Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Monday, January 9, 2012

In the Arena #99 - Two steps forward, one step back...
From the Farmette #8 - I feel the earth - move - under my feet...

There were several drain the hoses, weatherproof the well pump days this past week. The first real cold weather so far this winter, and thankfully, it was temporary. Saturday was absolutely beautiful.

Our ride - not so much. Kind of "all's well that ends well." Initially, contact was intermittent - forward nonexistent, though I felt good about the quality of the contact while we had it. Val was once again very reluctant to move out. I attempted to reinforce a lighter aid with numerous transitions, concentrating on soft following hands. We finished off working with the trot poles, and making some decent circles with nice bend when we were focused. I finally got Val motivated at the trot, and we stopped there.

This lack of forward has me stumped. I wonder if I am blocking him? And if so - where. Did I break him sitting the trot a while back? Or could it be the saddle?! All I know is the bareback rides always seem much freer and more fluid for both of us. (Please don't be a saddle issue.)

Just the other day I noticed online that my two year old Beval Natura dressage saddle - has been discontinued, selling new for half what I paid for it. That doesn't bode well for a possible future saddle shopping budget now does it. The saddle has plenty of withers clearance, but I wonder if it blocks his shoulders? Has he changed shape? Did the saddle ever fit? Is the saddle affecting my position negatively? It does have more of a knee block than I like and is fairly deep. Stay tuned - I've been lurking around on ebay... ;)

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I'm in love. With a big, orange, manly machine. I spent nearly all day Sunday on a borrowed full sized Kubota tractor. I sorted and moved 2 years x 2 horses worth of manure. I've got my composted, ready to plant in pile, my give it a few more months now that it's turned pile, and my needs more cooking pile. Plus I filled a few low spots on the property. Plus, I have backup space. What a relief! There are only two horses here - and they could bury me in no time. Can't wait til I can go tractor shopping. :)



action shot
before
after

big orange krush + little orange krush
black gold
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How do you all respond to a possible hay strike? Val just finished up a twenty five bale load stored in my trailer, so it was time to start using the fifty odd bales in my hay shed. The hay from the trailer was light weight bales of stemmy, late cutting mixed grass hay. I'm guessing it was sugary - it smelled that way. The shed hay is 75 pound bales of orchard grass that is still fairly green. If I were a horse, I'd choose the latter. Val however, has turned up his nose, consuming half what he was just a week ago. I slipped some handfuls of special trailer ride only alfalfa here and there in the hay bag, which helped a little. I'm assuming he'll change his tune eventually, before all my hair turns grey...

19 comments:

Grey Horse Matters said...

We have the big orange crush Kubota and love it. The best tractor around. Hope you get yours sooner than later they make it all so much easier.

Val will most likely get used to his hay. We put the good stuff in the hay nets in their stalls and they can't wait to come in and eat it. The not so expensive hay goes into the outside nets. They don't like it but they are eating eat, not with gusto though.

I feel for you if you have saddle problems. I've had them with Dusty and Blue for years, couldn't find the proper fit and had to resort to a buying a custom one. My Albion dressage saddle (which I used exactly 5 times) before Erik passed is with a dealer and I'm trying to sell it. I'm sure I won't get nearly what I paid for it because it's "used", even though it's really brand new. No one has been interested or made an offer in over a year. So selling saddles is not going well in this economy I guess.

Keep your eye out for a saddle fitting clinic that's doable near you and maybe get a professional to fit the saddle. It might just need some reflocking or slight adjustment to fit him perfectly. I don't know I'm not good at fitting saddles and leave it to my daughter who used to do it in Scotland with a professional.

Annette said...

We couldn't do it without our little Kubota tractor. We like the smaller size as it is easier to maneuver into tight spots - like the goat area. I agree with the suggestion to talk to a saddle fitter. Sometimes a little tweak makes all the difference.

billie said...

I want a tractor too.... big item on my wish list... :)

Re: used saddles - try Trumbull Mtn. online. They will help you do measurements and also have a nice trial policy. You could also try Mary at M&M Tack in Raleigh. She might be able to come to you - if you give her some preliminary mark-ups she could bring the used saddles that are most likely to fit. She's wonderful - not sure how far she travels but it's worth asking if you're going to spend the $.

I always mix new hay with the old if our regular source runs low, which seems to help. Our regular source is very low sugar/starch though and they love it - but almost anything we buy is bound to be higher, so... generally I don't have the issue of them refusing it. :) Of course I have a barn of piglets, so... in this kind of scenario that helps.

smazourek said...

You go girl! I've driven a tractor once and it was awesome- once I figured out how to shift the darn thing.

Can I throw in that I think the Ansur Excel is a brilliant saddle? The Classic is bleh, the Konklusion is argh, but the Excel is brilliant.

Sand. said...

LOVE my big orange Kubota (we named him Kirby). BEST buy we ever bought and we don't even have Moon on our property!! Takes down trees like a devil. Hope you can go shopping for your own sometime soon. I recommend one with HST, sooo easy to drive.

Victoria Cummings said...

I know that the hay drama can get pretty extreme. My girls are quite fussy and I have at times had to resort to buying Triple Crown packaged grass hay from my feed store or hay cubes. As far as the gorgeous orange tractor, forget diamonds are a girl's best friend - just get me one of those Kubotas!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

GHM-
I felt like such a farmer driving the big rig around. Fun and functional!

I'm going with my gut about the saddle issue - will do a post about it soon. I may have found the saddle of my dreams...

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Annette-
The tractor I borrowed is way more than I need! Next size down should do it. Of course, I'll need a shed for the tractor to live in! ;)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

billie-
I've found a potential saddle... if I take a chance on it I'll likely still need the fitter. It will probably need re-flocking.

Val is never picky... he's usually a big old pig about hay - hence his slow feeders. And this hay is beautiful.

I have forty two bales of it, that I've moved three times. I reckon it's up to about $18 per bale by now. He's going to have to eat it - we'll see who's stubborner!

(said by she who just returned from the barn from leaving tasty alfalfa tucked into the hay bags... such a sucker.) ;)

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

smazourek-
I may have found the saddle of my dreams... will keep you posted!

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Sand-
Glad to know I'm not the only one who names her tools... ;) What does HST stand for?

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Victoria-
I joke with my Dad that if I ever get married I'll register with Kubota, DeWalt and Home Depot lol! ;)

Barbara said...

sorry this isn't post related but you posted on my blog about magnesium. Nina gets a little mag, it did help calm her nervous energy when I first got her. Since this seems to have built up over a month or so - do you know if I can just increase the amount, a little or a lot, and see if it has an effect? Do you have any more info?
thanks

Calm, Forward, Straight said...

Barbara-
I emailed you some info. :)

billie said...

Maybe get the hay tested and see what it looks like in terms of vits/minerals? If he is usually not picky and won't eat this I might actually listen to him and see if something is off with the hay. I've discovered that the way the hay looks to us is not representative of its quality in a lot of cases.

Yay re: the saddle! David Brooks is another saddle fitter who might come to you - he is incredible at mystery fit issues. He does Keil Bay's saddle and Mary does the rest for us.

Calm, Forward, Straight said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Calm, Forward, Straight said...

billie-

I'm thinking that this is a palatability issue. We've been getting hay from this same farmer for years now - straight orchard grass - and it's never been a problem before. The last batch was so darn sugary...

Thanks for the saddle fitter suggestions. I'm encouraged that someone might actually come here. :)

Jenn said...

I so need to add a little tractor to my property...oh, the things I could do! Can I build it? YES I CAN!!! With a tractor, of course..

As for the hay...a horse won't starve himself to death. He'll eat when he gets hungry enough. All three of mine pull the same crap when I go from one load of hay to another and there's a bit of a difference. They get over it pretty quick when they realize that's ALL THERE IS!!!

billie said...

David stays really busy - but he may already have clients in your area. He is renowned for his ability to sort out issues stemming from the saddle. He took one look at Keil Bay's saddle the first time I used him and said: is your left foot dangling in the stirrup when you go right?

Uh... YES! He did some adjustments, had me get on, and voila, perfection.

And I thought my leg had gotten shorter. LOL.

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