Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new whip in the making?

My step father was going through some stuff at their house and he found an old parasol handle. His parents used to have an antique store and I believe it came from them. I'm not too sure how old it is but I think it's fairly old. The handle is gorgeous, mother of pearl and silver. The rest of the shaft is rusted and looks pretty rough.

I'm thinking it would make a really pretty sidesaddle whip. I'd love to find someone that is good at braiding leather or rawhide and get the shaft covered in that with a little whip end added. It's the perfect length and so classy! It might be easier said than done though, finding someone that does leather braiding seems to be difficult and rare. (hmm... I wonder how hard it would be to learn....)

I'll post pictures if & when it ever gets done!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some jumping pictures that make me go hmmm.....

I've been watching videos and looking at pictures of ladies jumping aside and I've found a couple pictures that have be questioning things.... Have a look..

So first off, this is how I feel like I *should* look over the fence.... These ladies are REALLY folded forward and looked really "tucked" over the fence. They look like they're giving their horse a good release and aren't going to get "snapped" back over the fence and their bum is still in contact with the saddle.

But then we've got what I'm going to call the "middle of the road" ladies". They're sitting a bit more upright over the fence, still tipped forward but not to the degree the others are.

And then we've got the last group, they're forward but they look as if they have their bums OFF of the saddle upon takeoff.... How are they doing that? I don't know if I could physically DO that in my saddle the way the pommels sit. I would think a person would get "snapped" back much less like this. But I wonder, are they putting weight in their stirrup (standing in it) to get "up" like that? If so, I've always been told not to put weight in the stirrup.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another attempt at jumping sidesaddle

I had some friends out riding on saturday and decided to attempt a couple of jumps sidesaddle for them. It feels like it's getting a bit better but it's still not right. I'm starting to get a bit frustrated by it because I'm feeling "stuck". I just can't seem to stay forward long enough and keep getting snapped back. Urghhh... I'm not sure if it's a muscle strength thing or if I'm doing something completely wrong or what. Maybe it has to do with how jerky Brigit's jump is. I dunno. I'm determined to figure it out though!

Here's a couple of video's my wonderful friend took. The first one is trotting in and the second is cantering in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tiny stirrups

It seems that I've acquired enough little antique stirrups that we could officially call it a collection. I thought I'd share some pictures and show you just how tiny these stirrups are!

So first we have a plain stirrup iron. It fits my foot quite well, even though by today's standards it's fairly small. As you can see, this one doesn't have an egg eye so it'd be tough to get it to fit my english sidesaddle.

Second we have a tiny "Copes" style safety iron. This one came with my really old english sidesaddle. As you can see it's quite corroded and the hinge is very stiff. It's far too small for my foot, so it will never get used but it's sure interesting! I have a modern Copes iron on my english sidesaddle at the moment.

See how the small inside part swivels backwards and the footbed falls out?

And last we've got a small bronze (?) heart shaped stirrup. I think this one is just too cute. As you can see, it's also quite corroded too.

Isn't it neat?

And now for some perspective into just HOW tiny it is. I can fit about 3 toes into it and that's about it! (and that's in socked feet!).

They sure must have had itty bitty feet back then!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs!

I finally got all of my bulbs planted and it looks like it was just in time! The weather is really cool, damp and foggy today and they're forecasting snow for later today. (No thanks!) I had a bunch more tulips and lily bulbs that I'd ordered.

Every few years I'm told that you should dig up your bulbs and separate them because they multiply and won't keep blooming because they're too crowded. Well I thought I'd be able to wait until next year but apparently not! We got digging in the flower beds and found that the tulips I had planted 2 years ago had multiplied SO MUCH that we had no choice but to dig them up and replant them. I think we had at least 100 bulbs by the time we had dug them all up. We replanted as many as possible but eventually we ran out of room! The flower beds will look great if they all come up in the spring! But now to figure out what we should do with the rest of the leftover bulbs! (into the fridge for now)

I also discovered a whole bunch of wildflower seeds I had stashed away but at this time, I just don't have anywhere to put them! I *could* dig up some more grass and make another flower bed but I'm not too sure what my boyfriend would say about that... lol

At least it's done now though! Our yard is ready for winter and now I can focus on inside stuff. (Like sewing another sidesaddle habit perhaps?)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Easy or?

Well I finally brought my sidesaddle out of hiding on Saturday and decided to go for a ride. Our flat stuff was awesome (although, wow after a month of not doing it, I feel rusty all over again!) and I decided I'd try to attempt a few little jumps again. It's been forever since I tried to jump aside.
Well it went better for the most part. I put an old stirrup leather around my horse's neck so I'd have something to try and grab on to, to prevent the "snapping" back that I experienced last time. It worked like a charm! Half the time I wasn't able to actually GRAB the strap but I was aiming for it and it seemed to keep my body in the correct position. I also added a thicker "queen" aka big pink sponge onto the upright head which I think helped a lot too.

I was pretty darned pleased with how secure I felt and that I wasn't getting left behind! I think I've got this jumping aside business figured out!

But then yesterday I woke up and WOW was my back ever sore!!! I was supposed to go foxhunting again but I could hardly move. I really like jumping sidesaddle but I'm not sure if I want to do it all the time if my back is going to be this sore afterwards! I'm thinking practice makes perfect maybe? Maybe I just need to do it more often and I won't be as sore?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Busy weekend!

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada so we've been busy driving here, there and everywhere to see family and eat WAY too much! It's been fun though.
On our way up to see some family on Saturday, we stopped by a wonderful saddler who builds her own custom sidesaddles (can you guess who it is?) and has done some repairs for me in the past. My western sidesaddle needed a little bit of help. It's in great shape considering it's age but I wanted to get a few things fixed on it so they wouldn't get worse before I tried to ride it any more. Mostly just a little bit of stitching.
I also left my $70 find with her to see if she can make it rideable again. Aside from the pommels being quite bent at one time, she thinks we can definitely put new billets on it and make it rideable again. We shall see! If we can't it's no big deal, it's a neat saddle for display.
We had a great visit and spent over an hour looking through her collection of sidesaddles and related items. She has an amazing collection with so many different unique saddles.
Today I've got the day off, as it's Thanksgiving day. But I'm supposed to have some lessons this afternoon. My plan was to do some gardening this afternoon but I'm not sure if that will happen, it's pretty overcast and cool (only +4) and looks like it might rain.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Giving a saddler some help

On thursday I bumped into a friend of mine and she mentioned that she'd seen a sidesaddle at a local saddler's place (who makes GORGEOUS western saddles). Apparently he was restoring it. So naturally I was curious and called him up. I popped by his shop later in the afternoon.
Apparently a local rancher had brought a few saddles in for some repairs and he'd had this sidesaddle in his barn, so he brought it in too and told him to see what he could do to help it out too. It was an english sidesaddle by a maker I've never heard of, I believe the name was "Louis" something and made somewhere in "MD" (Maryland?). It looked to be a really nice saddle in it's day. Dark leather, smooth pigskin seat & pommels and a little handkerchief pouch on the off-side. The billets looked like they'd never been used! It still had it's balance girth, overgirth and tri-fold girth marked "Mayhew London". (insert little girly squeal here!) It was a HUGE saddle though, the seat was really long and wide. It must have been for someone quite tall. The pommels on the saddle were in rough shape though, really chewed up unfortunately.
The saddler that was working on it really didn't know much about the saddle and had never worked on a sidesaddle. It was really fun to be able to tell him what I could about the saddle and help him out. He'd sewn another strap on the near-side of the saddle as he thought the balance strap went like a back cinch. Luckily that was easily removable. His next question was, "Well what do all the rest of these straps do?", so we went through saddling up the rack it was sitting on. I showed them how your supposed to sit on the saddle and how you "hang on" with your right leg.
The best part was when I brought in the little Copes safety stirrup that came with my $70 saddle. The Copes is the type that swivels backwards and then the footbed falls out to release your foot in the event of a fall. Anyways, he goes "OH we have one of those and I've always wondered what it was for! Now I know it's a sidesaddle stirrup". So then I said "Yup, it sure is, but do you know what it does?", he says "Well what do you mean?". So I pulled it apart and showed him. He says to me "You know, I've been wondering what that was for for 45 years and now I know!".

It was a really fun visit and I made sure to mention that if the owner wanted to sell the saddle, to let me know. hehe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fox hunting; Alberta style!

I went to my first fox hunt of the year on sunday. It was so much fun! We weren't able to go all last year with Brigit being sick.

I think I finally figured out the secret to having a fun hunt. The pelham. The first time I took Brigit on a hunt I made the mistake of riding her in a snaffle. By the end of the day I had blisters through leather gloves and my shoulders hurt from her pulling and yanking down on me, she just wanted to RUN flat out the whole time. Last year we went in a kimberwicke which helped a lot but since we've been riding sidesaddle in a pelham with success, I figured I'd give it a try. It was definitely the trick! She wasn't pulling and I wasn't sore! It was just a nice day out cantering around and jumping.

Now by "Alberta" foxhunting I mean it's just a mock hunt. We have a huntmaster and other hunt officials but we don't have hounds and there's nothing to chase. So we just follow the hunt master around and jump.

We were at a beautiful ranch called "Palmerra" this weekend. The hills are scenery are so beautiful! I was sure glad we stopped for lots of rest breaks though because my poor out of shape, flat land pony was definitely getting tuckered out!

Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home so I had to borrow a few pictures to post here.


And no, I'm not brave enough to try doing a hunt sidesaddle yet! My mare just gets a bit too nutty with all the other horses and I still haven't figured out this jumping aside business! lol