Monday, September 27, 2010

Maisie Arrives, Norman and Lily Visit and Dawn Goes Western

It was certainly a busy weekend!  Joe and Blackjack safely completed their trip to Kentucky for retirement - Jill of Buckskin and Bay (who is Joe's and Scout's owner) trailered them down - here's their story.

My daughter and Maisie safely completed their trip to Paradigm Farms in Tennessee.  I talked to both my daughter and Jason, and Maisie is doing well and resting comfortably.  The only problem they had on the way down occurred in the first rest area where they stopped.  My daughter left the trailer briefly, and when she returned there was loud banging and the trailer was rocking from side to side.  Maisie had somehow managed to get a front leg into the top opening of her hay bag!  She must have been striking the front wall of the trailer, but who knows how she got her foot that high.  My daughter, after some effort, managed to undo the bag, drop it to the floor and then went into the trailer and got it out from under Maisie's feet.  Note to self: use small-mesh bag next time and also be sure the truck is equipped with a utility knife in case of emergency - we used to always carry one but it may have gone missing or at least my daughter couldn't find it.

Maisie apparently is none the worse for wear - she was wearing leg wraps and we don't think she was stuck for long.  She walked off the trailer sound and her leg looks fine so far.  Here are some pictures of her settling in:

While my daughter was there, she got to visit Norman and Lily.  Norman was the epitome of cute pony:

Lily was more interested in the treats Melissa was holding than in visiting!  I always forget how beautiful her head and neck are.

She did deign to greet my daughter - love the fuzzy ears!

A big thanks to Melissa and Jason for all the wonderful pictures!

While I was waiting to hear about Maisie, I did get in a brief ride on Dawn.  In our continuing effort to find a saddle that fits, we tried a couple more saddles.  First we tried an Australian-style trail saddle that Jill of Buckskin and Bay had made for Scout.  Nope - it was too narrow at the top of the withers - Dawn has withers while Scout really doesn't - and Dawn made it clear she didn't like it from the moment it was on.  Then we tried a Western saddle that Jill has.  She's not sure what brand it is - she got it from a friend and it has no obvious markings.  Jill said it fit many horses well, so we gave it a try.  Dawn made not a peep of protest, even during girthing.  The saddle sat well on her and wasn't too tight in the shoulders and withers.

Now as far as I know, Dawn's never worn a Western saddle.  We got her just after she came off the racetrack, and she's only been ridden English or bareback since.  She was clearly interested in the saddle and turned to look at it a couple of times.  The straps for the back girth (the girth itself was missing) and the latigos in the back bothered her sides a bit - she was twitching her sides - so for our first trial and for safety's sake we tied them up.  The only other thing that gave her pause was the fenders on the stirrups - she wasn't sure that they should be brushing her sides.  I lunged her briefly to be sure she wasn't going to take off bucking, and she was fine and moving freely.  So I mounted up and we walked around for a bit and even did a bit of trotting. I didn't want to do more because this saddle clearly needed a properly fitting back cinch, which I don't think Jill has - we'd have to do a bit of trying that out first on the lunge! Other than being a bit perturbed by the fenders, she was great.  I'm always impressed by how willing Dawn is to let me try out new things.  She looks really nice Western - it suits her compact build.  This may be the excuse I need to get a Black Rhino saddle, either used or custom-made - they are very well-designed and have a bit of flare in the shoulders that should suit Dawn well - and I've always wanted one!  I really can't lift a leather Western saddle, so I may go synthetic this time.  Shopping for horse stuff - how fun!


  1. Glad to hear Maisie arrived no worse for wear. I'm sure she'll love it there.

    The black rhino saddle looks nice, I'm sure it would be comfy for trail rides. When you do find your QH it might be just the thing to fit all the horses. Good luck.

  2. So good to see Lily and Norman looking so happy and well cared for.
    Next time we can try the synthetic western saddle I have. Then maybe you can come cow working with us next time! ;-)

  3. and Jill having me in tears this morning. I was glad to read that all the horses arrived in good shape and both places look superb. It must have been sweet for your daughter to visit with Lilly and Norman. Maisie will like reuniting.
    How about a photo of Dawn gone Western?

  4. So glad Maisie made the trip okay, she's going to love it in her new home.

    Hopefully a western saddle will work for Dawn, it seems like you've gone through quite a few trying to get one that actually fits her. I imagine I'm going to be going through that same process for my mare too.

  5. Those saddles look great! Tack shopping is only second to horse shopping in my book.

    But shouldn't you find your future trail horse before buying a saddle for trail riding?

  6. Breathe - I need to find a saddle that fits Dawn, and that I can lift, regardless of when "trail horse" makes his or her appearance. Considering the size and type of horse I'm looking for, there's a good possibility that the saddle I get for Dawn will also fit him/her - keeping fingers crossed on that one!

  7. So glad the trip was more or less uneventful for Maisie and your daughter. The first time I used one of those corner feeders in my slandt-load, Kate managed to rip all of the grommets out and leave it on the floor--I can only imagine that she did the same as Maisie--front foot in the wrong place!

    As for the back cinch on the western saddle: if the front cinch isn't too far forward, you wouldn't necessarily need the back one. "Three quarter rigging" is far enough back. But if it's 7/8 or more, and the cantle seems to be pulled upwards off her loin, then, yes, back cinch.
    I know what you mean about a lighter saddle--I've been riding my new Wintec, and I'm getting spoiled (20 lbs? after my 35+ Hereford roper). But it's still too narrow for Kate through the shoulders (and probably Maddie), so it's back to saddle shopping! I'm looking at the Tuckers...

  8. Glad everyone got safely settled. Western could be just the thing!

  9. I am convinced that if no one is looking, horses can lift their front feet at least 5' in the air.

    I cannot recommend cordura fenders/skirts highly enough. Light and easy to clean, and you get great contact with the horse's sides. You can feel her barrel like you're riding English, but there's no leathers to pinch or stretch. Yes, it looks cheap, but I'm all about function over form.

    -funder, too lazy to log in

  10. What a wonderful reunion! Everybody looks so good! And I always love to see another Lilly! I'd love to see pictures of the western saddle!

  11. Just a note on that back cinch thing. We only use ours when we rope. The rest of the time they hang very slightly below the belly. They really don't do much more than keep the saddle from tipping up in the back and pinching the withers when something is pulling on the horn. And you're right, western saddles can be heavy. Mine weighs a ton especially with the tapederos on. But I had a leather one when I was younger that wasn't built on a wooden tree and it was actually very light, (Not a roping saddle) my old balance ride. I still wish I had that one.

  12. I am glad the move went well - it sounds a bit lonely where you are right now. I will be interested to hear about that saddle if you buy it -I have absolutely no experience of western saddles apart from what I see on television, when they all look amazingly heavy to me.

  13. Everyone is looking very well, glad Maisie arrived safely and that the incident in the trailer was minor :)

    Very interesting news about Dawn, here's hoping you may finally have found a solution :)

  14. Glad see how well all the retired horses are doing. Maisie looks quite content in her new home.

  15. Well sounds like Dawn has made up her mind for you with a western saddle. Its so nice when they are easy going and let you try new stuff. I also would like to see her in the western saddle, bet she looks totally different.

  16. Glad Maisie is settling in and the trip ended well. My Tucker trail saddle weighed a ton, but I have no problem lifting the barrel saddle I traded it for.

    Maybe it's the Total Gym...

  17. Oh my gosh - glad to hear Maisie didn't hurt herself, that could have been a real disaster! Amazing what trouble they can get themselves into in a seemingly harmless little box? I'm sure you miss her terribly, but glad to hear she's settling in well. Loved the pics of Lily and Norman!

  18. Kate, Glad that Maisie's trip went well, well, almost, and that she arrived safe and sound. She looks happy in photos. Paradigm Farms looks like a nice place, and she has ready made friends there!
    I went from an English saddle to a Western saddle for my swayback, shortbacked horse, and got a Continental Saddlery reining saddle (with a flex panel tree, that I really love) that both Buckshot and I love. I did have to practice at night with weights until I could swing it up and drop it lightly on his back. But once I'd developed a little bit of strength, the weight really hasn't been a problem for me. Good luck on your search!

  19. Shopping for horse stuff is soo much fun!

    I am using a plain ol' Abetta synthetic that got left in our barn on Bar. It fits his steep, high withers, it's light, and he seems really comfortable in it, so I okay using it until I can find the "right" permanent saddle.

    I did get some interesting advice recently about custom saddles. Mind you, I'd probably do it if I could afford it, but this person--who'd gone that route once--mentioned that then you have to find a horse to match your saddle should you change horses for any reason.


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