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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pics, Stirrups, and other musings

WHAAAAAAAA!!!!! NOOoOOOOOO!!!!!! *insert head shaking and feet stomping* WHYYYYYYYYYY NOOWWWWWWWWWW?????!?!?!?!?!?!

I am of course referring to the weather forecast for my upcoming 100 miler. Although, I think the weather system that is coming in is fairly unstable and therefore it might change.

*crosses fingers*

Yesterday they were predicting rain most of the week leading up to the ride. This (for those of you readers that missed my newfound “I don’t ride 100’s in the rain” resolution post ) is bad.

However, in just a very short 24 hours the news has gotten better.

Today there’s only a couple showers in the week leading up the ride. And 60% chance of showers the day of the ride. So I’m pretty sure they don’t know what this system is going to do, and I will probably just have to wait until we are 3-5 days out to really know what I’m dealing with.

Also, I’ve had to do some thinking. I am committed to the resolution that I’m a fair weather 100 miler. However, I’ve also decided, “showers” aren’t rain. Just because there is a good chance of on and off showers doesn’t make it an automatic no-go. Rain and thunderstorms = no-go. Chance of showers throughout the day = maybe. Depends on temperature, the presence of wind, and how much rain the trail has gotten in the last week.

First up – pics of the clip. A couple of different angles (and as a side note – ain’t she cute? And yes, she’s as sweet as she looks). Not THAT much hair clipped off….but I was shocked how much it helped.

The Butt (edit - no idea why this is underlined.....*sigh*)
Now, bear with me because I know these are a bit blurry. I was shooting from across the pasture, over the back of her nosy pasture mate, BUT I want you to notice something…….see her butt? That’s the point – she has a butt to look at! Do you know how much hard work and labor went into that Butt?????!!!!!! (and yes – I’ve decided the Butt gets to be a proper noun). She actually has ripple-y muscles that show through her winter coat!


Next, I would direct your attention to the stirrup. This is one change I’ve done to my tack set up for 100 milers that I haven’t shared yet on the blog. I’ve been using these composite stirrups for a couple of months. They are FABULOUS. I’ve been using for jumping and for my endurance work and my foot is secure without feeling trapped. The foot bed is just a tad deeper than a standard fillis iron so it distributes pressure evenly and the composite material has just enough give. My trainer and I were a bit skeptical that they would be OK for jumping because they are really light, but the no problems picking them up, or keeping them so far. I was going to attach washers to the bottom of the stirrup to help weight them, but with no issues so far, I haven’t gotten around to it.

I have some nerve issues with my feet so I’m very picky about my stirrups. I’m not a fan of the easy care “easy ride” stirrup. They have too much soft cushion for my foot to feel stable on the platform, the very deep foot bed (back to front) is so wide I find that it actually puts additional pressure on the ball of my foot, and the stirrup it’s self is so wide, unless I was using the ones with cages, there was a really real danger of my foot going through if something happened. Not to mention that I’ve had the bolt assembly come undone at the top of the stirrup during a ride (if you see a pic of me at Desert Gold from 2008 and it appears that I’m carrying a stirrup and riding without a stirrup – I am).

I rode with easy care stirrups for a season or two, but finally switched over to an aussie stirrup. It looked like an English stirrup that was wider from back to front, and had a leather pad that velcro’ed over the base. I really like them and completed 100’s in them with no problem. However….something about the way the opening was shaped would catch the bottom strap of my half chaps. I’m not sure what was going on, because they don’t look that different from fillis iron (which have never done that). I like to readjust my foot in the stirrup as needed and somehow, sometimes, when I would try to kick the stirrup further to the front of the ball of my foot, the half chap strap would fix my foot in the stirrup and I wouldn’t be able to kick my foot out of the stirrup. It would absolutely panic me, and even though it was easy enough to reach down and get the stirrup off, I often wouldn’t be able to kick my foot out on its own without reaching down. I HATED that feeling, even though there wasn’t any real danger of my foot being stuck, or if I fell off my foot not coming free. (BTW – I’m having trouble describing exactly what would happen, if I remember, I’ll take a series of pics so you guys can see, but for now, the wind is blowing and the rain is soaking everything, so use your imaginations). The other drawback to the aussie stirrups was I would have to change my stirrups out on my solstice saddle after trail rides, back to a more traditional stirrup that could be used for jumps or dressage. The stirrup bars on my solstice saddle are not the easiest things to get leathers on and off of. To top it all off – the aussie irons are heavy. It doesn’t seem like they add THAT much weight to the overall weight of the saddle and other gear, BUT it shocking to see how much lighter the saddle is without the weight of those stirrups……

The composite stirrups seem to have none of the drawbacks of the aussie or easy care stirrups above – at least so far. They are light but durable (so far). They are secure without being trapping. They give without becoming unstable. They are economical (one reason I haven’t tried the Herm Springer stirrups…..yet). They are versatile – appropriate for dressage, jumping, and trail. They don’t make my feet hurt. I’ll keep you guys updated after 20 MT.

Of course, there’s always these: Mmmm….

And for those of you that are interested – the vet update:

I cut my hair today (yes, it’s absolutely adorable), bought new slacks last night (I think the entire female population a size 6 – there was literally ONE PAIR OF size 6’s each in the entire store in the colors I wanted - black and very light khaki - and they were medium length. So I’m going to have to hem), and managed to find ONE pair of acceptable shoes (whatever happened to the classic black pump?).

Don’t even get me started on button up shirts for women. There was NOTHING that would be appropriate under a blazer. NOTHING. The men’s shirts (obviously) didn’t fit, and everything in the boys section was some shade of Blue (doesn’t work with a coat that hints at green). Grrrrrr……..

I got my coat dry cleaned (as well as a backup pair of slacks, and the shirt I’ll be wearing – better to have someone else iron it in a cat-free environment). First time I’ve ever had anything dry cleaned. Feels like a waste to have a $3 thrift store blazer cleaned for $15…..but I happen to LIKE this particular coat, and I’m pretty sure it ‘tis better to have it cleaned of cat hair for $15 than try and replace it for less than that on short notice!

I had a great conversation with a vet over a cup of coffee this morning that really gave me a lot of confidence. I had felt a bit overwhelmed and unsure of myself after a similar conversation with a different vet, but I think I’m back on track now and ready to totally give this thing a good try.


  1. Farley looks awesome. Your haircut for her doesn't look crazy-wonky, either!

    As for confidence, hell. You've finished Tevis. Keep your buckle in your car, and touch it right before you go in for your interview. Think about how hard THAT was, and vet school admissions should be a breeze!

  2. Farley looks super! And nice clip job. Are those webbers on your saddle? I love webbers.

    Hmmm. Maybe I will look into composite stirrups. Sometimes I experience foot pain the day after some jumping. Usually across the ball or within the sliding joints of my foot.

    I dislike "S" stirrups. Ironically, these are the only type of stirrups in which my entire foot has slipped through, which is NOT a good feeling. So much for safety!

  3. I have a pair of the easy ride stirrups and haven't tried them yet. I just ride in regular English stirrups, but will admit it gets kind of old towards the end of a 50. THESE on the other hand, look like something I'd try.

  4. hey, I like this horse and it's saddle very much. Could you please tell me what type of feeding you give this horse.

    english tack


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