A clamor? From my readers? Demanding a post before tomorrow, which starts a black out that will only end after my final on Thursday?
And the dear readers want the post to be both educational, useful, AND entertaining?
I have just the thing!
We shall title this......"How I made my own seat saver with an old woolback"
The fleece covers for my leathers have wonderful....but I need my aussie to feel a little cozier than my english saddle.
After reviewing my options for seat covers, I kept coming back to the
fact that I HAD a very nice full seat cover and I hated it. Never used
it. Managed to sell it for the same 40 bucks that I paid for it (yes, I
got a good deal, and passed that good deal along!) and have never
looked back. Chances are, if I bought one I would hate it.
The never fit as well as you hope, my legs always feel trapped because the stirrup leathers/fenders are underneath it, they slide and bunch because the fasterns are elastic, and because I tend to grip with my knees and/or calves, it stretches, moves, and rumples up and down the flap in the most annoying way.
I started wondering whether I might be able to make my own......I had an older woolback pad that I bought a while ago for 30 bucks, not realizing that it won't fit under any saddle bigger than a 16", or a kids saddle. I couldn't hardly give it away when I was selling my tack, and I was unwilling to just trash it - those old woolbacks are like gold.
I didn't have anything to lose, having stored this pad for years and years and never used it, so spent my evening and afternoon "creatively".
First I decided that the full pad thickness was too much, and have evaluating it, I realized that I could cut apart the layers. Let me tell you. The saying is that these old woolbacks wear like iron and they DO. It was all I could do to find something that would initally cut into this fabric so that my sissors could finish the job.
Once that was complete, I cut holes for the poleys.
I eliminated the trim under my leg since it added bulk and a lump. (can you tell that I went to dinner and it's now dark?)
Then I started figuring out how I wanted it to attach to the saddle.
I'm moving, and mostly packed, so my options were limited. Fortunately my boot supplies are NOT packed and so I had little tiny zipties at my disposal.
I can replace them in the future with something else, but in the meantime, they would be as permanant as I wanted them to be.
I attached the pad to the seat of the saddle by using the over girth and the last strap folded back on its self that wasn't cut off during the modification process.
Here and else where, I made sure the that pointy ends of the zipties would neither mark the leather nor my hide.
Then, I attached the pad to the front of the saddle using a set of D rings.
At first I attached a panel of fleece to the flap, behind the fenders, but later removed it. I can always fasten it back on for the rare ride (like a ride and tie) where I'll be wearing shorts. Placing it UNDER the fender lets the fender swing freely and reduces the chances that the cover will be pulled in a wierd way from my leg. (what was left after making the seat portion)
I attached a long piece of fleece to the outside of the stirrup fender, starting at the level of the end of the seat pad, and secured it at the bottom by wrapping the fleece up. The bottom is secured with zipties, the top is secured with a combination of zipties and an o-ring that provides some tension and compliance --> it should stay in place, but I can move it if I need to.
By only having the fleece on the OUTSIDE of the fender (which is the only part my leg will be touching) have have eliminated some of the bulk of having a "tube" around the leather, which will be especially important if I do ride with the "flap panel" at some point.
Lasting I attached the back of the seat panel to the saddle by using a free float system utilizing a cotton stretch rotissouri truss tye and an o-ring as an anchor. Hopefully this will keep the pad from being kicked off the back of the cantle as I swing my leg over it, but provide a enough flexibility in the system to move as needed (since the zipties are static).
There are several advantages of this cover, including providing with full protection while still being able to cross the stirrups over the seat for easy transport, AND being able to access under the flaps and every where else I might need to for switching out leathers etc without having to take the cover off.
There wasn't much left of the pad.
I'm quite proud of my self.
Quick Farley update:
Leg looks a little less swollen than yesterday, not painful to touch at all, trots freely after me when I have a bucket of grain and doesn't look lame. Got on her to do some more saddle fitting stuff and walked around the arena. Encouraged her to trot, but she's still a bit reluctant so I didn't push it --> she felt even and sound from the saddle with the steps she did take. I think we are on the right track, and things are taking a turn for the better --> probably ride her lightly at a walk later this week and see how it goes. Talked to R* at the barn and she mentioned that the polo ponies sometimes do the same thing and it's usually them hitting the pipe while kicking at flies. I think that sounds like the most logical theory so far and likely what happened.
BTW - this was me "riding" Farley today --> as you might see, I had nothing serious planned, just wanted to see how the gullet/wither clearance was with my mounted.
This is NOT how I dressed for my ride and tie practice today.
No....for that I wore a bike helmet :) (and shorts, and my barefoot, closed toe shoes (do the Keens in the above picture count as closed toed?).
(Stasi says "get on with it people! I need to roll ASAP")
Keep your children away from endurance riders!!!!!! We teach them all sorts of naughty things including cutting up expensive pads for an "experiment", letting the horse drink while hot, and that a little color is just fine.
Welcome to the Boots and Saddles blog. "Boots and saddles" describes a horse of(f) course - my experiences in the endurance world, as a veterinary student, and as a life long student of the horse. This blog is part of a larger endurance information site, which promotes renegade hoof boots and education for riders in their first 1000 endurance miles. I hope that you are entertained, informed, and inspired.
Funder: I swear, endurance is the sport of tying as much random crap on a dirty horse as possible, then riding til you chafe your thighs raw.
Elizabeth Funderburk: You're not tough just because you can destroy your body faster than everybody else around you. That is a ridiculously difficult thing for me to remember...You can be plenty tough without being dumb...
Bethany Faubel: Funder's right: being tough doesn't mean being damaged before you have a chance at senility. Otherwise, we would be calling all professional boxer/wrestlers not only tough but intelligent as well...
"Endurance is a series of small disasters, interspersed with larger disasters. The sport of endurance is your ability to solve and learn and prevent them. (and enjoy the process)"
AareneX on 2010 Goals:
"I will not be discouraged by setbacks in 2010, but will use them as training opportunities for successes in the future."
JB on Revelation 7 "More then just bruised ego's are at stake in endurance, as the horses whole life and well being is on the line".