Archive for January, 2005
Ten miracles happened today at Pine Dell farm in freezing weather. Why did
10 people venture out of their warm houses to attend a 3 hour clinic with the
temperature around 15 degrees?
Because most of us are just nuts!
Our 3 hour Savvy Day lesson was about saddle positioning with shims. First
we rode our horses and evaluated how they were going. Then we trooped inside to the warm lounge.
We looked at a couple of saddles inside the heated lounge sitting on a
barrel. Jenny told us how to evaluate the saddle. Where to look at the two
places that will tell you whether or not the saddle is level and to look at the
seat to find the lowest point. We talked about the human balance point and
how it worked with saddles. We talked about the shoulder blade of the horse
and how it needs clearance when it moves back and forth.
We trooped outside and every horse had their saddle removed. We magic
markered where their shoulder was at rest. Then we picked up their leg and
held it in front and magic markered where the shoulder blade moved. Velvet was the first horse.
We put the saddle on without the pad and evaluated the lowest point in the
seat and the level of the saddle. My saddles lowest point was in the middle
of the seat and my saddle tipped down in front. Velvet was proclaimed a
downhill horse. That was a shock to Jenny , Tony and myself.
We took the saddle off and put the pad on and then the saddle. We shimmed
the saddle up with two nearly inch wide shim pieces. Jenny made shims out of a cheap pad used to put underneath your sleeping bag when camping. Jenny bought a pad and cut shims out of it the night before. The shims are placed under the front weight bearing area…the little screw in thr front holding the saddle together is very near the weight bearing area. I have shimed a saddle before and put the shim more up front where reason tells you to put it…but no!
We stood back to look at the saddle. It was level. We felt under the
saddle to see if our hands had passage way. It did.
I moved Velvet around and tightened the saddle. I got on and was amazed at
the difference that I felt.
Before…the cantle always interferred with the small of my back. I could
not round my back very easily in the saddle. I had to pay a lot of attention
to sitting on my balance point.
After..I could round my back. The cantle did not hit the small of my back.
I was seated in my balance point. I felt great, but felt my body wanting
We checked Velvet and discovered that the saddle tightening had made the
passage way to tight for the hand to travel underneath the saddle where the
shoulder blade moves.
I got off and we put another shim on…this now is about 3″ high. I need a
back cinch to keep the saddle more in place on Velvet.
I got on and pretty soon Velvet and I were whipping around the arena. We
were going to the right and I made the merest suggestion for a left lead canter and there it was. We did easy drop to trot lead changes around the arena. We then did a fox trot. Her front legs extended in a really nice fox trot. We zipped around. Velvet was eager to go. She wasn’t nearly as eager before we put the shims on. We had an amazing time.
One of my close friends and observers of my riding came in while Velvet and
I were cantering. She told me that she has never seen me so connected to
Velvet. It’s true!
There was not one single horse in the clinic that did not benefit from the
My fox trotter, Sage, was also in the clinic. After the shims had been put
on and approved by Jenny and Tony, her rider started riding around the arena.
I have never seen Sage look so good. She was doing a running walk and
doing it very fast. She looked sensational. I was stunned at how well she
looked. Her rider said that she was a lot more eager to go.
There was not one single horse and/or rider in the clinic that did not
benefit from the shims.
This stuff is a MIRACLE. You ride better. The horse feels better.
I would HIGHLY recommend that you make an appointment with a Parelli
professional, Tony or Jennifer Vaught for saddle positioning when you can!
I guess it had to happen. I’ve been very careful. When amoung horses that are eating, I watch out. When taking horses into or out of the pasture with lots of other horses, I’ve been very careful. I’ve been careful riding with other riders too. I’ve seen some people get kicked by other rider’s horses. I try and not get my leg in that position.