Monday, September 14, 2009

Chance Has A Bad Day

But All Is Relative

Chance was not at his best today, but behavior wise, his "bad" is nothing compared to Tucker's. For Chance, "bad" is tossing his head and cranking on the bit.

Granted, there were some flies out there, and at one point, when I dismounted to see if something was wrong with the bridle, I saw a B52 buzzing around and landing on him. Now had that been Tucker, I would not have dismounted on my own, but been tossed to earth. So that is high score for Chance in the bug department.

I did get some good work in between the head tosses, so I accomplished something. Since he was so fussy, I will chalk it all up to the bugs and give him a pass. I may go out later in the evening, to lunge him, just to build up some more fitness. If we have a lesson this weekend, I want to take him and I need to know he has a bit more stamina.

He really has progressed in keeping his head down and reaching for the bit at the canter, so I tried a number of trot/canter/trot transistions. Let's just say they need a lot of work. On the other hand, they are much better than they were a week ago, so progress continues. If we can just get rid of the flying distractions, we might actually get somewhere.

Tucker was actually quite interesting. Since I had the Ansur Elite and Konklusion here for the demo yesterday, I decided I'd like to ride in each to see how they felt. I saddled Tuck up in the Elite first. This saddle is designed for the hunter/jumper rider in the show arena. It has a very "flat" saddle feel and is also quite close contact. I liked the balance and overall feel. It tends to put you in a foward seat position, but I could easily do a sitting trot and felt my position was good. I did not put in any of the optional knee rolls, but if I were planning on doing any jumping, I probably would, although when I did show jumpers, I was perfectly fine in a saddle with minimal knee rolls.

Then I tried the Konklusion, which is Ansur's cross country saddle. Since I have an older model this saddle was familiar to me. However, after riding in the Elite, I did not like it as much. For me, cross country jumping needs a shorter stirrup length... mine were too long, and more of a feel of being "behind" the horse with your two point. It is difficult to explain, but generally on a cross country course, you never want to lose your security by riding too far in forward seat. The Konklusion definitely gives that feel. But, to my surprise, it was not as comfortable as the Elite.

As for Tucker, he seemed very happy to go forward in the Elite and cantered right off when I cued. In the Konklusion, he did not seem as forward, and when I asked for canter, he laid his ears back and gave me an "attitude." If it was not a fly bothering him, then it was the balance of the saddle. Since I had "told" him we were just doing a test ride, perhaps, he was "telling " me which saddle he preferred.

To be fair, I then switched him over to the Excel dressage saddle. While he was a little less quick to the canter cue than he had been in the Elite, he was fine once again. Kind of interesting. I am sure, all things being equal, he would be quite content to be a hunter/jumper instead of a dressage horse. But, since he has to do what I want him to do, dressage in an Excel seems to be OK too. However, I will think about trying to make my seat lighter when I ride him to see if that makes any difference. I don't really drive a lot with my seat unless I have to, but I can be very light if I need to. Perhaps riding in a jumping saddle has taught me something about Tuck I needed to know.

All in all, an enlightening morning.

6 comments:

  1. Those bugs. They seem especially bed right now. I'm waiting for the first frost to freeze 'em out.

    Does Ansur send you the saddles to demo? How does that work?

    Haha, do they ever sell off their demo saddles at a discount?

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  2. Do you use anti-flies before riding? I spray Teena and myself before riding, and I use a "ear bonnet" otherwise she head-shakes teh flies away. Ours are these teeny-weeny midgets which bleed their ears and irritate the eyes so much horses get conjunctivitis!

    Interesting about Tuck!

    I had a look at the Ansur website, I am afraid their prices are WAY out of my league. With the economical crisis, we are all dieting, in my case physically and economically ....
    I have just been browsing horse-shopping websites, I could remember that 3 years ago I would have mad one or two orders without thinking about it much, now I am shopping on Ebay for the same article O_o ... Sign of the Times!

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  3. It's interesting how different various models of saddle, even by the same manufacturer, can feel to us and the horse. Finding a saddle that works for both horse and rider can be like the proverbial needle in a haystack!

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  4. "Let's just say they need a lot of work"

    I know that feeling :-)

    c

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  5. The Ansur saddles are made right across the river in Washington. I met the owners of the company at a horse expo a couple years ago. They wanted to trade a saddle for some video work...maybe I should contact them again and see what we can work out:-) Let me know which one you get.

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  6. Jean,

    I am on the ansur saddles group. I do have a KK on the way, but like any horse person, I'm always on the look out for another deal. Do let me know if you find something, especially an elite. They're gorgeous, but usually way out of my price range.

    Thanks!

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