Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Saddle Woes

You guys get 2 posts today since I was behind in posting from yesterday!

We've all been there.  The agonizing search for a saddle to fit our beloved ponykins.  One that fits them better than Cinderella's glass slipper and is more comfy than an entire couch made out of that stuff in the Ogilvy pads.  Oh yeah, and it would be nice if I could still actually AFFORD said pampered pony after the purchase of what is essentially a very expensive chair.

A few words before I dive in.  I am not fussy about saddle brands.  It's not to say that I don't like CWD, Antares, Devocuox, Beval, etc, but I know that it will be a few years before even a used saddle in these brands will be in my budget.  I understand that whatever saddle I end up purchasing that falls in my budget may not have the same lifespan as one of the high end saddles.  The most important thing to me is that the saddle is comfortable for and fits my horse, and that it makes me ride like Margie Engle at least sort of fits me.

*steps off soapbox*

Here is what we are working with:

I promise she doesn't look this weird in person.  I cannot promise that she does not Derp face in person.

I was originally recommended a Prestige Roma Jump based on photos of my mare.  To be honest, this saddle is just not in my budget right now.  So I've been stalking researching the Internet to find a used Prestige in my budget.  They are out there, but it terrifies me to try to buy a used saddle from Facebook or Ebay without having already ridden in or at least tried on something similar.  I've heard too many horror stories about returns so unless I absolutely know that it is going to fit, I think I will shy away from potentially putting myself in a bad position.  

My Precious!!!

I did try a Pessoa Legacy XP3 that I liked, but appears to be too wide for Miss Jumper Princess' TB withers and dip behind them, even with the narrowest gullet installed.  It also has a little bit of damage where the leather has split on both sides of the pommel.  Not a huge deal as it can be fixed, but probably not going to do a lot for resale value down the road either.  So the Pessoa will be going back. Interesting side note, I'm 99% sure that this Pessoa is the same saddle that her previous owner was riding her in and seemed to fit her so I'm not sure why it doesn't seem to be working now.  I was allowed to ride in it for a few weeks and with a half pad, doesn't seem to be hurting her back, but I want the best fit I can find.  I'm so sad that it is not going to work for us right now because it is SO DANG COMFY!

Panels in contact with the back all the way down, good start!

Daylight all the way through the channel, seems to sit on either side of  the spine

Low over the wither and not even girthed up yet!  Drats!

I found Classic Saddlery after browsing several saddle search blogs on COTH and several people said that their fitter Linda was great to work with.  SHE IS!!!  I just put a deposit down on an brand new M. Toulouse Joelle with a Genesis tree.  It looks a little weird in the photo but I when I found a photo of the saddle on a horse, it looks normal.  Linda said she will put some extra flocking in it where she thinks we might need it and send it out.  Plus, it includes free leathers and irons.  Who doesn't love free schwag???  Anyway, it will be shipped out on Thursday and I should have it in my hot little hands by Monday!  

Please don't break my heart, Toulouse Saddle!!!

I did my due diligence on COTH and noted that a lot of people don't like the M. Toulouse saddles.  It makes me nervous that there are a lot of naysayers about the Toulouse brand, but I also don't want to make my decision based solely on other people's opinions.  I have 2 days to try the saddle and send Linda photos of the saddle so she can evaluate the fit.  And I can send it back for additional flocking or fit adjustments if needed!  There is also a boarder out at my barn that has a Toulouse with the Genesis tree and though I haven't seen her to ask if I can try it on Chloe, I did look at it and the leather and quality doesn't look as bad to me as people have said.  I think her saddle may still be less than a year old so perhaps it doesn't have a lot of wear yet.

I'm excited for next week to get here and nervous that it won't fit and I'll either end up having to ride in a bareback pad or give up eating and heat to afford a higher end saddle for Miss Chloe.  Keep your fingers crossed for us, I like eating and being warm!

Monday Bunday: Meet August!

So, I'm late with Monday Bunday.  I know, I'm sorry!  Things at work have been picking up quite a bit and we are getting ready to go to an event next weekend so lots of prepping and planning.  Anyway, enough of the boring stuff and on to Monday Bunday (On Tuesday)!

Meet August.

Hi!  I'm August!  Pet MEEEEEE!

We had had Heff for almost a year when I decided he might be kind of lonely during the day while my husband and I were at work so I toyed with the idea of adopting another bunny to keep him company.  I went to the Humane Society in Honolulu to see if they had any bunnies and August was the only bunny they had at the time.  When I left, I couldn't stop thinking about her and I went back the next day and adopted her.  

August has always been a little feisty.  She HATES being picked up.  I'm not sure if it has something to do with her living situation prior to adopting her, if she was dropped or something but she will do everything in her power to avoid being held, including wriggling right out of your arms.  She is pretty darn brave about a lot of things and is often the first to explore new territory.
August's first night with us.  Ever the explorer!
August absolutely loves to be petted.  She will stop whatever she is doing if her humans are offering pets!  She also loves to jump on the bed.  The last time my husband was deployed, the bunnies and I lived in a studio apartment in a barn in Hawaii where I took care of horses in exchange for rent (I KNOW, right?!)  Both bunnies are pretty well behaved so even though they have a kennel, they are rarely locked up in it.  August turned out to be a pretty great alarm clock!  Every morning around 5:30, she would jump up on the bed and stick her whiskers in my face.  If that failed to make me get up to feed them, she would hop circles around me on the bed.  If THAT failed to get be out of bed, she would zoom around me on the bed, jump down, zoom around the room, repeat the circuit a few times and then finish by jumping on my face.  Let me tell you, nothing kills the desire to stay in bed like a bunny to the face. 

It took a good 6 months for August and Heff to become friends when we first brought August home.  Heff was very convinced that the house was HIS house and August was an intruder. When we moved them to the same room they each had a large kennel that was their very own space and they were allowed out time for 12 hours each.  So, Heff would be in his kennel when August was out and vice versa.  There was growling.  There were Pee Wars.  I was getting worried that they would never learn to live harmoniously with each other.  Then when we went away for Christmas that year, we returned to bunnies that miraculously liked each other!  Now that Heff is deaf, he relies on August a lot for things like when it's time for food or treats.  She is an absolute doll and I am so happy she has a happy home with us! 
Well, the picture pretty much says it all.

"It's the biggest treat I've ever seen!"

Yummy!  NANNERS!

She's quite good at making herself comfortable wherever she chooses.

August also does contented flops on her side, but looks dead when she does it.

"I haz my foodz!"

"Are you really watching this, Mom?"
I want to keep up with Monday Bunday, is there anything you guys are interested in learning about bunnies?

Next week on Monday Bunday:  Make Mine Chocolate!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Bunday! Meet Heff

I've been wanting to join Kate at Peace & Carrots for a few weeks for Monday Bunday but I have been a little crazy with life and what is turning out to be a rather frustrating saddle search (more on that in another post).

Without further ado, I present to you my first MONDAY BUNDAY!

Meet Heff.

"Dis iz my basket!  I chewz on it and it iz mine!"

Heff is a 4 year old Holland Lop that we "rescued" from a breeder in Hawaii.  The breeder had several hutches filled with 5-8 bunnies each.  I really wish we could've taken on more, but I didn't know much about bunnies at the time we got Heff.  

When we first got Heff, we were told that he was a girl and thus my husband chose the name Holly Madison (from The Girls Next Door).  The name Holly stuck for about 4 months, when he became of age to get fixed.  It was a surprising phone call from the vet that we dropped off a girl bunny and would be coming home with a boy!  I just couldn't bring myself to keep calling our boy bunny "Holly", even though we toyed with the idea of changing the spelling to "Hawley" to be a little more masculine.  My mom was the one who suggested we name him Heff, keeping with the Playboy Bunny theme.  And it stuck.

"I can't believe I drank all the Coronas...."   
One of his favorite napping spots not long after we got him.

At some point along the way, we discovered that Heff lost his hearing.  The vet said his ears look healthy, but there is really no test for bunny hearing.  We noticed that Heff didn't seem to hear us coming and loud noises didn't seem to bother him anymore.  Our other bunny hides from the vacuum cleaner, Heff runs up to it to check it out.  It makes me sad that he can't hear, but I think his bunny wife helps communicate things to him (dinnertime if he is napping, treat time if he doesn't see the bag, etc...). 

Even though he lost his hearing, Heff has a huge personality.  I often refer to him as "4 Pounds of Fury".  He loves food, treats, and naps.  He likes to dig in the litter box, bunch up blankets and chew on boxes.  He tolerates a few pets but mostly prefers his bunny wife's snuggles and kisses.  

Both of our Fur Kids have traveled with us from Hawaii.  They might be some of the most well-traveled bunnies out there!  I honestly don't know how I lived without these little goofballs before they came into our lives.  

 "I can haz food pleeze?"

 Sampling the Christmas tree

 Admiring his handiwork, Heff gazed upon the mass destruction 
he had just caused and contemplated his next move....

 Remember how I said Heff loves naps?

When bunnies lay on their side like this it is called a flop.
 It means that they are completely relaxed and comfortable. 

 Notice all the toys in the background that cost money go ignored....

 He is so lazy sometimes!

My absolute favorite Heff photo.  
They both don't really like to be locked in their kennel, 
so they rarely have to.  
We had someone coming to look at the apartment 
and we had an errand to run. 
 We came back to mass destruction of the phone book 
and a bunny very anxious to be let out of Bunny Jail!

Next week on Monday Bunday:  Meet August!