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I’d needed to buy a new dressage saddle after getting Archie, but couldn’t find something I liked. Or if I could, finding it with short flaps was impossible or it was way out of my budget. I test rode practically everything at the barn. Of course, Archie had a clear favorite… the Voltaire Adelaide. Go figure, my horse likes expensive French leather just like my butt.

Riding in a barn mate’s Voltaire

Adelaides aren’t impossible to find used, but they’re $$$, even for a French saddle. I figured maybe if I saved my pennies, I’d be able to afford one from the UK. After all, that’s how I found my Devoucoux, which is pretty much my unicorn saddle (18″ 1AA hello).

The Unicorn

And then… fate stepped in. In the form of a used Adelaide at Pelham Saddlery. In an 18″, PRO D10 panel (aka exactly what Archie needed) and 3A flap – except a 3 in the Adelaide measures 15.25″ or in other words, a short flap, and… in (actually UNDER) my budget. The problem? It was GREEN. Like light olive sage green.

GREEN
But also like, grey? Ombré?

http://partyponyeventing.com/anime-dating-site/and Emily told me I’d be able to dye it most likely and with that, the green Voltaire was on its way to me. When I pulled it out, I was pleasantly surprised it was actually in great shape. The billets looked practically new, the panels felt great, it was just… green. It fit Archie, it fit me… so the check cleared and I bought dye supplies online and the adventure began.

One flap done
First coat of dye

I won’t bother giving a how-to – Amanda has done a much better job of that with the handful she’s dyed. Just be prepared – I didn’t realized quite how much buffing the damn thing was gonna take. I had a sore arm for a week.

All done 😍
Anything that looks like unevenness is just the weird lighting in my kitchen
And then I added rainbow stirrups and it got even better
Most recent shot, in which Archie looks SUPER EXCITED about our dressage lesson

It’s been almost 2 months since it was dyed with consistent riding and I’m still so pleased. I’ve ridden in all colors of breeches, it’s gotten wet (not like, soaked, but sprinkled) and no dye has come off. It needs a cleaning and conditioning session after being in my tack locker, but that’s just normal upkeep. Best of all, it’s improved my dressage riding tremendously and Archie is still going phenomenally in it.

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Partypony’s Spring Outing

Do you still count as a blogger if you blog… once a month? Cause that’s where I’m at these days. Instagram is so much easier, sue me.

Someone asked about the bench casualty from my last post – here is what remains…

We had our first XC school of the season last weekend. I went in a little nervous, after all, we didn’t have a great XC experience last fall, but my trainer reassured me we’d put the work in over the winter and would be fine. What do you know… it was better than fine. Archie was actually outstanding.

We got to lesson with our besties, Red and Lindsey, recently

Usually on XC lesson days we go right out to the field, but this day she chose to have us warm up over some stadium fences. It was really good for me – everything in the ring was still set at tiny crossrails from the itty bitty pony lesson before me so I used them as ground poles warming up while my trainer raised everything. Once she was done, she pulled us over and gave us some instructions and I got my first look at the fences and went, “UHHHH those look GIANT.” She basically shrugged and said, “they’re just BN size.” Oh, BN like I haven’t jumped since uh, last August? On a different horse? (She did tell me she’s snuck a few into my lessons recently but I haven’t decided if I believe her) Even if we have done one here or there, we definitely haven’t jumped right in at that height without starting smaller before.

From a few weeks ago!

Essentially, I was told, “sit up, it’s only 3″ higher, it’s not going to make a difference in his jump or anything else, you’ll be fine.” And… it wasn’t. Archie was FREAKING FANTASTIC and after a circle over two fences a few times to start, she had us do a small course and he was right there every step. It felt SO SO SO good to be back at height for the first time since Iggs!

Starter but cute!

We moved out to the field and warmed up over some small stuff – about a 2′ log and some green as grass stuff (like 18″) just to get MY head in the game. My goal for the day was GAG jumps and maybe a starter jump or two. After all, starter is where I fell off last fall.

Am I obsessed with this? YUP.

Well, didn’t need to worry about THAT. Archie was freaking GAME and we ended up jumping a bunch of starter fences, including a stairstep, a small blue table and a whole variety of banks, and we actually even popped over a BN fence or two. He never took a peek, he just came out all business and we had so much fun. He’s really starting to learn how to open his stride up in our conditioning work, so I let him open up between fences (it was pretty flowy back and forth across fields) and he was right there with me.

With the junior in the irons

After I finished up, I asked one of the juniors to pop him over his first ditch. I didn’t think there would be any issues, but sometimes they jump them like they’re horse eating holes and I wanted his first time to be no big deal. This junior has two horses at Prelim and a handful of sassy ponies she rides at BN/N so I knew she would be perfect for Archie. He absolutely was – he did jump the ditch a little big the first time, but never even thought about stopping or going around. They jumped it back and forth a few times and she added in a BN jump or two as well. He got nothing but praise from her and she offered to even take him around some Novice stuff. It felt pretty damn cool for everyone to think this sassy little QH could hop around Novice sooner than later. His mom, not so much, but it’s fun to know that’s the horse under me.

Ditches, check

I came home and spent the next few days basically sending Emily videos going “OMG THATS MY HORSE?!?!?!” We’re signed up to do a CT the first weekend of May, school at HHP the second weekend and then Sharon White is back the third weekend. I’m just beside myself with excitement for this year with the PartyPony.

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