You can guess who won that fight!
It has been completely crap weather here all week. Thursday afternoon I knew I had to get a ride in so we hauled over to the arena. It wasn't actively raining when we arrived so I was able to get him tacked up next to the trailer. Again we went with no breastcollar and I have to admit I like the convenience of not having to use it!
I decided to give the saddle a try without the front thigh blocks, they are completely removable yet are very secure when in place. The saddle definitely felt less wide. My leg position still felt very secure and I think I would probably go this route full time.
I did notice that I was feeling that pommel rise a little more during our warm up walk session. I'm not sure if this was due to the removal of the thigh block putting my pelvis in a slightly different position, or if it was just the result of being a little sore.
I'd seen the chiropractor on Wed. and she was not too happy with me. Apparently my back ( which has been getting progressively easier and easier to adjust and keep "in place" had taken a bit of a backslide. It was pretty sore actually once she started to palapate it. Hmmm. I confessed to trying a new saddle and that it had felt a little wide to me.
I let that adjustment settle for a day and then we tried our Thur ride. I am definitely not used to that "open hip" angle thing but I'm still not totally convinced it isn't just a matter of needing to stretch more.
Anyway, the ride was a bit of a bust. We did about an hour but it was an irritating one, as there was a small boy riding a 4-wheeler ALL around the arena for about half of it. Now the ATV is no problem for me or Cartman, he is very broke to stuff like that.
Unfortunately, I think this was a case of sticking the kid on the thing and telling him just to drive it around the farm so Mom could park her butt in the barn and yack with friends. He was winding the hell out of this low geared farm 4-wheeler and didn't really know how to drive it. Sigh. It was all I could do not to scream at him to shift the damn thing:) Just kidding- child lovers!
After that finally ended Miss Kinda Rude Thing came into the arena and proceeded to turn on and then go back and crank up the radio to some local modern "country" music. Gag. I love a huge variety of music, from opera, to county, to Muse, to Rage Against the Machine. So I'm not some uppity music snob. But, I pretty much hate the country that they play on the radio here in this area. It isn't really "country" to me and its not really Pop either.
Really, I think I was just tired, sore and a little cranky.
Today I was determined to give it another go. The weather is typical NW Wa spring. Torrential rain, then sun, then mist, then rain, then a little sun- usually just as the sun sets.
I brought Cartman up first thing this morning to dry off his feet and let him eat some of the weed-free Timothy I bought to use on our rides where that is required. Finally about 11:30 am the sun was shining and we headed over to the jogging path.
I decided to go without the thigh blocks again and see how secure the saddle felt out on the trail.
Immediately upon getting on I notice it felt really comfortable. I really do like the seat on this saddle, the padding is just about perfect and the texture (I believe it might be calfskin?) gives the perfect level of grippiness. The suede seat of my Crates saddle is a little too grippy and if you are riding in jeans they actually stick to it so much that the motion of the horse tends to result in the rider moving a little inside of the jeans! Ouch.
Another thing I like, I can feel my seat bones sinking into the saddle a bit. I'm not sure if that makes sense but its a certain feeling, kinda hard to explain. In my Specialized the seat is really quite hard. I've had no issues with it but have heard others complain that the seats are too hard. Interestingly I notice that in the RP I get no "bounce back" from the saddle. If Cartman goes from canter to trot sometimes he gives a few strides that are quite animated. If I'm not prepared or paying attention, or are getting tired I sometimes get a stride of slightly out of balance, and I can feel a bounce. I feel more connected in the RP.
I knew we were on borrowed time with the rain and all so we did a quick walking warm up, I did some of the stretches that Celena shared with me- and they are getting easier! I also worked quite a bit on getting C. to move laterally. He is starting to get more solid in the difference between move sideways while trotting down the trail and move your back end over and give me a little shoulder-in going down the trail.
We trotted about3/4 of a mile then I decided to kick it up a notch and get some good loping. I really need to read Dennis Summers 4th Gear Book again. I know not to add both speed and distance at the same time and decided that today we'd only do about 3 miles (didn't want to get too far from the trailer in case the weather changed rapidly) so we'd go faster than we usually do.
Sure enough, I started to see dark clouds gathering as we reached our turn around point. I let Cartman roll and he loped and loped back down the trail. I have been using the natural bend in the trail to work on one lead and then switching to the other as the trail turns. He's getting so much better at picking up the lead I ask for every time. Love this horse!!!
We were to the top of the sand area and the trailer was in sight when it started to sprinkle. Uh oh. I let the big guy go and we galloped the 1/2mile to the trailer. I jumped off, Cartman was puffing a little, I quickly unlocked the tack room and got the saddle back into it's box. Just in the nick of time.
Cartman now needed to cool down so we started walking back down the trail in the rain. It started coming down harder so I grabbed a cooler and tossed it on him. About that time it just started dumping rain on us. I was soaked, before I realized that my hood was down it was full of water. Ick.
We managed to walk out aways and Cartman grabbed a few bites of grass then we headed for the trailer and it was blowing and raining sideways. He practically jumped into the trailer and we were off for the house.
Yikes, I sure hope it is better tomorrow, I'm going to try for another longer ride if at all possible:)