Friday, May 11, 2018

One saddle

In 2011 I had a friend who rode Endurance call me up on a saddle she found on Craig's List. The saddle was missing the fenders and most of the other parts of the saddle were quite worn.
However, it looked much like an old Cavalry Saddle and weighed next to nothing!

I drove over and looked at it and realized that it may in fact be an old Stonewall Saddle.

The first photo is of Sunshine with the saddle on her.
Here is a shot of Siera after we outfitted the saddle with new straps ordered from Stonewall and English synthetic leathers along with synthetic stirrups.

It really doesn't look like much does it? With mules we use a crupper on the tail and a breastcollar. These items keep the saddle from sliding forward or backward while negotiating our steep hills.

Sunshine's back with the saddle again. You can see the breast collar is also sort of an Aussie style collar and not the typical western breast collar. We found that the typical western breast collar could choke the mules on a really steep hill.

Then here is Mica wearing the same saddle and you can see how the crupper fits.
Excuse the hair all over the yard, it is shedding time and I cut her mane with a pair of scissors.

When I first started using this saddle, I was sure that I'd fall right out of it with the least little bolt or spin that a mule would make.

One afternoon I took Opal [she's gone now] out to pick black berries and wild yellow raspberries.

She was by far the quickest mule we'd ever owned. She was my husband's Team Penning and Gymkhana mule. Eventually she retired from speed work and I would take her on solitary rides.
A doe burst out of the corn field we rode by on our way home. Opal leaped into the air and did a 180 turn and began to gallop in the other direction. Spooks happen.
How I sat that event out is still anyone's guess.

And then there is Siera. The least spooky critter I have. If she gets frightened, she generally freezes up solid. [Unless it involves farm machinery or baby carriages]

Well, back to the saddle. It works on all of these mules and is super lightweight. I like riding in it. The English stirrups require that I wear half chaps to keep my lower legs from pinching.

It wasn't until two days ago that I realized that I've used this saddle on every mule I ride and it works wonderfully.

Of course I have other saddles but when the grand kids show up to ride I have to let them use my Western saddles.

This is the end result of all the work I do to keep these mules in tip top shape.

What is nice?
I can just use one saddle for all these mules.
It is a terrible job, but someone has to ride them right???

It is riding season again!

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