The heat has definitely arrived here in NC, not full summer heat and humidity yet but it has been a challenge living without air-conditioning.  Bless the person who invented the electric fan!  I have managed to stay cool enough so I am staying stable physically with my MS, but my memory is not as good as it is during cooler weather.

So Wednesday I forgot to do my final check-off of all the stuff I take to my riding lesson and forgot my Corrector pad.  If my saddle fit Mick that would not be a problem, but unfortunately the pommel plate of my Stubben Siegfried is not quite wide enough for Mick’s back and he justifiably refuses to extend his stride without the Corrector pad protecting the top of his shoulders.  Luckily I had given Debbie a Corrector pad several years ago so I could borrow hers, unfortunately the pad I gave her is for saddles 17” or less and my Stubben Siegfried is 18”.  Like many compromises it was not ideal but at least the top of Mick’s shoulders did not suffer from my memory lapse.  But his back did not loosen up as well as it does when I use the right sized Corrector so I sat as forward as I could and practiced my two-point more than usual.  His Back on Track saddle pad with the Thin Line padding was just not enough to overcome the 1” wrong sized Corrector.  I did a lot of posting trot because Mick seemed more comfortable at the trot than at the walk, and finally Mick started giving me some elevation at the trot but nowhere near as much as usual.  Note to self--until I get a saddle that fits Mick perfectly ALWAYS take my Corrector!  Still, noble Arabian that Mick is, he did not make a point of telling me how dumb it was for me to forget the pad, he just did not perform as well as he usually does.

On Friday I made good and sure that we took my Corrector pad to the stable.  But when I changed the bits on the bridle I forgot to transfer my leather bit guards.  This piece of forgetfulness was not as serious as forgetting my Corrector, but Mia does not particularly like having the metal of the bit against any part of her delicate face (mouth, tongue and lips are okay.)  Mia was pretty good about the whole deal though she did make a point of rubbing her head against my son whenever he was in reach, something she had almost given up doing when I started using the Back of Track poll cap, so I know the metal was irritating her face a little.  Mia also showed her displeasure by being a little bit resistant to my rein aids and sort of sucking back off of contact.  But considering that her usual shows of displeasure at the bit usually involve violent head flinging she let me off lightly.  Our ride was peaceable even though it was not as good as usual, and I KNOW that it was my fault it was not that good.  At least this time I know what I did wrong this time! 

Amazingly this morning I did not forget anything, but then we take a good deal less to Shannon’s.  However we did have to take around 5 trips back to the car for all the pieces we did not take out the first time.  Cider gave me my best ride this week, though she was a bit spotty on contact and turning she gave me a super trot, full of impulse and drive, so much more impulse and drive that I could not completely control my seat, and I landed a little bit more to the rear than I should when I posted.  That is not her fault at all, she cannot help it if my riding style (Forward Seat) and my saddle (EZ-fit, a treeless resembling Western) don’t mesh.  That high pommel may be necessary to keep the treeless saddle off her withers but it is an obstacle to two-point and the top of the posting trot.  Still, until I can afford a jumping saddle that fits her wide back combined with her being a little croup high I have no choice but to ride her in this saddle.  Cider, pony tough, just calmly ignored my many faults today, gave me whatever I asked for (if not perfectly), reached out properly with her nose, head and neck, gave me good contact and generally used her body the way a good riding horse should.  She is a wonderful mare.

I want to wish all you horsemen that are dads a happy Father’s Day.  I also want to say happy Father’s Day to all those wonderful non-horsy dads who blindly stumble in the wake of their daughter’s and/or son’s deep desire to ride horses however much it empties their wallets!  You have given your children a gift that is beyond compare.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran    

 

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