knew that this saddle with out a ridgid tree made a differance in the horse's ability to really be stretchy- reachy down this hill.

It has been 10 months since I have been able to get off the back of a horse in posting trot. I have dreamt of that feeling. FIRST chance I had I asked for trot...there she went, this mare was delightful! Her trotting was so swingy, and loose with long neck connection to me. I was surprised with sudden joy and  Burst out LAUGHING!  Peels of it erupted from me as the mare-who was clearly enjoying herself as well with this awesome "high blowing", and no desire to stop trotting. I let her trot on till we came to a hill that I wished to feel through half seat at walk ( again stirrups!). As we slowed to walk again, I burst out laughing as the mare was still high blowing her own pleasure out, through her nostrils!

I really could NOT get over how uphill and forward this horse was compared to my mare-Everything I asked of this mare, she gave to me- with compulsion and roundness. Not the hollowing out at transitions up or down. This horse remainmed in a lower, longer stance, accepting contact with me! I decided to double back and go through a section of wood with a downed tree. With the little bit of dry weather, the trails footing may be solid enough to ask for the mare to consider popping over the 2 ft downed tree. She saw it ahead of us and with ears perked forward, our trot became a very nice, collected canter.
I was excited with this controlled, energetic little canter and could tell, this "Ansur saddle" was like Second skin to my mount as she enthusiastically popped over the tree trunk! Yea..laughter ensued, filling the woods!

Okay...most of you must realize by now that the "Different Horse" I was riding- was my Washashe mare all along!
She really took to this saddle and seemed to be as relieved as I was to be off her back and be able to get off her back in half seat, two point and a simple posting motion in trot. OH!! It will make life so much easier for training and security when I need to- impromptu- on the trail. It has been difficult as best, with a bareback saddle,  to blalnce myself for some oif the moves my mare can dish!

Like last weekend...I went for a "barn stay over" at Abraham Acres where Pantz is. Though the weather was NOT condusive for much riding, being crappy wet and cold for us, we still went out and trained. My sister having heard of the mare pulling the "sudden bolt and go" moves on me lately decided "we" needed  a little T.L.C. lesson in what was really going on. I had permission to use my stable mate's Anusr saddle again. Doesn't the coloring look neat on Wa. It is the same as she is...!

I also had purchased new hoof boots for the mare. Our plan was to ride the road only, since that is the last time we had ridden together with Pantz and my mare had really gotten all " I'm gonna  bolt on home" on me.

Love the Cavallo hoof boot box~

So here is what my sister taught me.
Every time my mare does something undesirable, it is my "OPPORTUNITY to teach her something better". She told me to, "Thank the mare for such times and embrace each one that happens, knowing that it may not be tackled today, but soon will be an obstacle defeated, and our "Tool belt" will become much more equipt".
THAT...really helped me and the fact I needed to break down the way I was approaching the problem the mare  presented.

The MOMENT she offered me something she had come up with-a jig or trot or hollow, high headed move to take control from me. I was to Breathe out-SIT BACK- Turn my core,engaging my legs and lastly my hands, for a circle turn.
 It took four times of the mare hopping up for me to get the sit back...she really  pops me out of the saddle! The last time I actually sat nearly on the cantle as I came down..that made a differance to the mare, my body was more blalnced and the last thing to activate were my hands on the reins.
I learned alot and not to fear the misbehaving attitude, but to be ready with the "correct attitude and corresponding action".
We finally went to the bottom of the road, and walked, loose rein to contact reins to loose again...nothing but sighs from my mare. DONE for that day we were.
UPDATE on riding near, by and behind strange horses. JUST yesterday- we did all three and with the new" thankful for the opportunity knowlege I had, she was awesome!
THIS Wednesday, we try it out with my PBO and her mare.

Hope to catch up with you some, most know..BLOGGER was out most of last week. It told me that it was in "READ ONLY" mode...I tried to comment and lost all of them !

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

She lost it

Serene, calm and willing, the mare had been last 3 times out. I was enjoying the run on peaceful rides!

Starting the descent of the first hill  to the main road...she stopped and searched the horizon. She is keenly perceptive to her surroundings and tells me about any and all changes to them.

We  kept looking.....

...and looking harder and longer....but no one was appearing to us-yet.

Once we made it down the long hill to the bottom and started up the road...yuppers there they came, two riders. I usually initiate the yield process myself, as sometimes if I wait, other riders THINK they may pass us closely. These types do not have a "personal space" challenged mare  I do .
 A NOPE! Did that once, and won't again. We took a step or two off on the side and waited for them to come along by. As they did, we all exchanged our  happy riding smiles and greetings.
Washashe  then chose the Forest trail to the the upper pond area, as it has the softest footing and gets her off the graveled road.

Happy Springtime mare she was!

I had her front "Cavallo" hoof boots on, as she really has been the tender foot from the slogged, muddy grounds. She seemed to appreciate them this day...though I did detect some hesitancy, going down hills.
We traversed the upper pond trails for a time, then came around one to find some fishermen enjoying this first sunny day. We  all were lazily doing our best to not wince for the brightness of the UFO in the sky!

I loved how they happily sat upon the banks of the pond, instead of  the benches that are there for use. It was perfect.

Though the small docks and benches always look so inviting to me, the simplicity of these two friends sitting on the bank in the cool grasses near the dreamy waters edge, was absolutely storybook! And with "man's best friend" too.

We exchanged happy, sun shining  greetings of how the day was made for fishing and horseback riding. Then the mare and I were off~
We made our way up another road, passing nearby the Cattle farm with Alpacas and the cute white donkey. I have been letting her stop to investigate each time, and she has had less pensive thoughts when I ask her to turn up that way now. I usually allow her to trot or canter up the small hill after we pass is her reward.  She really canters in a long frame on this particular feels really neat as I roll with her gait and push lower body towards her mane as she flys with me.
It was about the most perfect day, this one actually being sunny.

We were on the way homeward and I spotted the two riders from the beginning of the ride, coming up the paved road. I went past the last pond and down to the roadway...we were approaching each other, and my mare just started to dance then-BOLTED forward in a canter! OH! They looked on with horror at this gal riding bit less and bareback(padded) -flew by....I had a rough time stopping her since I had the reins on the rings of the nose band and not under the chin.  We did stop though, and I looked back to see them still looking on in horror and calling to me, "Are you going to be alright??!!" I sheepishly called back, "YES, and we are coming back to try that again- calmly so!" They did not wait around for that!

SHE LOST IT..the mare..she totally lost it, for some reason! I was really embarrassed too. I am sure stories were told that night, at their barn.
We did go back and we did a do-over  ride. But it was the other horses that sparked her..and they were now gone. I had changed the bit less to it's normal stance-  but now - with that frenzied stunt, she has also LOST HER PRIVILEGE of bit less for a time.

I arrived home to tell the tale to my friend Joni...her having come off her Big Skye previously. I had begun taking off my personal gear and horse tack when she and a friend walked up. As I told the story of me being embarrassed about these folks seeing that I was bit less, saddle less and out of control...and the friend of Joni's pipped up and added ,"And helmet less!!"
HA HA -Joni and I just laughed, as I showed her the helmet I had just taken off, along with the verbal out loud factoid of -"after what happened with our mutual riding partner here, you think I'd be riding without one!" Now that would be embarrassingly- stupid! 
So, as I took off my bareback saddle, Joni asked if she may put it upon her horse, so she could get back on him in the arena this day.
I was happy to see her back on the horse!

Well, so now I will ride with my Waterford bit. It seems to be the least offensive to my mare's tiny palate and huge tongue. It is simply rounded links on a  D ring. They are used for cross country riding, if a horse likes to grab the straight bar bit and go (kinda like what she did do). I got it for the beach rides when she is more likely to want to grab and go like that, in the wide open spaces.  She salivates nicely with it and has not told me it bothers her.

We saw something new, our very own peek view of Mount Hood...and also something NEW cropped up in our riding as well.
Ya know, nothing EVER stays the same!

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