Thursday, June 20, 2013

20th June, 2013 Dressing Up Games - Day Two IOW

On our first ride out, Jo and I only intended to go for about an hour since she hasn't ridden for a year or so. We went up St. Catherine's Down and across to the Hoy Tower which is dedicated to the allied forces that fought at Sebastapol (rather than our Olympic cyclist!). The views from up there are absolutely glorious.  In the event the ride took three hours as we had to retrace our steps because there was a big Hereford Bull on one of the bridle-paths. Ordinarily these are a quiet breed of cattle but he seemed to be in a particularly bad mood and was charging around at the cows and calves. This meant we had to brave a section of road again where there seemed to be a regular parade of big buses and tractors. These vehicles rarely slow down and with steep hedgerows either side, there is nowhere to go. We breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the Down again.

Dillon could have been forgiven for thinking he was in Mr Ben's costume shop in the afternoon as we had saddles out of every size and shape to see which he and Debbie might prefer. He has been running backwards and threatening to rear when she attempts to mount him and I think he has been clearly signalling that the saddle just isn't right. This afternoon he stood so quietly while we tried on the Torsion first and then the Western saddle. I used clicker training to reward him for standing still,  and he allowed Debbie to get on his back without a murmur. This meant that we could give each saddle a good trial. Although he seemed fine in the Torsion he moved even better in the Western. The disadvantage with both of these saddles is that it is difficult or impossible to do the girth up tighter once you are on board but it is easier to get the Western girthed up properly before getting on. The Torsion is inclined to slip unless really overtightened or going through the rigmarole of finding a good anti-slip numnah. For older established horses it's probably okay not to have the girth done up quite so securely because they are more balanced. Another two saddles to try on tomorrow...