Thursday, March 22, 2012

And So On...

There has been all kinds of business going on since my last post, some good, some not so good.  My faithful Xterra has been leaking oil on the driveway, and I'm in no position to replace it if it's got a serious soundness issue.  Work has been frantically busy and since Owen has been convalescing I've not been able to ride in some time.  We're trying to get the new house plans finalized as well as fix up the old one to sell, so there's a lot up in the air.

I had lunch with Patty again today (the editor of Dressage Today) and while it was enjoyable, talk of elite dressage has a dampening effect on my enthusiasm for the sport.  It only served to sharply remind me that my FEI work isn't up to snuff, and I don't know what to do about it.  Patty suggested seeking out a trainer who is especially gifted with teaching changes but I don't know how to go about such a search, plus it's been my experience that establishing a good relationship with a trainer is like blind dating; you never know what you're getting to get, and you can't rush the trust that's needed.  My biggest concern is taking a lesson with an instructor only to find that she doesn't want to work with anything that's not a warmblood.  And that would be Owen.

I did hop on him for a bit today...we just did a few minutes of canter work before taking a short hack.  It is seriously unseasonably warm, somewhere in the mid 80s, and Owen even worked up a bit of a lather on our little ride plus the bugs were bothering him something fierce.  It's still March, yet I had to sponge him down and use fly spray and rub SWAT ointment in his ears.  Owen also occasionally has some trouble with inhaled allergies which can leave him a little out of breath...I ausculted his lungs with a stethescope, and fancied that I could hear just a bit of a wheeze in his dorsal lung fields.  But it's hard enough to get him to eat his doxycycline, so there's no way of adding an antihistamine to his diet.  Who knows?  I might be imagining things.

When I returned home the postman delivered yet another garment for my sidesaddle stable.  When my previous shad got eaten I ordered a new one from Cindy, this time a very light summerweight in a charcoal gabardine.  But since I was able to get the fabric on sale I went a head and had a matching apron plus a lower level dressage coat made.  As always I was concerned about a rippling apron with the pommels poking through, so I had Cindy use a very heavy black denim as an interfacing so this apron has a nice stiff body with a sharp rear corner.

The habit is darker than it looks
here.  This is shown with the
regular dressage coat.

Here it is with the shadbelly.

I had Cindy make the collar black velvet with matching fabric buttons and gold and silver brocade vest points; I'm going to make a matching stock tie from the extra brocade.

The tails.
 The only thing I'm not thrilled about is the drape of the tails, and this has nothing to do with Cindy's tailoring but rather the design of the pattern.  For those of you with FEI aspirations I don't recommend the Suitability shadbelly pattern; Jean Hardy's is much better.  In the Suitability pattern, the right tail is wider than the left so there is no gap visible between the tails when dismounted.  On the ground this may be fine and good, but once mounted it looks a bit odd.  Most show shads address this by having tails the same width but with a U shaped panel beneath and between them, so if they do gap all you see is matching fabric rather than an inverted V of white breeches.  It's not an issue since I'll be wearing it with a matching apron, but I'm going to fix it anyway.

Alistair loves it; what better endorsement could there be?

Barb Thelan and I are going to be giving a sidesaddle demonstration to some 4-H kids in May; perhaps I'll get to wear it then.


  1. I'm not sure if this would help or not but a friend's horse had seasonal allergies so they rigged up a piece of panty hose act as a guard of sorts, that did seem to help. They secured it by tucking the ends under the cavesson.

  2. I love that color of your habit!!

    Hattie gets seasonal allergies too and I use a special nose mask made with an ultra fine net which filters out even the tiniest of bugs, pollen and pollution. It attaches to the noseband of the bridle with velcro. It gets rid of Hattie's head shaking instantly:

  3. It looks great! I can't wait to see your sidesaddle wardrobe! And I also can't wait to show you what I got today! hehe

  4. Uh oh...are you going to need an extra suitcase to fly back home?
    BTW, I'm going to put you to work helping me pin up the apron while I'm mounted to hem it.