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December 11, 2012: If the Saddle Fits, Let the World Know about It

I should be grousing. Here I have this truly wonderful mare, and I cannot for the life of me find a saddle that fits her. But I’m not grousing. I’m pleased because I got to spend yet another day in her company, and in the company of my other four wonderful horses. How did I get so lucky? I repeatedly ask myself this question. And I asked it of myself several times today.

I’m getting far better at being patient with all the animals, especially the horses. Now when things aren’t going right, or look like they might not go right, I go to my tack box and seek alternatives. For example, I decided to try out the loaner

saddle on Mr. Siggi, Pete’s horse. I didn’t decide he was Pete’s horse, Siggi decided he was Pete’s horse – and therein lies the problem. Mr. Siggi always lets it be known to me that he’d much rather be in Pete’s company, by acting like an idiot when I go to ride him. He’s run off with me, bucked me off onto the ground, and scraped me off on trees.

Not today. I was determined to not let this happen. We are going for a ride. This is what I told him. When he heard this, he lifted his head from the hay bucket, rolled his eyes and curled his lip—just the way Elvis would do. I ignored his obviously bad behavior and saddled him up.

He did not go down to the road willingly. So I went and got Signy, who I figured would keep him company. She went along with the program because she always goes along with the program. She’s the most easy going and sane horse we have here. I got down to the road and then got on Siggi, using ye olde mounting block. Siggi took two steps backward and put his leg between the first and second step. I then got off, and removed his leg from said mounting block, of course all the while thinking that if he was an Arab or a thoroughbred that he would have taken off and messed up his leg. But no, he’s an Icelandic and they don’t do dumb things to themselves, just to people.

I got back on Siggi. He then planted all four feet and refused to move. Signy, who already had enough of numchuck, sighed. The message was clearly “I am not going anywhere because you are not Pete.” So I took a deep breath and got off him and walked him and Signy about a half mile, to the far side of the loop.

I stopped to talk for a bit to my neighbor Jim, who really was grousing – he has reason for concern. The creeks are all frozen so he can’t access fresh water. I listened intently to him, and acted empathetic. The entire while, Siggi was lipping the rope, Signy, me, the air. Finally, I says to Jim that I must be on my way, and had him hold Siggi while I got on. Siggi, you see, is tall. He’s 14 hands, which is large for an Icelandic horse.

I continued on down road. Siggi began veering to the left. So I stopped him, took a few more deep breaths (thereby diminishing a good amount of the earth’s available oxygen) and with my legs, asked him to move on. The horse, who knew he was now that much closer to home and the hay bucket, complied. I was pleased because Siggi and I did, on this ride, manage to move beyond our stuck points. However, I know that tomorrow we’ll go through the same song and dance. I call this song and dance “Bong hits for Siggi,” this in reference to the umpteen legal problems that surfaced in the “Bong hits for Jesus” debacle.

I also rode Raudi. The saddle didn’t fit her. In fact, it sat on her pretty little back like a UPS parcel. One that was destined to be delivered to the furthest point in Alaska, I believe Point Barrow. Raudi did trot and canter a bit, but really was no more happy with this saddle than she was with her regular saddle. So the search is on for a saddle that she likes.

It’s sort of like finding shoes for a person with really bad bunions. The one difference is that a person with bunions can, with their voice, tell you take a hike. Raudi does this with her legs, by stopping, and her ears, by pinning them back. So, the search continues. I’m remaining patient because I know that in time the perfect fit saddle will materialize. I may have to do some penny pinching, but it will come to be.

Update: A touchy subject, but one worth mentioning. The president of the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association has dismantled the website that Pete put together, and has hired someone to move the material in it to another site. It’s sort of like the cyberspace version of U-Haul.

I am very sad about this because it was a beautiful site, and also reflective of years of hard work on Pete’s part. What to do? Pete and I have (wisely) both decided to give the matter no more thought. I myself am thankful that we have our own site, with our own photos.

Next: 365. 12/12/12: Sleeping In