The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Humans and Horses

My college-student-who-likes-horses daughter has been wanting to ride Rose. Today we girded our loins, fetched Rose and George out of the pasture and set about tacking up.

As my youngest daughter was only planning to lead George on the walk, we put the Wintec Endurance Cair Panel saddle on Rose. It has a good feature:

namely you can adjust this strap so that the
girth can fall more to the back or front.
Rose has a large barrel, and if the girth hangs straight, it slides too far forward behind her elbows, and pulls the saddle down onto her withers and elevates the cantle. But by setting the girth to fall further back, it evens up the downward pressure on the saddle.

End of ride, so the pad has slid back, but you
can see how the girth is farther back.
We also tried out the new bitless bridle on Rose. It was a bit big, and we didn't bother to make new holes yet, but it worked out pretty well.

This is Rose discovering the neighbour's sheep. She looks way less alarmed
than either Bridget or George when they first saw the woolly peril.
Rose was a little tense starting out on our ride, what with leaving Bridget and Chloe behind, and so my daughter started out leading her. After a short while, she decided to mount up. One thing about Rose is that she never has any objection to someone climbing on her back, and today was no exception. Once my daughter was on board in fact, Rose visibly relaxed. I wonder if it was in some way comforting. We continued down the road, with George leading at first.

In the field it's Rose who leads, however, and pretty soon she made it clear that she wanted to go in front. She was full of forward motion but stayed loose and stretched out until we reached the sheep.  At that point, she got a little tight again. This was also the spot where there was an option to go down a lane to the right, and Rose was certain she wanted to head in this new direction. Our neighbour down the lane has horses, and as we approached, Rose got more and more tense. George, in the meantime, stayed lop-eared and calm. No worries for him - Mom was leading the way. Rose and the other horses whinnied to each other, and after a few exchanges, it seemed like a good time to suggest turning toward home.

Rose became progressively more relaxed the closer we got to home. By the time we reached our fence she was really stepping out and stretching, and her eye was calm and happy. As we walked up the drive, Rose gave Bridget (who was on the other side of the fence) the evil eye, which is what she does when she's getting attention and wants Miss Bridget to go away.

With the horses reunited in the field, we stayed to schmooze for a while. Rose must have felt that our expedition had given us a new connection, as she crept up to say hello to me - something she rarely does.

I dunno - I kind of all felt we were all one happy family.


  1. Lovely! Rose looks really confident and it's so interesting to see the change in George. What type of bitless bridle is that, is it a sidepull?

  2. I'm not sure what you'd call it. It's an EquiRoyal "Hackamore Jump Bridle". http://www.amazon.com/EquiRoyal-Hackamore-Jump-Bridle-Brown/dp/B002KS0Z82
    All the pressure is on the nose or, I guess yeah, sideways. There's no poll pressure or under the jaw pressure. I suppose it's a bit crude, but at least it probably won't make the horse feel trapped.
    It only comes in "full" size - which is slightly too big for all our horses' heads unless you make extra holes. There's a buckle on the crown - need to monitor that that isn't rubbing. Also you can see that the wide cheek pieces might rub - I may need to add fleece. The price is right though. Next time I might spring for a fancier make.

  3. Rose looks very happy in those photos. I am interested in the girth options with that saddle also.