Friday, 27 May 2011

We Have Our Work Cut Out For Us!


Our next show is next Sunday and Hattie and I certainly have out work cut out for us!

We were supposed to go to the Burbage Show (the one that is 10 miles away) but my friend Gill, saw a poster at the feed store for another show, The Mulberry & Zenith Fun Charity Horse & Dog Show which MUCH closer so we decided to go to that next Sunday instead (the Burbage show is on twice a month anyways so we can always go later on in the month).

I'm going to take Hattie in "Tack & Turnout", "Style & Appearance" (both are ridden classes) and then in "Best Condition", "Best Handler" and the "Horse/Pony The Judge Would Most Like To Take Home" in- hand classes. I'll ride side saddle in the ridden classes and was hoping to the "Riding Club Horse & Pony" class but there are two jumps in it and after our little schooling session today, I don't think we will be ready in time. "Style & Appearance" is like "Tack & Turnout" where your turnout is judged but you are also judged on your riding as well and have to do walk/trot/canter plus an individual show.

I schooled Hattie for about half and hour today (walk/trot/canter) and it was "interesting". Although we've been hacking out and schooling bareback for the past month and started hacking out side saddle earlier this week, I could tell that Hattie and I have lost our side saddle fitness while schooling! The last time we schooled side saddle was early February and I felt very stiff on my right side and well, Hattie was stiff on both reins.

I've been suffering bad over the past month with my arthritis in both my knees and in my right hip. The bareback riding helps it ALOT but while side saddling today, I could feel my whole right side stiffen up. Riding on the left rein was even worse as my stiff right side caused my left heel to come up and I was bouncing around. I really need my off-side side saddle at times like these but it's still at the saddler's getting restored as I wasn't able to have Roger come out while Hattie's bump was huge.

Because Hattie has been out of work so long too, she was a bit stiff and gave two almighty bucks while cantering (I love my Whippy, you just don't move in that saddle!!!!) but then settled down after.

I think with my arthritic stiffness and Hattie's lack of fitness stiff, I think LOTS of stretching for me before riding and lots of walking warm up for Hattie plus short 20-30 minute schooling sessions everyday (and bareback hacking!) is the order for the week to prepare us for the show on Sunday and for the rest of the month for the other shows.

Hattie's bump is nearly gone now, I don't even think there is a bump now but it feels just to be a hard pile of dead skin (like a callous) waiting to peel off. I tried peeling off a tiny edge but it's not ready to come off yet so I left it but am continuing to put the cream on it. I'll see how it goes and maybe I'll have Roger come out with my off-side side saddle to finish fixing it as my poor body needs it.

Hoping to find another off-side side saddle to use as a "spare" while my Beck Morrow is away getting restored, I came across this one on Ebay the other week. The seat was way too small for me (16 1/4" UK measurements) and the tree VERY narrow, even for high withered Hattie so I didn't bother bidding.

It had a "Bartley Bros & Hall Saddlers 20 Portman Street Portman Square London New York" metal plate on the nearside tree point and a roller bar stirrup fitting.

A nice upright head which I find comfy too!

Well, although I didn't buy another side saddle, I had to order a new three fold girth from Robert Jenkins as my 51" Owen 3 buckle girth is currently too short for Hattie and my 54 1/2" that I bought from Robert Jenkins 2 years ago, is a tad too long (I can buckle it on the top hole on each side of my saddle) so I ordered a nice wide 52 1/2" girth. Now Hattie has a girth for every season weight gain/loss!


  1. good luck with your show next week!

    I have a question. You seem to be so good at finding deals on sidesaddles and picking out ones that will fit Hattie. I am wondering if you have any strategies or tips on this. Maybe you could do a post on it sometime. You probably have more selection, being in the UK (I am in the US) but side saddle is something I would love to start dabbling in with my horse, but I am just too intimidated to try and buy one!

  2. LOTS of trial and error really and carrying around a wither tracing! My husband read your comment and said "You would not believe how many saddles we have gone though!", LOL!