Sid's diary

Huggy

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I would never try to get on from the ground, partly because of his back but also because I would never get there as the saddle would just follow me down.

I find I am super sensitive to saddle swivel these days and spend time tooling along the lane pushing down on the higher stirrup to even up!
Yup I do the pushing down thing too. I always mounted Ramsey from the ground, but he was your classic slimline NF. Hogan's rotundity (I had to check that was a proper word!) has taken some getting used to.
 

carthorse

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@Skib it's an issue for every rider, no-one is naturally straight - if you watch young children ride you'll see even they aren't straight on a horse. But a round barrel and flat back with little wither means it's very easy for a saddle to slip a long way round whereas the classic TB back shape and pronounced wither mean any saddle slip is quickly limited by the horse's conformation. You would probably get away with forgetting to tighten your girth on a horse with a big wither, on a cob shape you'd be walking home.
 

carthorse

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@Huggy it's causing me a bit of an issue with Luka at the moment. He doesn't like the mounting block and is taking a while to get used to it, but if I put my foot in the stirrup and he sidles away that's the saddle right round. If he stands close enough and is steady I can lean over and hold down my opposite stirrup so I can mount with the stirrup, but my current technique is throwing a leg over with no stirrup from a slightly less than ideal position - certain people on the yard are horrified and convinced I'm going to die 🤣
 
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Huggy

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I'm very grateful no-one sees me get on - there is no grace involved. Hogan has gradually accepted the mounting block, and is surprisingly forgiving of my thumping onto the saddle. It's early days for Luka - if he's only sidling away, you're doing ok!
 

Jane&Ziggy

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doesn't like the mounting block
I bought Sid with this issue and spent several lessons with my RI working on it. He is much, much better, but like you, unless the block is high enough for me to sit on him without using a stirrup, I risk losing the saddle whenever I mount unless the girth is really tight. Poor chap, I begin to understand how he might have got so girthy.
 
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Skib

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forgiving of my thumping onto the saddle.
I learned (was taught) to land gently in the saddle. But if I land in the saddle gently and slowly it means that the left stirrup is taking 100% of my weight for longer.

i last week I queried this and and YM could not answer. What do you think?
 

Huggy

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I have little option other than to do it the way I do, because all the aforementioned, but I suppose it's easier to land gently from the stirrup. I'm not sure that it's terribly detrimental unless you are substantially overweight, and your horse is not built for that extra weight. Ramsey was quite fine, and although I'm lightweight, I always tried to land gently, from the stirrup. Luckily, I'm still quite light and Hogan has a broad, flat back. I do try to land as gently as possible, and my 'mounting block' - ie Ikea steps, with a large couple of blocks taped on (very heath robinson!) needs to be as high as possible, to achieve this. I see your point about the left stirrup weight bearing - one can only assume it's a trial and error thing, with every horse, rider and saddle.
 

diplomaticandtactful

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No way i can get on without a mounting block unless it was a shetland......I can just about do it from a gate.....if the horse cooperates. I have a full size mounting block at the yard and a portable one in the horsebox
 
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Jessey

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land in the saddle gently and slowly it means that the left stirrup is taking 100% of my weight for longer
You can land in the saddle gently without it being slowly, and you don't have to put 100% of weight in the stirrup if you complete the maneuver in the moments of suspension and control your decent with your thighs.
 
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carthorse

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@Skib like @Jessey I was going to say you can take weight into your knees and thighs rather than have it all in the stirrup, and that landing gently doesn't mean being slow about it. Indeed by keeping all your weight in one stirrup than longer than is absolutely necessary you're putting strain on the horse's back and saddle, so are probably doing more harm than good.
 

Skib

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Jane - sorry we seem to have diverted your diary. I took your words to heart on the trotting. But did not find a serious quarter mile stretch. The wind was very high. The grass probably slippery.
I managed to frighten myself in the wind especially as someone was flying a drone. I did however do lots of trotting as I knew that a good rhythmic trot would ensure she didnt take off in canter. My phone tells me we went 3.5 km. In the end I returned early for the first time ever. The planned much longer hack is postponed to next week.
The mare was totally unconcerned. But one of the other clients (out with her friend not with me) had her horse take off this morning. I felt a bit stupid having scared myself.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Today we had our first proper lesson in the proper school at the posh private house-with-yard just up the road. I couldn't get Sid's saddle on right so I led him up (it only takes 7 or 8 minutes) and could watch his reaction as we walked in. He was soooo excited. He grew by at least a hand as we passed the jumping field, with show jumps and eventing jumps set out (the boy of the household events competitively and jumped at Hickstead last year, or whenever it was last on) and he grew another hand as we passed the stable where the very beautiful,, very snappy, very hot eventer lives. He calmed down a bit when we met the field companion, a palomino mini Shetland mare about as high as his knees. Each of them thought the other was very groovy.

Once we got up to the school we got his saddle sorted (it needed to be at least 3" further forward, I am so glad I waited and checked) and did the girth up, then my RI walked him about the school while he skittered and spooked. He had an enormous spook-and-skitter-right-round at something in the bushes, and she brought him back onto the track and asked him to stop there. She was really pleased that he did stop calmly in exactly the spooky spot and waited to be asked to move.

We did the girth up and I took over walking him around, watching for him to drift off the track through his left shoulder and correcting him (to do this I have to walk backwards with the schooling whip reversed so I can give him a nudge on the shoulder). After a circuit in each direction he settled and we did the girth up, then I got on board and we did the girth up.

Memo to self: one reason the saddle was slipping was that it should have been 2 holes tighter.

I repeated the circuits at walk and then we felt ready for a trot. We did the girth up. Sid was very ready, he started with a buck or two in each direction! They're proper bucks, but not scary or hard to sit, and after watching him my RI said she thought he was just really excited and fresh. He needs more work...

We worked on correcting my position (as always) to improve his way of going. He responds quickly, lifting his back, dropping his head and stopping squarely when asked. He really does fall in through that left shoulder though, on a smaller circle it requires constant attention.

My RI thinks Sid is a star and laughed and applauded when I sat the bucks. She said my seat has come a long way, and the main thing is not to panic, fall forward or let him put his head down, none of which I did. So that was all good!

On the way home we met my YO and I introduced Sid to her two lovely old piebald cobs, but I'll post about that elsewhere.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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4 weeks on, 2 lessons later, Sid lifted his back the moment my RI got on him and did his very best to carry himself. He even did it when I rode him!!! I kept asking my RI, "What is his head doing? I can't see his head," and she would reply, "That's because he's in self-carriage and it's in the right place."

He was quite revved-up when we got to trot, and I needed to hold him in. All that power behind! He really has a big strong arse. My RI said that more work like that would soon strengthen his weaker right hind leg, and I needed to do it while we were hacking. Erm, maybe? But he was a very good boy, despite some more excitement bucks when I got on!
 

Jane&Ziggy

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Out for just an hour's hack this morning. He was good and willing if wibbly. I am puzzled though by his reluctance on the (led) walk home. It's downhill, fairly steep, and it just makes me think that his feet hurt him. Why else would he be so slow? He's certainly not tired, he hadn't even sweated up this morning.
 

Jessey

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Out for just an hour's hack this morning. He was good and willing if wibbly. I am puzzled though by his reluctance on the (led) walk home. It's downhill, fairly steep, and it just makes me think that his feet hurt him. Why else would he be so slow? He's certainly not tired, he hadn't even sweated up this morning.
Does he do similar if its downhill on the way out? does he perk up if you go past home and head out again? Jess often used to be less than enthusiastic on the way home when she was enjoying herself.
 

Jane&Ziggy

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He does find downhill a bit tricky at the moment, his soles are quite flat on his fronts as yet and I think he feels his weight. But he certainly seems to slow down on the final lap. I'll try walking him past the gate next time and see what happens - thanks for the idea!
 
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Skib

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My current Ella is the first horse I have hacked who doesnt seem eager to go home. OH remarked that if he lived in a gloomy stable like she has he would rather stay out in the open air. Like your Jess she enjoys being out.
 

PePo

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Reluctance to go downhill - and by reluctance, I mean slight slowing down and shortening of stride - was one of the first symptoms of LGL in Pete and arthritis in hocks.

Is he the same in boots? What's he like going uphill? X
 
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