Monday, July 12, 2021

Feeling Like A Shit Horse Mom

Ever feel like no matter what you are doing, you are doing it wrong? Sunday morning I felt just about the lowest as a horse person as I have ever felt and it stung badly. It started the same old thoughts churning in my mind of whether or not I should find Eeyore a new, more suitable to him home. Those are familiar thoughts I have had for all 3 years of having Eeyore and sucks. 

Here's the story. 

I quit my weekly lessons with AB back in May. Things weren't clicking right any more between scheduling conflicts on her end and my own feelings that our goals weren't aligning. I decided to take a break from the hard push and take to the trails for a mental break for us both. Two truths came from those first trail rides: 1) I desperately miss my trail time and 2) the BC Wexford had to go for both our backs.

A Tucker endurance saddle. Super comfy for me but too narrow for him and way too heavy. That thing weighed a ton!

The Wexford was placed for sale online but I grew tired of the scams, the useless time suck messages from people who obviously weren't going to purchase it and the ridiculous haggling and quickly sent it off to a consignment store for them to handle the nonsense for me. With that gone though, I have no saddle to ride him in and I value my life too much to ride him bareback. 

Now historically I seem to always get burned out in July and take the month off (except for 2020 when he was rehabbing) which wouldn't be too bad except this break started early May and still isn't over yet. That is a real long time to have Eeyore off. He doesn't do well with extended periods of no work and the longer he sits, the more I know riding him will suck and the longer I put it off. It is a vicious cycle even if I had a saddle to ride him in. 

Synergist endurance saddle. Fit him very well but I can't stand having a horn and it was even heavier than the Tucker. Plus the seat wasn't right for me and this was the most expensive saddle I tried so really couldn't see spending that mush if it wasn't perfect. 

Currently my focus is on finding a trail saddle for him as those are way less expensive than a jump saddle and I can afford it without needing the money from the Wexford. I can trail ride and bring his weight down this summer and fall and then focus on a new jump saddle and return to lessons when I am ready to tackle that again. One saddle I have always been interested in is the Pandora Saddle made in Australia. The issue is that they stopped their demo program in favor of an incentive program for current saddle owners to get a financial kick back for letting potential buyers try theirs. It worked out super well for me as a localish lady was part of the program, but it really is a bizarre way to run a business. What if nobody around you have one? 

Anyway...the saddle is pretty cool and very minimalist. It is also really, really adjustable. The memory foam panels velcro to the underside of the tree and can be nearly infinitely adjusted to fit. The entire premise is that the actual hard tree is so small of a foot print that it can fit almost any horse you need it to expect the very far outliers. I was intrigued, so Sunday I met at my favorite trail head to try it out. 

Worst picture ever as he was standing on an uphill slant, but this was the most still I could get him. The saddle is so tiny in foot print. The rigging can be changed from this center fire set up to a more traditional one but this suited him really well. In fact, at the end of the ride I checked his girth and could fit my fist between it and him and the saddle never budged. 

After maybe 5-7 minutes of fiddling I had the panels probably 90% fitted to Eeyore, enough for the short ride I was about to take. The stirrups took way longer to adjust and I never got the right, a point that is important in a minute. I didn't want to take up too much of her time, so I adjusted things "good enough" and walked off down the hill to the woods. Eeyore had that look in his eye that told me my safest bet would be the grey trail that started with a mile long steep uphill climb.  

I mounted once I walked over the stream and immediately realized my stirrups were dangerously too long, so I hopped off and spent the next 15 minutes muttering to myself and trying to keep Eeyore from running off as he got larger and larger in his excitement to finally be doing something fun. I said screw it and got on to find out now they were jockey length, but damn if I was going to get back off for another 20 minutes. Seriously those Pandora stirrup billets are awful. 

Wish I didn't use a black pad so it was easier to see where the saddle ends. His shoulder came no where close to the saddle or pads and moved freely. I think it made him feel really good and that added to his enthusiasm for the ride. 

Off we went and he used anything as an excuse to go. Eventually we started blasting up the hill to try to burn energy. Of note, at this point even with jockey length stirrups I was still feel secure and comfortable in the saddle and it was obvious that Eeyore felt good in it too. We reached the top and the trail flattened out. Due to my stirrup mishap we were already out 30 minutes and she had asked that I be back before the hour mark and I wanted to respect that, so I turned him around to go home. 

And that folks is when the wheels fell off. 

Eeyore was PISSED. He squealed at me in a way that even the staunchest non anthropomorphic person would be hard pressed not to translate to a raging FUCK YOU MOM. He reared, or well attempted to which in his case his front end hunched but stayed earthbound. He tried to spin back and bolt. The poor guy expected a grand adventure and was getting the shaft here big time. 

 At this point I knew I had to get off and hand walk. He wasn't listening and I wasn't feeling all that secure in the current set up. All I could envision was coming off and him high tailing it with a borrowed saddle never to be seen again. So I slid down and did a walk of shame back to the trailer. 

I felt awful. Not because he was being a douche, but because I was failing him. Yeah I's don't have schedules and plans but had you seen him you would have known how excited he was to be DOING SOMETHING after so much time off and how pissed he was that the something was a dinky little short ride to nowhere. He misses being in work. He misses adventuring. He misses it all and due to lots of various reasons all he is doing is sitting and waiting for me to make time for him again. 

He still looks like he wants to run away and I look...not happy

It got me wondering if it would be better to find him his own horse crazy, horse centric person who would ride him 5 days a week, take him places, explore, jump, run, play. Someone who would spend more time with him than I do. I don't know. It just seems that no matter what I do with him it feels like it isn't enough to keep him in shape, to keep him mentally relaxed and happy. I do love that stupid orange horse but maybe I'm not the right fit for him. Don't even mention the elephant in the room in the shape of a giant orange baby beast currently residing in KY but due to come home sooner than I'm prepared for. 

Even with not making the pads perfect, his sweat pattern was even and well off important structures on both sides. You can really see how tiny the saddle is. 

I'm hoping to get this saddle issue resolved soon. The Pandora is an intriguing idea but new ones take months to get made and used ones are hard to find (well there is one but it is so so so very purple and I can't do purple especially not for the price they are asking). I did purchase a super cheap ($255) Aussie saddle on ebay that should hopefully arrive this week and fingers crossed fits him to hold me over until I figure life out. I don't know if it will work or not but for that price I can swallow it if it doesn't and put it up for resale.

If I can get back to riding him life will be better again. I really need a saddle!


  1. Saddle woes are the worst. So are stinking hot and humid months. Sounds like both have collided.

    1. I really wish saddle shopping was an easier experience. Eeyore just doesn't do well with down time. A couple weeks is fine but its been almost two months of very sporadic trial saddle type rides and it is taking its toll.

  2. You know Megan( just did an interesting thing which was have Jen's ( saddlefitter friend do a virtual fitting and I guess she's pretty good. Might be something to try to figure out saddle options for you.

    1. I just read her post and found it fascinating. Eeyore really isn't a hard to fit horse as long as the channel and gullet is wide enough. I'm kinda at a point where I'm not 100% what I want to do and so sinking the money into a saddle specific for a single discipline is hard at the moment. I have bookmarked that post though and once Hamilton is back I may reach out and see about a virtual fitting for both the boys

  3. Is a treeless saddle an option for him? If you're just going to be trail riding for a while, you should be able to find a used one for cheap pretty easily. At least you know it'll fit him (and other horses). I'm in the market for one myself...

    1. What brand are you looking at? I tried a Barefoot on Gemmie ages ago (we still lived in WI) and no matter the pad or the girth that thing slid down her side with every spook. I also tried a Freeform Classic on a friend's Arab mare here in SC and it was comfy but felt like I was sitting on 1000 mattresses above her back. They have a new ultimate trail and a dressage model now as well (PJ I think) that look really secure and comfortable.

    2. I love the old Freeform Bandos I ride Lunar in. In fact, I begged to buy it, but it's not available lol. I have also loved the Barefoot saddles on various horses. You do definitely have to ride really centered and a breast collar helps. I loved the Pandora saddle when I did Biltmore, but I can't justify spending that kind of money, and the carbon fiber makes me nervous in case of a wreck.

  4. Ugh saddle woes. You know how much I love my new Spanish saddle. I wonder if an Iberian saddle would work. Or the treeless option.

    And you are not a failure. So stop it. ☺️

    1. I LOVE your saddle. I'm not super into treeless only due to past experiences with security on a round horse - they slid down Gem's side when she spooked hard which was often. Eeyore is even more round but he doesn't really every spook so maybe? After threatening to turn the seller into ebay and paypal the cheapo Australian saddle I purchased on 7/3/21 should finally arrive today so I'm crossing all my crossables it will work as a trail saddle for now and then once the Wexford sells I can use that money to get a new jump saddle. I need to ride again!!!