Monday, May 11, 2009

Conclusion of The Great Saddle Experiment

Previous Post: Day One of The Great Saddle Experiment

I own three western saddles, one of which was specifically picked out for Lostine since the typical extra-wide Arabian tree rides up over her withers onto her neck. This Tucker High Plains saddle has a narrower wide tree, and does stay in place on her back. The seat is level when she stands on level ground, while the pommel and cantle are both at an even height. The saddle does not rock, and when there is no blanket beneath it, I can slip 2 to 3 fingers into the gullet. By all standards, it's a perfect fit.

However, when I have been riding her in it, she bucked when transitioning to the lope. Several readers suggested that the new saddle might be causing her pain. I know from experience that Lostine always is full of herself and can't resist bucking after a long winter hiatus. Once I ride her on a regular basis, she settles down.

Still I wanted to entertain the idea that the new saddle might be hurting her. When I set each saddle upside down on a pillow on the floor and laid my back in it, I found this saddle to be the least comfortable. I suppose it's possible for a saddle to be a good fit and still be uncomfortable. I decided to rotate all three saddles on her and see if she still bucks in each saddle. If she bucked regardless of which saddle was on her back, I was going to chalk it up to attitude.

However, as soon as I switched her away from the new saddle, and tried the old Cordura saddle on her, she stopped bucking. Things weren't looking good for my new, expensive saddle. This past week I rode her in the Circle Y Mojave Arabian saddle that rides up over her withers, and she really, really wanted to buck, but I kept a tight rein on her. Then I tried the new Tucker High Plains saddle again, and she didn't buck at all. I even posted in a sloppy manner so that my butt was slapping down on the seat fairly hard, and let her lope on a loose rein. I think she just got past her annual bucking fit, and it probably had nothing to do with the new saddle.

That's a relief, because I'd hate to think that my husband spent a lot of money on the most wonderful anniversary gift in the world for me, only to have it hurt my horse. I really love this saddle and didn't want to have to quit riding in it.


Leah Fry said...

I hear ya. I haven't ridden Poco in mine since that time we tried it with the shim. So I still don't REALLY know if it's going to work in the long run. I'm also hoping that now that he's lost some weight, and as it gets broken in a little, it will get better. I'm still holding my breath.

Paint Girl said...

Good news! Let's hope Lostine was just full of bucks!
My Arab gets that way too, she only does the big bucks during longing, she crowhops from time to time, while riding. She also will crowhop when I first start loping her. I think alot of it is I don't lope her consistently with me on her back. That is a goal I have set for myself this summer.

fernvalley01 said...

Hopefully you have the issue resolved ,it looks like a comfortable saddle for you ,hope it stays comfortable for her

Katharine Swan said...

NM, I'm glad she's doing okay with it now. It's also possible that if it's not as well padded, perhaps it was making a more difficult transition for her as she was getting over the degradation of being ridden again. ;o)

Kate said...

It's hard to tell from a photo - but the shoulder clearance looks good - in my experience this is the one issue many saddle fitters overlook - but it looks good, and if it keeps working, keep using it!

KD said...

Glad to hear that you'll get to keep using your new saddle.

One Red Horse said...

The tucker is a wonderful saddle and your is lovely. How wonderful it seems to work for Justine.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Glad you ruled out the saddle as the bucking catalyst. It looks very pretty.

allhorsestuff said...

Well alrighty totaly made an all out effort to make sure she is well suited...and I do love the look of that anniversary gift -on her!
PS...could you give me some adxise on pasture new PBO want to spray everything with "Crossbow"..and the grasses are so lush and lovely now. They should have done this MUCH she aske me today what I wanted done with my mare..NOT need to read up...she said she'd let me do a spot shot kinda think in the field where she grazzes...but long to wait on the other you know any answers?

BrownEyed Cowgirls said...

You did good sorting that out. Sometimes you just gotta try different things to figure out what is going on.

I've got a couple of ponies that like to hump and buck a little EVERY single, stinking spring. I resolve a lot of the hump by just saddling them and leaving them in the stall for a couple hours one or two days before I actually ride. It seems to help more if they are loose to move around in the stall vs standing tied.

lytha said...

Look at that expression on her face! She seems to be saying, "Try harder to read my mind!" *giggle*

Exactly the situation with Baasha yesterday, when my trimmer said, "If only he could tell us what's wrong."

WHY CAN'T THEY TALK!!! It would solve so many problems!

I hope you figure this out, I hope Lostine knows how much you care, to keep searching for what makes her comfortable.

She knows, I think.


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Kac - Good question. I don't know the right answer, but I can tell you what I do. First off, I have never poisoned weeds in my pasture. We only pull them by hand when they first start coming up in the spring while the ground is wet. The horses, surprisingly, are good weeders too, because after a few minutes of eating grass they want something different.

We do use weed killers on our front lawn, so I don't hand graze the horses there for two weeks after the spraying is done. My neighbor also warns me when she sprays, so that I won't let my horses eat her grass when I go over to her place to ride. It can't be good for horses, because I read that you should keep the containers of Crossbow out of reach of pets and livestock.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

That last picture of Lostine makes me smile. It appears as if she's trying to tell you something, maybe, "Um, Mom, ok, you didn't fall for my tricks and you know that the saddles fit just fine. Now can I have this saddle off my back, after you put that stinkin' black thing away and stop pointing it at my face?" lol!

She's gorgeous in your beautiful comfy saddle. I'm glad that it's not the problem that caused her rowdiness. You're a good horse Mom for trying to figure out what, if any, the issues were, though.


Shirley said...

Well bless you for thinking of the welfare of your mare first. Glad the saddle fit isn't the problem. As far as a spray for pasture weeds goes, in Canada we have a product called Graze-On which is deemed safe for grazing animals after 24 hours. Don't know if you have the same product name in the US.