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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:21 pm 

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I would love to get others' takes on the info in this article about the stress on a horse's back during rising or posting trot vs. sitting trot, and the recommendation of riding in two-point as much as possible, at least for young horses.

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=15517

Also, I had a trainer who I respect very much recently advise me that it is better to ride my 3 year old in a well-fitting and balanced saddle vs. a bareback pad because the well-fitting saddle will provide more freedom for muscle development in the shoulders and around the withers. Her opinion was that bareback pads actually put a lot of pressure in those areas. And, now I'm also wondering what does all this mean about treeless saddles?

I had been thinking that riding bareback or in a bareback pad would be the best thing for my young horse, but all this really has me reconsidering.

Would love to hear others' educated opinions.

Thanks!

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 10:35 pm 
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I think the biggest problem is that there are too many educated opinion and many of us have no way (except direct experience) to know who is right and who is wrong. Even as a science, I think there is as much evidence against treed saddles as there is for them as well as honest, and educated points of view that differ yet again from those two camps.

So far, I only have Tam's opinion on two options. My dressage saddle is a wintec with adjustable gullet and air panels. He is currently walking away when he sees it. My bareback pad is the only other option, and he stays with me and stands quietly when I put it on.

I don't sit on his withers, so I can say for sure that the treed saddle and my butt on the bareback pad put pressure in two very different places on his back. One he doesn't like, and one he doesn't mind.

I am currently close to trying something I would never have thought to try, because for all I've heard about saddles, there are two things you really don't want. A saddle that rocks back and forth, or a saddle that bridges.

Well, when you think about it, when I'm sitting on Tam in the bareback pad, I'm virtually a saddle that rocks back and forth. I'm about to try a center wedge with my dressage saddle because I found out it's bridging. Just slightly, but enough that it's putting undue pressure on the withers. This would put the bulk of the pressure in the same place as it is with my bareback pad. I haven't started this experiment yet, but when I do, I don't think I'll have to wait too long for Tam to tell me if he likes the idea or not.

I hate having saddle fit issues because it's so bloody hard to figure out who to listen to! :hap: (grumble, whine) and it's made all the more difficult by not having the money to just go buy a fitted saddle. So for now I have to rely on my bareback pad.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 14, 2010 11:11 pm 
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:funny: Well said, Karen.

I started with a Wintec, and that was OK, but the stirrups are very forward for me plus I can't find stirrup leathers that are long enough for me and I don't want to use leather ones because the oils in the leather are not good for the composite material the Wintec is made from.

I was lucky enough that my hubby was wiling to pay for a Trekker Flexible Saddle. What I really like about it is that it has enough tree (which is made from leather) so it is supportive without being rigid, and also the padding is Memory Foam so it contours itself perfectly to the horse's back :D always assuming that you've placed it correctly, of course.

I am slowly learning that I tend to place it an inch or two farther forward that Freckles wants it and then he rushes around the arena and gets all anxious :blush: so I get off and move it backwards and he settles down after he gives me a few choice dirty looks :funny: I also went and bought a whole sheepskin hide which I put under it a few times and he really seemed to like that, so now I'm trying to work out how to attach it securely so it can't move ;)

I do know that Freckles moves better when I have a saddle, but I think that's a function of our balance more than anything else. He's only just starting to shift weight back, so his trot has been HUGE and I've needed stirrups to cope with it. ;) He can trot at the same speed most TB's canter :ieks: and he thoroughly enjoys doing his locomotive impression. :funny: I always 2-point that to protect my kidneys. Anyway, what got him to start shifting some weight back was what Jean-Luc Cornille did in those videos of Chazot's first rising trots which I'd never heard about before so I just had to try it, of course. He was posting, but instead of all the energy going into lifting the rider above the saddle, most of it was driving the knees down. It wasn't easy, but Freckles definitely prefers it.

I've heard a lot of people say a young horse's back is not strong enough to take much sitting trot.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:18 am 
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it's made all the more difficult by not having the money to just go buy a fitted saddle.


And then there are all of the voices that say "fitted saddles are pointless because even if they fit, they fit to the horse standing still and the minute the horse moves it's irrelevant."
;)

I agree with Karen, too. I don't think anyone really knows and people are making the very best educated decisions based on what makes sense to them. And like Karen, I think your horse has the most important vote.

When I was riding my big rescue Stardust, I got a gorgeous Steubben, had a fitter come and work with it, spent a fortune, etc. And Stardust would literally get panic attacks when he saw it -- he would stand shaking as he watched me take it out of the tack room, and then would pull back and break away from the rail.

So I decided to give a treeless saddle a try (I went with an Ansur, which I find incredibly comfortable to ride in -- gives me the intimacy of knowledge of how the horse is moving underneath me that you get with a bareback pad but is stable and secure and has channels over the spine). Stardust stopped freaking out when I switched to this saddle -- so, for us, that was enough.

As to sitting trot vs. posting trot vs. two point -- it makes sense, doesn't it, that the least amount of bouncing on the horse's back (especially a young horse who's not likely to be all that rounded) is the least stressful on their spine -- a controlled post that softly touches the saddle is likely to be lighter than most sitting trots (even perhaps all of them) -- and two point feels to me like how it feels when you've been hiking with a backpack on your back for a while and lift it up off of your shoulders, holding it from the bottom with your hands. It does take the pressure off of the top.

Right now, as I start my five year old, I'm going bareback -- we're basically doing passenger walks with a little bit of trot tossed in (when and for as long as she wants). Lots of reasons why we're doing it this way, a lot of which have nothing to do with biomechanics and a whole lot to do with both her and my psychology about having a person on her.

I think a rising trot and two point are important tools for a young horse -- especially if one is really schooling them fairly formally, because of building back strength. However, for me, the idea of riding as much as possible in two point (and even doing lots of posting trot) breaks what I'm trying to build with Circe in terms of how we connect physically. And I wonder if two point, in the same way that your shoulders say YES! when you lift your backpack off your shoulders but before long your arms and hands begin to tire -- doesn't actually fatigue the horse in different ways.

As Circe and I move forward, the arbiter for us is going to be her desire to trot, not my telling or making her to. She lets me know when it's uncomfortable -- as in the case the first night she popped into a trot and I wasn't expecting it and got tense so I was bouncy. She thought that sucked. But two evenings later when I was riding with a much more quiet seat, she trotted until she was done, as I rode bareback in a sitting trot.

Bottom line, I don't think there is one answer. What are your horses telling you? They're the real experts in equine biomechanics, I think!
:funny:

Hope this is helpful!

Best,
Leigh

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:59 am 

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I appreciate everyone's input and perspective. Thanks for engaging in this discussion! I also use a Wintec wide gullet all-purpose saddle. If I don't shim it in the front, it tips me forward a bit when I ride Tempo, putting too much weight on her withers and shoulders. At least this is my opinion. It also rocks front to back a bit. Interestingly, Tempo doesn't seem to mind it either way and is eager to meet me when I arrive with the saddle in hand, she stands nicely for saddling at liberty, etc. Then again, I used click and treat to introduce the saddle and still use it to reinforce her standing for saddling (randomly now). So, is it possible that her desire for positive reinforcement could trump her real feelings about the saddle? For now, I will assume not, but I am aware of this as a possibility. Maybe I will play around with fading out the +R completely and see if her opinion changes. If I shim the Wintec in front, it keeps my weight in the proper place (I think), keeps the saddle from rocking, etc.

I have not noticed any difference in Tempo's opinion of the Wintec saddle vs. the bareback pad... and I have paid attention. For now, she likes them both and seems to enjoy being ridden. Still I have a hard time not questioning (my problem, not hers!).

With Shoki, my 20 year old gelding, he seems to prefer the bareback pad. He is an unconfident horse and I think the closeness between us with the bareback pad (or just plain bareback) is comforting to him. It is difficult to keep the Wintec as far back as it should be on him. As an Arabian he has a very short back, a very round belly and a very up and a huge motion in his trot. If I do ride him in the saddle, he definitely seems to prefer a posting trot to a sitting trot.

I must also note that when I ride either horse bareback, it is much more stressful on my own body. I encourage freedom of motion and forward energy in my horses so the trot I'm riding is usually quite BIG. But, if it is stressing my back, legs and core... surely they are feeling this too.

Interesting discussion. Thanks again for engaging in it!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 6:01 am 
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Quote:
So, is it possible that her desire for positive reinforcement could trump her real feelings about the saddle? For now, I will assume not, but I am aware of this as a possibility. Maybe I will play around with fading out the +R completely and see if her opinion changes


I can only go from experience with Tam and no other horse. The food did NOT trump his real feelings about the saddle. Food does not trump his feelings about too much pressure from me, OR from a saddle apparently.

I had taught Tam to side up to the saddle. I would hold it up and he would side pass toward me and right under the saddle. Not an more. He wants nothing to do with that saddle at the moment. I rode tonight again in the bareback pad. I brought it out, hung it on the fence, picked it up, put it on his back. He didn't move a muscle (just asked me for a cookie). So he's clear in what he's saying. Not for a whole handful of treats will he stand still while I approach with the saddle.

I can set the saddle down, and he'll come over and touch it for a treat, but if I pick it up, he'll leave again and the possibility of a treat no longer matters. Treats do not trump pain of any kind. He's so honest.

I know you are tuned into Tempo and I know that you allow and listen to her opinions...so if the saddle were bothering her I think you would probably find the same thing with her.

And Leigh...my dream treeless saddle would maybe be an Ansur Exel. But at $4000.00 plus, I don't think I'll ever own one! :ieks: It's a crazy price! I know not all models are that expensive, but it's the one I'd really like to try.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:59 pm 

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I am currently being introduced to Freeform treeless saddles and I have ridden with them for 5-6 times now during this past month. People here say that they are different from example Barefoot saddles in a way that Freeform saddles divide the pressure evenly, but Barefoot saddles don't, so riding with Barefoot saddles is like riding saddleless and means that horse feels 2 pressure points (seatbones) and it is not good or gymnastic to the horses body and wellbeing. They also use airpanels and thick saddle pads underneath the saddle that, as they say, reduce the pressure even more. As I have never seen or ridden a Barefoot saddle - I can't really either agree or disagree. I would, although, like a second opinion on that. But as far as I've noticed, no horse steps away from the saddle here and it does look like that horses like those saddles and also very comfortable for the rider. So the "treeless saddle does not divide the pressure" is not so true, as I feel..it just depends on a saddle.
But does anyone have any insight to offer me about Barefoot saddles and pressure dividing?

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 3:39 pm 
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I've ridden with Tam in a Barefoot saddle and he was fine with it...but then, he's also fine in a bareback pad. So I'm no help at all! :funny:

The thing is, that people will say what they need to in order to sell a product. It's really hard to wade through that kind of information on the internet, or to know what is really true and what was just a selling pitch when someone bought the saddle. See, I have always been of a mind that a treed saddle would be the best for weight distribution. But if it comes with so many fitting issues and potential pressure spots if it's not fitting correctly, then it's not doing it's job of distribution but instead simply moving the pressure from one place (where we sit) to another place (the withers), then it's really no better.

I think you would find many hundreds of people on the internet that will tell you that a Barefoot type of saddle is ideal. And I think you'll find many hundreds that will tell you it's not. So then we are back to who to listen to? It's very frustrating isn't it? :yes:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 4:58 pm 
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And then there are all of the voices that say "fitted saddles are pointless because even if they fit, they fit to the horse standing still and the minute the horse moves it's irrelevant."


Plus, the shape of a horse changes (has to change when you’re training him) constantly. In my experience there is no such thing as a will fitting tree saddle.
If people want to ride with a tree saddle, I always advice that they take it 1 or 2 chamber sizes two large and then fill with memory foam and or sheepskin. Then the back gets allowed to add muscle, which is, obviously the point of training.

Personally I would never ride or teach riding with a 3 year young horse. I’d advise to wait till at least 4,5 but later still of possible. Horses only mature between 6 and 9 years. As riding can be harmful without the proper precaution and training, the horse would have been through the groundwork gymnasium at least 3 tot 6 months. And I would advise to not start this any sooner then 3,5. It’s like fitness or factory work, there is a reason why children in most countries are not allowed to do this, only after at least 14 to 16 years or older even.

The saddle all depend on the ground gymnasium and the riding. The trouble with tree saddles is that most horses are crooked. The tree saddle first of all does not make you feel that the horse is crooked so you will not correct it. Second, the tree saddle gets crooked as well and I have experienced over the years that it is just not fixable anymore. So when your horse becomes straight from training, the crooked saddle will mess him up again.
A flexible or treeless saddle makes you feel right away when your horse is crooked and as soon as your horse is straight the flexible/treeless saddle is straight again with the horse.

Also, the rider can not ‘hold on’ the a treeless saddle. You have to keep your own balance and learn to move with your horse. If not, your saddle will slip.

About sitting trot, I personally think we should dispose of this term all together. One can not sit on a moving object for one. This is not new information :yes: , the old master explain and show it to you. One should rather ‘stand’ on your horse and allow the back to come up. If you actually sit on your horse’s back, you push the back down. With your buttocks and stirrups you need to make up for the muscles that yet lack on the back of the horse. That is what stirrups are for. There was no jumping seat before the 19th century (invented by Caprili for which he was ridiculed and fired, much like now with people who train bitless dressage…;) ) But stirrups go back a long way.

I call sitting trot ‘sitting light’ or the ‘art of sitting without sitting’. Even in rising trot, you come slightly up without really standing by squeezing your buttocks and you come down without really sitting by slowly releasing the buttocks. (like when you curl a biceps with a weight, you squeeze ad come up and then you let go of the muscle tension slowly but you never actually stretch.
When we are not really sitting, but only appear to be, the horse’s back can 1. come up and 2. can move. When you then feel that lateral movement of the back, you can start to follow it with your seat bones, that I call ‘follow up seat’. Keeping enough muscle tone in the ‘seat’ also ensures that you do not pinch your seatbones in the back and it automatically keeps you lined up. Actually, it is the same muscle group to engage which horses do when collecting. So in fact, you have to collect yourself in order to allow your horse to naturally collect. Basic laws of physics really in combination with the horse’s inclination to mirror behaviour.

Concerning bareback pads and all saddles. It’s kind of hard to say, but… together with the proper ground gymnasium 2 to 5 times a week 5 tot 30 minutes, the proper gymnasium from the saddle say 3 times a week max 25 minutes, most horses will come to no harm. Or so is my experience over the past 24 years.
Long rides I have cut out of my repertoire for that reason and horse remain sound (if all other factors are in order of course, like trimming, lifestyle etc.).

Rider weight is also an issue, even if people do not like me saying so, but it can be. The more weight in the back, the more problems can possible arise.
But say we have a rider which weight is in proportion with the horse’s physic and body mass, a well fitting flexible or treeless saddle and the additional padding with the proper body work from both without excess, it seems to be the best combination.
That is why over many years of saddle fitting and selling saddles, I got rid of the tree saddles. It all seems well in the beginning, but mostly after 6 months the problems start.
It can work, yes. But again, I strongly advise a saddle to wide then, with padding to make sure there is room for the back to move and grow.

Hope this helps. :)

Warm regards,

Josepha

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:04 pm 
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Yes it does help Josepha! Thank you!

Quote:
I call sitting trot ‘sitting light’ or the ‘art of sitting without sitting’. Even in rising trot, you come slightly up without really standing by squeezing your buttocks and you come down without really sitting by slowly releasing the buttocks.


And I just discovered this type of "posting" in the bareback pad. It takes very little effort, even for one as out of shape as I am. :yes: And so I can now ask Tam for more forward trot transitions while riding in the bareback pad.

And I think I will see if I can get a draft size gullet for my saddle. I have the widest regular gullet size in there now. Then perhaps I could use a very nice, thick, wooley half pad. Something else I can look into. Thank you! :f:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:54 pm 
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About sitting trot, I personally think we should dispose of this term all together. One can not sit on a moving object for one. This is not new information , the old master explain and show it to you. One should rather ‘stand’ on your horse and allow the back to come up. If you actually sit on your horse’s back, you push the back down. With your buttocks and stirrups you need to make up for the muscles that yet lack on the back of the horse. That is what stirrups are for. There was no jumping seat before the 19th century (invented by Caprili for which he was ridiculed and fired, much like now with people who train bitless dressage…;) ) But stirrups go back a long way.

I call sitting trot ‘sitting light’ or the ‘art of sitting without sitting’. Even in rising trot, you come slightly up without really standing by squeezing your buttocks and you come down without really sitting by slowly releasing the buttocks. (like when you curl a biceps with a weight, you squeeze ad come up and then you let go of the muscle tension slowly but you never actually stretch.
When we are not really sitting, but only appear to be, the horse’s back can 1. come up and 2. can move. When you then feel that lateral movement of the back, you can start to follow it with your seat bones, that I call ‘follow up seat’. Keeping enough muscle tone in the ‘seat’ also ensures that you do not pinch your seatbones in the back and it automatically keeps you lined up. Actually, it is the same muscle group to engage which horses do when collecting. So in fact, you have to collect yourself in order to allow your horse to naturally collect. Basic laws of physics really in combination with the horse’s inclination to mirror behaviour.


Josepha, I LOVE this!!!

In all of the dressage training I've had, no one has talked about the sitting trot as being light -- that was my natural instinct (as a dancer, when you partner, you learn to pull your weight up so you are landing as softly and literally lightly with and into your partner rather than landing on them. You both move into the catch, and the person who's being thrown/caught or lifted has the responsibility to bring that energy up into lightness and move into the energy of both the upwards and downwards momentum) -- but all of the trainers I've worked with have pushed to get the weight down and heavy and into the horse's back.

This makes so much more sense to me!!

And this is my favorite part:
Quote:
Actually, it is the same muscle group to engage which horses do when collecting. So in fact, you have to collect yourself in order to allow your horse to naturally collect. Basic laws of physics really in combination with the horse’s inclination to mirror behaviour.

:clap: :clap: :clap:


(And Karen $4000 for a a saddle! :ieks: I spent a hunk but not that nearly that much on mine -- I have a Classic. I justified the expense by telling myself it was the only saddle I'd ever need -- didn't need different ones for different horses... ;) )

xo
L.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 5:57 pm 
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PS:

Kim, this totally made me smile...

Quote:
Still I have a hard time not questioning (my problem, not hers!).


Oh, how I know that feeling! :funny:

(And PPS: my experiences dovetail with Karen's regarding food and things that my guys do or don't want to do -- two years in to working this way, I can confidently say that if it's something they have real issues with, food absolutely does not trump their opinions.)

Cheers!
:f:

Leigh

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:18 am 
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Kim Sturgeon wrote:
I would love to get others' takes on the info in this article about the stress on a horse's back during rising or posting trot vs. sitting trot, and the recommendation of riding in two-point as much as possible, at least for young horses.

http://www.thehorse.com/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=15517

Also, I had a trainer who I respect very much recently advise me that it is better to ride my 3 year old in a well-fitting and balanced saddle vs. a bareback pad because the well-fitting saddle will provide more freedom for muscle development in the shoulders and around the withers. Her opinion was that bareback pads actually put a lot of pressure in those areas. And, now I'm also wondering what does all this mean about treeless saddles?

I had been thinking that riding bareback or in a bareback pad would be the best thing for my young horse, but all this really has me reconsidering.

Would love to hear others' educated opinions.

Thanks!


I am not a fan of bareback pads. I think the rare horse can be comfortable with them with a human on top with sharp unpadded ischia - if you sit down on your seat bones with your hands under you you'll discover our fat butts fold up out of the way and the ischia are in near full contact with the surface we are on - and they are SHARP.

Had a big strong horse when I was a kid that taught me that the hard way. Bucked only when bareback, and never with saddle. Took me the longest time to figure it out.

On the other hand, putting aside todays bareback pads, and looking at treeless, I see much promise for these in our current and growing materials technology. Substances that change characteristics under pressure for instance, or mold and partially set up, then return, when pressure is released to a fluid shape. Imagine, a custome fit saddle tree, every time on every different horse you might ride. Most of them with gels are too wobbly but like corn startch under sudden pressure some new materials can hold the new shape for some time, and harden enough they don't wobble.

But even with current technology I think for the right horse under the right rider treeless is the way to go. I may try that with Bonnie, but that's three years away so don't wait for a report.

Dimensional pressure, referring to treed saddles, has minimum and maximum lmits. A short tree may be too short and put too much pressure in too small an area (the problem with BBPads in fact), while too long a tree will press into the top of the should as it rotates forward while the hoof is moving back from a stride. It will also press into the croup and especially sensitive area.

Then there is an issue of the curve, compound at that, or rather complex. Rounded left and right to accommodate the slope angle of the horses barrel, rounded too to accommodate the dip in the horse's back, front to rear.

It's very easy to misfit a saddle of any kind, even a treeless rigged incorrectly.

I just yesterday helped a youngster, a student of mine, with her brand new saddle. They ordered pretty carefully with my advice, and the saddle fit extremely well, both rider and horse. The young woman, sixteen, is quite small, and she swam in my 17.5 inch Pariani, yet her mother thought, when she saw this new saddle, it was too small for her at 17 inches. But it actually fits to a tee.

It's an All-purpose with extended panels which made me worry about the shoulder and croup pressure, but it's also very well flocked and turns out fits without pressure points showing up.

I also ran beside her with my hand under the front of the bars, one side at a time, of course, to see if the shoulder on her big AngloArabian rotated back under them. Nope. Nice fit. All around.

As all horses he is one sided so there is a tendency for this longer barred saddle to accentuate his one sidedness. Proper exercises will help with that.

I can't help but wonder if you misunderstood your trainer about pressure on shoulders and withers with a bareback pad. One would have to sit on the withers (ouch!) to accomplish that.

The only pressure I am aware of is, as I said, from the seat bones digging into the horse's back.
Not as severely as bareback, of course, but with some horses probably enough to disturb them.
Much would depend on the weight of the rider, in any case. How they sit, how well they move or don't with the horse.

The best saddle for the horse I ever used, and that only very shortly, was an old army issue McClellan. The worst saddle I ever used that I sat was the same saddle. That's why it got such short use. I was only 11 and thought I have found a great saddle to one up my friends with horses. Was I sadly mistaken.

But it left a nice even sweat mark on him with no gaps. I sometimes wonder if that tree might not make a good foundation with a better seat installed over it. I suspect it's been done but I'm too lazy today to do a search. It's hot, midday, and I'm sleepy so I'm going to nap, and then have some iced coffee, and then, when it's cool, go and play with Bonnie and Altea.

Donald

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:24 am 

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Quote:
Personally I would never ride or teach riding with a 3 year young horse. I’d advise to wait till at least 4,5 but later still of possible. Horses only mature between 6 and 9 years. As riding can be harmful without the proper precaution and training, the horse would have been through the groundwork gymnasium at least 3 tot 6 months. And I would advise to not start this any sooner then 3,5. It’s like fitness or factory work, there is a reason why children in most countries are not allowed to do this, only after at least 14 to 16 years or older even.


I appreciate this comment so much, Josepha. And, in truth I agree with you wholeheartedly. When Tempo was born I told people over and over again that I did not plan to start her under saddle until she was at least 4 years old. Why would I want to? I have two other horses to ride and there is no hurry with her!! When she developed the bone cyst I even thought I might never ride her... and certainly believed it would mean many years before I would, if ever.
But in the end, right or wrong (I guess time will tell) I have decided to let Tempo's opinion carry as much weight as my own. Since she was little she has wanted to "go riding" whenever either Van or I (or both of us together) rode Shoki and/or Puck. There are several videos on Youtube of her mirroring us as we rode in the pasture. It was impossible to keep her from doing this without confining her, and then she would throw tantrums! Instead we rewarded her for mirroring us because we wanted her to always associate “riding” (whether on her or the others) as a very positive thing. As she got bigger she would practically beg for me to climb on her from aboard Shoki or Puck, or if I stood on a stump or sat on the fence. This will sound silly to anyone who has not experienced it with her personally, but she is the only horse I've ever been around who I honestly feel LOVES to be ridden. She tolerates being ponied, or mirroring us as we ride the others still, but she does not like it. She clearly knows the role she believes she deserves – to have me choose her if I feel like riding!

In fact, I now find it emotionally difficult to ride either Shoki or Puck anymore because, although they are very willing partners, I do not feel or sense the LOVE of being ridden that I get from Tempo. I never knew such a feeling before. And now it seems/feels a shame to ride any horse that does not feel that way…

I don’t say any of this to argue with your very valid and important point. As I said, I totally agree that a horse is not mature at 3 years of age. I only say it so that you will know the only reason I ride Tempo as a 3 year old is because she tells me it is important to her. Mostly we trail ride at the walk (I maybe ride her 3 or 4 times a month at most) and I have also taught her the basic communication cues that will serve as the backbone of all we (might) do in the years ahead: walk, trot, canter, halt, backup, gross lateral yields. We’ve even jumped some logs, not because I think it’s smart to jump a 3 year old (I don’t!!!) but because when she saw them she ASKED me if we could. So we did, and she jumped the whole line of logs as if she’d been doing it for years. That was 3 months ago and we haven’t done it since. But, if we go back to that course again, I bet she’ll ask me again! And I’ll probably let her again. :D

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Kim Sturgeon, Tempo, Shoki & Puck (South Carolina)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 5:41 am 

Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 9:06 pm
Posts: 47
Because I mentioned them, here are a couple videos showing Tempo mirroring us while riding. The first was filmed when she was 14 months old. She had already been diagnosed with the bone cyst here, but we had not yet put her on stall rest (vets were still debating about whether or not that would be the best course of action):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qsu42TqME2Q

The second one was taken after about 6 months of stall rest. Tempo was throwing fits in her run-in when we started to ride the other two horses so we decided to let her join us and see if giving her something productive to do would keep her from running around too much. It worked. But, you can tell she's more "edgy" here and that the dynamics between her and Shoki had gotten much more complicated since she was not out at liberty with the herd regularly anymore. My friend, Heather, who is filming was very excited about what we were doing with Tempo (as you will hear!). :yes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqcf6mgkOKs

This last video shows the day she asked to jump the logs. This was only about my 10th ride on her (ever), and the FIRST time I ever cantered on her. She was just offering it all, so calmly, and she enjoyed every minute of it. BTW, it was after watching this video that I realized the saddle needed shimming in front because it was popping up in back!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQJ-bOvHGpA

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Kim Sturgeon, Tempo, Shoki & Puck (South Carolina)


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