Alright, let’s see, what else has been going on around here besides that whole farm closing thing…
While most people are off work or on vacation, Dec/Jan is actually the busiest time of year for us with my job, particularly the last two weeks of December. Last Thursday was a 5:30am through 8pm kind of affair. Everyone’s trying to close out the last of their year’s invoicing and budgets, so it always puts us in a rush to get things out the door and completed. Nothing new there, we just kind of hunker down and power through.
I’ve still been able to ride most days though, thanks to working from home and having the horses in the backyard. Last week Hillary came out and rode Henry some before she left for her Christmas trip, so I set up a single barrel exercise, which they nailed. He’s pulling out all his party tricks for her.
I modified the exercise for Grace, making a little mini-gymastic with a skinnier fence but no single barrels. This mare definitely loves to jump and is really quite quick and clever with her footwork considering she’s such a stout horse. She’s different than I expected her to be, but I do quite like her a lot. I’m pretty sure she’s one of those that can and will do her best to jump from pretty much anywhere, no matter how she has to contort herself. The brakes aren’t always 100%, but she does love the job and you never doubt that she’s gonna find the other side.
Granted, I almost got yeeted right over her head that day because she “fancy footworked” her way right out of a bell boot, flinging it into the air on the other side of the pole coming out of the grid, causing it to land right beside her as she was cantering away. She thought it was a horse-eating pterodactyl and I had some chestnut mane for lunch. Near death experience for both of us.
Hillary also let me ride in her saddle while she’s away, just to see how I feel about it. I’ve been feeling increasingly discombobulated in my Devoucoux, like I’m constantly having to fight to keep my balance where I want it to be. See, it’s a 18.5, which when I bought it years ago I really needed an 18 but that was the only one I could find in my budget that had the panels Henry needed. It was close enough, and while it was always big, I never really felt like it was too big. Fast forward to now where I’ve lost a good bit of weight and gained a lot of muscle and the Dev is now definitely way too big. As in, I can fit two hands behind me when I’m sitting in the seat kind of big. Two sizes too big for sure. I find that I’m constantly trying to shift myself to the front of it, and it pulls me backward, shoots my leg out in front, and I just cannot get my balance right in it. I end up gripping with my legs to try to hold myself where I want to be, which as you can imagine doesn’t work in any regard.
Granted I wasn’t totally sure if it was the saddle or me… maybe both. Hillary’s is a 17.5 Voltaire, so when she offered to let me sit in it I jumped at the chance. I wanted to see what problems carried over from the Devoucoux and if a better fit for me really made much of a difference. And well… I maybe shouldn’ta done that because it made a huge difference, right off the bat.
The instability I’ve been struggling with for months, the gripping, the shifting, the leg getting shot out the front and always being tilted back on my seatbones… all massively improved. I can actually sit in the saddle securely and way more balanced, where I’m supposed to be on the horse. My leg lines up way better underneath me, so my whole base of support is more stable. I was hoping there would be some difference of course (please god let it not all be my own shit riding) but it’s a massive one. Not that I’m magically a super rider or anything, but at least I’m not constantly struggling with the same things over and over day in and day out. Of course now that I know this it’s to the point where I don’t even want to ride in the Devoucoux anymore, it just makes me sad and frustrated. But it’s the only saddle I have, and there’s no room in my budget right now to casually drop the few grand it would cost on a used saddle, so instead I just get to be depressed about it. Cool, cool. This is fine.
I swear there’s nothing more frustrating than knowing you have the wrong equipment. Wasn’t it Bill Steinkraus that said something like “Get your tack and equipment just right, then forget about it and concentrate on the horse”? Well shit.