Friday the horses were in - I took Pie and Red out to the paddocks to hang out for the day with lots of hay - they're pretty happy with their herd of two regardless of how cold it is. Since no other horses were out there, I opened the gates between paddocks - they're small, the size of a couple of stalls put together - so they could roam if they wanted to, but they seemed content to stand and eat.
Dawn also went into a paddock briefly while her stall was cleaned - I like to get them out during stall cleaning since the dust is so bad. Then I hand walked her for a bit, and we even did some trotting along together, with lots of stops and starts and changes of direction for fun. Then she went back in her stall for the day.
Saturday it got into the 20s - heat wave! - the horses were in turnout all day, and I finally managed to squeeze in two rides, on Red and Pie. I really wanted to ride - I've only ridden one other time in 2014 and that's way too few rides for my taste. And I wanted to try the saddle out on Red one more time before making a decision.
Before I saddled up, I switched out the stirrups that came with the saddle - perfectly nice tooled leather stirrups - for my barrel racing stirrups, which I adore. They hang perfectly, put my feet in an excellent position and have very nice grip pads - and they come in many cool colors and aren't terribly expensive.
Red and I had a very nice ride - he was a bit feisty, and we had a bit of "dolphin" bucking - sort of an up and down leaping/roller coaster movement - on our first canter departure. After than he settled down, although he was very forward at the trot and very much enjoyed his cantering. He was really strutting his stuff, and was delivering some excellent work. The saddle felt good to me, although the seat is quite a bit harder than the seat on my existing saddle. In looking at the saddle after I rode, it was tending to tilt down a bit towards the back, and I think my Diamond Wool pad is a bit too thick - it ends up raising the saddle in front a bit even with the wider tree. Later, I tried the saddle on Red again with a friend's much thinner wool Navaho pad, and it seemed much more level - I'll have to get one of those along with the other new things Red needs (to go with his new saddle).
Then I also rode Pie in the new saddle - it actually fit him very well with the Diamond Wool pad and sat quite level - he's a bit narrower in the shoulder than Red and is also not as uphill. Pie was a dynamo - much more forward than usual at both the trot and canter, which was a lot of fun. The same boarder who'd asked me before "why are your horses so calm?" was riding again and said "he's a dynamo?" (Her horse was fussing, and balking, and pretty much as usual.) I said, yes, for Pie, since he's usually so calm and forward isn't always automatic. He was being very, very good, and settled right down to work, doing some really lovely canter.
Today the horses were in again all day - wind chills below zero. Dawn got a couple of hours out in a paddock and was happy to come in, and Red and Pie stayed out for almost 5 hours and came in covered in snow that had blown off the roof. Monday and Tuesday we're supposed to have record-breaking cold and wind chills, so horses are in and we're all going to huddle up. Hoping for a warm up later in the week . . .