I know, I've been promising them all week and never actually posted any new pictures. Sorry. Izzy and I continue rocking the western saddle. Hopefully soon we'll start with some lessons.
Here's the saddle we use: (Thanks to Izzy, my lovely model.)
It's like 30 years old and I think it's gorgeous. Silver and some rawhide highlights. It also weighs something close to a ton, which makes it super hard to put on. I'm learning how to swing it up, because I simply can't lift it on like I would an english saddle.
Despite the weight, Izzy doesn't seem to mind it (unless I accidentally clunk it down). I'm told this is because western saddles have much more contact with the horse's back and so distribute weight better. Nifty.
It's been interesting getting around at the barn. We had a ton of snow, which is melting off. The problem is that it hasn't been about 40f since it snowed, so it melts really slowly and then freezes over night. Nothing like ice, right? Izzy's resin wraps are supposed to come off soon-ish. I'm thinking I'll have a chat with the farrier about leaving her barefoot until we're past the snow and ice season. I prefer the traction she has that way.
Seriously. This is the parking lot at the barn, looking towards the turnouts.
All that white stuff is icy slushy nastiness. Also, it's been really foggy and overcast. My grandpa assures me it's convection fog, which is caused by an excess of ground moisture and something about the temperature. Regardless, it's cool looking occasionally, but it's getting old.
I suppose you all know that I'm a consumate tack whore. Imagine when the tack whore picks up a new discipline.
Yep. My pretty western bridle. I picked it up off a clearance rack. It's super pretty and it matches the saddle we're borrowing. Izzy looks pretty adorable.
I do apologize for the pictures being so dark. They look great in the (backlit) viewfinder on my camera. If I were more talented, I'd probably know how to make them look that great on here. Alas, you are stuck with non-pro-photography.
Izzy's doing really well (I think) with the western stuff. She's happily jogging and starting to slow our big, rolling canter down a touch. I find that I still ride slightly inside leg to outside rein, which is funny...
Despite the difference in tack, the actual ride is remarkably similar. When she starts running on her forehand, I sit up and rebalance her. If she backs off, I put leg on. I don't know if it's kosher, but it works well for us.
And here she is, in all her finery so far. Don't worry--I just set the rein over the rail. SHE IS NOT TIED. The pad is a 1" wool felt pad with wear leathers, a contoured back, and a wither cut out. I love it.
I'm somewhat amazed by the scarcity of technical advances in the western world. I mean... contoured pads are par for the course in pretty much any english discipline, but I had to search to find one. I know, I've heard the argument that wool felt conforms to the horse's back eventually so you don't need contours, but people. Really. If it starts out shaped like the horse's back, it will continue to shape and everything will work much better. Oh well. Just my general snobbery peeking through, I guess.
Despite all that, I confess that I so want a pair of professional's choice SMB combo boots in some obnoxious color. I know they don't help anything, I know they can heat up the legs, I KNOW!!! But really. So fun.