Wednesday, May 30, 2012

And the rest of the story... Peter Atkins Clinic Follow Up (With Video!)

Moose and I had a great time in Kentucky training with Peter Atkins. The MooseMan was FABULOUS....I was...ME.

Starting with awesome trailer hitching skills...


 I ALWAYS lock up...

If you ever lock your keys in your truck in rural Lexington, simply call 253-OPEN.

Note to self -when you do not have 4WD do not park truck and trailer on grass during torrential rains...

 I always do keep a sense of humor -it's that or cry (constantly).

“If this is the worst thing that happens this weekend, I am doing great!” X4 or was it X5?

And yes, the my mental riding game is on par with my vehicular logistics skills.
(I cannot.

This clinic was sponsored by the HJU Ammie Educational Grant presented by ECOGOLD ( you can read my clinic recap for HJU here.)
Now for video!

If you are bored have too much free time need to be amused -oh, whatever- all the raw footage of my flat lesson is on (Raw file 1, 2,3 and 4). Bonus points if you actually make it through and can identify what clip includes Peter's quip, “this video should be on America’s Funniest Home Videos!”

The lesson begins with Peter explaining to keep it simple. Make it simple for the horse to do what you want (i.e. to give the “right” answer).

This applies as he teaches Moose and I the beginnings of lateral work –only ask for the movement when Moose can respond.

Applying the above lessons:

We then moved to working on pushing the nose forward at the trot (in the video above we also work on this at the walk).

Moose’s nemesis has always been the canter. Peter has us work on counter-canter to improve his balance.

Peter explaining counter-canter:

FINALLY getting it!

I don't have video of jumping but I did come away with my favorite picture ever.

Gratuitous Photo Posting. (I am sure you will see it again.)
In the end we had fun, we learned (about riding as well as trailer safety checks, door locks and the need for 4WD). It was also a mini-blogger convention and I enjoyed spending time with Amy and Steady (from 'Slow and Steady Wins the Race'), Karen (from 'CONTACT'). and Kelly (from 'Dressage Pony.'

Great weekend. Thanks to friends (old and new) and family that helped out. And of course super thanks to HJU/ ECOGOLD!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Saddle Fitting Saga- my tale of woe FINALLY ENDS

One of the most popular posts on this blog is “I need to vent. Now, either people are attracted to negativity and want to hear a good rant or horse people share a common issue- saddle fitting sucks.
Throughout the 2.5 years I have owned Moose we have battled the saddle demon- never really finding the illusive “one” (or “two” –I’m an eventer and need a dressage and jump).
We have tried:
Saddle fit horse. Not Moose.
  • Thornhill
  • Prestige
  • Baines
  • Devoucoux
  • Bates
  • Wintec
  • Stubben
to name a few.

Incessant googling led me to a new product line –Kent & Masters. I read their spiel. I watched their video. I liked how easily adjustable they seemed.

  • Wool flocked (with flocking slots!)
  • Adjustable gullet
  • Moveable billets
Perhaps with all of these features they could be made to fit a Moose?

I email Trumbull Mountain tack for a trial.

First up the Kent & Masters S Series Jump.
It fit well statically.

But moved around during the ride :(
…ahh but remember the adjustable billets?

I re-watched the fitting video and moved the billet configuration rearward. Success! It fits! It does not move! And I LOVE it! If you want a comparison, the balance feels just like the older Albion XC saddle.

Kent & Masters give us wings!

Next was the Fairfax Monoflap Dressage. Very pretty. I petted it.

Ooh it seems to fit Mooses.
 Humpf it does not fit Amys

Fat Ass

I tried to make it work. I really did. But it seems I need an 18.5 (which they do not make) to avoid fighting the blocks. So…NEXT!

We then try the Kent & Masters dressage model. I asked for the same gullet I had in the s-series jump saddle (medium-wide)…but it was too narrow (Moose definitely let me know). The very helpful Nancy from Trumbull immediately mailed the wide gullet. After having a Bates I was dreading putting that thing in…but it was actually easy! Wow! An adjustable gullet saddle you can adjust without cursing, crying and finally begging the gods for that last centimeter of space!

But it moved when I rode and I was not comfortable 100%...but with adjustable billets (I changed them to the ‘point’ configuration’ and velcro knee blocks (took them off) the saddle stayed in place and I was comfortable.

Don't be jealous. I have TWO saddles that fit! (neener-neener).

They also come at a good price point (~$1500).  And if you buy from Trumbull you get free shipping and $85 towards the first flocking adjustment (WINNING!). I have to plug them -Nancy was a huge help looking at 100,000,001 photos (does this fit? is it in the right place? isn't my pony cute!?) and answering just as many emails.

Off to ride!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

We're Back!

Moose and I are back in action (it is now officially after Annual Meeting).

While I had fun slaving away in California it is great to be back in the saddle literally and figuratively.

Despite the photographic evidence (Note: these are not real! Who would have guessed?!) I never saw the beach or Hollywood.

I DID go to the Peter Atkins Clinic at Champagne Run (sponsored by the HJU/ ECOGOLD Ammie Educational Grant).

Read the clinic recap on Horse Junkies United. Then go buy an ecogold pad and tell them Amy sent ya ;)

PS -submissions are open for the next grant. Go get it!