Posted by: shannonc | February 21, 2010

The regularly scheduled program – hopefully

Blue got a shoe on Friday!  He is still footsore, but I dared to turn him out (alone) yesterday, and again today.  I held my breath, but no nutty TB antics.  My farrier said not to expect him to be sound immediately.  He made a good analogy:  imagine putting shoes on at the end of the day after you’ve just been barefoot for the first time in the summer.  You can still feel that you have sore feet.  It makes sense, but I don’t think I will really feel better until he is 100% again.  I hate watching him still say the occasional “ouch” even walking around the paddock.

There is some chance he will suddenly go acutely lame and the shoe will have to be removed, rinse and repeat.  I sincerely hope not.

Aiken is officially out as the pony has not had enough time in work to justify an intense two weeks down south.  There was just not enough time to ship him out to an indoor and back, take care of Blue, work, deal with snowstorms, etc.  Maybe next year.  Recalibrating the plan to try and be ready for spring UNH.  Seems fair since we’re now working in Feb, at least in terms of fitness.  In terms of cross country schooling, not so much.  More ruminations on that later I bet.

He will, however, get a dressage saddle – if it kills me – and that’s looking quite likely.  Saddle searches:  ugh.

Today’s spotlight on a Spirig:

Spirig - side

Balance seems okay, flap length (15.5″) seems okay.  This is an older saddle, the flocking is very soft, and the leather on the panel almost seems cracked and in need of replacement.  The billets are hysterical – they reach below the pony’s knees.  He is small, but they have also stretched a bunch, and might also need replacement.  Hard to tell without the word of someone who knows more than I do, but I can’t help but wonder since I’m the one who’d have to write the checks.

General shape seemed to follow his back.  This saddle also (I say also because so did the Link II I haven’t written about yet) rocked and moved a bit on him, and this time I think I will blame the girth for not being small enough on these billets. 

Hard to see in the pix, but the saddle is an interesting black-aging-to-brown.  I wonder if I could get away with dark brown fittings and a dark brown bridle!

Spirig - back

You can see the cracking (and the shedding!) a little bit.  The gullet is pretty wide, but ever since Colleen Meyer looked at him and explained to me that he has a lot of bone across his waist, I worry about trees not being wide enough across that part of his spine. 

Spirig - tree

I’m not sure how to think about this.  On the one hand, the panels come higher up and cover more of his trapezius than some of the other saddles, so maybe they would pinch?  On the other hand, I can’t tell where the tree points are, because the panel is shaped differently than the other saddles I’ve seen so far, and when you press on it, feels softer here.

Under saddle today he was fairly good – I don’t think he had any complaints about his tack.  But, aside from the bucking fit in the Equation, he really hasn’t objected to anything.  It’s the objections after three months of work I’m worried about – the potential for chronic soreness.

As an aside, he’s come back to work swapping behind in the right canter pretty frequently on turns.  Last year I wondered if the cause was fit or soreness, but since it has appeared immediately this year, I’m wondering if it’s chiropractic.  Could just be weakness, but that’s fairly pronounced weakness, unless he’s just being really lazy.  Feels like the left hind just doesn’t care to step under. 

He did do the most – and best – work today of the year so far.  When I got off, the saddle had slipped back.  He does this to almost everything.  I don’t know if it’s his shoulder pushing it, if these saddles are just too wide up front, girth, or what.

When I swung my leg over and we walked off, my first thought was that the twist was uncomfortably wide.  I didn’t hate it, and I more or less adapted to it, but I didn’t love it.  My leg crept up on the block a bit, and I wanted the seat to be deeper and smaller.  That could be just what I’ve been getting used to.  Hard for me to tell from on top, but I think I will have lessons this week in this and the Schleese as well and get some feedback from the ground. 

More on the Schleese next time – I didn’t get the pix snapped yet.  Overall I’d have to say I preferred it to this Spirig, but the Spirig is also much less expensive.

Clear as mud!



  1. Ah, saddle fitting.

    We decided that McKinna needs her own jumping saddle, too – Pandora’s is not quite as wide. So while we have a perfect dressage saddle for each horse, AND a perfect jumping saddle for Pandora, it’s time for Saddle #4…ugh.

    Since the Thornhills worked so well in dressage, we ordered a Thornhill jumping saddle from Middleburg in the same tree size. It’ll be here in a week or so. It better fit!

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