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[RC] Random thoughts on recent subject threads - sharon1359

Some of the recent topics have got me thinking, and I'm the think-out-loud type,
so I decided to write to the group to see if anyone has any comments.

I've had Zephyr since May of 2000.  He is a 14.2h Arab / Rocky Mtn. Horse,
short-backed for his height, who weighs around 850#.  He has a nice fast
dogwalk and flatwalk, a slow foxtrot, a fast-tempo working trot, a great big
slower-tempo extended trot (that he didn't do under saddle much for the first
two years), and a wonderful rocking-chair canter.  He has recently started
developing a slow trot / jog.

He's started really getting into the groove these days.  Last summer I finally
got him a saddle he likes (Marciante), and shoes that he loves (Ground
Control).  Plus, when I got him he was green so his balance under saddle was
fairly poor, but the miles we've put on together have really helped that.

The combination of those three things has allowed him to finally give me that
big trot I always drool over when he's loose in the field.  In fact, my riding
buddy tells me that in addition to the 12-15" overstride I already knew about,
he actually does lower his hips a bit, raise his shoulders, and "travel a
little bit wide behind".  Very very cool.  That trot tops out at only about 13
mph but then again he DOES have shorter legs than taller horses do.

Stirrup length: There is a certain length that is comfortable for walk, foxtrot,
working trot, and canter.  But I've recently discovered that when he does that
big trot, I have to set my stirrups one hole shorter so that when I post
upwards I can stay in the air long enough to give him time to take the next
stride.  If I lengthen the stirrups back down that one hole, I end up standing
on my tippie-toes and I *still* come back down too soon and bounce hard on the

Side-note: Has anyone else noticed that one diagonal is infinitely easier to
post to than the other?  For me, when riding the Big Trot, the left diagonal is
much easier... I really have to work hard when he's on the right diagonal, and
I feel like a chicken with her wings flapping in the wind.

Loin rubbing: When I first got the Marciante last summer, I got a 1" Skito pad
because I didn't know for absolutely certain how well the saddle fit (I bought
it used).  Last fall I had a saddle fitter check over the saddle/pad/horse
combination, and she said the fit was great.  However, I've recently noticed
that the hair over his loins is breaking off.  It didn't start until a few
weeks ago, maybe a month at the most.  All winter he's had ruffled hairs there
but I'd just assumed it was due to the extra length of the hair.  But when I
saw the actual hair *breakage*, I realized that he has gained flesh along his
topline in the last few months, and thought maybe now the 1" Skito pad was too
thick.  However, NOW I'm hearing from Ridecampers that a large number of folks
have this problem in the winter/spring even with saddles & pads that fit great.
I still think I can get away with thinner foam in my Skito (because he truly
has filled out in his topline) but now I'm less worried about a real saddle fit
issue.  I'll still have it checked out ASAP, but after checking it over without
a pad last night, it looks good to me, so I'm going to relax just a bit.

There, nothing like a little Thinking Out Loud In Public to get your mind off
the project the boss wants finished in 2 hours.  :p

Have a great day y'all,
-Sharon Kenney & Zephyr's Elegant Gift
In my experience (22 year worth) most endurance riders are great people who
will go out their way to help and be friendly.
~  Laura Hayes

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