oh baby!

News flash = there is a new baby at our barn!! The foal belongs to our trainer, or her husband, depending on who you ask :)  It's been a long time since Iron Horse has had a wee one running around, none in the past four years since we've been riding been there. Their new little guy stole everyone's heart, but not before the dam did. What a sweet sociable mare Dolly is, and more importantly she is a good mom. 

The baby has fancy bred into him, and is a curious cutie. He doesn't have a name yet. I can't wait to find out what they are going to call this little guy! We met him when he was 3 days old, sadly I didn't have my camera...but I've been shooting pics of him ever since he was 5 days old. I am really happy to have a foal I can take pictures of & watch grow up. I've already accumulated a lot of photos of the little guy in six weeks time. The hard part is choosing which ones to keep. I'll be adding to his gallery and doing some sharing along the way. Below are a few of my favorite photos of baby Iron Horse at 5 days old, and the last two at 6.

he can jump...

he can fly...

likes to run...

 and looks cute, without even trying


holiday bonus

We planned on taking advantage of the Fourth of July holiday, to ride an extra day. Plans came together and we enjoyed a sunny late afternoon ride, just our three horses in an outdoor relaxing arena atmosphere.

Our frainer is typically pulled in 500 directions so she really savors rare moments like these, and so do we. I have no clue how she patiently deals with all of "it"...nice to just spend time together and ride. I am glad she was able to join us. She rode Cierra, and Brad & I rode our usual mounts. We had not seen Cierra under saddle for several months. She is looking really good, responsive but relaxed, and enjoying her job.

In the midst of the arena fun, the resident grandkids asked to ride. Brad led them in hand on Nemo. They are young, and it was the first time Nemo had done kid duty. He was a champ! Altho Brad said he nudged him in the back while leading the kids (separately) as if to say "are you kidding me?". Gotta love that spotted horse! While this was going on, Koda was all ears. He was very curious what those little people were doing on his brothers back!

We rode on Saturday & Sunday too, a bonus three days in a row! Doesn't happen too often. I am back to loping regularly, altho getting more softness still needs work. Oh, and getting that darn (expletive removed) left lead!! Koda is making me work so hard for it, and knows what I am asking for... 

His left counter canter is so smooth that I need an extra set of eyes to reassure I am feeling what I think I am. Wish I didn't have to ask for help, but I just don't catch it fast enough. Sometimes I'm correct, many times I'm not. I'll simply have to keep working at feeling it...just when I think I've got our left lope off figured out, we seem to take two steps back.

I asked Brad to take a video of us loping left, so I could not only feel but see where we are at. I think seeing yourself/horse can help. Nice of him to oblige, however the video turned out b-b-b-bouncy! He trotted on Nemo to "keep up"...granted it is a big outdoor arena, but I'm pretty sure zoom would have worked better ;) it was pretty funny at the time. 

Here we are in motion, going forward and with a little extra help from Brad going up & down too! Not pretty, but we are slowly getting there. I think.


tree mail

It's old news that I've had my share of saddle woes. My good old Circle Y Equitation saddle that I loved riding in for years, prior to getting Koda, stopped fitting him somewhere around age three. Four years later, I am still working on getting a saddle that fits both of us...sad, but true.

After trying different saddles that played into my hitting the ground a couple times, I've learned the hard way. A proper fitting saddle can make all the difference in the world! I don't enjoy learning from the school of hard knocks, and have high hopes I won't be repeating those lessons anytime soon. It's not like I didn't know how important saddle fit is to begin with...however, sometimes the ground isn't the only hard thing you run into.

Over the years I've asked a lot of questions, and put faith in trusted professionals. The one person I didn't put faith in was me. Had I listened to what my body was telling me, I wouldn't have purchased a saddle that wasn't completely right. It fit's my horse okay, but it doesn't fit me. I harbor no bad feelings toward the folks I entrusted for help, for in the end I believe we are all ultimately responsible for our own decisions. They have resolved many a saddle woes, and did their best to try to help me too. Guess everything with me has to be more difficult?!! 

I was tired of saddle searching and inconveniencing people. Scheduled trail trips were rapidly approaching. I wanted to move on, and just gave in. I ended up buying what turned out to be the wrong saddle. It's all on me. 

On the brighter side, as you may know, this difficult fitting duo of horse and rider are now looking forward to a custom saddle! After making the hard decision to purchase, and being measured. I found there were a lot of details that make up a saddle, that I had not really thought much about prior to ordering. 

I was going to share the details I chose, but many of them won't make sense. Unless you know what a #1 horn is, or a 13 swell, or the dish size of a cantle. However these details will make sense; I am getting partial rough out leather in key area's, a rounded skirt, and black padded seat. The horn will be wrapped, so I can play! I requested the same double shell edge tooling they did on my chinks:

tooling sample

The little bit of silver hardware will be like the center conch below. I didn't do a lot of cosmetic upgrades, because what matters most to me is that the saddle fits both of us and helps keep me seated. They assured me it will do both.

silver sample

I took photos of my horse "naked" from all angles...

...including a top view, while standing on the back of a tailgate. After emailing photo links for review....

...my anticipation grew...and then tree mail arrived!! Inching us one step closer to a new saddle. It was time for another Koda fashion show, this time wearing just the test tree. From the tree photos, taken from all angles, the saddle maker determines what adjustments need to be made different in order to fit Koda.

With all the tough saddle details figured out, horse and tree fitting photos done, now it's back to waiting and wondering...