My New Pegasus Butterfly Saddle Gets Baptized in the Rain

My New Pegasus Butterfly Saddle Gets Baptized in the Rain    

I did not get to ride Cider last Sunday so I did not get to see if putting the shims in the Pegasus pad was the answer to our problems during our last ride. 

On Wednesday morning, as we drove out to Debbie’s stable, it started drizzling with some bigger drops of rain.  I decided that hey, I’m tough, I ride hunt seat, and foxhunters often ride in the rain. Luckily for me, Debbie agrees that a light rain is really no excuse for missing a lesson!  I hoped the precipitation would stop, but I took comfort in the fact that I had larded my saddle so it had some protection from the rain.

We spent several minutes looking at the Pegasus pad on Bingo’s back.  That morning Bingo looked more sway backed than usual, and Debbie decided that he needed one more of the thin rubbery shims in the second pocket on the right side of the pad, so I added it and we finished saddling Bingo after we found the 48” girth.  As we walked out to the ring, it continued drizzling.  Luckily, since Bingo had been used for fox hunting some at a previous stable, he seemed to have no problem with being worked in the rain.  His right haunch was better, Debbie had massaged liniment on the hard muscle several times last week and this seemed to be working.  Since the three- step mounting block was over by the other ring, I used the two-step one without much trouble.

Bingo and I started off walking, mostly at the rail at first, and then I added gradual turns around the jumps.  He readily extended his walk a little, which pleased Debbie since she LIKES his walk when he strides forth and covers ground.  I started asking Bingo for sharper turns, and when his back stopped “swinging”, I went back to straight lines until he loosened up behind the saddle.  After a few minutes of this I asked him for a turn on the hindquarters, he obeyed as he usually does (it takes a few steps before he keeps his hindquarters in one spot, then he does a few steps properly.)  When we stopped I massaged behind the saddle on his right side, then I massaged further back around his hipbone.  Then we trotted some, and while Bingo inverted some he did not take it to extremes.  When we slowed to a walk, I discussed with Debbie an idea I had about working through his inversion. 

I had been researching the De Gogue martingale, the De Gogue is sort of like a chambon but, unlike the chambon, it can be used safely while riding.  The chambon comes up from the girth, two cords go through pulleys on each side of the brow band, and then the cords are snapped to the bit.  The De Gogue martingale continues the cords through the bit rings, then they attach to a rein; therefore the rider can control when the De Gogue is active.  Of course I would be using another bit since the mouthpiece of the Pee Wee bit is rather thin.  I also warned her that I had never ridden with a De Gogue.  I do not want to try this new piece of tack until we see what several months of riding does as far as getting his back stronger and working better under my new saddle.  Debbie agreed that it might be interesting to see what a De Gogue martingale if Bingo did not improve and if I was physically steady enough to use it properly when the time came.

The drizzle continued throughout the lesson, and since I was wearing my coolest technical fabric riding shirt in my wardrobe, I started to get chilled in the wind.  In a way this was an advantage, I was cool enough that I could last the entire 30 minutes of my lesson, and I could walk back to the barn on my own two feet.  When I dismounted the cantle of my new saddle was wet, then it started raining a little bit harder and the rest of my saddle got wet.  In the barn I mopped off my saddle with a paper towel, and when Debbie took off the riding flysheets we saw that Bingo was wet too.  Since both of us had forgotten to put on Bingo’s BOT hind exercise boots, his right hind wind puff was not any better than usual.

Though the weather was much better on Friday morning, I was a lot worse.  I had to use my canes to feel secure walking around my house, something I had not had to do since early August.  Mia seemed fine when Debbie brought her in, and Mia really enjoyed us using our HandsOn grooming gloves.  I tried to get the shims right in the Pegasus pad, and then we got her all tacked up.  By the time I had to put on the bridle I was tired, so I asked Debbie to do that.  The three step mounting block was back in its place so I was able to mount without much trouble.  As usual Mia was antsy as I rode her to the second ring, and I noticed she was a little footsore on the pea gravel.  When we got to the ring, Mia started by absolutely refusing to ride next to the rail, blowing through all my aids.  Then Debbie brought in two little girls for a lesson on ponies, and Mia decided that the universe had suddenly become much, much worse.  Debbie said Mia was wormed on Thursday, and maybe Mia was a little uncomfortable from that.  Mia and I continued to have some more “discussions”, with me becoming more emphatic with my hand and legs until I got her to get nearer to the rail than she wanted.  When my time was up I rode Mia back to the barn, with her still acting up as I had to circle her repeatedly until my husband caught up with us and he could help me dismount.

Of course then Mia got better.  Hey, she was curried with the HandsOn grooming gloves where the saddle, girth and bridle had been, and that always, always, always feels good!  She greeted her grain reward with joy and ate it up with gusto.

Later it occurred to me that Mia might have missed her BOT/ThinLine Contender II saddle pad.  The bottom of the Pegasus pad, where I insert the shims, has nylon netting holding the shims in, and maybe Mia decided she did not like the way this felt on her back.  I have noticed that horses will show irritation to something that they seemed to accept before if there are additional irritations that make them feel less comfortable.  Friday was that sort of day, next week I will experiment with using the BOT saddle pad under the Pegasus saddle pad and see if that meets with Mia’s approval.

Have a great ride!

Jackie Cochran        



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