The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wentworth Hunt Spring Pace

I wasn't going to go because of the high gas prices, but it's the last event I had scheduled in May and with nothing big on the calendar until August (well, maybe a dressage show or two in June/July) I figured "what the heck". So, Kim and I paired up again to ride at another hunter pace, this one put on by my hunt club.

It was a beautiful day to be up in Milton Mills.

We were out for 1:24:25 and travelled 7.2 miles. We thought we were going slow....but came in 23 minutes fast on the time! No matter, it was a fun ride all the same. The horses were good, the weather was great, who can ask for more?

So, now we're going to focus on getting her fit for August when foxhunting starts. For paid activities, we may do the Pipestave jumper day on June 12th and we might do the SNHDCTA Dressage show at UNH on July 17th, but we'll see how things go.

There are definitely trips to Bradley Palmer and Maudsley in our future. Oh it's good that summer's almost here!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Myopia Spring Hunter Pace

Today I rode out with my friend Kim at the Myopia Spring Hunter Pace down in Hamilton, MA. The track was 6.8 miles. Our top speed was 15.1 mph and our average speed was 6 mph. We were on course for about one hour and ten minutes. What a great time! The weather held for us (suprising as it started pouring on my way home and has been raining ever since!) and our mares were good. Daatje was disobedient at most of the jumps I asked of her, which is typical of her when she doesn't have a solid lead. Kim's mare was awesome. Jumped what was asked and only got a little squirrelly towards the end.

Here's the view from Stirrup Cup. Just gorgeous!

Last leg through the schooling fields.

Below is a video taken just before the above photo.

We're going back tonight for the awards diner. No clue if we were anywhere close to the time.....we'll find out! :)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

XC Schooling at UNH

I love the UNH cross country course. I did my Bachelors at UNH and rode every semester of the four years I was there. What a great time.....the good 'ole days for sure. Anyway, when a fellow foxhunter and friend of mine offered to take us XC schooling during the discounted special schooling day I couldn't say no!

Daatje was awesome. We schooled most of the Novice questions and a couple Training level questions (the steps and the water......really the water was a bit of a stretch!) and she was super. I brought along my camera and took a bunch of photos of Jan and Alice. Jan was nice enough to take some shots of Daatje and I too. They came out blurry, but you can still see what we're doing!

Training water option...

What used to be the Saw Mill...

I so need a new camera that's better with the action shots. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

And we get to jump!

I don't have an indoor, heck, I don't even have a riding arena of any kind! All I've ever had is a rolling field that the neighbors have been so kind to let me ride on all these years. So, as you can imagine, the winter months are kind of slow for Daatje and I. From December to May we are relegated to hacking on the road and hitting the trails.

It isn't until about now that the field is firm enough to start using it again.....and this means we must brush up on our work over fences.

I love jumping. Love it so much that I've contemplated selling Daatje time after time because she's not the skilled and passionate jumper that I so long for. But she tries, and is pretty solid over the smaller stuff.

Daatje jumps as well as I could hope any Friesian would. She seems to enjoy it...and gets very excited when we're out in the field and I have the jumps set up. We're just limited to staying under 3'.....that's pretty much her max and I don't like to push her that far very often. She's quite comfortable with 2'6", so that's what we practice with the majority of the time.

So, May is here, the hunter paces are beginning......only three months to go to get fit for foxhunting.....and we're jumping again!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sewing Project

Over the years, I have owned dozens of saddles, dozens. None of which, really worked for Daatje. She was always tight and defensive in her back and when the demands increased (foxhunting, long hours in the saddle) her back, and her attitude, showed signs of soreness.

I've been riding her dressage in a treeless saddle for a few years now. I have an Ansur Carlton that she goes fabulously in, never an issue with her back under this saddle. My problems have been with my jumping saddles. They are the ones that she spends the most time under and they are the ones that don't fit her unusual carriage horse shape!

I had looked into buying an Ansur Konklusion, but man are they pricey! So I shopped around and settled on the Sensation G4 Jump made by Nickers Saddlery in Canada. I chose the Sensation for it's nice shape, comfortable construction, hard use leathers (better weight distribution) and competitive price. (I paid $1,300 for it brand spanky new)

For those of you less familiar with the pros and cons of treeless saddles, the absence of a tree is both a blessing and a curse. It's a blessing for horses built like Daatje, where off the rack tree shapes and widths pinch and bridge and just don't wrap around her big, robust shoulders very well. It's a curse because now you've taken away the weight distributing properties of the tree.

Enter the special companion pad. Skito makes them, Grandeur makes them......Haf makes them....all for a very pretty penny and not quite configured how I wanted it..... I made one.....well, another one.... :)

I had made one for my Ansur, and silly me thought it would work for the Sensation too. Yeah, not quite. :) Size and shape differ greatly between the Carlton and the G4 Jump!

I gathered the materials to make inter pad #2 and went to work. I used my Mom's antique treddle sewing machine (I love that thing!), nylon thread, 1680 Cordura Nylon, Lexan inserts (contoured and shaped), open cell polyurethane slow recovery memory foam and a bit of velcro to create my own weight distributing treeless interpad with spinal clearance.

Pieces cut out

Keeper straps sewn on. I use thick shoe laces to tie the pad to the D-rings on the saddle, front and back. This keeps the pad from shifting out from under the saddle.

Pockets for the Lexan inserts

Closer view of the Lexan pocket

Two halves pinned and ready to stitch

Stitched, clipped corners, turned right side out and put foam in to test fit.

Finished front edge

Next I stitched around the edges

Two halves connected

Finally, 8 hours later, the pad is complete.

Folded in half

Nicely fits under the Sensation G4 Jump.

Top view

Back view.

Now, I can finally begin to break in the Sensation. I've only ridden in it once, because I didn't have the proper pad to put under it. Of course, tomorrow is Monday and I'll be at work.....and the forecast for May isn't looking so's hoping for good weather so I can ride!!!