Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The jaw bone's connected to the new saddle bone


Or something like, "Money goes in one way...and then also goes in here, and here, and over there, too!"

"carrots go in, too?"

Bobby has had an eventful past few days. Actually, he hasn't really being doing anything, but we've been moving and shaking in other ways. After his less than stellar rides last week, I went out over the weekend with no other intention than getting him to loosen up and soften up at the walk. If we got to the trot, super. If not, whatever.

He was acting very back sore when I was grooming him, and after some poking around I found a massive brick-like knot right along his spine where the back of the saddle would sit. Per Chiro's long standing orders I'm not allowed to even look at my saddle until I've run my hands along Bobby's back to see if he needs any precious rubbies first so I know the knot wasn't there the day before.

Had it manifested from the tension of being Bobby the past two days, or was it there and just hadn't risen to the surface yet where a body working newb like myself would notice it? Maybe a little bit of both, but it did put the kibosh on riding for the weekend. I dug into it as best as I could before whipping out the RockTape (review to come) again. Barn friend B gave me the number for the massage lady the barn uses, and I put a call into her straight away.

all this horse does is eat 23.5 hours a day. it'd be nice if he wasn't quite so delicate.

Monday morning I peeled off the tape to see where we were at, and I was happy to see a much looser back. Still tight, still tense, but there was no longer cement casing my horse's muscles. BM and I pulled out All The Saddles and All The Pads and BM got to work seeing what fit Bobby.

The verdict was: get a bigger gullet plate for the dressage saddle, sell the jump saddle, and look for an old school used Stubben to replace the jump saddle.

Even though they're the same brand, my dressage saddle is built differently than the jump saddle (thank fuck!) so our only problem there was that Bobby's bulked up too much for his medium tree. He might not quite be ready for a wide tree yet, but you can always pad up and both Massage Lady and BM think once there's room for the muscle to grow, he's going to explode behind his shoulders post haste. Waiting for his new wide plate to come now!

The jump saddle fit at the withers and along the panels, but it bridges really badly in between--enough that BM didn't feel padding was going to make any difference and that he just needs a different shape. We pulled out ye olde Stubben and were happy with how that looked. Better yet, once under saddle Bobby dropped right down and went on a stretching rampage.

I can't afford to go fancy saddle shopping until next spring, but I can afford one of the multitudes of cheap, old Stubbens out there. It's not like we're showing over fences at all this year, so while they're ugly and usually beat to shit, it will get us through. My Tekna's been good to me and really showed me the power of no knee rolls to fuck with my position, but the flap has never been anywhere close to fitting my ultra long femur and it sucks to flat in.

really hard to get your leg under you in this thing.

really good for not pushing or pulling your leg where you don't want it to go over fences though.

While we're on the right track with saddle fit now, and Bobby has been a stretching machine in has last couple rides, what we haven't been able to solve is the locked jaw. We've tried the fruit roll up technique:


And the "You only get to eat your breakfast with a bit in your mouth" technique:

"fuck you guys."

I'm constantly stuffing sugar cubes into his mouth during our rides, and while this has always gotten him munching in the past, now he just holds them in his mouth and lets them disintegrate.

The locked jaw was one of the first things I brought up with Massage Lady (ML), and she said his TMJ is in great shape (Chiro just adjusted it a week ago so it should be!). She thinks it could be that he's either still adjusting from getting his teeth done properly for the first time in his life (which was done in April, so BM and I don't think so), or that it's linked to the knot she found high up in his neck.

I didn't notice a difference in our ride this morning as far as jaw softness, but it was only one day after a two hour massage session so I'm willing to give him several more days to see if he figures it out.

yay, body contortion and screen caps!
i can't wait until i can flat in my dressage saddle again.

ML's work up sheet of Bobby when we were done was basically "This horse is tight everywhere. Literally. Everywhere. Oh, except his ribs. Those are fine." Bobby stood like a statue the whole time and did his releases happily and quickly, and ML kept telling me how quiet and sweet and amazing he is. Well, yeah, he is on the ground. But he didn't get all these knots and kinks from being so quiet and sweet under saddle, lady. It's hard to explain that side of Bobby to anyone that meets him because his ground manners are perfect and he's a complete mooch.

He's just a nutter under saddle.

She did a really good job though, probably the best out of the several massage workers I've used in the past, and she was able to point out all the problem areas BM and I have been working on without any background information. She also said his hind end looks fantastic and that the rest of him should catch up as we continue doing what we're doing. She'll be back in six weeks to work on him again.

In the meantime, we get back to work. Our next show is next weekend already! To prepare, I jumped Bobby once a piece over two different 2'6" fences set up in the ring this morning. It was awesome, he was forward and happy, his canter was big and balanced, and I felt no fear letting him move out coming up to the jumps.

Yes, the next show is a dressage show. Sooo....yes, I should probably do some dressage things instead.


  1. Oh the joys of saddle fitting and shopping....

  2. Poor Bobby. It's been interesting but as I work more with Carmen (following the Royce protocol) she's been working the bit and softening her jaw. So as he gets swinging through his back he may start to chew

  3. Bah for saddle shopping ><; And I know how it is with a horse perfect on the ground and nuts under saddle - no one ever believes you! I hope you can get his mouth sorted out!

  4. luff me some massage. Damn horse gets them more than I do!

    Never seen the fruit roll up trick, interesting and I love

  5. Good luck with the locked jaw and saddle shopping thing, that is so frustrating. Glad to hear the rest of his body work might be paying off tho!

  6. Ugh that's tough! Hopefully you get to the bottom of it. Brantley was some having major TMJ and lock-jaw issues but there was some swelling in that area. Although he tested negative for Lyme, we did the Doxy and his body has totally loosened up, especially jaw wise.

    Fancy saddle shopping sounds like a blast ^.^

  7. Old saddles totally scrub up well, and you can make them look great with a good matching numnah/wraps combo anyway.

    It's so hard finding a comfy jumping saddle when you have a ridiculously long femur huh! You look lovely over fences in the Tekna though!

    & btw; TOTALLY BORROWING THE FRUIT ROLLUP IDEA- that's an amazing trick!! Who'd of thought haha!

    Good luck for dressage show, excited to read all about it!

  8. Yay old stubbens! That is a cost effective solution.

  9. Well at least the saddle you need can be had on the cheap! Also, BRILLIANT with the fruit roll-up! You're a genius. Hoping Bobby gets himself sorted soon and you have a great dressage show!

  10. FWIW, Walsall makes a great monoflap jump saddle (that Emily rides in) and it's the only thing reasonably priced that could fit her also freakishly long femur! They are definitely in the realm of cheaper, well made saddles:)

  11. Oooh, I might need to steal that fruit rollup tactic!

  12. I actually have an old Stubben I was going to offer and then realized that if it fit my 5'1 self almost perfectly, it probably won't work for you. At least Stubbens aren't too hard to find!

  13. I've never heard of this fruit roll up trick! Good to know...
    I'm glad you were able to get Bobby's body worked on quickly. Hope he's feeling better and get chill himself out for you for this weekend!
    Have fun at the show!

  14. I have always heard the old Stubbens are a magic for the TBs. I always really liked the balance they gave me.

    Of course, they were THE saddle to have back in the day, and I always envied my fellow riders that had them, so they still hold that old magic for me :)

  15. I think saddle fit is the #1 horse girl problem

  16. Old stubbens do the trick! I agree with Micaylah, saddle fit is the #1 horse girl prob.


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