Better Fitting Saddle = Everybody Happy

County Perfection saddle

Glad it’s over, actually.

Saddle fitting and testing, time-consuming.  And then you’re always second guessing if you’ve made the right decision.  Right?!

Even if she’s not done going wider yet, at almost six, we’ve still got some space with this tree, so we should be all set.

county perfection with internal rolls


test riding jrd saddle
Testing, and mostly bombing around, in the JRD. With a good hind leg coming through. Thank you Barbara!

That’s the end of Monday’s post – have a great start on your week!

Reads later this week are about to become much more serious…  Well, you’ll see.

Waiting For A…

dressage blog

Magical ride.

It’s been a while.  I’d like to have one.  Please.  It will happen.  Sure of it.  Any day now.  Many of us waiting, right? 🙂

While waiting, sharing some lily pads.  Since this picture was taken, another 4 feet of the small pond has dried out.

This one, is for Alli.

lilly pads in pond

She writes at Alli Farkas Artist Adventures, with lots of much more special lily pads…  Take a peek if you like.

OK, this morning was a pretty steep trail ride, easier tomorrow.  Maybe Friday will be that “special” day, where more things feel like they click…

I’m ready!

starting the sitting trot

dressage blog

Crazy Heat Week

avoiding heat exhaustion with horses

It’s ON!

As soon as the heat sets in, Gray Mare shows up to work looking like a dead rat. Poor baby.

horse sleeping in cross ties

Who would work a horse in weather like this..?  Half the U.S raise their hands.  The rest shake their head.  I’ve got one foot in each boat.

bridling tired horse

Truly, she falls asleep as soon as she comes in to the cross ties.  And yes, this is before 10 am.

preparing to ride in heat

Luckily, she perks up once we get going.

This will be an interesting week… Wide tree SDL has been upgraded to an even wider all new County.  We’re going to ride, and sweat, and maybe, possibly, still feel even better.  Yay!  Both of us.  (Say it loud and then it’s true.)

riding in hot weather

Oldest boy – off to week #2 of adventure.  Youngest boy, stuck at home with me.  Later this week, some blurry riding shots from him.

avoiding heat exhaustion with horses

Stay cool and have fun with your horses in the heat wave!

When Your Cargo Load Is Very Valuable

turning in saddles for consignment

Expensive car trunk load for a day.

These four saddles – Now available through Stoppani Saddles.  They should all find a happy new home soon!

turning in saddles for consignment

Also sharing my trainer, at the end of a long journey to bring a particular, beautiful chestnut stallion, Fenix XXXIII, to Grand Prix yesterday.

after grand prix debut
Not my picture – ripped it blatantly from Michelle!

He had a fantastic début at this pinnacle level, after 6 years of training with her and a devastating, possibly-career-ending injury just a year and a half ago.

Proud of them both!

Inspiration Sunday!

Barn Hacks And Other Projects

brass chandelier makeover

Have a post on it?

Let’s see it!  It’s been a while since I had a good project, would love some ideas!

Or tell me about a barn/horse project, even if you don’t exactly have a post on it.  I want to make something! 🙂

We’ve talked about this before – I really don’t care for just “sitting around”.  A new idea to test would come in handy now!

There are a few small projects on my home page under the “Dressage On A Dime Tips” title, if you scroll down far enough.  You can see the level of difficulty there…Not Pinterest worthy.  Seriously, nothing advanced, and mostly with a glue gun, paint, or whatever..

Yes, very low-level project ideas are welcome:

Remember the Salt Stone Testing Station?   Zip ties and baling twine set the bar really low here:

Redmund rock, lick it refill, mineral salt block

Most of my projects turn out too plain ugly to be blog worthy.  Or they weren’t horse related.  From you – anything goes.  I need some ideas!

Some painful memories  to get things started –

Fleece saddle cover (Actually I love it.):

home made saddle cover


Homemade horse-measuring stick:

making your own measuring stick for horse


Textile material bridle wall-cover (to protect from new-wood sap) with bridle-hangers on magnetic hooks (to avoid making holes in new wood.):

tricked out tack room with bridles


Bigger project with help of hubby – 3 sided matted shelter and gate tree-planters made of painted feed buckets:

finished horse run in shelter

Yes, he’s awesome.

build a cheap horse shelter
She broke the window door like any good horse would.
window on three sided shelter


Crystal embellishment on leather boots:

adding bling to dressage boots


Makeover wood chandelier with horse-safe acrylic crystals for tack room:

makeover chrystal chandelier


Wood pallet mud-buster for out-door wash-rack:

how to prevent mud


Crystal bling brow band:

adding crystals to u shaped browband


Cheesy show whip:

dressage whip with crystals


There’s been more…

This is also very handy when you feel your horse kind of sucks, and you’ve got no tools to fix it.  – “Hello!!?  It’s your OWN riding!”  Well, a diversion.  Just saying.  For others, there’s tack shopping.  But pointing that out would be so snarky.

Need new ideas!

Horse Expo Last Weekend – Did You Go?

cal expo

I did, but most Sacramentan’s didn’t.

Unusually cool and non-Juneish, Sunday had a small crowd.

cal expo

Locals here only come out to events when it’s hot enough to melt into the asphalt, soles of shoes feeling like chewing gum.  With added heat stroke risk, and hot enough to where your head sort of boils for at least 5 full minutes before the AC kicks in enough when getting back in the car.

Or something like that.

I did get to meet Karen of Bakersfield Dressage.  She’s an avid writer about Izzy and Speedy, and her dressage training with them.  Take a peek!

arabian gelding
Karen & Speedy – Super cute both of them!

It’s always so fun to meet another writer in person!  She was there with her trainer of Symphony Dressage, riding in the Dressage Demo.

horse with his fan club
Speedy, getting his fan club thing on!

Local?  Come and meet up!  I’ll be at Rancho Murieta Equestrian Center on Saturday.

big ass fans
The RMEC ceiling fans. Big A**. Not messing around. Only appreciated by those of us who actually take time to look at these sort of things…

In the meantime, back home at the farm:  Getting our cute dog spook on. ⇓

horse spooking on dog

And some more Death By Stretchy CircleHorse Addict has promised me one day it’ll be over, so we’re hanging in there 🙂

getting the stretchy circle right

Next time, a chat about Barn Hacks/Ideas.  Hint, this is where you come in again!

Current Riding Struggles. Plenty To Go Around

riding happy in dressage

Hey!  We’ve got some ongoing issues.

Maybe you do too?

Today, posting some of the stuff we’re struggling with right now.

Because dressage is a strange, luscious, struggle for perfection, which most of us will never fully master.  Viewed the right way, it’s demanding, fun, and forever challenging.  An enigma.  Viewed the wrong way – it’s stuffy, incomprehensible, and impossible.

Pick your way!

First off, there’s the leg yield off the long side to X.  (Here from K.)  To pull it off, there has to be just about two steps of counter flex right after the corner.

setting up for leg yield off the long side

Great start.  But then there’s the dreaded “petering out”, as we go toward X…

leg yield to centerline

Another struggle is the smooth transition from leg yield right to X – to leg yield left back to the long side.  She gets over ambitious, a bit rambling, and then, after laboring too much, you guessed it – irritated…

too much angle in the leg yield

Focus issues – retaining composure and concentration when herding-dogs start, um, herding.  I’m not serious enough for it.  Extra credit for just having fun though.  You are having fun, right?

riding dressage with border collie in the arena
Upper body position  –  still that dreaded little collapsing of the inner ribcage on the circle in canter. We all have our riding position struggles. I’ve got some big ones, and this tinier vice is not going to go away until I actually focus on it. Got some other, larger, stuff to obsess over…
rider collapsing inside ribs on circle

The serious Let’s-Get-Ugly-Right-At-C-By-The-Judges-Box-Mare issue.  Full disclosure:  this is ongoing, at any time in the arena, but mostly on the short side , where you really want to have a smooth, “Hey this is easy, look at how this just flows effortlessly!” sort of look.

She’ll push back, shorten, resist the aids, and life in general.  I try to ignore, push the hands forward, creating space and not restricting her, but we keep riding in a “hiccup” mode like this.

horse pushing back

And then it’s over…

pushing the hands forward in trot

I’m hoping the dental earlier this week will help just a bit with this.  She had her teeth done  not even 6 months ago but the vet already pointed out a few sharp edges.

We’re good to go now, and hopefully comfortable for another 9 months.  To be honest, I don’t think it will make much of a difference in her contact, but there’s always hope.  Things can always evolve and get better.

On to the next struggle – sticking point for many at the lower levels:  The perfect stretchy trot.

on the forehand in stretchy trot
Death by stretchy circle.

Nothing else to say.  Other than this movement can be lovely, and sometimes she can get it just right! ⇓

stretching down and out in trot

Next up; random twisting and wringing.  At any time!  Yeah.  Exhaustive and humbling, this is still happening.  No comment.

horse twisting the neck

When she’s good, she’s just so much fun!..

riding happy in dressage

Feel free to vent about your biggest current riding issue!