Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

I came home from meeting the saddle fitter to find this!

Three "matching " buckets, a new lunge whip, a matching pitch fork, a portable muck cart, and a gas griddle!
Happy Valentines Day, for sure!  Todd is very good at picking out gifts.  Rumor has it, he was pretty disgusted with the price of roses ($80?????) and made the prudent decision to go to Wilco!  Good job honey:)
The saddle fitting went well, except that my saddle's tree doesn't fit C :(
I don't remember if I blogged about the white hairs that showed up as his summer coat shed out>

I was completely appalled, he never acted "sore" but somehow my saddle has been putting pressure points on his shoulder and back on the left and a small patch on the right back.  I adjusted what I could, and since he was getting time off I just waited.  I figured when I was ready to get back to riding I could just take him up and get the saddle fitted.
Getting a fitting appointment proved to be harder than I imagined, so I started looking at the fit myself.  About this time I saw the Reactor Panel display at convention, and although I hadn't really considered getting a new saddle, I spent several minutes talking to the saddle fitter and looking at the saddles.  The workmanship looks really nice on these saddles!
Looking at my saddle I began to have the feeling that the tree just didn't fit him- but I'm not a professional saddle fitter and I wanted someone to show me exactly what was wrong.
Today the fitter came to Castle Rock and she evaluated Cartman's current saddle.  She showed me how the saddle is affecting the development of his right shoulder and that he has some asymmetry that is contributing to the pressure spots. 
I rode him with a Port Lewis impression pad and it confirmed what the white hairs show.  Right where those spots are- the pad was almost pushed flat.  All the filling was pushed down towards his shoulder .
Basically his saddle's tree is too wide and the angle of the tree is too shallow.  This is causing pressure along the top of his back, with less contact below.  Consequently the saddle slips back and the bars of the saddle then poke into the area right behind his shoulder, especially on the left side.
C has more muscle development on his left side, the side with more white hairs.  He is distinctly left handed, so this makes sense with how he carries himself. 
Hindsight, of course, but in the last few months I've been thinking back to how things went last summer.   I kept feeling like my left stirrup was too short, although they appeared even from the ground.  On several rides where we spent a lot of time walking I actually had to drop my left stirrup and my knee got irritated from the torque of the too short (but not shorter) stirrup.
Another small clue was the fact that C seemed slower and more hesitant going down hill.  At the time I thought this was something to do with his breathing and the allergy trouble he had.  Looking back I can see little subtle changes in his behavior that I now believe may be due to saddle troubles.
The fitter took a lot of time and explained a lot about the Reactor Panel saddles.  From what I've seen so far their customer service is excellent and I'm really excited to try one out.  She took measurements and pictures of Cartman's back and of my current saddle.  They then she'll send these measurements to the company where they will try and find the best tree to fit Cartman.  All of their trees are hand made, so they may not have anything right away that will be the best fit.  I find the Specialized to be really comfortable so we're going to try and find something that will be comfortable to me, as well as fitting C. 
Next time I'll ask if its OK to take pictures and do a formal blog post!


Funder said...

Wow, fascinating! (And good going, Todd - that's a way better V-Day present!)

Amber Z. said...

Crazy that he has changed enough to need a diff. tree already! Better get some body work done on him once you have some time under a new saddle- help him to re-adjust.
Todd- I'm impressed!! :D

HHmstead said...

Exactly what my saddle problem was - a tree that was too wide & as I see from your photos - C has a nice wither too! Already Farah's "waves" have almost disappeared - using my Big Horn Saddle.

HHmstead said...

Oh yea... as for your Valentine presents - what a guy!