Rain Rain Go Away

Terrible weather, lots and lots of rain. I feel quite put out. ;)

I schooled Kip in the indoor arena today, not wanting to ride out in the rain, and he was both amusing and frustrating. He anticipates more than any horse I’ve ever had. He’s such a worrier, and you can feel him thinking “Does she want this? We usually start leg yielding at this point in the warmup, so when I round the corner, I’ll start moving sideways. Ack – that wasn’t what she wanted…now I’m getting tense, let’s try something else.” I keep trying to tell him to wait, just wait for me to tell him what I want. When he keeps offering different things, he gets more and more tense. On the other hand, in a different mood he’s entirely capable of knowing exactly what I am asking of him, and refusing to do it in complete pig-stubborness. I can never do anything in sequence, or he’ll start anticipating it, and I could never practice tests on him – he’d learn them immediately.

I totally *heart* my Isabell Werth saddle. I hadn’t realised how much I was fighting the crappy eBay saddles that I’d been trying to ride in. Everything is coming together now, and Kip is going so much better. It was impossible to stay balanced on a very clumsy, unbalanced, on-the-forehand baby when I was also fighting badly designed saddles that wanted to throw me forward or back. This feels soooooo good. :)

Ok, lunch and then shopping…

6 thoughts on “Rain Rain Go Away”

  1. the right saddle can make ALL the difference :) I didn’t realize it either until I got the new dressage saddle for Ally last summer. OMG. (and I don’t go OMG, thankyouverymuch). Suddenly I saw all the horrid flaws of the old one and was impressed that I was able to get any semblance of a dressage position and that he ever learned to go on the bit with the piece of crap saddle we had between us. Ok ok, so a decent saddle but SO wrong for both of us in unlimited ways.

    I’m such a saddle snob now :P a good saddle is worth SO much.

    On Kip anticipating you, is it possible that he doesn’t like being left alone? I mean, especially in dressage I’ve been taught to ride EVERY step. To control what Ally’s doing, where he’s looking, where he’s focused, where is step is at. Literally every step.

    It’s exhausting and I admit I don’t ride like that except when Christiane is there yelling at me :P However, might it be that Kip NEEDS to have very specific direct requests from you each and every step? Not just posting around with a general idea of a circle (or what not) a few steps ahead of you (this is how most of us ride).

    Or Kip might just be a dork :P but it came to mind.

  2. It’s possible that that is exactly what he needs – maybe he wants constant instruction, so he doesn’t start worrying. I’ve always thought that a horse should respond to an instruction and keep doing it without having to be pushed with every stride (to an extent, of course, in that you’ll constantly need to be driving on more with the leg, half-halting, correcting the straightness or bend, etc.). But if you send the horse into trot or canter, they better damn well stay there until you bring them back, rather than deciding on their own “well, that’s enough, I’ll drop down a gear now”.

    I’ll try it, though, and see if that reassures him – he does get tense now, which obviously isn’t great. He’s so NOT a trier, so I don’t want to discourage him from the times when he is trying to please…he just needs direction.

    Re: the saddle, this is the first “good” saddle I think I’ve ever had. I just didn’t realise what a HUGE difference it made. Now I need a jumping saddle, and I think I am going to be a bit of a snob while I’m looking. :) Suggestions on event saddles?

  3. saddles? anything that fits you and Kip :)

    fortunately such saddles don’t tend to rock your position as badly as a bad dressage saddle will. I’m difficult to fit because of a rather long hip to knee length, so I can ONLY ride in saddles w/ extra long flap or extra forward flaps or some such. The jumping saddle I use on Denali right now isn’t quite long enough — but it’s not worth selling and buying the more forward flap version that Courbette makes (if only I had done more research before buying! gack! kicking self 3 years later).

    The thing with event saddles is that oftentimes they come with those blocks. I’ve never been a fan of having ANY blocks on the saddle and I know lots of others who hate them too.

    Then I got my jumping saddle last fall……Oooooo

    Okay, blocks on the saddle when in the RIGHT place are incredible! I’ve got one behing my knee and another in front of my thigh…. lesse. photo is here:

    The thing is, they had my measurements as well as Ally’s when making this saddle so it FITS me (and him! such a b*tch to fit him). It’s so very lovely. I don’t have any bulk under my leg, just the blocks AROUND it to keep me in. And I’m not a bad jumper, but he has SUCH big movement, the added security is amazing. Our old-old saddle was perfectly flat and smooth. Made me work, but with riding 3 horses right now I’m not really worried about not working enough.

    Not a fan of extra deep seat saddles for jumping but I know some event ones do. Then again, I’m not jumping down a 5 foot bank either :P

    As a general rule, I like the Courbette saddles. Not sure if they have an event model. I have lusted after their Vision saddle, which is rather event like but I haven’t actually seen/sat in one. http://www.courbette.com/Catalog/saddles/vision.html

    The one I have for Ally (the photos) is Schleese which is a Canadian company. Beyond that I’m clueless :) I know there’s some good companies out there, but not all of them provide the variety/fit/selection I need so I tend to ignore them if they don’t provide extra long flaps (or have one lousy model and no others with that choice).

    saddle shopping is both fun and vastly annoying. good luck :)

  4. Thanks – VERY much appreciated. I need the extra security, so I would go for a saddle with blocks and with a deeper seat. I do like the ones of your Schleese – that is similar to what I am looking for. I’d been thinking about a Jeffries Falcon Hawk event saddle, if I can get one used and then have it fitted to him. Ooh – just looked at the Schleese site – the X-Country Schleese Signature Series saddle is VERY nice. Waaay out of my price range, tho.

  5. oh yes! I drooled over their cross country saddle! however, not what I needed and quite pricey. As it is, I spent more than wanted/expected on the jumping saddle, but it’s SO worth it. I got the dressage one used, so that helped a lot. :)

    just looking at different saddles though will help you understand what you like and what you don’t like and what you want.

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