Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Harley Update - Yes, He Did

Here's a reminder of what the choices were late last week. Added in, are the things I tried, and the things I've learned as a result.

  • Take Harley and his saddle to the shop in Houston. No go yet.

  • Take him to a fitter now. Decided to wait for the master fitter that made the saddle in October.

  • Huntseat until October. I got out my HDR Event saddle, and put it on him. On the longe line and neck stretcher, he has the same problem. Girth slides, and takes the saddle up with it. I haven't tried the other gullets, and I'll explain why below...

  • Western until October. Probably the best choice for Harley for now.

  • Bareback until October. *cough* Somebody needs more topline first, otherwise, we won't progress out of a walk. Ouch.

I was super frustrated Thursday night. HVAC repairs finally occurring around the house, I had two saddles out, and I tried the Mattes half pad with my dressage saddle (no go). I tried the HDR with the tacky pad, square pad, with and without the half pad. No go.

Friday, Saturday, and again Monday, we did hard work rides in the Western saddle. It fits him good - he moves out forward, he goes on light leg, he holds his gaits, and is back to collecting trot. The problem? It's a wide twist... It makes my upper legs spread, um, uncomfortably. Making matters worse, the leather fenders rub either jeans or breeches into my calves, and really make my inner leg unhappy, raw, and sore.

Sunday, I was pouty about it all. Frustrated. I waited all through the cooler "winter" recouperating. Now, I still can't ride dressage, for different reason. Sure, I could probably with a miracle sell every saddle I own, and buy a humdinger custom made dressage saddle for Harley. In this market, I'm not entirely convinced. The western saddle fits Romeo pretty darn good, and Harley's happy in it. I'm not happy in it , and that will show as the summer progresses riding two a day on the weekends, one a day on weekdays.

So , in my frustrating, Harley and I went for a walk. I got him loosened up enough to tighten the saddle, and off we went. Walk, halt, flex. Lather, rinse, pete. Fun enough. We met up with some deer running across the road, a roadrunner letting us know her displeasure we were in her field. Even got a little spook as a handful of deer scrambled away in the trees. Neighbors doing some construction, the tool sounds didn't bother him. Oncoming traffic didn't get his attention either. It was nice. Refreshing.

Additionally, I realized between Sunday and Monday, Harley is teaching me. little monster As it turns out, if my heels are down, and I'm sitting up right, chest up shoulders back, he collects in the walk and trot. If I slouch my upper body, relax my arms, and let those toes point down, he hollows out his back, and tosses his head up like a giraffe. Booger! I certainly didn't intend on teaching him that, but at least he gets right when I get right.. um, right?

I haven't given up hope on finding a fit solution. Still need to grab my few adjustable gullets out of the closet box, and set them on his back, see what's good and what might work. The true problem is the girth notch. The girth slides forward, and pulls the saddle along with it. I also may get some ambition and haul him to the saddle shop, let them take a look. I haven't decided yet.

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