Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, February 5, 2012

In the Arena # 103 - Getting ahead of myself...

A super busy week. The continuing stretch of great weather has compelled me to clear out some vegetation and begin building the new garden beds. A bit sooner than I had planned, in case this fine spell lasts and planting time comes early. Separate farmette post coming on this topic...

I also repaired and restrung the electric fence next door for the boarding operation. Time consuming as well as strenuous. There was a lot of damage from hurricane Irene and a subsequent nor'easter - mostly fallen trees. I had to put in a dozen new posts (time to get my phd again - (post hole digger)) as the original "builder" had screwed insulators directly into trees. The dead trees fell, and the live ones grew over the insulators. Once the wire was all strung and connected, I switched the solar panel on - both Lucky Barnett and I discovered that it doesn't take too long to charge the fence...

Between rounds of chores, Val and I had time for two bareback rides. In some ways I can't even believe that I'm this comfortable without a saddle, and doing lots of trot work no less. The bareback posting is coming along well. Most of the action is provided by Val, with me stabilizing with my core, and activating my thighs. Relaxed knees and lightly hugging lower legs. It's interesting that giving up the stirrups as a place to brace, also helps to focus on maintaining steady contact while not balancing on your hands. So far, my lack of a saddle has proven an opportunity to improve my seat rather than an inconvenience.

Last Thursday was so frigging beautiful - sunny, 75 degrees and no wind. I came home intending to ride, then decided to choose the completely stress free option. I took my lawn chair, a picnic lunch and a stack of  horse magazines out to the paddock . Me and Val were just hanging out. After he finished freaking out on the zero gravity chair - "why are you riding that?!" - he set out to investigate the picnic. Apparently crinkly white plastic trash bags are no longer a threat once they contain edibles. I offered him salad, but dressing didn't suit him so he spit that out. Then he really wanted my sandwich, but it was loaded with mustard, and I was hungry. We split the oatmeal cookies. He alternated between chewing on the chair, nosing for more edibles, and "helping" me read my magazines. What fun I had with my horse that day!


Saddle shopping and ebay - a cautionary tale...

On the saddle search front - I believe I'm over my infatuation with ebay. Actually, ebay broke my heart. I spent nearly a week watching a brand new, vintage Klimke Miller 17 1/2, MW dressage saddle - (it was p-e-r-f-e-c-t, it was beautiful, it was likely to be affordable) - consulting ebay "experts" and formulating my plans.

For most of the week, the bids hovered around two hundred dollars. I figured out what I thought I was willing to pay. With just over an hour left, I took my position in front of the computer, opened two windows, and placed my first bid. For exactly fifty eight minutes, I had the top bid.

Hey, this ebay thing isn't that hard! Maybe no one knew what a great deal this saddle was! Maybe I was going to get a gorgeous saddle for four hundred dollars! The adrenalin kicked in.

So did my ocd / adhd tendencies. I couldn't handle just waiting, so I started screen shotting the various pix of the saddle, to place into my "new saddle" file. I needed to be able to brag on my awesome deal here on the blog after all...

Suddenly - while filling my file with the screen shots - with thirty seconds left - I was outbid, by ten dollars. Between my not speedy enough internet connection, my inability to do the math needed for my next bid, and total shock, I spazzed out and lost the saddle.

Holy crap - super disappointing - no excellent new saddle, and adrenalin poisoning to deal with as well. I had to go sleep it off with a pity nap. (time to call the waaaaambulance)

All the obsessing I did on ebay was actually a good thing, as it turns out. I came across another saddle option - Duett Fidelio - that after researching extensively I believe may be a great saddle to satisfy Val's shape, and my preferences as well.

The new plan is to put my saddle on the market, and depending on how that goes, keep looking for a used Fidelio to come up for auction. If my Beval does sell, I may be able to swing a new saddle, with tracings and fitting going on before rather than after the saddle purchase. Lots of lessons in this story.


  1. I've been there twice bidding on e-bay and it is nerve racking. The experienced wait for the last minute and bid aggressively. It isn't for me - and it makes me go higher than I had planned. It still amazes me how many difficulties people have with saddles... I will be finding out myself in a few years when I look for a nice dressage saddle to fit my 1/2 Friesian (waiting for him to stop growing).

    The photos below of your handsome horse running are beautiful!

  2. I love this post. The stress free picnic with your horse is perfect. Everyone should do this! Sometimes I take a bok and a lawn chair and go read with my horses.
    good luck with the saddle shoping. Take your time. I think the more bareback the better.

  3. What a perfect day with Val! If I tried that here, I'd be a block of ice, lol.
    Good luck with the saddle search.

  4. picnic in the paddock, hang out days are the best. I'm glad you did this and glad you both enjoyed it so much. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to ride Winston bareback. He needs a little more meat where I sit first...

  5. Love the picnic story!!! So adorable. I will have to put Sovey in a nearby pasture this spring (he is a mean boy at liberty) and have a lovey picnic with Pie and Foggy. I can't wait. I am sure Pie will get himself in trouble somehow. Val is soooo good and adorable in your photos.

    Bareback riding is probably the best thing that ever happened to me as a rider. I am sure it helps every discipline - from dressage to whatever I am doing - it makes us better riders.

    Brian has a sniper or something like that for ebay. He programs it in and then it comes and bids in the last 10 seconds. Isn't it funny that you were glad after and found a better saddle later? Isn't that always how it goes?!

    Enjoy your spring - must be what we are in now!

  6. Val looks like he's actually reading the magazines. Very cute and a wonderful way to relax for both of you.

    I've never bid on ebay but can imagine how stressful it must be. Hang in there everything happens for a reason. I'm sure a perfect saddle will come to you.

    Bareback is good for just about anyone. Glad you're having a nice time riding with Val.

  7. What a great way to spend a day with your horse.

    Ebay = evil! Good luck with the continued shopping.

  8. I've gotten a few good deals on Ebay but I think the sniping software mentioned above has changed the way it works significantly. I put in my highest bid and just let it go. If it's meant to be, it happens.

    I've also heard of a few folks getting harsh surprises with saddles from Ebay - completely inaccurate size info, broken trees, etc. So I think it's important to bid on saddles listed by reputable people. Usually a few questions ferrets out whether they know what they're talking about or not.

    You'll find the right saddle, I'm sure! The Chubby Pony (dot com) is in NC and they carry new and sometimes used Duetts. The owner is a saddle fitter so could probably help you figure out ahead of time if the Fidelio would be a good fit for Val.

    Love Val and his reading of magazines. I often get the mail and bring it to the barn to sort - I always get lots of help from the herd to go through it. They love being part of our daily routines, I think!!

  9. Hah! I know that relationship with eBay can be very frustrating...kind of like a lazy boyfriend who still manages to get everything his way! grrr! I'm sorry you didn't get the saddle, but I bet there's another one out there with your name on it. Oatmeal cookies? My mare sure would love a couple dozen of those!!!

  10. I'm so glad bareback is working so well for you :) Sounds like a lovely week at the Shimmy Shack (ebay frustrations aside!)

  11. Your picnic sounds lovely!

    I have a Miller Klimke, it is a very nice saddle. I'd still be using it if it weren't too wide for my horse! Too bad mine is 16.5 seat, or we could make a deal!

    My husband does eBay stuff and gets great deals all the time, but it takes a dedicated person to do that. He drives me nuts when he's "watching" something!

  12. That is so sad! I'm sure it just means that there is a better deal waiting for you though. :)

  13. Thanks for all of the supportive, helpful comments. I love my readers! (((♡♡♡)))

  14. billie-

    I have already been over to chubbypony. What a nice shop that must be. They had some great saddle fitting info, and led me to Duett's site, also a mother load of saddle fitting knowledge.

    Thanks for the suggestions! :)

  15. Shannon-

    Your comment makes me wish my butt was smaller! ;)

    Glad to hear that my eye for saddles is good, even if my ebay skillz aren't.

    I figured Dr. Klimke wouldn't have put his name on a saddle if it wasn't good quality. And this one I saw had been bought in the closing of a tack shop, still in the box. Older, but brand new.


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