Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Extra Wide Pony

We've been having really nice weather here in North Carolina... mid-80's instead of mid-90's and a lot less humid. It's been great for riding!

Here's my sweet girl all ready to go for a ride!

"We aren't going over there to the arena, are we?"
She was in a mood today... during our warm-up, she was fidgety, cranky, and kept swishing her tail in disgust. I couldn't get her attention for anything. Normally she chomps on the bit, but today she was gnawing away on that thing and refused to be soft. Assuming she just had an attitude, I pressed on.

We did our usual routine of walking on a loose rein, stretching down, various types of circles to get her to engage her shoulders and hindquarters, and then started on the whoa hunting exercises. It was a chore to get her to engage, so I decided we'd speed things up a bit and see if that helped. I asked her to trot and her speed was really nice, but she just would not get soft. I couldn't figure out what the problem was.

After about 20 minutes of fighting with her, she got a bit more specific with her communication methods... she started shaking her head. I was wondering if her fly mask was poking her eye, or if a bug managed to get in there, or if she just decided she didn't like having the mask on, so I took it off and hung it on the gate.

She was still shaking her head after I took the mask off, but then she also started to stagger around like she's drunk... I know all too well what that means. She was telling me she was uncomfortable and something was wrong with the saddle.


I just got this saddle and it's supposed to FIT HER!! It's obvious something has changed and my saddle isn't fitting her properly anymore. She has definitely gained some weight and probably some muscle tone as well, so it might be getting snug on her shoulders again.

I haven't totally freaked out yet (and made my appointment to be committed) because my saddle has an adjustable gullet, so I can order the extra-wide and see how she likes that. The potential problem there is she's in the wide now, and the extra-wide is as wide as they get. It boggles my mind that my 14.3 hand Paint mare is going to be in an extra-wide gullet... my SmartPak order hasn't shipped yet, so I added the gullet to my order. It should be here next week.

Something else I contemplated (this is how desperate I am...), is changing her girth. Right now I've got her in a Wintec girth and their whole shtick is that the entire girth stretches, thus putting even pressure on the saddle and yada, yada, yada. I don't care about all that... I got it because it's easy to clean. I really do have a difficult time getting it tight, but I prefer to ride Lilly with a loose-ish girth anyway. It seems to not have a lot of stretch to it, though... so maybe a regular, run of the mill girth might be a better choice?

Have I completely lost my mind?

Today was a learning experience for me, though. I really should know better than to think Lilly just has an attitude. It is a rare occurrence that she is defiant and cranky just because... I should have known something was wrong and I feel bad that I pushed her to the point where she was really uncomfortable. I just never dreamed I'd be having saddle issues again. :(


  1. Jealous of your awesome weather.

  2. I can finally comment again!! Yaaay!!

    I do NOT want to go through buying a saddle for Odie. Scares me to death!

    I used to ride him in my wintec girth, but he actually really didn't like it--no give. I picked up one with elastic on both sides.. he likes the new one 100 times better.

    Good luck! And belated, but I'm happy you like your new barn!

  3. Extremely jealous of your warm, sunny weather! I pretty much forgot what that is like!!
    Sorry to hear about the saddle. Hope it all works out!

  4. You know, I do the same thing with my buckskin horse, Frosty. You would think by now, I would KNOW that he only bucks when something is hurting him...but after he has been good for some time, I always seem to forget that and chalk it up to him having a 'tude.

    Hopefully, the wider gullet does the trick and tell Lilly that when they say 'Baby got back'...they don't literally mean The Back. LOL

  5. I used to describe my last arabian mare's back as square. She was only 14.2 but absolutely flat across the top. And yet she was narrow at the shoulders. Saddle fit was a nightmare! I sure hope the wider gullet works out. Isn't it wonderful that these options are available?

  6. Ugh, that stinks. That's a lot of why I bought an Ansur- hopefully it will answer that problem.

    The widest horse I've sat on lately is a hafflinger pony, that dang pony is worse than sitting on a barrel and no withers to speak of.

  7. Ugh I hope the extra wide help. I'll bring my saddle on Monday so we can still ride.

  8. Saddle fit is a constant struggle for me too. If my guy gains or loses any weight, or gets fuzzy in the winter, it changes fit dramatically and I have to get it adjusted. I understand your pain!

    Another thing to consider is feet. If their feet are bothering them it can show up as back pain which then equals a saddle-fitting issue. Was she re-shod recently? Just a thought...

  9. I'm definitely crossing my fingers! If the extra-wide gullet doesn't fix the issue, I don't know what else to do. This saddle was fitted just for her!! She has a funky area around her withers that's built up a bit and is apparently pretty sensitive. That seems to be the area that causes her the most issues. It doesn't help that she's a bit of a princess either... not stoic in the least!

    Jen, I've been having this problem with her for quite a while now. I thought I had the problem taken care of with the new saddle... she was trimmed just over 2 weeks ago.

    Cowgirls, you crack me up!! LOL

    DIJ, that's one of the reasons I haven't replaced my western saddle. I have come to hate saddles!

  10. Becca, she's looking really good. I hope this comment shows up. Terry at Moondance.

  11. Your mare is so cute!!
    I had an issue several years ago with my Appy gelding, I put a fly mask on him and with in a day he started shaking his head, holding it sideways, flicking his ears weird (like a bug had crawled inside them) etc. He seemed really irritated. He did it for about a day after I took it off. I tried again a month later and same results. Could find nothing wrong with the mask. One idea I had a year later is that I found a wonky eyelash that curled in towards his eye, I wondered if the mask pressed the lash onto his eye/cornea and irritated it? I have never put one on since but he still has head shaking issues from time to time, I think it's bugs (no-see-ums) that are irritating him! My Ranch Boy thinks it's some kind of tic as my horse will do it in his pasture on hot days or while I'm grooming, it's not just while I'm riding although on buggy trails he does it, too.

  12. We've finally got a day of nice weather today too :), around 75 and not too humid, not too windy. Feels good, so yeah why am I in the house on my computer, lol. Hope the extra wide gullet helps! I know that saddle fitting stuff can really be a pain sometimes, especially when you have multiple horses and don't want to need a separate saddle for each.

    Anyways, hope you have a good weekend.