Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

International Trade - Doing My Part!

Two years ago I scrimped and saved to buy my very own saddle. It made me feel more committed to "sticking to it" to actually acquire something so significant.

It took me months to find it as I scoured every corner of the internet for the best possible deal, and wound up purchasing a lightly used "demo" model from Bahr's Saddlery (also known as The Happiest Place on Earth, unless, of course, you are my husband, who has learned to fear the place); a tack store I have frequented since I was a child.

Naturallly my most prized posession doesnt fit my new horse, so I've been hot on the trail for the past several weeks, trying saddles far beyond my price range in an attempt to find the perfect one.

I fell in love with a used Devoucoux that (thankfully) was too big for my behind. Upon returning it I proudly walked into the store and told the lovely (albeit teenaged) sales girl that I positively loved it, and, if I had a bigger ass, would have taken it.

Not fooled by the likes of me, she offered to sit me in a few more I might be interested in, and trotted out several used models with price tags well over $3000.00 - not pesos, dollars.

Don't get me wrong, I love to spend money on status items as much as the next workaholic, but I honestly cannot for the life of me, imagine how a used saddle (that's right, used, as in other people's asses have sat in it - and worse!) could cost that sort of money. Sure, all the other girls at the barn have them - some even being so brave as to (gasp!) buy them brand new, but I knew I was out of my league.

Christ, my Volvo wagon didn't even cost that much.

Back to the internet I went. I'd seen a nice Antares for sale in the UK a few weeks prior, but figured I could find something similar a little closer to home. Wow, was I ever wrong. Turns out that all the high end saddles are priced approxiately $1000.00 less in Europe than they are in North America.

After numerous emails, and measurements of every inch of mine and Gavin's being, not to mention humming and haw-ing across several time zones, Clare (the woman at the the other end of the email chain) emailed me back to announce that the saddle's measurements were an exact fit for those of my legs, ass and horse.

I bit the bullet and called her with my credit card information.

I then set about the arduous task of trying to co-ordinate a FedEx shipment that would get that sucker to me by the weekend, god willing.

I just hope I can bring myself to actually ride in it.

* If you are reading this, yes, I am in love - but its not what you think. It's best served over scotch and cigarettes, hopefully we can co-ordinate.

The Germans Are Fucking Nuts - Exhibit A

As you may or may not know, I like to spend countless hours Googling Gavin's pedigree and drinking wine. Preferably at the same time, but not mandatory.

I stumbled upon an article the other day that I can't seem to find at present (I was drunk then and sober now, thus my illustrious Googling powers are diminished) about Goldstern who is, as you are obviously aware, Gavin's Grandfather.

Goldstern got his start as a police horse in Germany, and spent several years in "active duty" before being called to the Olympics. During his down time, Goldstern resumed normal duties such as "policing walkways and working crowd control at the occasional soccer game."

So efficient!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gee, Your Bloodlines Look Terrific

Gotthard, Gavin's great grandsire.

Tattoo You?

Despite having sworn that I would never, ever, ever get a tattoo again....

Finally - A Good Ride!

As you may know, I am obsessed and positively over the moon about Gavin. He appeals to me on a myriad of levels; firstly, I love his breeding. Secondly, I am a believer in serendipity. Lastly, he is an exceptionally talented mover AND a big fucking asshole.

The latter has caused me the odd moment of self-doubt (hardly shocking, I can assure you.)

Due to his size, strength and some bad habits, Gavin has been known to, on occasion, drop his head and turn on the gas. Granted, its not a full-tilt affair, but he is a force to be reckoned with, and there have been times I've thought to myself that I have no business taking on this business.

The good news/bad news is that, through a series of lunge line lessons, Ive been able to ride Gavin in a collected, controlled manner. This is mostly achieved through my dropping my reins and keeping my (generous) ass off his back.

The good news: Gavin does have the capacity to be a genteman under saddle.

The bad news: Turns out its my riding that lights his ass up.

So Ive had to come to terms (again) that I am a horrific rider, but, I am confident there is likely a light at the end of the tunnel. The sheer joy of actually having a successful ride (and witnesses!) gives me the hope that we can one day achieve greatness in the walk/trot division. Ponies, beware!

In other fun news, Gavin doesnt fit my saddle so - poor me - I have embarked on the quest to find the nicest possible saddle for the lowest possible price. God knows I love a good shop, and my goal-oriented nature makes it all the more fun for me to scour every corner of the internets in search of that elusive bargain.

I took a gorgeous Devououx out on trial from Running Fox - absolutely fantastic to sit in and the leather is a deep chocolate brown that is heartbreakingly sexy on the G-Man. Priced at a mere $2800 used I was releived to find out that it is - wait for it - actually too big for my posterior.

Thank god for minor miracles as I had already started to mentally shuffle every penny to my name onto my VISA in an attempt to somehow rationalize how I was going to pay for it.

Mark came home and found the Devouucoux Biarritz in all of its glory stashed in the bedroom where I had tried to conceal it and asked me "Dear - why the hell is there a $3000 saddle in the closet?" I explained to him that it was just "on trial" and he raised an eyebrow and told me he "knew my game."

Little does he know I put a deposit on a used Antares this afternoon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Yes, You Can(ter)!

Dragged the Spouse up to the barn to meet the dreaded Gavin today. There they were - face to face - my tall, dark Germans.
The most notable difference being that there is no real evidence to support that Mark's bloodlines should be preserved for future generations to enjoy.

The photo above clearly shows Mark's prowess as a horse whisperer.

The girl who sweeps the barn suggested that instead of calling Gavin "a grouch" that we come up with an anagram for his name. Grouchy And Very Irritable Naturally is what we came up with. Note yet another similarity between my horse and my husband. I am beginning to sense a pattern here....

Had a good, short lesson with Deb. I am slowly but surely getting a feel for this horse, but will admit that there is a whole lot of horse going on there, and while I am not afraid of him, I am cautiously respectful.

It was a really nice, almost spring day and we hit the sand ring, which was magnifient as the property is surrounded by rolling hills in every direction - a very nice view from atop Gavin's perch.

Ive decided to stick to walk/trot action until Susan gets home, but, being a lovely spring day and all, Gavin made the executive decision to take himself for a canter.

My initial reaction was to put on the brakes, but I decided to just go with it and get it over with. The good news is that a "planned canter" would have caused me to overthing things beforehand, so this was a good way to be easy going about it despite myself.

We did a few circles and it was nice; very rhythmic, and very powerful. This horse covers a LOT of ground - he has a nice inner propulsion that makes his movement seem effortless, minus, of course, the rider flapping about curisng herself for neglecting to shorten her reins. If anything will cure me of my 'loose fingers' it's this fucker.

Had so much fun today, I think I'll do it again tomorrow.