Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches 2013 > Daily Dispatch #86

March 27, 2013: The Synergist Saddle Cometh

The new saddle arrived yesterday, shortly after I finished writing my Tuesday dispatch. Pete carried the box from the gate to the cabin. I opened the box with a kitchen knife. As I pulled forth the saddle, I made comparisons to my Len Brown saddle, which arrived on the day we were leaving for our last trip. I immediately knew that it was too large for me, and also too large for Raudi. What to do? We were already in transit. The Synergist saddle arrived two-and-a-half months before our upcoming trip. I immediately knew that it would fit me, and would fit Raudi.

I put it on the saddle rack and climbed on. It fit just fine. It was time to try it out on Raudi. I ran outside, got her out of the pen, and brushed her, taking a close look at the two white patches that are on both sides of her withers. The white hairs have been breaking off at the roots; this is perhaps because the treeless saddle did not distribute the weight evenly.

I am not at all opposed to treeless saddles. In fact, I think they are a very good idea because they conform to the horse’s back. But they need to be custom made to the horse and rider. And they should be used by lightweights. I also suspect that they break down with heavy use. My saddle is probably well past its prime. In addition, they appear to fit better on very wide backed horses.

I saddled up Raudi and Pete saddled up Signy. I then mounted, using the mounting block. The saddle didn’t shift when I put my weight in the stirrup, as it

did with the treeless saddle. Rather, it stayed in place.

Pete and I then went for a ride around the loop. This ride wasn’t a good indicator of saddle suitability to horse. The plow truck scraped the snow to the ice, so the footing was both slippery and uneven. Raudi and Signy both focused on maintaining their footing.

I found myself again wishing that horses could talk, but then again realized that while they can’t talk, they articulate their concerns in a more subtle fashion. We as humans just need to learn how to read what they are saying. The catch is that horses have differing ways of expressing themselves. In the past, when I tried out other saddles, Raudi would immediately swish her tail, shake her head, pin her ears back, balk, and in this way, let it be known that the saddle didn’t fit. This time, she moved cautiously. She could have presumed that she was going to be in pain again, or was still in pain—the latter being muscle memory related.

I asked for Raudi to trot up to Signy, and she complied. This was a very good sign. I too found that my center of balance was off—I felt crooked. Quite obviously, I’ve developed some bad postural habits. It made me think that I’m going to start doing yoga at home, this in addition to going to classes.

I fully suspect that Raudi and will soon be moving forward again. But as with all else in life, this is going to take time and forethought. I suspect that Raudi is also going to need more traction in the rear (and this is a shoeing issue). It’s sort of like me on cross country skis—I slide back a lot, I’m told because my skis have too much camber. I am after, always sore. TTeam/Connected groundwork exercises will also be helpful.

E.M. Forrester once said “Only Connect.” Alys Culhane says “Reconnect!”

The human/horse reconnection is that I too am moving forward. I’m finishing up two book proposals, both of which are horse-related. In the process of writing both, I have better learned to engage with my audience. I’m also finally coming to realize that at this point in my life, sauntering down a differing career path would be foolish and non-productive. Writing about this place and our animals IS to remain my life’s work.

Next: 87. 3/28/13: Shooting Moose