Friday, June 24, 2011

I've been riding, just not taking pictures. Yesterday we had a good trail ride, Melissa and I and my dad. The horses were very well behaved, but Rosie did not like Sox. She was still flirting with Tonka but not quite so desperately. It is interesting how they have their own social agendas while we humans are socializing in our own way.

Today I took Tonka along to a barbeque at my sister's. He was calm, happy, and pleased to be there. A completely different horse than the one I've been riding all year so far. And I think, maybe, the reason might be saddle fit.

Yesterday when I picked up my dad and Sox for our ride, I also traded saddles with my sister. Not my really nice saddle, just my other pretty nice saddle, a Diamond C I'm trying to sell. I put hers on Tonka at the trail head and I was skeptical about the fit but rode anyway. I made sure to stay on the whole ride, not get off on the steep down hill parts to save his back. He seemed fine. Toward the end of the ride my butt was tired of the saddle, and my knees and hips weren't happy when I dismounted. So it's not perfect for me but sometimes it takes time to get used to a new saddle. When we got back to the trailer I took it off and the sweat pattern was even. Which I've experienced before even with a saddle that didn't fit, so I was still skeptical.

Tonight he was so calm and relaxed, and my sister took some video of us. His back wasn't sunken the way it often is in other pictures I've seen of us riding. So I'm hopeful. I admit I'm still totally confused about saddle fit, so I'm not going to claim it fits. But it seems to make him happy so far.

I also tried out one of my new Myler bits. It's a shanked bit with a port but each side moves independently. It's extremely similar to the Dutton bit that Tonka prefers over any others, but it's smooth metal, not black rusty sweet iron. . I noticed Tonka itching his face a lot during our last ride with the Dutton, and thought maybe the rough texture or something about the metal was irritating the corner of his mouth, so maybe a change was in order. It did seem to work somewhat differently, judging by his behavior, but he seemed to like it. I'm going to keep riding in it and see if it's a good thing for him.

This is the Dutton bit he prefers, but his isn't a 7 shank:

This is the Myler bit, but I think mine has a wider port:
Both swivel in the center.

I'm "this close" to getting my EZ Fit treeless saddle. Just have to sell a few items first. How many bits, pads, and breast collars does a person really need anyway? I counted 12 bits today, and I have at least 5 breast collars. I put some on Craigslist today (but couldn't bring myself to part with any breast collars just yet). Here are some pics in case anyone is interested.


froglander said...

Aww, no pictures of Tonka? Good luck selling your stuff. And I know what you mean about saddle fit. It is currently driving me nuts. And the thing I seem to be having most issue with is pressure on either side of Cody's withers. I dunno, maybe I'm just looking at something totally wrong.

So glad to hear though that you've been able to ride Tonka and he seems to be doing well :) Was worried about him for awhile there!

Margaret said...

I'm new here... Tonka was one of my FAVORITE Disney story books (and a movie!) when I was a kid. Looks like you have a wonderful blog and I can learn a lot. I'm just getting back into horses after a 20 year break... Love your blog photo header ... it is beautiful!

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

He's doing really, really well on this new diet. Lately he seems just like a normal horse, you wouldn't even know anything was wrong with him. Of course I'm not taking him on 6 hour rides, but I bet we could if I conditioned him better.

Pressure at the withers sounds like maybe the saddle is too wide? Does the saddle sit down in the front more than the back? Does it slide backward?

Tonka's main saddle fitting problem is that his shoulders are way bigger than his wither, and they move funny because he toes in. So a saddle that's wide enough for his shoulder is great there, but too wide behind the shoulder and pinches at the top of his wither. I've tried a Ricotti pad, built up pad, Ortho Sport pad, etc, and nothing helps. They pitch the saddle back onto his loin. Last time I tried it he actually had welts there.

This saddle I'm riding in now feels a little snug at the shoulder but has a narrower angle and seems to be good at his wither. It works its way back a tad from where I think it should be and then his shoulder moves freely. We'll see how it goes. My saddle seems to fit my sister's horse and her saddle seems to fit mine, so I'm hoping they will both actually fit and we can just trade.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...


Welcome back to the world of horses! I just went and looked at your blog and I can't wait to read more. Lovely pictures, and you bring up some good questions.

I don't know about the Tonka story book and movie, I'll have to look that up!

Margaret said...

It was also called "A Horse Named Comanche" 1958. There was a movie, too but I never saw that, actually. I need to try and Netflix it. I read the book over and over, though - I think it was a Disney book with photos from the movie... my mom probably still has it!