Monday, October 5, 2015

Weekend Part 1: Test Saddle and Penn Learns to Jump!

This weekend was quite busy, so I'm breaking it up into 3 parts- Test Saddle and Jump Lesson, Hunter Show, and Hunter Pace.

Husband found this picture in his memory cards over the weekend. It's from August last year. I love this picture.
Last weekend I went to the local Dover store and ended up ordering a dressage saddle from another store location. It came in last Wednesday, so I went to pick it up! Very exciting.

I ordered an Amerigo Vega Dressage Saddle- 18in wide tree. I sat in it at Dover and I loved it. Soft, everything hit me just right, I liked how I looked in the mirror while sitting it in.

Very yellow saddle cover, but it had fleece on the inside, which I liked.
Umm, not acceptable on a brand new, $3900 + tax saddle. I did see this in the store and pointed it out.
Not the best picture of it, but it was so pretty.
I had a lesson Thursday night, and I got there a bit early, so I tried the saddle on Penn before lesson. My replacement Total Saddle Fit girth came last week too, so I got to try it out too!

This didn't look so bad. A little forward on the shoulder, but I wasn't comfortable putting it any further back because he has a short back and I thought it's natural balance point on his back was just a little too far back.
I can't decide if this looks too narrow. I think it's a little crooked on him, and it's tough because the light was tough, but looking at it now, the gullet doesn't look wide enough to fully clear his spine and sit evenly on the back muscles.
Nope. Just Nope. Barely any wither/spine clearance up front. Too wide.
Then there's this. Too wide at the wither, not wide enough at the shoulder. The front panel had very uneven contact with his shoulder. To clear his shoulder blade, I had to slide it back about 2", which I didn't think was a good place for it to be.
Needless to say, the Amerigo Vega is not for us. A regular tree wouldn't have helped- this saddle just isn't the right shape for Penn. When I returned it, they had said if I had decided I wanted it, they would have worked out a discount for me. I laughed and told them if it had worked for us, I would have asked for a discount!

Anyway, Penn learned to jump Thursday night (10/1) for lesson!

Trainer started us off by having me trot him through 4 trot poles, which he gave a good look. She stressed to soften my elbows and let him figure out where his feet go. We just kept doing trot laps around the arena and she'd change the set up every couple laps.

She changed one of the trot poles to a half raised pole but setting it on the bottom of a jump standard. Penn ignored the fact it was raised and just pulled it along with one of his hind feet without missing a beat. Next time around, he did lift his feet.

Then she changed it to a placing rail, tiny crossrail (bottom jump cup hole), and another placing rail and said, don't change a thing, just keep being soft and supporting with your leg.

Penn trotted up to it, and bunny hopped over it. Remember that video of the horse bunny hopping over the canter poles? Where instead of stepping over, it uses the moment of suspension to get over the pole? That's how Penn jumped his first jump ever. #notajumpinghorse

He figured out that that was not the right way to go about it, so the next time he kind of scrambled and little and attempted a real jump.

The next time he just ran out. I stopped him and tapped him on the shoulder with my whip (it's still not acceptable, even if he's just learning!), and brought him back around quickly and was a bit more active about where we were going- and he stuttered and then hopped right over.

We went a few more times to the left, then changed directions and went right. Trainer got after me about letting him be after the fence. Don't try to pick him up right after, let him just canter off and enjoy himself. No problem. He actually developed quite a nice canter and connection after the jumps!

We jumped it a bunch of times to the right, then she raised it a couple holes so it was maybe 14" or so. Don't change a thing, just go with him and support him. He jumped those fabulously, and we changed directions to jump it the other way before quitting. He started to really get it- trot the placing rail, jump the crossrail, bound/bounce/canter the landing placing rail in good rhythm.

He's definitely NOT a jumping horse. I can't put my finger on why, but you know how you can just tell? This one isn't a jumper. He didn't do anything wrong, and he's allowed a learning curve, but umm, yea. He's not a jumping horse, haha.

He'll still continue to learn so he can hop around 2' verticals and safely jump logs and very natural things like that. I mostly want him to learn to jump a) so he knows how, b) so we can have "play days" in the ring and just do something different, c) so if there's a small log or something down on the trail he's confident stepping or jumping over it, and d) I like going to hunter paces and sometimes there's wee little logs that are fun to jump.

Very good baby horse! He worked up a sweat so he got to stand in his cooler for a while.
Then there was this treat for when I came out Friday morning before hauling him off to a local hunter show. One of his "friends" was mean to him (and my wallet). This was the only no fill sheet I had, so when I returned the saddle to Dover, I got a Mio sheet that was on sale for him to wear while I'm having this one fixed.


  1. ugh a saddle i recently tried was the same story - nqr from any angle, some parts too narrow, some too wide. just everything the wrong shape. super frustrating... good luck finding one that works!! (also yay for Penn learning baby jumps!)

    1. I'm going to try googling low wither, wide shoulder saddles next! Good luck in your search too!