Hi, I'm Ev. I'm training to become a horsewoman. These are my adventures and misadventures. I'm green as hell, but so far, so good. I'm now learning from Bo (and sometimes his wife DeDe) at D&D Ranch in Pope Valley. I am extremely lucky to have this opportunity, I feel quite blessed, and I feel that they, and horses, have really turned my life around.
Solomon is my baby- a big old flea bitten grey Appendix gelding who is very kind and way too smart! I love him so very much. He is a rescue and was meant to be co-owned rehabbed, and maybe rehomed to a good home. He turned out to be over 25 years old with injuries that ultimately do not make him riding sound, so he is retired.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It fit! The saddle fit!
'Course they didn't want to take a check (who wouldn't be nervous abut that anyway?) but I can come by with the cash tomorrow and pick it up.
So yar, gaited horse saddle to the rescue!
It's not too narrow, it doesn't pinch, and there's about 2 finger-widths between the gullet and his withers. Amazing. It was made for a Tennessee Walking Horse. I guess they liked the saddle but not the horse, and it doesn't fit their mules. They are throwing in a girth, pad, and the girth straps for $30 more. Better deal than I could get new.
It's a synthetic saddle, I'm pretty sure, and nice and light. Brown and black. Meh. At this point the color is the last thing I care about. The fact that it actually FITS him, with and without a pad, just makes me happy. I can never figure out how to gracefully dismount to the ground off a western saddle with my stubby little legs, but thankfully Solomon is a nice patient horse.
One of the guys who works at the stable looked at it for me, as well as a couple of boarders. There was a bit of a language barrier but he was able to communicate pretty well- he'd been riding since he was 7 years old, and his father was a horseman. He keeps an eye on Solly, too, when he's out feeding and watering. So he showed me just where to place the saddle and helped me with mounting.
Amazingly, Solomon didn't evade the block at all. The guy, Enrique, just walked him around it to get him in the right spot and on I went!
I did have my helmet on. I didn't bother with the stirrups. I also didn't take the time to put a bridle on him, and just used his halter. But once I was on him, Enrique had to run and help the others, so we went into the arena without latching the gate and walked around. He was feeling angelic today, thankfully. He was totally relaxed and seemed comfy. He neck reined with the lead rope, not even looped around to the other side of the harness. He just went off me touching his neck on either side with the rope and giving him leg cues. We didn't ride around for very long, but he was a very good boy and did not try to go for the gate at all. He was still slow stopping, but he didn't take any longer WITHOUT the bit than he does WITH it. WTF?
Once I stopped him, he stood for me while I twisted around trying to figure out how to get off the saddle with it's giant horn and high cantle. I got down, but it wasn't very graceful. Thankfully he stood stock still for the whole thing. What a good boy!

Now, it's likely that part of it was that it was hot and the middle of the day, and perhaps he was simply in a good mood, but I think that part of it was also having a comfortably-fitting saddle. Heh, I caught the boarders I'd asked about it (when I was just holding it) discussing whether or not the seat was big enough for me. Everyone seemed surprised that it was. :p It's a 17" seat. Yeah I have a big butt, but that's not where my hip bones are, and I have short little legs. It's okay if it's sticking out a bit behind me, that's not where I'm resting my weight. Anyway the saddle was bigger than it looked on the ground, and it fit me fine.

It's weird, it has two girth/cinch thingers on it, one in the front and one in the back. The owner explained that the back one is not supposed to be pulled tight.
It's a very complicated saddle. It's covered in D-rings and long trailing strips of leather for attaching saddle bags and water bottles and small kitchen appliances. You could totally go horseback camping with this thing, I guess. Well, cool, I can get a couple of water bottle holders for when we take rides eventually. That'll be nice.

Solomon certainly took it all in stride. He was a VERY good boy today, and he got a carrot at the end of it all.

So tomorrow afternoon I will own a saddle that fits my horse! :D

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