It’s been a crazy past couple of weeks, with so many factors coming together to limit my “barn time” it has given me more than ample time to do what I do best, over think things. I’ve been looking over all aspects of Beaux’s care, from turnout, nutrition, to tack, equipment, and riding schedule to start making sense of our successes, and, I hate to say failures, but not successful attempts. This has given life to the dreaded “List of Grievances” and a follow up “List of Goals”. So in the spirit of my procrastination and love of all things Listed, here is my New Years Goals and if not solutions, at least an attempt at solutions.
LIST OF GRIEVANCES:
Equipment: The equipment I do have is not sufficient for the task at hand. I have gone through a few different saddles, some did not fit Beaux or did not fit me, all were used and some not so gently. I have made the difficult (financially) decision to stop looking for the next bargain saddle or Ebay score and look at getting a new saddle that can be adjusted to fit Beaux’s “pear” shape. Beaux has high/shark fin withers and a well sprung rib, this makes saddle fit a PITA to put it very mildly. This actually brings up a whole new bunch of issues, which saddle(s) do I get?
SOLUTION: This repeats saying, I’m getting a new saddle, one that fits both of us, allows for secure and comfortable trails, yet not too specialized that I can’t do some serious schooling in. I’m looking at a lot of potential saddles, from an Abetta endurance type saddle, another go at an Australian saddle, to my favorite Wintec AP. Until both my wallet and my brain decides which saddle to get, I’m going to stick with the Dreaded Bareback Pad, and work on basics.
BIT: This one has been a Big Issue since our first ride. Beaux was a hard puller on the track and trying to erase almost 9 years of a bad habit, it’s not easy. I’ve used a lot of different bits and none really worked well, either they were too much and Beaux backed off the bit too much, or communication was not there. Some bits may work for a short time, or fix one issue but open up another one.
SOLUTION: So, after much thought and a lot of research, I’m going to try bitless again, but work a lot more on ground work and patching a few holes. I’ve narrowed the bitless choices to an “O Ring side pull” from Knot Just Rope and maybe a Flower Hack down the road. This time I will take the time since I have plenty while waiting on saddle shopping finances, to work with Beaux on the ground to give more with his nose and work on a lot more foundation work on the ground. No more excuses, now it’s just patching holes.
RIDING TIME: This one has been my biggest issue to overcome, my riding time is not as consistent as I’d like and when we do ride, we’ve not always made the best use of that time.
SOLUTION: This one doesn’t have an easy fix, I’ll be working a lot more hours in the next few weeks so I’ll have to really make my time at the barn count. Time management has not been my friend lately, and I really need to walk that fine line between having a training plan and not pushing Beaux too quickly. I’ve pushed him on a few things, or at least badly patched holes instead of truly fixing them, so I need to make sure I can have a definite plan to work on yet not get too focused on the goal that I don’t take Beaux into consideration.
SUMMARY: Knowing my work schedule for the next few weeks, my goals are modest but going back to basics will be our new motto, but here is an outline for our next few weeks:
- Ground work with the bitless bridle to build better communication with Beaux, and help relieve his bit anxiety.
- Ride with a purpose! Even if I’m just riding for 15-20 mins (chaotic work schedule coming up) I must ride with a purpose and a goal. I will keep Beaux and his needs first, with relaxation as our main goal.
- Saddle shopping, this one is tough, I’m torn between a few different saddles, but I need a saddle that can be comfortable enough for trails yet be able to school in the arena. May end up with my “fallback” saddles Wintec AP or Wintec Dressage, although the Abetta saddles are catching my eye, plus a few Aussie saddles that also have my interest. Beaux is hard to fit so that will be my first priority, what fits him and I can deal with comfort for me later.
Time Management and Goal Setting will be new mantra, and let the saddle shopping begin!