Archive for September, 2016

PostHeaderIcon One in Six Saddles Might Have Broken Trees – AKA Death of a Saddle

Circle Y Flex Lite saddle hiding a cracked tree

Circle Y Flex Tree crack

Circly Y Flex Lite saddle hiding a cracked tree

Have you saddle checked for things like cracked tree

Circle Y Flex Lite cracked tree

Cracked saddle tree on both sides

Cracked Ralide Flex Lite Circle Y Saddle

Cracked Tree

I love Circle Y Flex tree saddles so much that I have three of them. A couple years ago I managed to let go of the ones I don’t use to get them checked and cleaned. However. I couldn’t let the one that I use daily leave to get cleaned and checked. I had bought this saddle a long long time ago and it was checked out before I bought it.

This summer was a horrid hot and humid one. I stopped riding plus I was going on a week long trip. I decided to let Donna of Yellow Boot Saddlery take my beloved saddle, along with a few broken and filthy bridles to be checked, cleaned and oiled.

The unthinkable happened. Donna called me and I was somewhere in the middle of Kansas on my way to Colorado.
“Susan, I hate to give you this news. Your saddle tree is cracked. It is cracked on both sides.”

My world spun to a stop. My beloved saddle was dead. MY BELOVED SADDLE IS DEAD! Donna managed to get a few more sentences in. She mentioned that they had seen a lot more cracked trees than they ever thought. She said many people are riding on saddles with cracked trees. My brain registered these words, but i heard the unsaid words, your saddle is dead. I was gruff with Donna. I think I was mean. She had called and gave me horrible news. Poor Donna was the bearer of bad news. Forgive me Donna. I have apologized since and Donna understands.

I came home from my week of wonderful travel and it was time to visit Yellow Boot Saddelry. Donna showed me my dead beloved saddle. I saw the cracks. Donna told me that the flex lite tree is not the best tree In the tree world for a daily, hard riding rider. My riding is all speeds with slide stops, roll backs. turns, spins, etc.. If I were an easy going recreational rider, the tree wouldn’t be so stressed. I had certainly never thought of myself as a “hard rider”.

More bad news was coming. My favorite “on the rail dressy bridle was made out of underbelly leather. My bridle had started stretching. It was too long in Cisco’s mouth and it was the smallest it could go. This spring I was astride Cisco at a horse show with my class coming up next when the bit fell out of Cisco’s mouth. That was exciting. Donna told me the sides of my bridle were made out of the cheapest worst leather part of the cow. It should be against the law to make a bridle out of this cheap leather. What! I have been “taken”! Buying a new bridle is cheaper than fixing this one. Sniffle

I brought my other two Circle Y Flex Lite saddles for Donna to check. They had been cleaned and checked 3 years ago. Both trees passed inspection, but I got to see again how cheaply it was made. My favorite of the two had a piece of leather and when Donna tugged on it, the stitching broke. The stitching material is cheap. Donna kept the saddle and sent me pictures a couple days later showing screws in the wrong place. The screws were ready to come lose and come thru the place where I sit. They were already loose and the saddle seat had bumps where they were about to erupt into my tender places. Good Lordy! Donna said this was an after market deal. Where did these misplaced screws come from. I bought this saddle used also.

Yellow Boot Sadlery just got started this year. Donna told me that they have found one in six saddles have broken or cracked trees. Those are bad odds. I’m keeping my broken saddle in my trailer and will show everyone what a broken tree looks like.

PostHeaderIcon An Amazing September 2016 Weekend!

I spent three days at the World Show watching Velvet and Powder perform magnificently in their classes. Way to go Nichole Hack and Caitlyn Vaught! You both are amazing and bring the best to these lucky horses you ride! They are truly blessed to have you.

That was three exciting days. I arrived in Ava, Mo and discovered, I left both my iPad and my iPhone at home. That was not acceptable since I was going on to Colorado,for more marvelous picture moments. I drove back home…200 miles… on Monday to get them. Back again 200 miles to Ava on Tuesday to root for Powder and Velvet… And maybe everyone else in the versatility arena. On Wednesday afternoon after the versatility speed events, I met up with my great friends, Apryl and Hope, and off we went to the Parelli Summit in Pagosa Springs, Colorda. We took two days to get there.

Upon our arrival the next morning at the Parelli ranch, I discovered someone had taken all the oxygen out of the air. We watched the amazing horses and horsemanship and then we struggled up and down slight slopes to get to the porta potties and vendor tents. Occasionally, my heart felt like it would explode out of my chest and at my age, it could really happen. The Summit was Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Off we went late Sunday afternoon headed home. We made it to Garden City, Ks and then home on Monday. Then it was a 2 hour drive for me to get to Kansas City. I had that deep tiredness inside me.

Last month I gave my beloved Circle Y Flex Tree saddle to Yellow Boot Saddlery to clean and restore. On the drive to Pagosa Springs, Donna called me with heart-breaking news. My tree was broken on both sides. What! My beloved saddle that I worship and used for an unknown number of years is broken beyond repair! My beloved saddle is dead. I fussed at Donna. She was the bearer of horrid news. Poor Donna. My response was, well, gruff!

Donna told me that they had found a lot of saddles with broken trees. A lot of us are wandering around with broken trees. Tony Vaught had been telling me for years, there was something wrong with flex saddles. Apparently he was right about this particular saddle. Luckily, I had been using the CSI saddle pad for a long time. That might have helped the horses I had ridden with that saddle.

Tuesday was a Susan Universe shut down and I emerged slightly tired tarnished on Wednesday. We had a clinic with Tony and Jenny Vaught on Friday, two hours away at Harmony Horseman in Hiawatha, Ks. Off I went on Friday late morning. I knew I would be late, but I had a great excuse! I pulled in around 2:00 pm and was sad when entering the arena as there were only a few people there. Oh No! Hardly anyone came to the clinic! What’s up with that? I got unpacked, got Cisco saddled, warmed up and rode him. Around 4:00 or so, I found out the clinic was Saturday and Sunday, not Friday and Saturday. My brain failed me!

The good part of this is that I got to ride Cisco and I was on-time for the clinic starting on Saturday. I got to take part in the introduction and tell people my name and what I wanted to work on. I was first to talk. I decided to demonstrate what I wanted to work on rather than the express it verbally. I got up and skipped across the space and changed my lead foot to skip on the other foot. There were a few people in attendance that had never met me. Oh boy, I bet they thought I was a deranged old adult. I was non verbally telling Jnny I wanted to work on flying lead changes. She got it right away!

Playing with Cisco on the ground and riding him is always an incredible experience. We communicated. He tried to understand my fumbling cues. He gives me two or three times what I ask for. He tries his heart out. That is his personality.

Saturday afternoon about 3:00, my brain got hot. It didn’t hurt, it just got hot. I didn’t feel bad, dizzy or sick. My brain just got hot. I gave up about 4:30, got Cisco bathed, fed and settled and went to my room, took a shower and crawled into the bed. I was in the dark and finally, the brain cooled down around 8:30. What the heck was that! I didn’t get to go out and eat dinner with the crowd. I hate missing the social part of the clinics!

I did suffer from saddle grief throughout the clinic. I have two more Circle Y flex Lite saddles. I rode one of them on Friday and my body cursed it. It doesn’t have the padding that my beloved saddle has or something. It causes parts of my unmentionable parts to experience pain. I changed saddles on Saturday. This saddle has always been challenging for me to keep my right foot in the stirrup. About two hours into the clinic on Saturday, both my feet started hurting. It is the darn stirrups causing the problem. I have Don Orel stirrups on my beloved saddle. I need those stirrups on this saddle!

I also had given my favorite bridles to Yellow Boots Saddlery to clean last month. I was riding Cisco in the Myler snaffle bit. He was resisting my directions. Finally, I got off and went to get a one-ear bridle that I never use. It does have a bit that Cisco likes and responds well too. It was near the end of the day and the heat in my brain mentioned above got to me soon after.

I started out using the one-earred bridle on Sunday. I discovered that Cisco’s head action during his fox trot immediately upon cantering throws the headstall off his hear backwards on his neck. So I was wearing a bridle with nothing to make it stay in place. That was irritating! I had to get off and take the time to change the good bit to a bridle with a browband! The entire weekend I was mad at my broken saddle for dying on me. I was occasionally mad at my bridles! These things cause grumpiness, especially when riding in temperatures in the upper 80′s temperature. GRUMPY!

Sunday when we started doing leg yields and flying change exercises, my mood went up into exceeding happiness. Again I repeat, Cisco gave me his heart and try! I love that horse!

PostHeaderIcon Cisco 2016 Post Parelli Summit

I went to the 2016 Parelli Summit for one and maybe two reasons. I went to learn more horsemanship so I could be a better human for Cisco and because it was the 20 Year Anniversary!

I attended all three days Of David Lichman’s breakout sessions on advanced liberty training. His mentors have been Pat Parelli, a circus Liberty horse act performer and the woman who invented the clicker training with dolphins. You can’t get much better mentors than that!

I learned more advanced techniques in how those experts communicate with their animals.

We start out the advanced at-Liberty act by having the horse come to our body and laying his head on our chest. Cisco is dead set in his way of invisible worry. When he puts his head down, he can’t see the predators that might be stalking him. I knew about his problem with lowering his head and we have made great strides. He is doing really well at lowering his head when I am on his back and we are standing still. We have a long way to go to lowering his head when I ask him from the ground. Now he has to lower his head and rest it on my chest. Oh my! We did it, but not without issues, trust issues! At the end of our session today, I asked him to put his head on my chest while I was seated on a chair. Oh my, this took quite a while. We will be practicing this forever. When he lowers his head, he is relaxed and trusts me to be the protecting leader.

Then there is the boomerang move. I point, give the verbal cue. Cisco runs to and around an obstacle. He then runs to me and puts his head on my chest. That might be the description of what it might look like someday. We did a very inexperienced version of this today. There was absolutely no running and much directing on my part, but we did it at liberty!

Playing with a horse on the ground is a very special communication experience. I cherish this time with Cisco.

Usually after I have spent days watching what Pat and Linda Parelli can do with horses, I have 43 things to try and on my first ride with my horse, I try all 43 things during a hour ride. Poor horses in my past. I managed not to do this with Cisco. I do have some maturity now. Ha! But I had to end our riding session today riding bridleless. I love doing this as I have only the truth to deal with…no reins!

I have so much fun with Cisco! The days will fly by this fall, winter and spring. I’ll try to keep ou updated verbally and with a view movie clips!

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