A new type of dressage

So we all know that there’s dressage, and now there’s a thing called western dressage. But while I was uber bored last week waiting for Amber to feel better, I kept watching this little video my mom took for me before Amber was adjusted, and I just kept snickering.

So, I introduce to you: Huntssage. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what Amber and I will be doing, even if I manage to get lessons and a real dressage saddle and sit my shoulders back. I need to work on things for sure, but I think her head is never going to be “up” and “true dressage” will be out of our reach. Not because we (okay me) don’t want to work on it, but I seriously don’t think physically she has that reach or build. A QH I knew had major hock/stifle issues because the lady was pushing him to dressage and he physically was not able to. Another QH is officially not rideable anymore because pushing dressage caused a previously okay stifle OCD to pop up and it’s resulted in lots of surgeries. Soooooo I’m a bit hesitant. But we’ll probably go at most BN. Which does not require horses to Truly Dressage. So, nbd.

It’s going to be a new thing, guys. Huntssage. Or Dresster maybe? I think I like Huntssage better….

Hacking is awesome

Yesterday was pretty uneventful, except IT RAINED. In Vegas. I know. We were all shocked. And it ALSO got below 100 degrees at 3 pm. Which is unheard of, really. But it allowed my mom and I to ride on a beautifully watered arena in the evening, and it was perfect.

Amber was wonderful as well. She came out walking with purpose and feeling great. She still had trouble with lateral steps to the left, but it’s expected and she was still the best girl ever. She’s always super careful when we’re bareback; she flicks an ear back at me like “are you SURE you wanna lope ma?” It’s pretty adorable. Even though she did a baby “whee! I is excited!” and switched leads so nicely…. Now all I have to figure out is how to teach that to her….. But I am so excited that she’s relaxing into the new arena and is feeling better!

Tubby and tired lol

Shenanigans

Well, the vet was originally supposed to come out and do acupuncture and laser therapy Friday evening, but she accidentally forgot. Wonderfully, though, she still popped over and gave Amber a few more adjustments – which she needed. Her twisted hip needed to be tweaked some more. Amber was less sure of the appointment this time, but I could tell she was still feeling better.

I also got some breeches in the mail finally. I’d ordered a super cute pair from Horze and wanted to try some full seat breeches. These came really well packaged, and of course, Choco had to check them to make sure there was nothing wrong with them.

Dis food?!

They fit well through my hips and waist, but still feel a little odd in the legs so I’m going to wear them around the house some more before I decide what to do with them.

Saturday morning Amber was definitely feeling better. She did something she hadn’t done (and I hadn’t realized she hadn’t done until that moment) in a very long time – her right shoulder was falling to the inside. That side has always been her tougher side, so usually I’ve tried to keep her straight. But I basically dropped the reins and let her body do whatever it wanted. I was just happy she was feeling good enough and straight enough and not hurting to where one of her old problems came back. She felt pretty fluid. Her canter was much tougher, but I think it was because she’s been unable to feel comfortable in it for a long time. I actually got a few really good strides both directions with her lifting her back so we cut there.

Older pic but no less accurate

Her icky fungus spots look so much better even after just one Teddy’s Tack Trunk Treatment. Or the 4 t’s. She’s also a lot less itchy since I’ve used TTT’s Leave it be shampoo, but it could also be because I’ve given her two baths and have gotten tons of shedding hair off of her. However, the flaky spots have gone away with one wash, so I’m betting it’s working.

Sunday was an awesome day. I gave her a quick bareback hack – just a lot of walking since I was a little worried I’d maybe pushed her too hard Saturday. But she seemed to walk very freely, and I had my mom video her at a jog. Many times if she’s looking a little off you can tell when she’s slow jogging. Maybe two or so steps she was short, and the rest she looked super. Both of her legs looked even and hitting the ground at the same time. So while we won’t be really getting into things this week, I think it’ll be good to just get her out every day, and saddle or no saddle we hack around and get her muscles moving and retraining them. I’m so relieved we’re finally get a handle on why she isn’t feeling so good.

Sunday was also awesome because a good friend of mine came over for a Harry Potter marathon. It was quite a lot of this between us

and also just a lot of chilling out and enjoying the movies. We only managed to get through 5 because we got a late start, but we’d also watch A Very Potter Musical so….that absolutely counts too.

All in all, a super chill weekend.

Stuff for sale!

So I haven’t gotten all my shit together that I want to sell yet, because I have to organize all my non-horse things first, but there are a few things that I absolutely know for certain that I want to sell (and are within reach). I’m not the best with “what is a good deal for used items” so I’ll stick a price out there, and if you want to negotiate, please feel free to email me! Buyer would also pay shipping, and preferably Paypal. Without further ado, here they are!

Ovation Aqua-X knee patch silicone breeches – Blue/Aegean blue size 30

They’ve been worn probably 15-20 times, haven’t stretched with wash or wear, and just have two very-difficult-to-see spots where I accidentally splattered hooflex on them. Don’t ask me how I managed to do it. I’ll send you pictures of the spots if you’d like. I want to keep them, but I’m more of a 31 than a 30, so they’re up for sale. $75

Kerrits Flow Rise knee patch tights – Dune/ Medium

I really like these, but again, I’m in between sizes. Worn about 15-20 times, a little bit of pilling around the ankles. $45

Thinline jumper boots set of 4 – black/medium

I bought these used, and have hardly used them. The fronts are too big on Amber. $70

SmartPak Harwich fancy stitched hunt bridle with long (~62″) reins – SOLD!

Ovation QH plain raised padded bridle (no reins) – Full

The bridle is breed specific, but it just didn’t fit Amber’s cow horse head very well. It’s a nice bridle in a lovely rich chocolate and been used about 20-25 times. It’s been conditioned and oiled; the only flaw is that I snipped off one of the keepers for the noseband because I was thinking of having a leather maker look at it. $65

Browbands with Bling padded browband – Full/royal with gold crystals

I love this browband but I just don’t use it anymore. It’s super fun though, custom made and very good quality. (It also goes well with the bridle above) $50

Total Saddle Fit dressage girth – brown/ 30″

Don’t need this one anymore, though it’s still in like-new condition. $85

Western “starter package” – 1 saddle, 3 bridles, and 1 bit

This is really just in case any of you know someone looking for a western saddle. It’s my mom’s but I figured it was worth a shot to put it up here. Saddle is California poppy tooling, semi-quarter horse bars (which is basically the Western equivalent of a medium to medium wide tree in English). It has a 15 1/2″ seat and is luxuriously padded – stirrups are padded as well to aid in foot comfort. Was used very lightly for a year. 3 bridles are added – all plain but good for showing. Bit is a twisted wire western D snaffle. Padded saddle cover included. $1000

That’s it for now. I’ll need to go through all my other things but this is what I have in front of me at the moment. Again, let me know in the comments or via email if you want anything! I’ve also never really done this before, so forgive me if I’m verifying things 5 times or whatnot lol. I’ll try to do it as fast as possible as well as cheap as possible.

The 4th and things

July 4th was not as bad as I was anticipating. Since Amber was weird Monday I just hopped on her bareback for a nice hack with my mom. Her walk felt okay but I could hear and feel that her hind feet were short or a little off. I did jog a little, and she felt relatively okay to the right, but still not quite to the left. Thankfully, the vet had gotten back to me by that time, so we settled on an acupuncture/laser therapy session Friday evening. I’m really crossing my fingers that she’ll feel better. She’s hypersensitive in her hip area, but if her hip is finally not twisted I’m not surprised. I think acupuncture will absolutely help her muscles relax and reset.

We so wild

Since I had the day off we puttered around the place doing cleaning and fix-up. Fireworks started in earnest around 8. Our neighborhood is pretty quiet, and since we have a police officer that lives right across the street, only the little fireworks were allowed which I must admit is nice. Warehouses across the tracks invite people to come set off the large fireworks. My mom and I gave our horses some Quietex, but for the most part, I think Amber would’ve been okay without it.

The yawn is strong with this one

The giant fireworks going over her head with giant booms? No problem. She just flicked an ear and watched. The ones across the street though – those were going to eat her. She never got bad, and the families did fireworks for about 30 minutes, and if I stayed and provided scratches, the fireworks didn’t even make a blip on her radar.

OMG SCRATCHES YESSSSS

Overall it was one of the best 4ths I’ve had – except when it wasn’t. Somebody come over on to the empty lots to shoot fireworks, and it’s all brush, dry and prime for fires. Our barn is metal, but the hay and the horses are flammable. Thankfully, they only had about 3 and were done very quickly. Then someone also somehow got one of my credit card numbers and decided to purchase nearly $200 worth of things with my money. And the company wasn’t open on federal holidays. Sweet. It is all sorted though, so that’s good.

I did receive my Teddy’s Tack Trunk box yesterday so immediately after work I suited up and gave Amber a bath. She was not enthused, but I am really really hoping that this will help with her obsessive itching. It’s gotten worse this summer since we put sand in the back of her stall, but I’m hoping this shampoo will help with that until I can get more shavings and dirt back there.

Hardcore mare glare LOL

Now it’s a waiting game. Hopefully Friday evening’s appointment will render better results! Also, stay tuned for tomorrow’s post – I’ve got some good stuff for you guys!

Review: KO Trading Company Elite Cowhorse Saddle

So I think I will be renaming these Review Wednesdays. I’ve done a few reviews on English tack so far, so I figure it’s high time I review a Western product. And the first product on the docket? My saddle.

At the time I bought this saddle in 2015, it was called the Elite Cowhorse saddle. Now, it’s technically the KO Elite Reiner Saddle- KOE-1706 on their website. I stumbled across the company when a friend was looking for a saddle and she took me to their booth at the futurity. It has no “padded” seat, and I was expecting it to be hard as a rock. And surprisingly, it was extremely comfortable. It helped her sit well so she bought one and then left it with the trainer and I to use. And use it I did.

That saddle became my staple for every horse I rode. Since it is a cowhorse saddle, it’s meant to sit you back and be uphill over the withers so that it’s easier to keep your seat when your horse is cutting a cow. It was especially helpful on those downhill 2 yr olds that were still growing, and it really just sat you nice and straight in the saddle. Because it sits you back and was a smooth seat (no suede), it also made it very easy to sit those hard stoppers.

But the biggest reason I chose the saddle was the fit. I’d been using some saddles that appeared to fit her in the withers, but what I wasn’t paying attention to how wide the channel was through the back of the saddle. It’s what first alerted me to the fact that while Amber is wide in her shoulders, she gets even wider towards her hips. And although this saddle is a square cut, it did exactly that – it was broad for the shoulders, and even wider in the back.

The shoulder fit for Amber is phenomenal. You can see how seamlessly it fits on on her shoulders, and I could immediately tell the difference in her comfort when I rode her in this saddle versus others. The channel in the back was wide, but I’d also seen saddle skirts that cut in even when it was broad in back. Amber also didn’t like these as both of her last ribs are nearly as far out as her hip bones. But this skirt cleared it with room to spare.

The saddle used to be a very dark chocolate, but it has lightened to a reddish brown now. My friend’s saddle was lacquered and stayed chocolate, but I’d had a not-so-good experience with lacquer before that so I’d opted for without.

This saddle was custom (but not fit-wise), and it really didn’t change the price tag any. I simply asked for a suede seat in chocolate to match, and that was what KO provided. When I visited their store in the Fort Worth Stockyards, I picked my own conchos, the tooling pattern and specified the suede seat. It came with both side latigos and a back cinch (which I have somewhere but alas, have not looked through all my bins). The saddle also came very very oiled – I’ve had it for two years now, used it about 4-5 times a week and have yet to need to add anything to it. I do keep it in a cover and dust it off after I ride, but I always check it to see if it needs a coat of oil.

So if you have a very wide, stocky, hard-fit-QH I highly recommend this saddle. It has been the only saddle (and I’ve tried a few other brands since) that has perfectly fit my horse. I have never ridden a wide QH that didn’t like the saddle – even the 2 yr olds rode in it well. It sits you perfectly balanced on the horse, and is one of the most comfortable western saddles I’ve ever ridden in. Their customer service was also very good. The lady who had taken my order and I had a misunderstanding about the suede seat, and they built me a whole new saddle with the right seat free of charge. Personally, it’s a 5 out of 5 stars for me.

And 2 steps back

Not much happened yesterday. I took Amber out for her walk/trot lunge and she was….very strange to say the least. Especially after she looked so promising Sunday. Her walk looked okay, but when she got to the jog she just looked really discombobulated. Very off on rhythm. She extended to a good trot for a bit, looked okay and then went back to looking weird. She was excited and cantered a bit, still seeming to have an outward bend. So I massaged her out a little, aaaaaaaaannnnnd it looked worse. So I stretched her legs under her, and she held her right hind really funky for a bit before she properly stretched. She looked a teensy bit better afterwards, but still moving weird and not wanting to put that right hind under her at all.

I contacted the vet/chiro that looked at her, asking some questions and seeing whether she needs to come back. I’m wondering if her muscles are just so so so so tight and stuck if she’s had this problem for a while and I haven’t caught it. Her muscles do look blobby instead of sleek in her butt, and since my shoulder issues I just don’t have the arm/body strength anymore to really try dig deep into her muscles. Maybe I should work on that today….

Even her healing from her knee surgery and suspensory didn’t feel this unknown and stressful, because dammit I want the bloody horse happy and body sound. Maybe I’m being way too overprotective mom. But I definitely think there’s something (probably a lot) going on back there that could very well be translating to why she’s still occasionally tripping on her right front. Definitely freaking out on the inside.

Maybe I just need to stretch her every day and massage her every other day for a month now. I dunno. I just wish she could speak and tell me what’s going on. But alas. Well, Amber’s been really good and sound for a while, so perhaps this is my year for horse trouble.