Monday, November 15, 2010

Weekend Rides

This past weekend we had beautiful weather in Virginia – sunny and in the 60’s. Just a touch of autumn coolness, warmed ever so slightly by sunshine. Beautiful! Buckshot did great during our rides on Saturday and Sunday. We warmed up with twenty minutes of walking, and then began some trotting. We did patterns (figure eights, large circles, along the rail, and a new pattern, called riding routine), and exercises (alternate 8 strides of walking with 8 of trotting, cone bending, riding diagonally across the arena, etc). He had good energy, and a willing, responsive attitude. He didn’t seem off or stiff at all. We also walked down the driveway with other horses (the driveway I haven’t been able to get him down by ourselves, riding or in hand)- he did fine with other horses nearby. At the field arena, we walked around the perimeter, followed by one lap around at the trot. Then we went into the woods to follow the trail (again, always with at least one other horse/rider). He did fine on the trail, and wasn’t as trippy as he had been a few weeks ago. Then back down the driveway to the arena and barn to dismount. Wonderful rides! Great weather and a willing, happy Buckshot!

I also got his new bridle set up. First I removed his bit from his old bridle, which was a major accomplishment! I don’t know about you, but for me, changing a bit is one of the hardest tack jobs to do – loosening those leather straps from what seems like cement, and getting the new leather straps on exactly right is a hard job! Of course, if I had cleaned my old bridle properly all along – by disassembling it and cleaning it, instead of my short cut cleaning where I didn’t actually take it apart at all – it would come apart much easier…. Anyway, I got the bit attached to the new bridle in time for Saturday. On Saturday, after grooming Buckshot, I tried it on him. It didn’t fit! The noseband was way too tight on the farthest buckle hole. I had to take it off and go get his old bridle, and change the bit back to his old bridle, right in his stall. He stood ever so patiently as I pulled and tugged at all the straps again! LOL! I got the bit reattached to his old bridle and put it on him. (By the way, I also had cleaned the bit very thoroughly - using salt! The BO suggested this as a cleaner and it made the bit shine beautifully! )

My kind BO suggested that we put additional holes in the straps and see if that would help the new bridle fit. She has a miraculous hole-puncher that goes through leather as if it was paper! So we put multiple holes on the straps. At this point I regretted buying a “cob” size and regretted saying to myself when I bought it, “Oh, it looks like it’ll fit him…” (Just about every piece of tack I’ve ever bought Buckshot I’ve gotten the wrong size! I don’t know why I trust my eyes, and memory, and just say, “it looks like it’ll fit him!” I’ve had to return and exchange so many things I bought for him! LOL! ) But with all the new holes, and several of the straps buckled at the very, very end (with no ends to go in the leather keepers!), it fit him! I wonder if the browband is still a little too snug for him – I can move it and can just squeeze my little finger under it, but now that I know I am making a “cob” size bridle fit a “horse” size head, I wonder if the browbrand is really too small for him. I’ll see what I think later this week. I may decide to just get him another bridle altogether. But for now, at least he looks quite handsome in his new bridle!


Mare said...

I'm the queen of buying ill fitting tack! When I bought the first halter for my mare, I was worried it was going to be too small, turns out it fits just fine ON THE SMALLEST HOLE! Then again when I bought my first headstall...only this time it was too big and I had to redneck-it by knotting it...ugh! I did finally get it ride with the nice leather headstall--fits great!

So you see, you're NOT the only one...LOL!

juliette said...

Your rides on Buckshot must have been perfect - and he tackled the road! Hooray - wonderful even if he was with other horses. If you go enough times with others (like 30 or more!) he will go by himself.
That is too bad about the bridle. I do that too, but whatever you do don't squish the sweet boy's head! You don't want him to get rubbed or think badly of the bridle.

Jan said...

Mare, thanks for your comments - I don't feel so bad knowing others do it too!

Juliette, thanks also for your comments. That is a good point you made about the headstall rubbing him - I'll check more carefully for it (I think I'll try to exactly compare the size of the new headstall with the old headstall) and won't hesitate to get a new, better fitting one. Thank you!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like we all had a good weekend of riding in really nice weather. I hope it lasts a while longer.

Too bad about the bridle, but maybe you can buy a different browband, maybe with sparkly crystals or something that can be fitted on his new bridle to make it fit better. I'm sure he looks very handsome.

Good idea with the salt, years ago I used to wash mine in the dishwasher and they came out really nice. Then I'd rinse them off good to make sure there was no soap residue and they wouldn't be blowing bubbles.

Breathe said...

I short cut my tack cleaning too. But it will soon become my fall job to get everything in good shape.

I have bought a few things the wrong size and its so frustrating! I need one of those cards men carry with their wife's sizes on it. Only I'd have my horse's measurements!

Carol said...

I'm so glad Buckshot is doing well. That's great.
Your story about the bit made me laugh. I always manage to put the bridle back together wrong several times. And don't even get me started on ill fitting tack! :) Believe me, I've done the same and gotten the leather punch out a few times :)