Joe Boustead of Canterbury Outpost is our saddler. He came yesterday and checked the saddle fit on our horses then turned to finding a saddle that fits Spring Song, my American Horsewoman’s Challenge 2014 partner. Spring is a Holsteiner/Thoroughbred almost three years old. We had three saddles ready for Joe to check. The bad news is all three were rejected. The good news – YEP!!! There is GOOD NEWS: Cassie has two horses here at Winsong Farm and one of her saddles fits Spring! It also fits her Percheron cross mare. You’ve got to love a draft cross with withers.
For the American Horsewoman’s Challenge I’ll need a Western saddle for the Cowboy Dressage test. Joe knows one person with a Western saddle that will fit Spring. Hopefully I can lease the saddle till the competition is completed October 5th. If this saddle doesn’t pan out, Joe will be keeping an eye open for one that fits young, growing Spring Song. Most of the saddles are too long for her back, finishing beyond her last rib.
Today I rode in Cassie’s saddle for the first time. Up till now I’ve been in another saddle that gave me the feeling I was on a pogo stick. Spring has narrow withers and not much girth (sort of the complete opposite of Zelador with his wide withers and VERY round and LARGE barrel). Cassie’s saddle and I got along famously. I felt much closer to Spring’s back. That perched feeling I experienced with the first saddle wasn’t a lot of fun.
After a short ride at the walk I played with her at liberty. Yesterday I introduced the Horses Only Mailbox to her. The mailbox door swings open quite easily when I touch the big black tap on the top of the door. I made sure she was standing a few feet from it so that when the mailbox door swung open (downwards) she wasn’t bopped on the beak…or startled. Spring watched me open without becoming worried. I placed a piece of carrot inside the box. She stuck her head in there and ate it. Then she stuck her head in further, pushing the mail pouch around. She’s on the brink of learning how to pick things up and carry them. She’d never seen the pouch. It was nice to watch her play a bit with it.
Yesterday I opened the mailbox at least three times and on each occasion Spring found a treat in it.
Today I created a chain of events for the filly. We started with her standing on the pedestal. I said, “Spring Song, let’s check the mail box.” I walked to the box hanging on the kickboards about twenty feet away and she happily stepped off the pedestal and joined me. When Zelador learned how to open the mail box he used his teeth. Of course he took this a step beyond what I was asking and let me know his powerful teeth could wiggle the entire box and possibly lift it off the kickboards. Having observed that behaviour I decided to find a safer way for Spring to open the box. I asked her to raise her head above the box’s opening tab which is at the top, then let her chin brush downwards resulting in the box opening. She put her nose in the box and ate a treat. I returned to the pedestal with her, ending our chain when she stepped up on it. We repeated the sequence and really wanted to show this to somebody! The only person on the farm was Dominique and luckily she was nearby in the upper barn. I fetched Dominique. Spring performed her routine perfectly and Dominique was suitably impressed. Dominique and I praised the filly and I could see that Spring was quite proud of herself.