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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Right Equipment for the Job

Ok, so I was browsing Dreamhorse today and ran across a photo that all I could do was look at it and grimace. Here it is.

This horse is SUPER cute, and looks like a willing fellow for putting up with what is going on. I shall refrain from being too critical of the rider's position, but when she lands, she is in for a nasty surprise. This is a prime example of why it's a bad idea to use the wrong tack for a given activity. This poor girl is going to end up landing and either getting a saddle horn to the sternum, or it will get caught in the band of her bra and she is going to be stuck to the saddle horn (that sucks, I can assure you, I once was doing sort of an emergency dismount and got caught like that), or a combination thereof. But hey, at least she won't inadvertently chuck him in the mouth, what with being stuck to the saddle horn by her bra.
So, moral of the story, if you are planning on jumping, I strongly suggest using a jumping saddle and not a Western one.


  1. I am guilty of that! I love trail riding, and my old barrel horse loved to jump 8 times higher than necessary over any logs/sticks/mud puddles. He jumped like Tigger- four feet off the ground at the same time, four feet hit the ground at the same time. The first time he did it, he caught me totally off balance- it my fault for assuming- and I fell forward on the saddle horn (of a barrel saddle- OUCH). At least I didn't catch his mouth though, just like you said. I started taking jumping lessons after that.

    I have also gotten my trophy belt buckle caught on the saddle horn in the middle of a run. As a result, I couldn't sit and slow my horse. Not wanting to punish his mouth for my mistake, we ended up doing a few fast, crazy cirlces before my belt broke, allowing me sit. I had the biggest bruise from that!

    I am also guilty of loping barrels in a dressage saddle with my Thoroughbred OTTB, but that's more because he is a really hard fit, and his dressage saddle is specifically flocked for him. We definitely were not going very fast, either, just playing with bending and circles slowly. A few of my friends did a double take, though.

    I turn myself in, I'm guilty as charged on two counts of wrongful tacking! I hope the woman in the picture invests in jumping lessons as well, they were a huge help for me. My barrel racing actually improved because I learned to stay out of my tack with a light seat, and thus stayed out of my horse's way in between barrels, plus no more springing forward and falling on my horse's neck like a jack in the box, lol.

  2. I think I would rather see that than her yanking on her horses mouth. This picture was probably taken out on a trail ride, we all do that kind of stuff. I'm guilty of jumping in a western saddle once or twice, and bareback many times.

    It really does look like she's going to get her bra caught on the saddle horn, lol.

  3. I saw this same ad on Dreamhorse and it made me cringe. It must be us English snobs that really look at this and go ouch.

    I liked the horse too. I just can't see myself ever jumping in a Western saddle. It's very awkward and it's not fair to ask a horse to jump when you can't really get off its back.

  4. i agree that she is doing it all wrong... BUT I am guilty of jumping in a western saddle. I actualy think is a great idea to know how, and for your western horse to know how to jump! I have been on situation on the trail where i have had to make my horse jump something. :)

  5. But you have to jump in a western saddle sometimes. On a trail. Ranch versatility. Trail competition. Those aren't meant to be very high, but nor is this log.

    That said, yes, sternum-to-horn distance here is gonna hurt.

  6. *rolls eyes* Sorry, I disagree here. So, if you are on a trail ride and have to jump a log, are you supposed to turn around and go get your english saddle? This lady looks to me like she's on a green horse and (now, I don't know much about jumping) looks like she's trying to move with him and stay out of his mouth. My original thought was that maybe this isn't the greatest pic for an ad, but you know, the horse looks willing and eager, especially if they are marketing him as a trail horse.

    My horse loves to jump, and when I get there in my lessons, I want to take some jumping lessons so I can at least do some low level trail jumping without popping her in the mouth. I don't see what's wrong with that.

  7. I like the horse a lot. It is a good idea for trail riders to learn how to jump in a western saddle. Someday, somewhere, you just might have to jump something. Of course, one can get off and send the horse over the jump.
    As to bras hooking in the saddle horn--I don't have to wear a bra so I don't have that problem! There are advantages to having small boobs.

  8. I am guilty of this as well - many a log and creek have been jumped in a western saddle. At least she is not caught behind the motion and yanking on his mouth. If your intention is to go out and jump over as many obstacles as you can find then do invest in a decent all purpose saddle... and a helmet

  9. i'm with the rest of the commenters who say sometimes, on trail, ya gotta jump. nothing wrong with that - and it's also why i told my trainer 'hey i want to learn to jump. i know i'm not supposed to be doing it regularly (old injury) but i need to know *how* to ride it just in case i ever run across one on trail.'

    turns out my leggy paint *likes* to jump. we won't be doing courses in a western saddle, but alot of trail competitions (and the extreme cowboy race) feature low obstacles for jumping.

    that said, this lady, while she has a lovely little game horse, is about to get a nasty horn-shaped bruise on her chest. lessons, please!

  10. This just looks like a lot of work to me.

    I jumped once in a Western saddle. It was on a trail ride and there was a log across the path. It was a low jump but I still got thumped in the gut a bit by the pommel. Not something I am terribly interested in repeating. :o)

  11. I like the horse too and I am going to join in saying yes, sometimes you aren't in a position to switch tack to fit the situation.

    She does look like she is about to be hung up on the horn with her bra. I haven't had this happen yet, but the reality is highly likely for her.

    I have done just about everything in my close contact and dressage saddle that I have done in my beat up old Simco. As long as you can ride, the saddle fits the horse and you, it shouldn't make much difference. But if given the option, then always use the tack appropriate for the discipline.

    Most jumping on the trail can often comes from the horse deciding not to just walk into the damn stream but trying to jump it instead. My mare used to do that.

    The step through gates into the state park, to my gelding they were oxers with a 4'-8' spread. *shakes head*

  12. GAH.

    Last week at 4H I had to edumacate some folks who have a 3 yr old Halflinger that they want to teach to jump. (It's not even started yet.)

    I was like, "Well, you need to wait a couple of years at LEAST. You want a horse you can ride at 20, right?" OK, no worries, she really got that point - it was an awesome a-HA moment.

    Then, she said "I won't have to get an English saddle, right? I'm not riding in no English saddle!!"

    Fortunately the leader was there to chime in with me. I think they're convinced....

  13. ALso... I'd rather run barrels in a dressage saddle than jump in a Western!! ;)

    He's a cute horse, you're so right.

  14. I have nothing against versatility, but close contact and all purpose saddles are designed for a reason: you can get into a proper two point.

    This rider IS sitting on her horse's back, while thank god, not hitting him in the mouth. I have a problem with her position. Western stirrups are just too long and the horn is in your way to get into a proper position to free the horse. Yes, the log is small - but IMHO, this is not something you want to do very often and its not the best thing for the horse. Plus, it just teaches the horse that its going to hurt to jump - NOT want you want to teach them.

    I have been guilty of popping over fences in the wrong gear (dressage saddles for instance) - but I don't make a habit of it, and I wouldn't encourage others to follow suit. Call me old fashioned, but traditions and proper tack are there for a reason.

  15. A dressage saddle would be a lot better than a Western!!

    I really feel for the pre-forward-seat hunters of antiquity, when the riders *leaned back* or, in the case of the corseted ladies, had their weight all on one side.

    Sidesaddle looks pretty and all, but it's not so great for a horse.

  16. Oh horror of horrors! Not really. Every trail horse I have ever owned learned how to jump over obstacles in western tack. It's not that big of a deal. Sometimes OVER is the only way to get where you need to go. Unless you just ride on manicured trails, then your horse doesn't need to know how. Sorry, but this is just not something that needs to be worried about. Unless you can tell me how to rope calves from an english saddle. And no, I have nothing against english riders or tack, it just doesn't work well when dealing with brush cattle.

  17. I do understand the need to jump something on the trail. The thing is, in the ad, she is advertising the horse as a jumping prospect and the jump she is going over is set up, see the poles on the ground on the sides? They are guide poles. Also she is not helping him out at all, if you are selling a horse as a jumping prospect, it might be wise to have someone who knows what they are doing to actually ride him for the photos.

  18. If you are marketing the horse as a _______ fill in the blank, prospect, get photo's of them DOING it and doing it well...

    This seems to be going around lately.