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April 26, 2015: If the Saddle Fits

Pete and I decided after using the Port Lewis saddle fit kit on our horses, to let other horseback riders know that we’d be glad to provide them with an assessment – we added that our fee was $20.00. This, we decided to add, would enable us to make up the cost differential.

I went over to Vickie Talbot’s place a few weeks ago. I did the assessment, using Hunar and Vickie’s dressage and jumping saddles. It turned out that both saddles are tight in the withers area.

Today we put the fit kit on Jokla. It’s a pad filled with goo. The goo moves when saddle pressure is applied, which then shows where, if any pressure points might be. Pressure points are bad, for they indicate that something is amiss. It’s sort of like wearing a shoe that is too tight in one area.

Dick appeared in the late afternoon with his four horses, and the rear of his truck bed filled with saddles. He was using a borrowed trailer.

I think that he hoped to try out the fit kit on at least two horses; Karmen, Joka’s dam, and Jokla. We had said that this process takes a while. And this did take a while. We tried out four saddles on Jokla. The routine (the first time) went like this. We took photos of Jokla without the saddle, tacked her up, first putting the pad underneath the saddle, took photos of Dick in the saddle, had Dick ride Jokla for a half hour, untacked Jokla, examined the pad, and talked about and wrote down our observations. Then we rolled out the pad with a rolling pen. After, we did the same, three more times. This process took at least thirty minutes per horse and rider.

We put one western, one Aussie, and one English saddle on Jokla. After, we tried out one of our treeless saddles. The results were consistent with what I thought – Jokla needs a new saddle, one that will accommodate her bulging withers. I later realized that this is a problem that is only going to get worse. If she’s in condition, her withers will be even more bulgy.

In the end, Pete and I determined that the treeless saddle fit the horse and rider the best. A second option would be for Dick to get a custom made saddle. The Stoffels are lacking in funds right now, so I suspect that Dick will continue to use one of the saddles that they have on hand.

In the process of making our recommendations, I determined that most people will opt for a fit kit assessment as a last resort they don’t want to have to be faced with the reality of having to purchase a new saddle. Good, new saddles are expensive. I give Dick credit – at least he was up for having Jokla assessed.

I don’t know if Dick is going to want for us to do an additional assessment on Karmen because the results might indicate that she too needs to purchase yet another saddle. And then there’s Yukon, his curly appaloosa cross. Dick doesn’t have the resources to additional money on a third saddle.

After what was a long afternoon, Dick proceeded to load up his horses into his borrowed trailer. Yukon was last. He would not go in the trailer. He voiced his objection to this by rearing and putting backwards. By now it was 7 p.m. We were all tired and hungry. Yukon, I noticed, was becoming increasingly more resistant.

My initial feeling about Yukon was that he was a scrub colt, a no account that was as ugly as sin. However, the horse lover in me found herself suggesting that I do some body work on him. My intent was not to get Yukon into the trailer, but rather to see if I might get him calmer, so that Dick might more easily do this himself. So with Dick’s permission I began doing body work on his legs. The strangest thing then happened. I then realized that Yukon was extremely scared. I then sensed that he is a good horse and one that with more care and attention has the potential to be an outstanding trail horse.

I stepped back and Dick resumed attempting to get Yukon in the trailer, using ropes and force. Yukon finally complied, and leapt into the trailer. It was by now 8 pm. The bugs that were previously bad were now out in force. Dick drove off with his four horses and saddles in tow and Pete and I went in and had dinner.

Next: 110. 4/27/15: Long Ride

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