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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

July 23, 2011

I had to laugh after going to Boots & Saddles...

then jumping to Haiku Farm as I sit here with sweaty hair plastered to my head and a trickle of sweat running down my spine into the waistband of my very clammy shorts (TMI!).  Because the woman she was describing who has a serious case of tack vs. miles...well---- uh-----it could be me, unless you count the 3000 trail miles aside from the handful of LD's.  Since I have nothing going on here except a heat index at about 108-111 degrees, thanks ladies, it gives me something to talk about.  I've gone through a lot of STUFF.  This week in fact the mail brought in a saddle (again, after selling two) a new biothane tack set from The Distance Depot in an undisclosed color...biothane leathers from another seller (so I can drop the fenders which my knees hate), and a new hack nose band is in transit.  Now the uninitiated might ask why?  WHY???

This is worth bullet points:
  • From a surgery gone bad I have some nerve damage.  Only a select few saddles have worked for me.  The Crestridge "J" bar tree has been the best, and it fit both Phebes and I.  I've tried a long line up of saddles since, and each fit her well just about everytime except one that she outgrew between ages 5-6 and the Specialized that just was totally wrong on her and was the most miserable ride for me that I ever tried, not a statement against the saddle, just didn't work for me.  The other is the Abetta Arabian.   The Abetta fit my first mare Puddin' really well.  When I quit riding her I sold it and began on my saddle adventure trying to fit Phebes.  Phebes was too wide for the Abetta after about six months under saddle.  But trying my daughter's on Journey, it seemed to fit pretty well and I've put a lot of trail miles on an Abetta, so if they have not changed the design of the tree I should be good.  All the saddle buying and selling has really sucked in a big way as you never recoup your $ on any of them if you've bought new.  But getting gear to fit both myself and my horse both has been difficult.
  • Beta and biothane.  I just have no excuse other than a very short attention span and I like dressing my horse in pretty colors.  My beta is well cared for and I love every single piece of it.  It is fun to say today we are going red! blue! silver! black! and a new undisclosed color ☺  Do I need all that stuff?  Well---probably not.  But I enjoy it, tremendously.   Phebes was a horse that looked good in bright colors.  Journey has a lot going on already color-wise and I felt something a bit low key might suit her better.  Really...could you see her in zebra or cheeta boots? My little spotted wonder already looks like she stood on the wrong end of a paint sprayer or she dodged into a game of paintball gone wrong.   Before I discovered beta/biothane I had a leather bridle, and then a nylon bridle, and then handmade and braided sidepulls for Puddin'.   It took me a long time to discover that there was this wonderous stuff called beta. 
  • Saddle pads?  I haven't done too bad.   Let's see 2 made by Crestridge that worked fabulously until warm weather and then caused heat bumps.  2 Toklat Cool back which I like and are used for backup when my good pad is dirty.  Everyone knows the pad for me is Skito.  Hands down, and I worry they will go out of business (the business is for sale).  In fact they've nearly priced me out of the loop now anyway.  But if I had too, I'd buy a third.  So I have one very used Skito and one almost new Skito both black because black goes with anything. 
  • Hoof boots.  I started out with Old Mac's and that really didn't work for my old arabian mare who had a lot of leg action and kind of paddled on the hind.  She'd torque right out of them.  I eventually got her into Epics and those worked well enough as long as we didn't gallop.  Thankfully she had some tough little hooves and we went bare 99% of the time.  She retired, later died and I started looking for boots again for Phebes.  She had a set of Epics which fit her pretty well, but as soon as Gloves came out I traded those in on Gloves.  Now a new horse, and of course none of the boots fit.   Of course. *sigh*  If I could define the shape of Journey's hoof I'd have to say they have a "square" look about them, and that is due to needing to work out some flaring at the heel on all four.  It also makes her not at all right for a glove, at least not at this point.  She measures 121 mm X 121 mm which is round, but those little flares make the hoof appear distorted, which it is.
  • Splint boots.  I have a few, and they are mostly generic.  Most are black with various scuffs, and little tears in them.  One set is red, another blue.  My favorite pair have been a set of Pegasus boots in black that are a little different to apply, but are a nice boot.  My set is about worn out and velcro doesn't hold so well anymore.
So why all this stuff?  Part of it was to get proper fit for horse #1 (deceased), #2 (sidelined), and now #3 (which does not fit into 2's gear very well and I hate constantly having to adjust it when I switch horses).  To reduce weight or improve comfort (me or the horse), or I just plain thought something was pretty.  I don't have enough good clothes to actually dress myself up, but I can pretty up my horse.  It makes me happy.

Moral of the story?

Well, there really isn't one.  I have more fun dressing my horse, braiding her mane, and making her shine than I do pounding down the trail by ourselves.  I've really missed losing my riding buddy (miss you Chris!) who had a knee replacement and is selling her young horse in hopes of one a little more safe and settled before she goes out there again.  Don't get me wrong, I like solo riding, especially at a competition since I'm happier being slower than dirt.  But solo training?   It sure isn't safe, and I've had a few close calls to prove it.  Heat exhaustion, broken finger, injured pelvis, black eye, mashed nose (Phebes was a lot of fun...)  Perhaps the heat will break, I'll rediscover the mo-jo that I'm missing, quit mourning Phebes like she is dead (she sure eats a lot for a dead one), climb on the Royal Spotted one and just ride.

But 'til then?    I shop.  But truly...I hope to NEVER need another saddle again.  Not ever.  So over it.

I totally get it. That lady who buys saddles.  I'll bet she is lonely and needs a riding buddy too?  Or maybe she is shy and trying to "fit in."  Or perhaps, maybe she is just an equine related shop-a-holic who likes pretty colors...and pretty horses, or she compensates for "never winning" by having the nice "stuff". Maybe she's a little like me. *very big wink* ~ E.G.

p.s.  I want to move to Washington State.  I don't care if it is boggy, if I have to wear a rain slicker 6 out of 7, or if BIG FOOT really exists.  I want my own pirate hat, my own pirate flag, my own cup of GROG and own splash of PURPLE

p.s.s. I'm not sweaty anymore.  Central air is a wonderous thing.

Oh what the heck...the big reveal.  Plain Jane, caramel brown (better known as russet).
 The nose band is being shipped...that one is ugly, but functional.
 Good luck charm we all need a little luck!
 Hard to see but rhythm beads say "To finish is to win."
       Miss Grouchy Pants who was worried over where the other horse's were at.


  1. Love your post! You very neatly describe the other end of the argument - buying horse stuff is fun. Buying endurance horse stuff is even more fun. I like having "just the tool" for the job. I can't disagree with what you wrote here. As a reformed tack hoarder, my vice was trying together away with cheaper items - lots of cheaper items- before breaking down and admitting that quality does have a place in the price. Thus my reform is on the "buy it once, buy it right, buy it well" so that my barn is filled with pleasing, useful (and beautiful) tack like yours, and not full of tack I've never used. I'm still focusing on not enjoying endurance through buying stuff - but rather the experience of riding, but i got there after years of enjoying endurance in part by buying tack.

  2. Thats the perfect color for Journey! She is a real cutie :)

  3. I'm a saddle pad junkie. I have at least one that I haven't even used yet - and I am not saving it. I would have said that other than that I am pretty sparing with tack, until I started trying to find a bridle that would fit Nina and discovered that I own more bridles than I would have thought. I used to be addicted to jumping boots but I have a couple of pairs (like a horse needs more than 1pr) and I have lost interest in those - and they are outrageously expensive. I will just stick with pretty saddle pads.

  4. Great post and I can totally agree. I have always had enough horsey stuff to start my own shop. Not sure how it happens but I just seem to accumulate multiple numbers of things but then there's always the bargain, the "I haven't seen one like that before" and the stuff we actually need (or think we need at the time). I have a beautiful little black arab mare who seriously has way more rugs than any horse could ever need. We have rugs for vetting in, special rugs for parading around in, rugs for home, rugs for rides, rugs for after rides, rugs for going to rides, rugs for coming home from rides ..... you get the idea. I do endurance in Australia and believe me the obsession with pretty colours and bling is as rife here as anywhere. I know the horses don't need 99% of what they're dressed up in (and some days I let all of mine just be horses without rugs or any human attachments) but it gives me pleasure on top of the pleasure being with my horses already gives me so while they tolerate my obsession, said obsession will likely continue for many years to come. The internet doesn't help though as now there's literally a whole world of stuff to choose from, from the comfort of your own home so maybe we need to start a support group for compulsive horse gear buyers (I'll give the acronym some thought LOL).

  5. The brown looks great! Good choice =)

  6. Great post!
    Love what you said:
    "Don't get me wrong, I like solo riding, especially at a competition since I'm happier being slower than dirt."
    That was Apache last Saturday during an ACTHA CTC. We literally rode by ourselves for most of 7 miles. But I didn't mind all that much because my mare seems to enjoy just the two of us out on a trail by ourselves, and we did complete the ride. Like your rhythm beads say, "To Finish is to Win". So true!

    But we are working on keeping her rated and more forward, which is what we did during yesterday's lesson, just so, if I really want to ride beside someone who rides faster than dirt, well, I can. lol!

    You are making me want to go tack shopping, too. My tack is all boring black, because like you, my reasoning is that black goes with everything. And I like to wear fun colorful helmet covers to spice things up a little.
    I might have to check into some of that biothane tack, though. :)

    I have no idea what would look good on a sorrel and white pinto. Any ideas?