Fall brings change and for my horse and I this year it will mean returning to our Western discipline and kicking up some mud (hopefully). As many of you know, I am limited to the riding that I can do with my pony due to the fact that we have no decent trails where he is owned and housed. I have a long term relationship and lease and he is mostly an arena and field horse. And I am thankful for having him and a place to enjoy horses so this should not be taken as me bitching. But, it gets boring sometimes for both of us. His life is much more fun and creative than it was before he came to us. In his prior situation he didn't even have pasture buddies. He was strictly ridden in an arena and sometimes turned out by himself. He was loved but not treated "like a horse" by any means. He has a lovely field and friends now. We do have some trails but they are fairly treacherous and we have used them a couple of times but he was terrified and frankly, so was I so we kick around the barn and up and down the long lane beside the pasture sometimes....
I have spent the good part of the spring and summer returning to English and working with the bitless bridle. It has been a great experience. We had an almost year long bout with some sarcoids (wart-like growths some horses are prone to - they multiply and can get quite nasty) and have finally turned the corner with those. I have had a hankering to get back to Western and recently purchased a synthetic saddle that will allow us to have fun no matter the weather! My girlfriend's saddle, which I normally use for Western riding, is a humongous, expensive, honking, reining saddle that looks something like this:
It is an awesome saddle. But, as you can see it is huge and I have a hard time "finding" my seat in it. Reining is a whole other sub-discipline in and of itself and requires a good bit of ability to shift and move around for both rider and horse. We are not reining. LOL.
It is heavy. I mean heavy. LOL. My other girlfriend, who is two inches shorter than I am, balances it on her head before hoisting it onto the horse. I find it completely cumbersome, frankly. Plus the saddle is expensive. And leather. Rain? Snow? I think not. So, I had decided that I would explore my options and ended up picking a synthetic saddle of traditional Western design. Basically, a riding saddle.
So, my bum fits nicely into the seat and the damn thing is as light as my English tack! My horse seems to like it. He didn't even sniff it funny like he does most new things. LOL. And go figure, the first time we used it, it was raining! Not full out raining but misty and wet. So, good stuff. Our first ride was mostly spent trying to get a feel for it, getting the stirrup length correct, etc... Hopefully we will break it in as well as we have the bitless bridle and be riding no matter the weather!