Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"He was a Train Wreck"

Yes, that's how Betsy described her ride on Hola to a mutual friend of ours...

I was actually a little grateful that he was acting nutty for her like he has been for me. I really was convinced it was the nice weather and that he cannot run around in his paddock because of all the mud. Betsy had a much more intelligent thought. She said she thinks he's in pain.

Hola is usually a very happy, friendly horse with a ton of "try." The horse we have right now is grumpy, has an occasional blow-up, and not a lot of try in him. We figured something was wrong with his back, and we figured it was caused by the saddle. It made a lot of sense. It would also explain that the more I worked him the more crazy he would become with a rider on his back. He's quite nice on the longe line.

Now I'm an obsessive sort of person and I wanted to learn more about saddle fitting. Therefore I cruised the internet and found this very informative video:

Cranial Nerve 11!! We are hitting it, I'm certain! No wonder he's looking like "Bill The Cat!"

Now I'm obsessing on my next step. First and foremost is to get the chiropractor to come out! My chiropractor is terrific however there was a time when during adjustment of one other OTTB, by the name of Jaguar Hope, that the chiropractor made an unplanned exit when a sore spot was being worked on... I figured I needed to sweet talk the chiropractor to work on my new sensitive guy. So I carefully crafted a nice email but included full disclosure that Hola could be similar in reaction to Jaguar Hope.

I've been doing great. I have so much to tell you too! but i'm sure you've heard my news through the grapevine.

You can hear it all first hand if you come out to adjust my new guy Hola.

I think my saddle (I'm 90% certain) is the problem. He used to be so "happy go lucky" and now he's a freak and grumpy. I'd like to have my "happy-go-lucky" guy back but he needs help. I must disclose to you that he is a VERY fidgety guy and he won't be easy to do. I wouldn't put it past him to send a back leg flying in protest at whomever is hitting a sore spot.. Much like Jag. He really is a friendly nice guy otherwise. Especially if there is no more pain. And he loves treats...

Are you willing to help the guy out? He needs you!

It worked! Hola will get adjusted within a week.

Now my next obsession is with the saddle. My immediate concern is what to do right now. I have 3 saddles, my Albion, an old DeKunfy and a lovely all purpose Pessoa Gen X. I'm going to take the other two saddles to see if they fit him any better. I'm hopeful the Pessoa will. While it's not a dressage saddle, it will still work until I can get a well fitting dressage saddle. I'll let you know how that goes.

Then I checked the Albion website and found there is a fitter in Lansing, MI which is about 3 hours away. Perhaps I could work with some other people in the area who are Albion people to get the saddle fitter to come up.

I love my Albion saddle and would like to stick with Albion since 1) I really like it, and 2) they won't break my bank.

So I'll probably continue to obsess over saddles and cruise ebay all the time wishing I had some money right now to get a nice saddle. Sigh...


  1. I too am having the saddle fit issue, only the saddle doesn't fit ME. It was a custom (in price only) and pitches me forward. It came with the world's UGLIEST knee rolls that stuck out beyond the flap. The saddlemaker kept telling me the knee rolls HAD to stick out like that.

    When I finally took the saddle to someone who FIXED the knee rolls, it became obvious even to me that the seat was too small. (This same fellow took one look at the saddle and said the maker had not made a custom tree--he had used a County tree).

    So, as I said, I am on the hunt for a saddle, too. My opinion: I would not buy something like a dressage saddle, especially for a sensitive TB, from eBay. You might think it is suitable and affordable but find, as you are finding with Hola, that it isn't right because he hurts. (I love the fact that TBs are "sensitive." I just wish they could communicate a little less, uh, explosively ;o)

    And you may find, as I did, the saddle cannot be flocked to where it fits you or the horse.

    My saddle cannot be flocked so it does not pitch me forward, and of course fitting does NOT make the seat larger, which is the basic problem. Your saddle on eBay may become just one more "saddle you own."

    Better to save your money (as I am doing ;o) and get something fitted to you and the horse on the spot by someone who know what he/she is doing.

    Needless to say, I will NEVER do business with the custom (in price only ;o) saddlemaker EVER again, and am trusting my horse, my seat AND my money to a fitter who takes care of the riders at a very successful dressage barn near me. I'll have an audience of successful riders who can tell if the saddle I'm plopping around in works for ME, especially if I'm not certain. I've ridden in the wrong saddle for so long I'm not sure I'd know what "correct" is supposed to feel like.

  2. TBDancer - I'm just window shopping when I look on ebay. I'm also getting pricing ideas because I plan on selling my other saddles (Antique DeKunfy and Pessoa) to help with the purchase of a Nice-New-Albion-Fitted-Just-For-Hola down the road. In the meantime, I have nothing to put on his back!

    The Albion I currently have fits Toby BEAUTIFULLY so I want to keep it for him.

    What I've learned in all this, is that certain things you must not be shy about spending money on and a well fitting saddle for your horse is one of them.

  3. Ah, good for you. I do the same thing with eBay, surf the prices of "stuff," but because so many people I know BUY SADDLES from there, I just assumed. Wrong thing for me to do. Sorry.

    There is the other side of the coin, too--the rider who has umpteen horses and one saddle fits all. I've known more than one person like that as well.

    My horse is so sensitive that once, when he was in training for dressage, the trainer came into the stall with the saddle she had used the day before and he would not let her near him. She checked him over and, like you with Hola, discovered spots that were VERY tender. I don't think he kicked out, but he was NOT happy and knew the saddle was a deal-breaker.

  4. I worked so long and hard to find the saddle that works for my Russell (a wool serge-panel Black Country) that if he ever goes to a new home, "his" saddle goes with him (and the rider has to fit in it)!

  5. Oh, I am in exactly the same boat right now! My saddle was far too small for Salem and was making his back very sore. I gave him a week off of under-saddle work, got him a professional massage, and he is getting adjusted tomorrow.
    In the meantime, I am borrowing a friend's saddle that fits him perfectly, as Salem is leaving is 6 weeks. I'll sell my saddle and start saving for a new one after he leaves.
    Best of luck to you and Hola!

  6. Nothing like saddle issues. I don't envy you the time, money, or anything else involved. The great thing about sensitive horse is that once you figure out how to understand them, you can't go wrong. Izzy has a very distinct way of going when she doesn't like her saddle. It's to the point that I need less than five minutes in one to see if she likes it or not. Sounds like Hola is the same way.

  7. This is a great video! I had one saddle, a Klein, that fit my old TB, but didn't fit Denali at all. My new one I think fits, but now I'm going to try this out! Thanks for posting the video!!