Friday, December 10, 2010


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.


  1. She looks fabulous!!! You would never know she wasn't a born and bred cowpony:)

    I can only imagine the trouble I would get in if I had a whole new discipline to buy for...sigh. I admire your restraint!

  2. Now that's a fine little cowpony you've got there! She looks absolutely adorable. The Western style headstall really shows off her head. Glad to hear you're having fun!

    I hear reining is all the rage with reformed DQs, maybe you should give it a try ;)

  3. She looks cute :)
    I am always jealous of all the wool pads at tack stores...why dont we have those made in an english style? I would LOVE so many fun, obnoxious colors!

  4. Love the bridle. It looks like the western show bridle I have here...yes, I once showed some western on my Thoroughbred. Still have fond memories of beating out the real cowboys now and then. *G*

    Never had a nice saddle like that one, however. Izzy looks downright elegant in it.

    Riding theory should apply no matter what the discipline. Some of the top reining horses certainly work well off their hind ends. The main differences I see are the concept of no rein contact and a desired low head carriage. (I think a good reining horse would be making eye contact with the cows.) But round backs and engagement? Just look at a picture of a good sliding stop!

  5. Like you had to tell us she's not tied... we know you have more common sense than that. :)

    I agree about leaving her barefoot, if possible, in the snow. Don't want to give her ice skates!

    She looks adorable in the western tack, and I got your fbook message and agree 100%! Let's do it. I'll email you so we can figure out when. :)

  6. Hee theeeeese???


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