A tale of two companies

As I’ve alluded to the last few weeks, new horse has meant new purchases because he doesn’t fit into anything. Like… that lovely Devoucoux monoflap? Yeah. That one.

I bought it because I was in talks with Devoucoux about how we could make it work, it was a great deal and I was confident in it. Needless to say, it’s been… an ordeal. I’m not going to publicly say all the things I’d like to say but I’m not quite a happy camper. And am faced with now selling the saddle I’ve owned for uh, two and a half weeks. AWESOME.

IT’S SO PRETTY ITS NOT FAIR

Unfortunately, despite it not being a great fit for Iggs, it’s the perfect fit for me and I’m obsessed with it. Meaning as much as I’d like to pack my toys and go home and never touch another Devoucoux… here I am shopping for a different one.

Seriously, is there anything less fun than saddle shopping? (Yes, there is, don’t answer that question)

On the plus side, I went out on a limb after doing all the reading and e-mailing back and forth with the Horse Bit Bank and ordered the Bombers Happy Tongue Loose Ring. A++++++ in customer service for Horse Bit Bank, by the way. They responded to all my emails and questions promptly, shipped it quickly, helped me ensure it fit properly and have overall been a pleasure to work with. Saddle companies, TAKE NOTE PLEASE THANKS.

I’ve now ridden Iggy in it twice and it’s safe to say we both love it. He’s so much happier and consistent in the contact and we had some of our best work last night. So much so I’m actually already considering ordering the Happy Tongue Beval as our jump bit. And I’ll 100% order from HBB again. Iggy was never bad, per say, in his french link loose ring, but he also played and played and played with it, liked to either toss his head or go behind the vertical, and just didn’t seem totally… happy? As opposed to our rides where the head tossing was a minimum, he was so easy and happy to push into the contact, and (thank God for the sake of my sanity) the free walk involved no “CLANK JANGLE CLINK CLANG” the whole way.

Looks sharp in his new breastplate courtesy of Remus and Michele (although the Remus hair seems to have brought the attitude with it…)

We’re off to lesson with Kira Connor this weekend while my trainer and half the barn and everyone I know is at Pine Top (ITS FINE I’M NOT JEALOUS AT ALL REALLY IT JUST HASN’T STOPPED SNOWING BUT IT’S GREAT REALLY PROMISE). I’m looking forward to finally having a formal jump lesson on the Iggster (is it weird I want to read that as hamster and now that might be his new nickname…?) and getting a good baseline of where we’re at right now.

Happy Friday, thank God for that.

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Pony Club

You know what I love about Iggy? He’s little. Holly sized. Fun sized. Cute and snuggly sized. Doesn’t-hurt-your-ankles-to-dismount-in-winter little.

You know what now drives me bonkers about Iggy? He’s little. So little. Too little for all the things, little.

Why has this frustration come about?

Two things: pony dressage reins and 16″ girths.

I said it. I thought I was bringing home a normal, albeit on the smaller side horse. Instead I brought home an oversized Labrador Retriever. You know what you get when you google 16″ girths? Dog harnesses.

Or when you find an actual option for horses, they’re either $200 or made of questionable material and a lack of roller buckles (WHY?). And none of them come in brown, meaning I may be going XC in a very appealing combination of brown saddle/black girth this spring. Much fashun, so style.

Don’t get me started on pony length dressage reins.

(Actually, Nunn Finer makes pony length reins in their soft grip which is what I like and will probably buy, but they’re also the same price as the horse ones which seems wrong for 12″ less material…)

Trying to take conformation pics was a struggle…

My saddle pads are… mostly do-able on him, although he could probably wear a pony size pad too. Cob size bridles abound in my tack box. (Yet his cob halter doesn’t fit in the throat???) Thank God 74″ and 76″ blankets are at least relatively easy to find.

Does this mean I can join the ‘cool ponies who do cool things’ club even if mine technically doesn’t measure? Current members I know of are Jen and Allie, but I feel like membership is welcoming.

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Saddles for Shrimps

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Not these shrimp.
(Yes, that is Paula Deen riding a shrimp. The internet is a wonderful place.)

I think we can all agree that saddle shopping is just maddening on a good day. Add in the fact that I’ve tried NINE (yes, 9) dressage saddles so far and haven’t found one… I’m losing it.

Doc has a perfectly well-fit lovely dressage saddle. But… it fits his owner. Who has about 7″ on me, I’m pretty sure all in her legs. It’s basically impossible for me to use my leg in it. What the neverending carousel of horrors saddles has taught me is that I need a short flap. Like, 14.5″ or 15″ short. I sat in a barnmate’s and I swear angels sang because I learned I have LEGS! They exist.

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Sitting in a short flap dressage saddle for the first time

Unfortunately, when you add in short flap + not-a-kids-size-seat and toss in a side of princess and the pea pony – large wither, big sloping set back shoulders, curvy back and LOTS OF OPINIONZ, suddenly you find yourself being quotes $6000 for a custom saddle and you kind of just slither away to cry.

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Getting that quote…

Doing BN dressage in a jump saddle surely isn’t the end of the world, but… it’s also not my favorite. And now that I’ve experienced the magical short flap dressage saddle, it’s all I think about. And dream about.

So, uh, if you know of a magical 17.5-18″ MW or W short flap dressage saddle with half/short blocks to fit a curvy back that won’t mean selling organs on the black market, hit a girl up?

Or, if you know anyone looking to buy a kidney, that might work too.

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My quarter ran out

There has been a distinct lack of riding material here as of late and it’s not due to me being lazy (well yes, I am, but that’s beside the point). The truth is that riding has been… hard.

I mean, riding is always hard. If it was easy, I’m pretty sure 99% of us would find a different sport because we like being perpetually broke and challenged and waving in danger’s face. But this hasn’t been, “Holly stop leaning” hard or omg my legs hurt can I have my stirrups back hard. This has been, my horse refuses to move hard.

Yup.

Nothing. Nowhere.

My horse.

He goes along happily for Trainer and her too-cute-for-words son (who is Doc’s FAVORITEPERSONONEARTH). And as soon as I get on? Your quarter ran out, lady.

I’ve left the barn in tears twice. He bolted through the open arena door and went back to his stall once. I checked his legs, I checked he was sound, I checked his bit, his face, his feet. “Well,” I thought, “so much for eventing this year. My horse hates me.”

Until I thought, “Huh. I never checked my saddle.”

Cause it was fine like three weeks ago?

Since, you know, it was custom fit for him less than two months ago. Lo and behold, it’s sitting lower to his withers than we’d like. Shot pics off to fitter, appointment scheduled, fingers crossed. Cue guilt of, “OMG I was making my horse do what when he was trying to tell me he was uncomfortable, I am the worst rider ever. I do not deserve to ride. I must never set foot in a barn again to atone my sins.” K. Dramatics slightly calmed down (but still guilty feeling), we had a lovely bareback ride Saturday (well he was lovely, I was… well, Big Eq winner, I am not), which has me hopeful this was our issue. We know he’s particular about saddle fit (hello, measures as a medium, prefers to go in a wide). Fitter comes tomorrow.

Please, please let this be the issue. Please, please, please let my horse not hate me forever.

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