Tuesday, April 30, 2019

A challenge for the vertically challenged

I'm really short - about 5'0" - maybe a smidge over that, on a good day.  It is sometimes challenging in the horse world when you are so short.
Some of the (very minor) and slightly funny issues I've faced are:

- western saddles - the fenders/stirrups are adjustable, but often don't go short enough.  I had to have a saddle maker cut the fenders on my current saddle so it would work.  Turns out I need a youth sized fender! 

- dressage saddles - standard length flaps are too long - the stirrup and my ankle barely make it past the bottom of the flap, causing my ankle/boot to get caught on the flap. Awkward!  If I ever do ride dressage again, I'll have to look for a short flap saddle.

- trucks - even with power seats, it is sometimes hard for me to reach the pedals or even touch the floor! On one old F150 I tried, the seats were too deep - my non-driving foot didn't even touch the floor!

- horse trailers - depending on the style, it is hard for me to reach the windows from the outside to open/close them for horses.

- getting on a horse from the ground.  This picture illustrates it perfectly:


And finally - the funniest one considering what class I like to show - setting up a halter horse!

For whatever reason, halter horses are all taught to set up in the ring a specific way.  The off-side hind is your place marker. You then use the halter/lead to set the near hind.

Then, to set the front legs, you put your hand on the horse's wither (you can touch the horse) and use your right foot to indicate where the horse should move the front legs/hooves.

In theory, that is how it is supposed to work.  When you have a 16+hh horse and a very short handler, this gets tricky!  I can reach Fred's wither, but I can't put my hand on his wither and put my leg out at the same time!  It just doesn't work!  I was practicing setting Fred up the other day and realized I need to retrain him a bit so I don't look as silly!

Retraining the setup is one of my projects for this spring, so we are ready for a show, if possible.  Here is a clip from a video with the way I will be attempting to retrain him.  I should be able to put my hand on his shoulder and make the adjustments to his front end that way. 


11 comments:

  1. lol i feel ya on being somewhat vertically challenged, tho i'm a bit taller than you. it can be a challenge sometimes! saddle fit in particular for me is weird bc even tho my legs aren't that long from hip to toe, my femur is disproportionately long, which creates all manner of issues. go figure.... anyway good luck with retraining the set up! i'm sure he'll figure it out after a little practice ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thanks! yeah saddle fit is a tricky one!

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Haha! I'm laughing with you as a fellow shorty. I have a couple inches on you, but that's it. I CANNOT reach the trailer windows without a stool. And forget ever getting on from the ground. My legs are oddly long for my height thankfully though, so I fit ok in a normal saddle.
    Fred seems like an agreeable guy, I'm sure he will figure out what you're asking for quickly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shorties unite!! Is there anything more useful than a little step stool? I think I have 3 in the barn and 2 in the house. lol

      Delete
  4. I feel your pain! I'm a definite 5' nothing tall, with short thighs. I need kid sized flaps and stirrup leathers, and I'm at the top of the stirrup leathers. I've never ridden in a western saddle that has stirrups short enough to get more than my big toe into. And my trailer is 7'8 tall inside - not a chance of opening the roof vent without standing on a stool!
    The worst part of being short is trying to find tall boots that fit. I also have biggish feet for my height (7.5) and um, muscular calves. Every manufacturer's short version of boots is still 2" too tall for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know I'm not alone! Sounds like we have a similar build - I haven't owned tall boots of any kind since I was about 14!

      Delete
  5. Interesting! I did not know that that is how halter horses are trained. I'm 5'3" and have a monster tall horse (so was the last one) and for some reason always end up with the top saddle rack in the barn which is annoying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. top saddle rack - so tricky! At least you don't have a western saddle to lift up that high!

      Delete
  6. I feel like I have had all those problems at 5'4 so I can only imagine!!

    ReplyDelete

Why breed shows and halter horses?

I've sat in front of my computer several times over the past month trying to write this post.  I think I'm on version 6 or 7 at this...