I may or may not have an issue with collecting saddle pads. I mean, I know other people have WAY more than I do and I DO have 500 horses so it makes sense but still. I can't turn away from a nice saddle pad.
Yet this is a story of how I (almost) did!
I had a $50 gift card to Dover from September that I never got around to using. I have so much stuff and I like to run pretty trim with my supplies and well, Dover just doesn't have what I need in the stores much for me anymore and their shipping is bleh. But I had the card and was going down for Christmas Eve for my parents and decided to stop in. I took a lap and thought about getting more white breeches but they didn't have anything I really wanted and then I debated a turnout sheet for Vana but they didn't have the colors or size I wanted so I checked out the saddle pads and found this lovely pad and his friend on the left in a more grey color.
They were both lovely but I decided to get some hooks and things for the trailer becuase we seriously need to organize 4 horses and 2 rider's worth of gear in a bad way and I headed to our family gathering. Naturally at the gift giving, I got ANOTHER $50 Dover gift card (thanks mom!) and put it with my other cards at the house. Last week had me going to Houston twice for the airport so on the second trip I stopped in to get some more schooling boots (that I didn't really really need) and decided to see if I still liked the pad that much. The oatmealish color was gone but Mr Grey was still there so I grabbed it, tested it on the basic Custom Advantage that they had in store (Working Student is on me to get longer drop pads but I don't like longer spined pads so my saddle looks better, etc) and it fit beautifully. It was also 17% off this week (it wasn't the week before) and ended up costing me only $17. Boom. I brought it home, rode in it, and we looked so awesome.
Thanks for classing us up!
One more day in 2016 and naturally we're riding in the covered prepping for the spring show season. I'm SOOOO thankful that the winter so far has been so mild and NOT RAINY. The horses are looking awesome and we're set to show in January in Katy. This isn't the most flattering picture of Working Student, but look at Simon! #datasstho
Simon will be showing at 1st level and possibly 2nd level if I can convince Working Student that renvers isn't scary. Sad to say, but Simon will be up for sale this spring for some lucky person to enjoy now that we've got him going soo soo nicely. Always the hardest part about training and selling horses - you want to keep them once they're rockstars!
Vana lives his life in bell boots. I want to have the snazzy white bell boots for riding and then the pasture ones for his regular life but I can't commit to that until I know we're going to be in a prize ceremony and need to look "cool out chic."
Vana also has HUGE feet. Like size 5. Also because he is of the older persuasion and has been an upper level horse for most of his life, we pamper her with his shoes to a certain degree and losing a show is a bit of a pita for us so we keep things covered. Oh and he lives outside and walks A LOT. Through mud. Through whatever hops into Vana's little heart.
Anything we can do makes me feel better that his shoes will be there when I come to check on him.
So far we've been rocking it with the XL Escadron bell boots but they make it about 5-6 weeks before they're a mess and I replace them. At $35ish a pair, I decided to see if there was something else out there. Thin Line was advertising their new bell boots (Gatorbootz) on their Facebook page late summer/early fall so I jumped on that and bought a pair. Except I guess I jumped too soon and they didn't have them in stock. I opted to wait and they arrived I believe about a month later. The company was awesome about being in touch and in addition to sending me my requested elephant sized boot, they sent me a normal sized bell boot to try out too.
The material was REALLY hard and while I feel it would soften a bit; we had the upcoming show season and I couldn't afford for him to be rubbed if the boots didn't work. I held off until this day where we put them on the big guy's feet and now we see how they do!
Tonight Jade got to try on her "big brother's" bridle and hack around with the double on. Naturally I only rode her on the bradoon (which is the same style as her snaffle) and away we went! Jade was naturally super thrilled.
The purpose of this was to expose her to a new thing that was going to be "weird" and see how she worked through it. At first she was hesitant but quickly sorted out that it was basically the same olf things and we got right down to work. This won't be a regular thing for some time since we're working on more elementary principles but she's a super smart girl and I like to show her "new" things.
We did our normal conditioning style workout and by the end you can't even see the curb rein in the video! Good girl Jadey!
We did it. Our first big name trainer type of clinic and I have mixed feelings about it.
Charles is/was my trainer's mentor a hundred million years ago and she recommended I ride with him. It would be an experience I figured and decided to cough up the $$$ and get er done. It'll look good on the burgeoning resume I suppose at the least so we did it.
The weather was ridiculously (Texas) cold and so we were bundled up. Vana stayed on the trailer munching hay and chilling out. I won't lie, I went in there to snuggle up in the warmth a few times myself. The rest of the time I watched lessons and waited my turn as we were last. I felt like Charles did a really good job with the amateur people and with the greener horses the most in this clinic. There was another Grand Prix level rider and I watched her lesson and honestly, I didn't get a lot of WOW out of it. He has a keen eye and picked up on a few small errors they were doing and he easily got her straightened out.
By the time I was set to ride, I knew I should have brought Jade and not Vana but here we were. I tacked up Vana and we went to warmup. Vana was a rock star for the 5 minutes we were able to work and then Charles asked us for a short bio and off we went. I knew Charles would have us on a "loose rein" and working on other things and while I'm not afraid at all to ride this way, Vana was an ass about it.
No rein? Pfft. No kicking forward? Hahaha!
So yeah, Vana totally took advantage of the lengthy "warmup" because unless he gets a quick reminder to bend and move forward he's going to be sluggish and head waggling. Which made my hands waggle. Which made Charles think I had crap hands. Which meant that I ended up riding with one hand on my pommel and one on my inside thigh. With Vana still head waggling and not moving forward. We weren't able to do the exercises that Charles wanted us to do despite me giving it a go. He finally proclaimed Vana as "not understanding the exercise" and released us to something new.
I woke Vana up and he quickly realized we were working. Charles I felt wasn't expecting us to be straight in our changes so he had us come down a quarter line and do "however many felt good." We did about 5 changes. :P Bad I know, but I was ready to do something fancier and wake my sloth!horse up. Charles felt the changes were really nice and we nailed our straightness.
Overall, I think if you have a horse that needs relaxation and to be left alone to figure out their balance and rhythm, Charles rocks. If you already have that but need to work on you, yep, this would be good. Not saying I'm perfect in any way, but I'm already quite aware of these things from all my problem horses and the insane learning curve we've done over the past year and was hopign for "more" out of my session with him.
No matter, I definitely do not regret taking up the opportunity although I won't be in a hurry to clinic again with him myself.