The lack of blogging in May was not due to a lack of things going on, but an excess of things going on and a general feeling of anxiety and being overwhelmed. I have no idea what actually got written and what got drafted and what stayed in my head, so here's a recap.
I rode a lot in the dressage saddle. It worked really well for me, I'm fairly happy with my position, and it keeps my knee happy. It's not my intention to end up riding lots of miles in this saddle, but..
I rode a few times in the Eurolight. It makes my knee unhappy. (Admittedly, my knee is flared up right now anyway, and I don't believe the Eurolight causes issues when the knee is fine.) The bigger problem is that it is absolutely not balanced for me, I am tipped forward, and I'm fighting the saddle constantly to be neutral. Biggest potential problem: the two rides I did in the Eurolight most recently were also rides in which Fetti was excruciatingly slow and lazy. Coincidence? Maybe. I'm not sure.
I would like to get one particular saddle fitter out that has experience with Specialized and also sells used saddles. They have not yet contacted me back. My hands are pretty well tied on this one and I'm not willing to compromise on who I have out, for varying reasons. (If you're local, I can explain more via email.) Right now, this is a waiting game.
In an act of either insanity or brilliance, I purchased a Kincade crupper from Adams Horse Supplies - they were the lowest price with the fastest (USPS) shipping. Given the previous two points, I needed a near-immediate fix. It's not that I needed a new crupper, and it's not that I wanted a leather crupper.. but this is the only crupper I've found that comes with a metal T attachment. So yes, I paid something like $30 for a small piece of metal and intend to be rid of the actual leather crupper.
There are leather T attachments. I have one. It bent, pulled out, and ripped some of the stitching at the back panel of the dressage saddle. At this point, I want the crupper to break rather than the attachments. I understand that Fetti and I are harder on cruppers than just about any other horse I've heard of. I don't actually have a great understanding for why that is, although I suspect it has to do with how she's built combined with how she moves down hills. So, for now, metal T attachment is the answer.
At Mount Diablo, we struggled with walking politely when other horses passed us. Well, no - we failed spectacularly at that. I promised to contact trainers. Several weeks later, one local trainer finally managed to fit us in her schedule. It was a nice walking lesson in which we established that I have a solid one-rein stop at the walk. One of the reasons I had chosen to try this trainer was that she had her own horses that she/I could take out with Fetti; we also established at this lesson that her horses trot at about 4mph, perhaps 5mph top speed. Long-time readers may recall that Fetti is a good, solid horse at the walk 95% of the time, and if everyone involved is low energy, I would even go so far as to say she's a good, solid horse at the walk 99% of the time. We ended the trail lesson with me losing a battle about (leaving the group) going away from home. The problem was not the group, the problem was the going away from home. Trainer was thrilled with how it went. I was not.
We are not doing more lessons with that trainer. Training rides are tabled for right now.
Unlike training rides, still on the table. Scheduling has been challenging. I spent most of the month waiting to deal with the previous five issues (you'll note only one of which is actually resolved by now). Favorite trainer has been exceptionally busy with her life too, so we'll ride with her as soon as she's available, but local-dressage trainer is on my list of folks to get in touch with this month for at least one lesson.
My current plan involves hill sets 1-2x/week (thanks Saiph!) and arena conditioning sets 1-2x/week loosely based off this blog post I found. Plus trail rides with friends - which can be done the same day as arena conditioning for sure, and likely even the same day as hill sets if time allows.
Once or twice in June I'd like to get a 12-20 mile ride in, preferably on the Fireworks trails. Bonus if we can do it at reasonable speed, too.
- try again to contact saddle fitting folks
- hill sets 1-2x/week
- arena conditioning sets 1-2x/week
- dressage lesson