Saturday, March 16, 2019

Keeping it Western

While I've been very focused on my standard dressage, I didn't forget my western dressage.  Let's face it, Theo will probably always get better scores in western dressage where his chill is more appreciated.  He may be learning to be prancy pony but his natural state is still sound asleep.

I tried moving my stirrups back to the further back position to fix the part where I end up in chair seat in the canter when I ride in my western saddle.  It fixed me going into a chair seat but they were too far back and I ended up with a heating pad on my SI joint.  Ouch.  I didn't even know that was a thing humans had to worry about until mine decided to lock up.  So that was too much adjustment.  I measured and it was about a two inch change between the two positions.  I put my stirrups back in their forward spot and bumped the cantle of my saddle up a little less than an inch.

Seriously, every part of this saddle can be adjusted, the entire seat cover comes right off

This saddle is crazy adjustable.  I can adjust the stirrup position, the width at the fork, the spine clearance, and can even move the cantle forward and back.  Bumping it forward just under an inch got me out of the chair position and stopped the saddle from trying to suck me back by moving the lowest point forward.  When I took it for a canter, it was much easier to stay where I was supposed to be.  Still not as easy as my dressage saddle, but that's more a matter of practice.  By the end of my ride, I was cruising around with no trouble.

Good thing since I spent my new saddle money on fixing my truck.  Ugh.  That truck is lucky its so sexy.  I felt like such a cowgirl at the barn today when I climbed out of my big truck in my western boots and my Carhart jacket and dragged my western saddle out of the back.  I was even wearing Wrangler brand jeans.  

So my western saddle is home and tied to my saddle rack while I reshape it for it's new size.  The cantle is what provides stability to the back half of the tree so moving it shifted the shape of the tree slightly.  It needs to learn how to saddle again.  I'll leave it for about a week, then ride Theo in it a couple days in a row.  That should be enough to reset it and make it saddle shaped again.  Theo doesn't care either way, it's purely aesthetics.  The weight is spread out, off his spine, and behind his shoulders, he's a happy pony.  The new cantle position makes the back skirt look a bit longer and more western like.  This makes me happy.  If I'm going to ride western, I want to look the part!

With that in mind, I started shopping for my western show outfit.  Last year was purely experimental.  I didn't know what look I wanted.  I went with basics that felt familiar.  The result was totally acceptable, but I felt like I still looked like an English rider.

Piper breeches, Ariat paddock boots, Charles Own helmet, and my saddle blanket is on sideways.  Is it possible I'm an English rider?

This year, I'm going ranch pleasure.  I ordered my very own pair of chinks.

I'm excited.  It's the look without the fuss of full chaps.  And not so sensitive to any weight fluctuations I might have.  You think white breeches are unforgiving?  Try chaps.  Yikes.  I got workman style chinks since extra bling on the legs makes me crazy (I really don't have the leg position to support that) and I want minimal fringe.  I don't like fringe.  I don't know how I'll survive riding western when I don't like fringe.

I'm pairing my chinks with some taller, brown cowboy boots and jean breeches.  Should be super comfortable and familiar feeling for me.  I got some tops off to show in.  One is pink, one is light tan with purple flowers, and one is black with a white geometric pattern.  I also picked up a navy one with some little bitty white horse heads on it from Tractor Supply.  I already have my royal blue one.  Top it off with a brown helmet and I'll totally look like a western rider.

No, I'm not giving up my helmet.  Just no.  And the riders that not so quietly commented on me not respecting their traditions can bite me.  I make a living off my brain and I know just how devastating a concussion is.  Helmet is not optional.

I finally found some saddle blankets short enough for Theo.  One is purple, one is pink.  What can I say, I gotta be me and I want him to match my shirts.  I'm keeping my workmanlike tack, but I did see this bridle while I was on Buckaroo Leather and it totally seems like the perfect blend of workmanlike and, well, being me.

You know Theo needs a bridle with heart conchos on it.  And there's matching reins!  Split reins are very western but I'm constantly dropping one when I lead him.  I'm better with loop reins.

My first sanctioned show of the year will be a western dressage outing at an Arabian breed show.  They're hosting an open western dressage division and we really can't be too picky out here.  Two days of showing and only two hours away?  Yeah, we'll be there.  There are not a lot of western dressage shows, so Theo and I will be overnighting at an . .  .Arabian breed show.  Yeah, we're going to stick out a bit.

But we'll look like we do western, at least.


  1. Have you considered a hel-hat, either bought or DIY? That's when you cut off the brim of a western hat & mount it on your helmet.

    Good on you for sticking with your helmet.

  2. Also RodeApple Hats:
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