December 27, 2012

Missing My Pony

I haven't been to the barn much lately.  Well actually I've gone most days for 30 minutes or so, enough to love on Dani, clear her feet if there have been snow balls (only twice since I last wrote) and untangle her mane/tail. 

There has been a lot going on with the family and lots to do!  Cierra leaves on Saturday around the same time as the family gathering at my parents.  So we will all be up there for that, I'll swing by Dani's home on the way to my parents to check on her.  We've gone dog sledding and then Christmas Eve and Day were busy doing family stuff.

Each holiday morning I escaped to the barn for a short time to see Dani, about an hour round trip driving from the house, not bad but when you are limited on time it makes it tough.  I didn't get to spend enough time to ride or work with her and I don't want to feel rushed when I'm out there, no deadlines or return times please. 

So it's just been quick hellos.  I love her so much!  Each time I see her she makes me happy!

Her leg is doing fine and all the meds she needed were taken, quite well for tasting so ucky.  She hasn't shown much issue with the leg either and I don't feel any swelling in the area.

This is a quick post since there is not much to write about, so I will leave you with these pictures above and below to content yourselves until I can get out and ride and then write!

And a couple horse related presents for Dani and me.  First Aid book and a Bit basics training kit by Julie Goodnight!

December 23, 2012

Serene Sunday

Snug as a bug in a rug...I mean horse in a rug.

Sleepy, sleepy....

Wish she could curl up like this on the couch with Steve, the dogs and me!!

Stay warm!!

December 20, 2012

I'm Wrapping Her in Bubble Wrap!

It was a cold and blustery night...isn't that how it always starts? All day it had been blowing snow from the lovely storm Draco.  Yes now we name winter storms in the USA.  Apparently we are behind the game since Europe has been doing this forever.  Anyways, I wanted to check on Dani for hoof snowballs and to refill her supplement containers.  I have a week supply that I premix for the stable.  It's just a handful of the Purina Senior and a scoop of SmartPaks EZ Keeper Vitamins and Minerals.  Once a month she gets the 7 day purge with Sand Clear, I already did that this month and will have to film it since she makes a face like she’s eating peanut butter!  LOL.

Barn aisle had snow blown in from the wind

Nice ice free water, so far as I've noticed Dani is a good drinker!

Anyways WD-40 didn’t work as good as I had hoped it would.  There were still balls of snow compacted on her feet but when we are talking blizzard conditions and extremely cold temperatures I don’t know how avoidable the snowballs really are.  I started working away at them with the hoof pick.  Then I found a hammer as I read that you can use that to breakaway the ice.  It worked pretty easily and I had to reassure myself that farriers use hammers on hooves, I wasn't going to crack the horn!  I may need to purchase a little one to keep at the stable.  I finished her front feet first since they were the worst.

Snow pony

On flat hard ground this looks so extreme, in dirt and snow I'm
sure it's not as dramatic but still, Poor Pony!

I think the issue has been that I don’t get all the ice off when I WD-40, there are still remnants left. I wonder if a hair dryer would help melt it all away. I could get a cheap one and then get her used to the sound….ideas, ideas.

When I went back to her off side hind leg I noticed some blood on her white sock...OH NO! She lifted her leg up oddly and I felt around her ankle. No ouchie on her fetlock but above, on her inner thigh there were a couple wounds. What in the world????

Dangling from the back of her blanket was the butt strap bungee. It had broken apart at one of the snaps. The only thing I can imagine was that it got caught on something and when Dani pulled to get free it became very taunt. With it being a stretchy material it had quite the impact once it broke free. I’ve contacted Rambo to let them know, I might get a free replacement; it’s only $10 to replace the strap though. I’m just not sure I want the bungee again, it compounds an impact.  I'd prefer a more easily broken strap that has less of a chance injury my horse. The outer PVC covering was nice for cleaning it off but I can do that on any strap, hardware stores have lots of tubing that I could concoct something.

Uge. I cleaned her up with some wipes but was worried about doing too much cleaning and getting her wet. Frozen anything onto her skin would be a bad idea I thought with this weather and wind chill. I left a message for the vet to come the next day since I’m so new to this horse ownership thing I don’t want to take any chances. She was walking fine at least, didn't seem to be really bothered by her ouchie. I brought her into the indoor to walk her around and help to thaw the last bits of snow off her hooves. Then I WD-40’d her hooves again.

The vet came today, looked Dani over and said it was a puncture wound, he has her on Bute and antibiotics for the next 3 days to prevent infection and keep her moving around the pasture. He said keeping her stall bound would make the wound swell more. So Dani is out to pasture with an icky antibiotic taste in her mouth and I have the icky taste of yet another unexpected bill. I still haven’t been able to rebuild my savings!!
My poor little mare! She seriously needs heated boots and to be wrapped in bubble wrap! Or maybe a horse sized exercise ball?

December 18, 2012

First Ride!!! Yippee!!

I went out to the barn on Sunday with the intent to ride a little.  I gave up with having Steve be there with me for the first ride.  I groomed Dani as usual and then grabbed the saddle.  I only tightened the girth one hole since she has issues, then I went back and did it again, then again.  The bridling was pretty easy though I entirely missed her mouth and had the headstall on with the bit dangling.  I redid that, Dani was very cooperative and properly chuckling at me about the whole ordeal.  The cob size bridle fit her nicely, only issue I had was the throat latch was tighter than I would like and it was on the last hole.  I'll be getting a new bridle in the next year, month actually.

When I went to the indoor I started out with lunging Dani at a walk and a little bit of trot.  She wasn't too sure of what I was asking but we communicated eventually to each other and she did quite well.  The round pen is snowy now so I don't know when I can get to that groundwork.  I tightened the girth one more time and then set to mount up, Dani backed up a little.  I said whoa and then tried again though this time with the weight in the stirrup the saddle went around her side.  UGE!

I tried to loosened the girth; one thing I have about Wintec is that fake leather is more stiff and difficult to maneuver than real leather.  The billets were stiff, I eventually go the girth undone and repositioned the saddle.  Then I tightened it again, counting holes and made sure to get it one hole higher. 

I figured the mounting block would be a good idea.  The Fjord lady had her horses trained to "park" at the mounting block but I knew I couldn't get Dani to do that so I led her close then repositioned it.  When I stepped up Dani sort of eyeballed me and backed up a little.  She did it a couple times again but then stayed and I swung over.  I was on my horse!!!

We just did walking around the area, I didn't try to stick to the edge since even though she was fine with me walking with her and kicking the dirt at the edge I didn't want to chance any issue with our first ride.  We did circles, Dani moved easily off my seat with assistance with the reins.  Honestly I relied more on them because of nerves but it's something I can work on for the next ride.  It's been two months since I last rode.

The last time I rode Dani was when Laurie evaluated her.  The last time I rode any horse was during a "clinic" that Laurie conducted with two other riders at her place.  We did a riding portion of it where we all took turns doing simple exercises on Divine.  At first when going to the clinic I was afraid of riding Divine because the last ride was when I ended up on the ground and the wind knocked out of me but the environment was so supportive that I gained confidence and had a great time.

Anyways I digress.  Two other riders were in the arena with me, they were walking, trotting and cantering around and for the most part Dani was good about that.  One time she wanted to trot off with the other horse but I turned her sharply into a circle and slowed her.  I'm not ready to trot on her yet I need to gain more confidence with her.  Like I've said I'm taking things one step at a time, I have a lot of groundwork to do and then plenty of under saddle work...all of which needs to see success at the walk first.

I ended up doing serpentines, pretty sloppy serpentines but the change of direction helped me and I think helped her.  Dani glanced at the mirrors a few times but I just redirected her like there was nothing to fear, well there wasn't, and she did fine.  I do have to say it was nice to see me on my pretty mare in the mirror!

At one end of the arena are windows that point towards the pastures.  While passing by the windows horses galloped past, mare feeding time, and Dani spooked slightly.  It was just a start and I talked to her and encouraged her to keep moving, I had her change directions a few times too.  She neighed to her friends but I had her keep on going.

We have to work on the mounting.  She needs to be a statue when I mount, certainly a shift in weight is fine to set up her balance but no moving off, backwards or swinging her butt away.  I spent the last 15 minutes in the arena at the mounting block.  Anytime she swung away or backed up I quickly backed her up or made her move her hindquarters away.  Eventually she realized that standing at the mounting block and having me stand above her was okay and much more relaxing than having me back her up or move her hindquarters.  I made sure to end on a good note and scratch her chest while standing on the block.  End of session.

I want so badly to get over the first hump of the Clinton Anderson exercises.  The first requires a round pen, which I have but now with snow I'm not sure if I can safely use it.  I'll try to find some time to set up the jumps and see if that might work to make a pseudo round pen in the arena.  The key is finding time and with the next two weekends taken up with family affairs I don't see it happening anytime soon.  Anyone else hear a New Year's Resolution in the making??

All in all the first ride was a success!  The saddle was comfortable for me and seemed to be for her. There are issues to work on since she wasn't ridden too much at her old home and has plenty of holes in her training but her personality makes this mare a great first horse.  I can learn things with her, make mistakes and she's forgiving.  She's also very willing and catches on pretty quickly.  We haven't been majorly challenged yet but I'm fine with that, one step at a time and regaining confidence tiny bit, by tiny bit....

December 16, 2012

Serene Sunday


December 15, 2012

My New Ride...

Steve has needed a vehicle for months.  He's been traveling a lot so it's not been an issue.  We finally went out to look at this one truck, way under Kelley Blue Book.  It was awesome!  Had everything we were looking for and then a tow package already installed. 
Now all I need to do is save up for the horse trailer!  Then I will be free to trailer Dani anywhere for rides!

December 13, 2012

The Snowball Effect

With the first snow comes issues that I've only heard about when it comes to horses and winter.  The days are short and dark, my energy level is low and I feel unmotivated to start much of anything.  The barn schedule is still clashing with my visits, I can't seem to avoid feeding time and the frenzy of the mare paddock.  The last couple of days Dani has had snowballs on her hoof sole.  She's barefoot so I wasn't expecting this!  Her layered blanket has come in handy, I put the extra layer under the outer one and am confident she will be nice and warm in the night.

The snowballing is worse on her front hooves.  The first day Steve was with me so he hacked away at the ice and my mare went from 15.1 back to her regular 14.3.  LOL just kidding.  I worry about her pulling a tendon with the wobbly snow pack under her feet but I can only come out once a day.  While in the snowy field I don't think it's a huge issue but inside and on flatter ground I'm sure she doesn't like the feeling.  I only had hoof oil with me so I globbed that onto her hooves in the hopes that it would prevent the snowballs or make them fall out easily.
Picture not my own but alas, when I went to get a photo of the
snowball on her hooves they didn't exist!!!

That night I did research on this issue.  For shoed horses they have pads that are placed between the horseshoe and sole that have a little pop out that will push snow out and prevent the packing.  I don't want to shoe her, have no desire at this point unless I find she needs it in the future.  I search high and low and found everything from Crisco, to PAM, melted mothballs packed into the sole and frog and then Musher Secret (a waxy substance used for mush dogs to prevent snowballs).  It's pricey and there is no local dealer.

The next day she had even more snow compacted into her hooves, still worse on the front but the back hooves were built up too.   It took forever to get the ice out of her hooves, apparently the hoof oil did not help.  I sent and email to my farrier and received a very prompt reply.  WD-40.  Hmm.  That could work!  I have to clean out the feet really well with a pick and a wire brush and then coat the sole and frog with WD-40.  I'll cross my fingers that this works since then I can just use this when it's going to snow and make sure that the snowballs don't have a chance!

I put the WD-40 on this evening, Wednesday 12/12/12.  It felt weird spraying my horses sole with WD-40 but my farrier said....  Today there was no snow compacted into her feet.  It may have gotten too warm to compact the snow and keep it in her hooves.  But I will keep you all posted as to how this farrier prescribed remedy works.  On a warmer day I intend to wash her feet well and then apply the good hoof oil so her feet don't dry out form the water repellent-ness of WD-40.  I'd love to hear of others remedies, surprised this occurs in unshod horses as well!  I just have to say though, Dani is so tolerant of having her hoof held for a REALLY long time!  What a good girl!!

December 12, 2012

Time Constraints and Nerves

I’ve had my mare for two months now and have not been on her back since I first gave her a trial and rode her during Laurie’s evaluation.  Yes, I finally have a saddle, purchased a little over two weeks ago and yet I have done no more then set the saddle on her, cinch it up and check its fit.  I will admit I am nervous about riding her for sure.  Before purchasing her I had three falls that scared me to death.  There are a lot of other factors recently that have prevented me from going out to the stable much and of course I haven’t had a good slot of time that has enabled me to ride. 

The week after I purchased the saddle I went out to check on how it fit and realized that I needed a longer girth.  So I spent one evening after work going to Dover to get the right girth.  That was pretty much my whole evening so I was only able to drop off the new girth and pet Dani in the field.  The next day I tried on the girth.  Then I got the bridle and found it way too big with no way to make it smaller.  I had to go home to switch out for my cob sized bridle.  That evening I spent time adjusting and walking Dani around with the saddle on to check the fit. 

The weekend of December 1st I had some obligations with my husband; we looked at a truck (we’ve been in need of a second vehicle since June when Steve’s car died).  Luckily with Steve traveling he never really needed a car but we’ve borrowed my parents extra car for times he was home and I had gotten to the point that I felt we’d over used the privilege.  I wanted to get the spare car back to my parents.  We found a great truck, under the Kelley Blue Book and then the next couple evenings during the following week I worked with the bank to get the loan.  Then I had a weird head thing, my hearing was off and I was a bit dizzy.  No help from the doctors either.  I certainly was not going to ride like that!

This past Saturday we finally purchased the truck and dropped it at the mechanics to get some items taken care of, we also had our Christmas party so between all of that I had no time to even see Dani, let alone ride her.  Lately I’ve just had a ton of errands to run with getting ready for the holidays and getting ready to have house guests again.

Yesterday I had to run a ton of errands and was only able to see Dani to take care of her hooves and put on a warmer blanket due to the snow.  Today I will see her for a decent amount of time but tomorrow, Steve’s work party is going on and then Thursday we have to run the car back up to my parents who live an hour away.  Steve’s parents will be coming in sometime the end of this week but they are not needy so I know I can get away after work and weekend mornings to see Dani.  Steve’s daughter will be in from the 22nd until nearly the end of the year, I won’t have much time while she’s here to spend quality time with Dani since I want to spend quality time with Steve’s daughter!

It’s unending but I guess that’s this time of the year.  I know Dani is doing fine; I am dying to have a consistent schedule to see her, do the Clinton Anderson stuff and actually ride my beautiful Morgan.  I don’t feel that the lack of training or riding the past month is really going to affect her adversely.  Though it is making me wonder if it would be a good idea to do a partial lease on her for someone who could ride her during the week, during the day.  Hmm….not sure how I feel about that thought.

December 09, 2012

December 03, 2012

Random Happenings

Yesterday when I went out to see Dani wanted to try the bridle I have.  While I was starting to unbuckled the straps of Dani's blanket (not sure why it was still on her but at least she wasn't sweaty) I heard the clip clop of hooves go down the aisle.  It was a lone palomino horse, sans handler.  He'd been eating food in a bucket, untied in the other wash rack making Dani sort of start at seeing him as we passed by.  Apparently he's the owners horse, one of many, and he is usually just released into the stable to go to the stable number 19 to eat his food but when Floro works he feeds him in the wash rack.  I didn't know this at the time to grabbed a lead rope and walked up to him.  He turned to me so I could loop the rope around him.  As I was walking back to the wash rack I saw Floro and he laughed saying he was trying to get to his stall, Floro speaks English alright but sometimes I have a little trouble understanding him.  I released the big boy back to his paddock since he was done with his food.  Cute pony!
I can never get Dani clean enough, running a moist cloth over her helps get the fine dust that seems to constantly stick to her hairs but as soon as she shakes her body or you pat her there is a big cloud of dust.  I fed her a few treats, but to avoid the issue with her mouthing my pockets and hands I have this little bucket in which to place her treats.

Of course I had to use stencils again and do the cute little designs along with her name.  I may be in my 30's but this is my first my little pony!  LOL. 
Floro, the groom came by and gave Dani a little handful of treats.  He asked if she needed grain, I told him perhaps a vitamin supplement eventually.  Right now I'm researching what may benefit her, Sand Clear once a month for sure but I want to make sure that she gets all the vitamins she needs since right now all she gets is grass hay or pasture.  She doesn't need much food and when I poked her in the stomach stating that to Floro he laughed.  He's nice, I just have trouble understanding him sometimes and feel bad about that.

I tried out the bridle, Dani was perfect about taking the bit and when I went to adjust the bridle I realized that the headstall is too big, the bit hung pretty low in her mouth. I have to swap out this one with my cob sized one, though I have a new bridle on my "to buy list". This mare cracks me up. She has a more delicate head and a rotund's been a process trying to figure out tack sizes for her.
In other news I have a hat.  I decided I needed a hat.  Even when my hair is in a pony tail little wisps of hair come out and tickle me, I needed to put a stop to this!! So I found a crushable western hat, it has a lanyard and a fold up ear cover for cooler temps.  I love it and where low pig tails underneath.  I feel cute and my hubby likes it too.  Dani doesn't seem to care either way.  Although I received a couple compliments at the barn, one from Phebe and one from Liz, the owners of the place.

Dani's leg is looking good and her little bald spot on her rump is filling in with hair again!  The last couple of times I went out to see Dani I worked a little more intensely on leading, haven't started the Clinton Anderson because I need to make sure I have plenty of time with no "appointments" later.  The last session we had she really responded well.  I don't know if it was because I'd re-watched the Julie Goodnight show on leading and knew better what to do or because I put on the rope halter but she listened a little better and turned away from me better.  She's been in people's space for who knows how long so it will take some time until she's perfect but each day I feel she's gotten better.

I lead her over a set of matts near a trailer in the parking lot.  At first she skirted around them, they must have looked like a black hole to her.  Repetition is the word of the day, after a couple mini sessions she had no issue with it really.  I love leading her around and having her see something new that we can play with.  One day it was that flag, the other day it was the matts...there is always something new and interesting that your horse can be exposed to.

The last time I was out at the barn someone fell, everyone here wears helmets but there are other areas to injure.  The fall was pretty serious since a fire engine and then an ambulance showed up.  Apparently her horse spooked and bucked, you can never predict that.  So scary.  I didn't see it happen but was out leading Dani as the trucks arrived.  I didn't want to stand around and watch, they don't need on-lookers so I worked Dani far away from the outdoor arena.  Hopefully she'll be okay.  One gal said she was in a lot of pain and couldn't feel her legs so she couldn't get up.  Hopefully that's just the shock of concussion on her body and she didn't do major damage.

It still makes you think.  Anything can happen around horses.  It's better to be as safe as possible.  Wear a helmet at the very least.  I see a lot of the jumpers here wearing that padded vest too.  Very smart!  Granted we can't wrap our bodies in bubble wrap so other injuries can happen.  I will hopefully hear more on the gal next time I'm out at the barn.  Stay safe everyone!

December 02, 2012

Serene Sunday

Maybe NOT so serene...

November 29, 2012

Scheduling and Sunset Times

The time change has put a damper in my ventures out to the barn.  It gets dark MUCH faster now.  My hubby and I went out one night when I first got my saddle.  It was 7pm so I knew it would be dark and I wanted to see how it would be to get Dani in from the field.  We had treats and a flashlight and it took forever to locate the horses.  Then it was a little scary with the horses being nearby and not sure where they were as I was trying to lead Dani to the barn.  I really don't know if I want to go all the way into the field alone in the dark to get my horse.

This is how dark it is already at 5:30pm

Honestly I've had some issues with scheduling before the darkness descended.  I get off work at 4pm and can get to the barn at the earliest at 4:30pm.  Of course that is the time that all the horses are fed, horses are very much like piranhas when it comes to feeding time!  I really think it would make more sense for each paddock to have their hay piles thrown out to the horses and then bring in each horse that receives grain.  Instead the few times I've seen the feedings the horses are brought in one at a time to get their grain and then the hay is placed out for the rest.  If they all have hay to distract them there wouldn't be the fighting that I've seen.  One horse kicked up so high and as one gal was walking out to the gate.  The gate blocked her from being kicked in the face, it was freaky!!!
I don't like being in the paddock trying to release or catch Dani during feeding time.  The horses mob me and no amount of flinging your arms seems to keep them at bay for very long.  I've only seen the feeding time routine a few times and don't know what way would be better to keep the horses calmer.
So going out right after work doesn't work really well for me because of two reasons, three actually.  One, Dani is just getting fed and I don't want to be the person that is always taking her away from food and then putting her to work (though I haven't done much "work" with her lately).  Two, my hubby travels now for work so I don't have the luxury of him being home from 2pm on and taking the dogs out to the bathroom etc.  Three, most lessons that instructors are conducting are around this time.  The barn calms down around 6pm it seems.  I'm going to try a schedule the next couple of weeks and see how it works.
I'll go home at 4pm to let the dogs out, eat something myself and then try and get to the barn around 5:30pm.  That will give Dani time to eat and secondly means she'll still be relatively close to the barn, where the paddock light reaches, so I don't have to go out all the way to the end of the 10 acre paddock in the dark to retrieve her.  As you can see below I also have to get my workout schedule figured, I've gained a few pounds....ones I lost before.  Uge.  Unending battle!
8am Work Dani
Work Out
Work Out
Work Out
Work Out
Work Out
8am Work Dani
4pm Go from work to Gym
4pm go home, let dogs out, quick eat
4pm Go from work to gym-Yoga
4pm Go home, let dogs out, quick eat
4pm Go home, let dogs out, quick eat
1pm Work Dani
6pm Leave for home to eat
5pm Leave for Barn
6pm Leave for home to eat
5pm Leave for Barn
5pm Leave for Barn
1pm Work Dani
5:30-8ish Work with Dani
5:30-8ish Work with Dani
5:30-8ish Work with Dani

This weekend I want to start the first exercise from Clinton Anderson's Fundamentals. It's round penning without the halter or lead. The round pen is outside so at least my first two lessons with her will be during the day as I become accustomed to the process. The round pen has a stand in the middle of it since someone trains her horse to step up on it. It's in the way but heavy to move. Hopefully I can get it moved for Saturday and then Sunday, it's a safety issue for me; I don't want to be tripping over something since I have to walk backwards and move quickly during the exercise. Then during the week, since it's pitch black at night and where the round pen is, I will see if I can move some jumps into the indoor arena and make my own "round pen" on one end each time I work with Dani. Hopefully having two lessons under her belt will make the transition easier for both of us. Now I'm realizing why I wanted to buy a horse in the spring originally!! Nice full summer to spend with them!

Clinton says that generally about 4 lessons with round penning tends to suffice. After that it will be with the halter and lead so I can use the arenas as they are. We'll have to see how it goes I don't think it should be an issue since I put things back where I found them and also avoid getting in peoples way. Just a simple "hey can I set up the jumps on this end of the arena in a weird way" asked of those using the arena should be fine. Most times like I said lessons are done by 6pm and if someone is in the indoor they are circling at one end or the other.

I guess that covers my recent frustration. Having family over and taking care of other responsibilities has put a reduced time on my schedule for seeing Dani too. Even if, like my in laws, the guests are laid back and not worried if I spend time with my horse I still feel like I need to come home sooner. They'll be back in a couple of weeks but I don't really want to adjust my schedule until Dec. 20th when Steve's daughter will be in town. Again it will be a little less time I spend with Dani around Christmas but I DO want to spend time with my guests, I really don't see how people that have kids have ANY time with their horses! I can't wait until Steve and I can sell the house and buy property but that won't be for a few years. I love my house and the changes we are slowly making to it but I want my mini farm too!
I also want to get back into lessons, perhaps twice a month. I'd love to have Laurie come out to me so we can work on Dani and I but I just need to find out what the additional charge for driving out to me will be. She lives about 45 minutes to 1 hour away from my barn. My budget is tight now with a horse, I knew that going in, and also knew lesson taking would be reduced. I just love working with her and just the little interaction with Dani she's had I've learned new techniques to work with Dani myself. We'll see what happens, perhaps other students at the stable would want to take lessons with Laurie or Uschi might want to come here instead since it's closer to her and then we all can split the cost of the travel fee. I just need to see what I can afford and now that it's almost December I don't have the cash flow with needing to buy gifts and get ready for parties.....oh my goodness this time of year is crazy!

November 28, 2012

Does This Saddle Make Me Look Fat??

So what was in the other bags??  Aside from the girth, stirrups and stirrup "leathers",The Easy Change Gullet System....

...and the Easy Change Riser System were hiding in the bag!  These came with the saddle, a $200 value but they are doing a promotion right now.  Guess what gullet width Dani needed.  Yeah, the White one which is extra wide.

I had trouble getting the saddle to sit centered on Dani, the cold makes fake leather much stiffer than regular leather so it was harder to tighten the girth and it kept pulling the saddle around.  Originally I had another girth but had to bring that back and get a longer one.  She really doesn't like having the girth tightened, she moves forward and stomps her back foot.  We'll see if I can do something about that.  I only did one hole at a time and rested between tightening...I'll just have to keep doing that until she realizes I won't crank it down.

The saddle fit nicely on her, it didn't look like there was any area with pinching that I could see.  I'm glad this gullet worked otherwise I would have had to buy the WIDE saddle for $200 more!  I felt underneath all the areas and lifted the flaps.  It looked good.  I couldn't really assess since I don't have anyone that can sit in the saddle, hubbie's in North Carolina for the week.

You can see that the channel was nice and clear, no pressing on the spine.  Also there was no bridging either, the saddle touched her back the whole way along.  Nice clearance over her withers as well!

So here's the saddle from the side.  Not sure if I need to add any of those risers to make the saddle sit evenly for a stable seat.  I think it looks okay, what do you all think?

Here's another side picture.  Look at that pony gut!  Now that she's healed from her leg injury hopefully I can get out enough to get her doing some work and lose some of that weight!