Yes, I’m Alive!

June 3, 2009 at 7:32 am 1 comment

Really, I’m still here, and still riding Kloninator 🙂

But over the past few weeks I’ve had some personal life upheavals, which included moving, which has put a crimp in things a little bit.  For starters, I don’t have a home computer, and have to get a card reader so I can maybe upload pictures from, uh, the other computers I do have access to.

In the meantime, you will be subjected to some photo-less posts, which is a real shame, because Klondike is as cute as ever.

At last report I was mentioning wanting to change the bit and play with that a little bit.  While I was thinking about trying a happy mouth mullen, it turns out that CANTER didn’t have one, but did have a happy mouth full cheek.  So I tried it with reasonably good results.  Of course, those results also may have been from getting after him (with leg and occasionally stick) when he got really funny with his head, and from using my body better, but I’ll take what I can get.

During that ride we actually did a lot of work at the walk.  I know it’s not as fun as other things, but I really wanted to get to a place where we can do walk/halt transitions with no fuss, and where he follows the contact instead of resisting it.  Much like working at the halt during our last dressage lesson, this takes and enormous amount of leg and usage of the core.  I almost felt like I was lifting his rib cage with my body, but that seems to be what it takes.  By the end of the session he was really engaging at the walk, and I could see his back muscles in use in the mirrors (I LOVE having mirrors), and he was following my hand in a soft relaxed way, when I asked for bending and such.

What wasn’t as good was the transitions to halt.  He really likes to twist or pull on me or otherwise resist as soon as I ask for a downward transition, so we spent a fair amount of time doing downward transitions while on a bend, as an attempt to mitigate that response.  In addition, whenever he got really resistant, or doing strange things with his body through the transition, I’d just kick him forward again right away.

Never has so much work at the walk been so exhausting 🙂

In more recent rides, though, I think it has helped.  He’s not staying “pretty” through the downward transition but it’s vastly improved.  Maybe in a few weeks we really will be able to get through a dressage test without embarrassing ourselves too much!

In addition to all that, I’m trying to find a saddle that fits him, because I can’t help but think it’s all somewhat related.  My saddle, which is a Wide tree that I bought for my draft cross, leaves dents in his back where the panels are, which seems to me to be a very bad thing (he’s gained a fair amount of weight- it used to be too wide for him!).  So last night I experimented with other peoples’ saddles, trying to find something that might work.

The one that seemed the most promising, a Berney Bros. jumping saddle, turned out to not work so well in practice.  On the ground, it seemed it had the best amount of freedom over the shoulder of the saddles I tried, so I girthed up and gave it a go.  Klondike made clear very early that he was not pleased with it, shaking his head and neck and lurching/jumping around a lot.  I had to canter him in circles and really make him work to get him to settle down, but he was never really happy, even when he stopped acting out (and as always, Klondike’s “acting out” is about as unthreatening as it gets, heh).  For some reason the saddle didn’t work for me either, and I have bruises today on the insides of my thighs (one would hope that if one had bruises there, it would be from something more fun), so I understand his response to it.

When I untacked, I found the saddle had left some dry patches on either side of his withers, and since the rest of him was drenched in sweat, I’m assuming that’s a pressure mark.  I think the forward cut of that saddle was interfering with his shoulders, as well.

I’m not sure what to try next- maybe the one used for the other draft cross at the barn, who is wider than mine 🙂  I may also check the tack shop for a used cheapo thing that might fit him better.  If you’d told me at the beginning of all this that I’d be looking for a super-wide saddle for the ex-racehorses, I might have laughed – aren’t they supposed to be narrow with shark-fin withers?

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SuperKid is… well, Super! Boing! Boing! Boing!

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. jessicamorthole  |  June 3, 2009 at 7:54 am

    Klondike II also took a wide saddle and he wasn’t even fit yet! I have a med wide county and it rolled side to side like I was riding a pony with no withers. I have some HMM if you want to borrow. Just shoot me an email and I will send you one. Horses either love them or hate them so you just never know until you try. Dixie loves his herm sprenger duo but that was a lucky ebay purchase..they are way expensive for my bank account 🙂

    Reply

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