Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, March 12, 2012

In the Arena # 111 - We have tested our new rig, and we pronounce it - good...

Finally, we tack up with the new saddle + Thinline saddle fitter pad.

First, about the pad. It is quilted on top, and lined + edged with fleece. The channel sits up from the underneath of the pad, and has no fleece. There are four very well made velcro-ed pockets that hold nice flat shims, which stay put. The pad came with two sets of shims, different thicknesses. I figured that gives me three options: either one of the shims alone, or both together, which is what I tried today.

Our preparation for riding gave me pause. Val was acting super squirrely. Wouldn't stay still, tried numerous times to walk off, head tossing, acted like a far away troupe of crows was certainly death dealing. Then right on cue, my noisy neighbor cranked up the volume and rode various vehicles up and down the property while his dogs barked maniacally. Luckily - his week on of work starts tomorrow. The week will be peaceful. I had a moment of thinking well maybe today isn't the best day to ride... then I thought - screw that. ;)

We warmed up on a loose rein, and from the beginning I was getting halts off my seat. It felt like all I had to do was tip my pelvis back ever so slightly and "fill the sail". (draw my front line forward) Once we picked up some contact, we worked on serpentines and getting a big walk. I did on half of one serpentine and Val was onto me, eagerly anticipating our exercise, which made me laugh out loud.

My ask for the trot was answered immediately, every time, off my leg only. There was much less lugging in the corners,  and I barely touched my whip the whole time. We worked on transitions, figure eights and fifteen meter circles. Smooth like buttah. Cooled off working without reins - stopping and going was simple, but turning needs some practice.

It was a great ride.

I'm satisfied that the saddle change was a good decision, and the pad will tide us over until Val is more muscley. We're back on track - no excuses now!


  1. Hi! I found your blog through CollectingOTTBs and have been reading up on your adventures. I have an OTTB as well I am working with and find a lot of your arena tid-bits useful! Thanks so much for writing, and I look forward to reading!

  2. Hi Jules10K-

    Thanks for stopping by and reading. Good luck with your OTTB - aren't they just the best!

  3. This saddle-pad combination sounds perfect. You and Val seem very happy in your work too. I'm so glad that the new saddle is working out for you.

    Your neighbor sounds like a real charmer, maybe while he's at work you could go over there and disconnect his spark plugs. (just kidding;) We have a neighbor who is annoying in the winter with his snowmobiles. One of the reasons I was so pleased about a mild winter with virtually no snow was that they couldn't fire those loud machines up and spook the horses. It's also great to listen to early in the morning. Guess I have a mean streak but they're annoying.

  4. Awesome !!! Question - do you use just the thinline - or do you put another pad under it? (sorry if stupid question)

  5. So glad the new saddle/pad combo is working out!! Just in time for spring and summer!

  6. That is so wonderful! There is nothing like riding a horse that wants to be ridden. Congrats on the new tack arrangement.

  7. Hey! I googled "Thinline Saddle Fitter pad" and came to one of the blogs I follow, wouldn't you know. Do you still like your saddle fitter? I've tried the Trifecta, but the saddle fitter is more what I am looking for, and there's an eBay auction for one that ends tomorrow morning that I'm thinking about grabbing. Do you have any other thoughts on it now that you've had it for so long?


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