Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Clearing trail

Earlier this week, I rode Tanna and went up our usual hill and discovered that the house they've been threatening to build for years is finally being started. How dare they mess up my training hill. ;)

So tonight, with a storm looming, I hopped on Serts with my handy dandy brush clippers and headed up into our back 3 wooded acres. The horses have trails all through there, but they're not extremely conducive to riding. I spent an hour clipping small branches, vines and thorns from horseback until I finally ended up with a somewhat acceptable 0.15 mile trail up the back hill. I barely beat the rain back into the house.

Still need to spend some more time out there clipping more trails. And I need to get Daniel to get some larger limbs out of the way, but now I can do some riding back there.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Riding Lessons

A week ago Sunday, Daniel and I had Rinnah and Lillie come stay with us Saturday night so the girls could have a horseback riding lesson on Sunday morning.

After breakfast, I started Rinnah's lesson first while Lillie hung out with Uncle Daniel and our new kitten, George.

Lillie and George

Rinnah learned about a rope halter and how to tell which hole to put Serts' nose through. Then she learned to tie the knot to hold the halter on. I took it out and had her tie it three times before we moved on. She snapped the lead rope to the halter and led Serts to the trailer while I kept Tanna at bay.

Rinnah climbed up on the fender of the trailer and learned to tie a horseman's quick release knot. It took several tries, but she did it! The rope was tied to the trailer for a week until I trailered out for a training ride and then I had to remove it. I was proud of her. :)

Rinnah's first horseman's knot!

Next, Rinnah and I brushed Serts. Rinnah brushed one side and I brushed the other. That tall mounting block I got last year to help me after I began to ride again came in quite handy!

Rinnah brushing Serts

I put the bareback pad on Serts and showed Rinnah how to buckle up the girth. English girths are quite good for that!

Rinnah buckling the girth

Rinnah then put the breast collar on. She struggled quite a bit with the snaps, but I encouraged her to keep at it and she did do it all herself.

Rinnah putting on the breast collar.

Then it was time for the bridle and Rinnah snapped the bridle to the rope halter and the reins to the bridle.

Rinnah putting on the bridle

After all that, Rinnah mounted up with a little assistance from me. She grabbed mane and I just gave her a leg up like they do for jockeys and up she went!

Rinnah Ready To Ride

I led Serts into the round pen and Rinnah learned to start and stop Serts. She was doing so well, I went ahead and taught her how to neck rein Serts. Finally, we went outside the round pen. Serts decided it was time to go to the house and wouldn't heed Rinnah's cues to turn around, so I taught Rinnah how to straight rein as well.

Rinnah & Serts

What a fun, full lesson! It was about an hour and a half in length!

Next it was Lillie's turn. She hopped right on and I led Serts into the round pen again. She was sitting so well, I decided Lillie could learn to stop and start Serts, too. She learned that quite well! And only days before her 5th birthday!


Then Lillie wanted to go for a little ride down the road, so I hopped on behind her and we headed down the road. We found my friend, Cindy and another friend of hers out for a ride, so we hooked up together and rode for about an hour. Lillie learned to slow Serts from a trot to a walk and how to neck rein. She seemed to have a lot of fun since she kept declaring how much fun it was! We finished her lesson by her leading Serts up to the house while I rode! So I got a pony ride, too! :-)

They both did so well and I'm so proud of them! I can't wait to have them out for another ride!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Skito Bareback Pad Review

I received my bareback pad a while ago and have used it several times now.

It looks to be well-constructed, with crupper and breast collar rings and a nice grip seat. I ordered the high profile pad in petra brown, which is a soft upholestry fabric. Serts doesn't have high withers, but I figured I might as well get the high profile as who knows who I'll put this on in the future.


The first thing I did was remove the inserts. I wanted to try out the pad without those first.


I decided I didn't need to use a crupper with Serts, but I did use the breastcollar, because it keeps the pad from slipping too far back on a hill and if something untoward happened, it should keep the pad from slipping completely underneath Serts.

I rode in shorts and was very pleased with the softness of the fabric against my legs. The grippy seat on the pad is a nice touch.


The inserts were still out of the pad, so after the 75 minute ride in 95 degree heat, Serts' sweat did manage to seep through to my legs. But without the pad, I'd have been sliding around in sweat after 5 minutes, so I was plenty pleased! The wet part was immediately under my thighs and probably some of that came from me. Also, there was no sliding in slippery sweat as it wasn't that bad.

Later on, I put the inserts back in and went for more rides. The inserts really do make a difference. It was very nice. I could still feel Serts, but I didn't have to feel his backbone. I gave lessons to my nieces in this pad and they didn't have a single complaint, where without the pad, they were complaining Serts' back bone was hurting them. One of my nieces rode in shorts and she didn't have a single complaint.

(That's Lillie riding. This was a few days before her 5th birthday. Isn't she cute???)

The not so good. Everything has down sides, right?

The handle on the pad is pretty useless on Serts. There is just nothing to grip against. It is a handy carrying handle, though! One can grab mane or the breast collar strap if it's need, so no big deal.

That's the only downside I can think of!

I've washed the pad a few times in my front loader washing machine and it cleans up well. Of course, I take out the inserts to wash it. Now to watch it and see how well it holds up to repeated washings.

Verdict so far is that I really like this pad and am very happy with it.

A few more pictures can be found on my Flickr account.