THE VERSATILE HORSE
~ Western Riding every which way
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Loping Bill’s Blog
30th October 2012
It was a 3-
But, because we normally take either the first or last baton and I would need to change it from one hand to the other this time, I tied off my reins (see “Split Reins”) to make sure that if I did drop them in a fumble of the baton from one hand to the other, they wouldn’t drop away to the ground.
It started well. Took the baton cleanly and rounded the first two corners nicely and opened the boy up down the back straight. Sad soul that I am, it’s raising the hairs on my arms as I write this! But it’s what versatility horsemanship is all about – cutting loose after the relative restraint of a Reining Pattern or a Western Riding class – there’s not a feeling like it when your horse is flat out and going for it…
Anyway, the inevitable happened. Halfway down the back straight, I passed the baton from one hand to the other and fumbled the reins. But I hadn’t thought this through. The weight of the knot in the reins automatically dropped them down one side of his neck and, at about 40mph, I had to reach down and get them back. Not a problem but the third corner was coming up fast and I was still getting back in the saddle as we got there. The boy took that OK but was obviously unsettled and on the short run from the third to the fourth corner he jinked first one way and then the next and I flew out the side.
Fortunately, it was a nice soft surface and I’ve had worse falls. But as I was getting my wind back, my good old friend Stuart Powell came up to me and said: “You know, if you’d had bucking rolls on that saddle, that wouldn’t have happened…”
Of course, I can now think of lot of other reasons why it needn’t have happened but
as most of them have to do with self -
So: what are they? Simple really. They’re two padded pouches that fit on the front
of the western saddle seat and supplement the swells which are virtually non-
They’re easily fitted and come in different shapes and sizes with either a screw fix at both ends or leather thongs for adjustment on the inner end. And they work. I was bothered that they might cramp me in a bit but they actually give you a better feeling of security and you can really lean into them when things are getting versatile!
So, why have a slick forked saddle in the first place, I hear you ask (or not!). That has to be the subject of another blog. Watch this space…