Friday, May 15, 2015

5 New Things

I guess I've got a couple things going on right now that I should post an update about...

1. A French Link Baucher

I snagged this bit for $10 at a used tack sale a few weekends ago at the suggestion of my dressage instructor who thought it should encourage her to break at the poll a little better. The French link is because I couldn't find a plain single jointed one in the right size. C'est la vie.

I thought Maggie was impartial to it at first - she was still chomping on it like she does every other bit - but then my instructor thought it was too low in her mouth. She put it up a hole on each side and I then I rode a couple laps and I could feel Maggie really leaning against it and getting tense. Too tight. So, that's bridle doesn't fit my bit... I feel like that really shouldn't have to be an issue. I was just going to give up on the bit and go back to a loose ring snaffle, but my instructor urged me to stick with it for a few more rides and let Maggie get used to it. Ok, I guess that makes sense... The fit of it still bothered me though, however it turned into a non-issue when I found...

2. A Monocrown Crank Noseband Dressage Bridle 

Compare this pic to the one above - can you see how much more room her ears have?
I'm not gonna lie...I had started lusting after the PS of Sweden bridles, rationalizing a potential purchase by telling myself that Maggie NEEDS an anatomical bridle to keep from pinching her giant ears. (I think blogger-envy might be a real and dangerous thing.) In reality, what I actually need is to stop putting stuff on my credit card. We just had spring shots and still have teeth floating coming up. Plus I had to buy myself a new pair of glasses because the ones I have are approximately 10 years old and I should really update my prescription so that I actually feel comfortable driving at night while wearing my glasses. I digress...

So anyway, I went to wander around a local tack shop that recently relocated near me (not adulting - but I needed to look for white spray for Maggie's nasty hocks!) and stumbled across this little beauty of a bridle in their "Barnyard Bargain Basement". They had two: one in cob size and one in full size. It has everything I have ever wanted in a bridle: a monocrown, buckles on the cheek piece ends, adjustable throatlatch on both sides, a crank with a ROLLER BUCKLE. I hemmed and hawed for a minute over my sad bank account, but I bought the cob size and I'm really glad I did because it fits Maggie beautifully. 

I feel like it gives her big mule ears enough room to be comfortable even though the crown isn't contoured. It's also really nice to finally have a bridle where the cheek pieces aren't on the very first or the very last hole. Adjustability is a wonderful thing - I can even get the baucher to sit in the right spot in Maggie's mouth with it. And heck, Maggie seems to be going very well with the baucher now. I'm not sure if it's because I actually gave her enough time to get used to it (a novel idea) or if the bridle really helped the fit of it that much.

Dressageing: Can't stop, won't stop. Still working on that whole 'sitting up straight' thing though.
I have never particularly cared about crank nosebands one way or another, but I have to say, it is wonderfully easy to do up. And I'm just using it loosely on the first hole, so I'm not actually cranking her mouth shut. 

The brand is "Gold Medal" which I have never heard of before. I have no idea if I got a good deal on it, but I don't really care at this point since it fits Maggie so nicely. I'm still curious about it though, because I can't seem to find an obvious webpage for the brand.

Anyone recognize it?
 3. Stubben Dressage Stirrup Leathers

Alright, I admit that this purchase had more to do with aesthetics than my horse's comfort, but LOOK AT THE PRETTY:

It's glorious.
I found these in the same bargain basement as the bridle. The tag said they were used, but they didn't look it at all. I have been wanting, not really needing, new leathers for my dressage saddle because my current ones are really too long for me and starting to crack a bit. I did some quick Googling and found that the leathers in my hands were priced about $70 less than they were anywhere online. Mine.

Yes, my dressage saddle is actually deep brown. Yes, the leathers are black. No, I do not care.

4. Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth

You may remember that I had found one of these girth used online and promptly bought it be used I thought it was the right size...but it turned out that I was dumb and measured my horse wrong. I sold it, but at least having seen how one of these girths would at least sit on Maggie well was really good to know. I searched for another used (smaller) one for a while to no avail so I decided to bite the bullet and buy one new at full price. ..and I'm actually quite happy that I did.

Greatest mustache ever. Also came with bonus hat.
I've heard from different sources (fellow bloggers for one) that these girths can really vary in quality and apparently it's very true. The new girth seems to be nice calfskin on the underside and it is a lot squishier than the used one I had, which appeared to be 'plain' leather all around. 

So soft, so squishy.
I never liked the way my cheap Wintec fit so I'm hoping that Maggie will be generally more comfortable with this girth. I haven't had issues with the saddle affecting her movement (at least not that I've realized) but I don't think that anything designed with the horse's anatomy and comfort in mind is a bad investment. Unless, for some reason it just totally doesn't jive with your horse. 

If you're curious (I was) here is how much it gaps at the front point:

Yes, I should probably get new billets put on my saddle...
There definitely is a little more pressure around the back of the girth than the front, but I'm not as concerned about it as I thought I might be. It really doesn't gap in the front all that much and I had to pull it down with a fair amount of force to get it to do what you see in the picture above.

The whole ensemble.

Finally, my last new thing is not tack related:


That's right! I have finally found an eventing trainer in the area that I want to work with (she just got back from wintering in Aiken! So fancy) and I have a lesson scheduled for tomorrow morning! I'm pretty psyched - of all the new things right now I think this is the most exciting :)

This was going to be the weekend that I did the 2-Phase followed by the hunter pace the next day, but I'm opting for the lesson on Saturday instead and then will do the hunter pace on Sunday. Maggie and I are going to be pretty tired come Monday!


  1. Um yes *raises hand* I'll take one of each please! Great haul.

  2. Your new stuff is super awesome! I love getting good stuff for a great price. And congrats on finding a new eventing trainer! very exciting :)

  3. ahhh so much awesome stuff!! i am literally resisting the urge so hard to tell you to go grab that second monocrown dressage bridle for me.... but resist i must (esp since i already got one that works perfectly fine haha)... also glad you love the baucher! i got one last year for the same reasons but izzy vetoed it so we're gonna try it on my friend's OTTB.

    and so super excited about your new trainer - hope you love the lessons!

    1. If it helps you resist the urge, I feel like Izzy's head *must* be smaller than Maggie's (though I obviously have no idea) since Maggie has a chunky Mustang head in places and Izzy is 100% Arab, so I feel like the full size would probably be too big. Who knows though...only $65...I'd totally go back and see if it's there for you! I'm resisting the urge to go back and get it myself to resell or something!

  4. Good job on the new stuff front!! I believe the older TSF girths are plain leather all around, and the newer models have the calf skin, though I could be wrong. TSF was replacing old ones with new ones at one point, but I'm sure that ship has sailed. Regardless, you got the soft one and that's all that matters!

    1. If you're still looking for one for Murry, I;d say go ahead and order new! I was really pleasantly surprised. Plus who doesn't love free swag?

  5. So much fancy in one post!

  6. Oooh, all the pretty new tack! So awesome :D

  7. My. favourite. bit. ever. (and Solo's) So nice & stable, quiet with the hanging action. Encore likes a plastic/rubbery mullen mouth type, he does not like ANY joints in his mouth at all, but even he will accept the baucher (hey, I got mine for $5 on consignment, LOL).