Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Yes once Again!

The controversy over what saddles to use and how to use them has always been and will always be.
I have always kept and held true to my opinion through my experience on this subject and yes I have put my neck on the chopping block many times over willingly and taken my public and private verbal whooping like a big girl . I have done so in that through my life time to date and many thousands of horses now, I have always looked to what the horse has taught me in what works best for them, not for me. I refuse to allow my self to be held hostage by marketing techniques, regurgitated words, and yet a product never performs as the words were spoken. I refused to be held to what is popular or the saddles being status symbol to own, only by what is best for the horse. Below is from an e-mail I was sent yesterday on a study conducted from a source that I hold in high regard and have learned much from over the years.
I know in some situations a treeless saddle is the only option for some horses just due to shape and a tree for that shape can not exist unless custom made so there is and can be a place in those situations. IME I see no place for a bar-less saddle though.
I am also aware of the issues that exist in conventional saddle fit, but this is a human problem in the industry due to lack of tree manufactures and saddle builders being educated enough, and willing to learn more about the horse in it's true conformation and how the body needs to function properly in carrying a human and performing what we ask. This should not be IMO, with all the avenues in technology we have to research and expand the overall knowledge base on this topic. It should be more than just make the sales pitch sound great, but must also perform great. The saddle owners DO hold a huge responsibility in this also, in how to use the products properly as well as applying good horsemanship skills. When big money, ego's and politics enter into anything the true path gets blurred and we have to do our homework which takes time and brain power. We should not allow our selves and our horses to become  victims of it all. Saddle and tree manufacturing is an art but the artistic pretty or fancy saddle also holds secondary place to function, pretty will not keep your horse sound , your horse safe, you riding properly and you safe as well. Be sure it fits and functions first, and then one can chose what the appearance can be.

Treeless vs. Conventional Saddles: Back Pressure Evaluated
by: Christa Lesté-Lasserre
November 23 2011, Article # 19191
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Treeless saddles are often said to be more "natural," more comfortable for riders and/or horses, or more universally fitting for all equine back shapes and rider seats. But according to a leading equitation scientist, the tree still seems to serve a very important purpose: regulating pressure distribution.
"What you can see with the treeless saddle is a very definite concentration of pressure right underneath the rider's seat bones," said Hilary Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, MRCVS, Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University, during the presentation of her study at the 2011 International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference, held Oct. 26-29 in Hooge Mierde, The Netherlands. However, that's not the case with a well-fitted conventional saddle, which pressure mats reveal applies much more even pressure with lower peak forces across the horse's back, she said.
"That suggests that the tree is indeed doing what it's supposed to do, in terms of spreading the force over a larger area of the horse's back," she said.
In her study Clayton fitted eight purebred Arabian horses with pressure mats under their saddles and had them ridden at a slow, sitting trot in a straight line by the same, experienced rider. The rider rode each horse once with a treeless saddle and once with a conventional English saddle custom-fitted to an Arabian horse. The saddles weighed exactly the same, and the rider rode without stirrups.
What Clayton and her colleagues found was that the conventional saddle was much more effective in spreading out the pressure on the horse's back caused by the rider's weight, Clayton said. Generally the treeless saddles resulted in higher peak pressures, and more sensors detected significant pressure levels (higher than 11 kilopascals--a number that's significant in the appearance of clinical signs of back pain and injury, according to Clayton)--meaning a larger number of high individual pressure points.
"For the conventional saddle the loading was approximately equal across all thirds (of the saddle from front to back), whereas for the treeless saddle we had a very definite concentration of loading in the middle third (where the rider sits)," Clayton said.
Pressure would be even higher with a heavier rider (the study rider weighed 125 pounds) and at faster gaits, she said.
Learn more about successful training from weaning to early under saddle work in the gimmick-free guide Understanding the Young Horse.
Even so, conventional saddles are not necessarily ideal, according to Clayton. "The tree is a somewhat rigid structure, and the fact that it is rigid means there is need for the tree to fit correctly both to the horse and to the rider," she said. "A lot of riders have become very frustrated because it has become difficult to find a tree that does fit comfortably on both the horse and the rider."
Thus it's important to ensure your saddle fits your horse and isn't causing him back pain, and a saddle fitter or experienced horseman can assist in this task.
It would be interesting to see in further studies if a treeless saddle might still be an improvement over a poorly fitted conventional saddle, Clayton said. Additional studies should also test different kinds of treeless saddles.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fortunes Lost but Family Gained

Meet Rosewood! Cousin of the Woodpile gang.
Now she comes from those big city woods in the family not the common woods like our loved gang here on the ranch.

Rosewood has had a very nice life knowing luxury and comfort to the fullest.

Indoor showers. Not the outdoor kind like here at the ranch.

She has had all the conveniences of life.
The sad news is that with the economic crash and the fall in demand for the fine woods, her close family fortune has been lost.
Sooooo what does a smart, tough, city woods kind of gal do????

She picks up her stick , takes up her roots and does what she needs to with pride in tact and starts sewing some new seeds!

Welcome to Shades of Oak Rosewood!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Equine Affair MA 2011

Oh what an amazing weekend it was!
First a bit of history in that Equine affair started in 1994. This is their 18th year, and their 14th at the MA location. I did the first one in OH in 1994 when it was held in Dayton, OH when I still lived in VA , I was the sidesaddle clinician.
It has been a wonderful working relationship I have had with the staff over the years and am still in Ah of how well and easy they make my job at each event.
I would also like to thank friend Zeke Taylor and friend and family Sue Graves who I handed my camera off to and they did a wonderful job of getting photos for our memories.

The EA arena staff and I always have a lot of fun with each other and this year they started calling our session participants " Liz's Calvary". Oh little do they know our gaited family and how much they love to have a great time!
The last session of the weekend on Sunday evening the riders got together and decided to enter bearing the American flag and enter in formation. Steve 1st as flag bearer, Jen 2nd,Bob 3rd,Bonnie 4th and Kate 5th. The crowd and the staff were delighted!

Now in this photo I will have to point out a little about it for folks to understand.
Take notice of the white blob in front of Jen's horse Ranger her which I'm standing next to laying at his left front hoof. Also notice my face and hunched posture. Seems my razzing my east coast friends about not snowing here while they were receiving a very destructive snow storm made for a bit of revenge. Steve saved and made snowballs from that very storm and froze them in his freezer just for this event.
Yep they did!! Steve handed snow balls during the session , my having not a clue about what was about to happen. I got blasted!! Snowball storm indoors and the coolest part beside it being fun, but every single horse did not react to the snowballs flying, now that speaks loud and clear for our breeds and the quality of horsemanship and training of this group of horses. The spectators loved it!
Now this is a special photo to but I have to direct your eyes again to Steve first in the Red, white and blue shirt. Now notice in his hands is a longe whip with a piece of twine tied to the lash and along the right side of his horse DJ's head you will see a carrot tied to the twine. This seems to be a new and up coming big game sport called deep arena fishing. Steve had very good luck to as he caught Bobs Horse Bud the sorrel on the left with the carrot on the twine. I also saw them doing this at stalls out back and I believe in that case it's called deep stall fishing. Again the spectators were thrilled with the fun being had along with the education going on, but Bud was the happiest since he got the carrot.
Once again Jen dressed Ranger in Leopard print saddle pad and leg wraps knowing it's my very favorite print from my childhood in spending a lot of time around Oselot cats belonging to an adult friend of my Mothers. Never will I tire of that print.
Everything always comes together when our gaited horse family can get together and relax at the end of a great day of fun and work around a meal together. I had escargot and scallops which were awesome and made my taste buds dance.
Take note of the new woodpile member center table!
More to come later on that new adventure.
Signing off with a big smile after a great time!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lots Happening!

It's been very busy here so I am just am throwing up a bunch of photos this time of happenings.
This is such a little part of whats been going on here during a very perfect fall and I hope yours has been a wonderful.

Jeanne Learning the art of bosal on her mare Fancy
Liz with Major up
Liz with Stryker up
Jeanne with Fancy up
Jeanne riding our Quarter Horse mare Candy Cow Cody
Tony & Sissy with Marty playing in their pile of toys
Jeanne riding our TWH Mare Super Mans April
Jeanne & Pretty Boy Floyd all taped up keeping body alignment Maintenance happening
Wendy, Val & Marty , horse gals relaxing
Cordura/ leather saddle Dave just finished making
Pop Wagner & Dave spending a day in the shop working and playing with their dogs.
Wylie,Sissy and Tony