I'm lucky to board Champ at a barn that has the most diverse but amazing boarders. There is a special kin-ship amongst us. We help and look out for each other and our horses. We encourage each other.
Yet we are very different in our disciplines of riding. For instance, many of my barn pals are Dressage riders. They are very neat and tidy. Their tack is spotless, their personal attire is well kept and their horses are the same. I've watched them ride and I equate their discipline to ballet, very beautiful and moving. Maybe someday I can learn how to ride like that.
I'm currently a Western Pleasure/Trail rider. My tack is kinda dusty. I'm usually dressed in my Lady Wranglers and my University of Puget Sound sweatshirt, compliments of the school our daughter attends. And my horse...well, thankfully he isn't light colored.
On a recent visit to the barn, I shared my reservation in riding Champ with one of my Dressage barn pals as I went to saddle him up. Being a true buddy, she hopped right in to help me.
She (kindly) looked me up and down and told me I needed half-chaps. She said I'd stay on better if I had some security in my legs. She then produced a pair from her well organized tack box and told me to stick out my legs as she zipped them up over my jeans. The soft leather felt lovely and my legs started feeling toasty warm. Ummm, I could get used to that.
She then ran her hand over my new western saddle and pronounced the seat slippery. She headed to the tack room and returned with a spray can. She told me that the spray would make my saddle sticky. She proceeded to liberally spray the seat and fenders of my saddle with this fluid, assuring me that there was no way that Champ would be able to toss me off.
I was so touched that she took the effort to make sure I'd have a good ride. Off Champ and I went, me in my borrowed half-chaps and sticky saddle, to have our ride.
The first thing I found when I climbed on was that I was literally stuck in the saddle. I realized that if anything did go wrong, I had no option to get off, I wasn't going anywhere. The next thing I realized was that the half-chaps, for as warm and comfy as they were, felt like huge cotton wads against Champ's side. My leg aids were muffled for a better word.
I took my ride on Champ and as I rode I started contemplating how in the world I was going to get off. When the time came to dismount, I had a hard time swinging my leg over Champ's rear. I then found myself literally stuck to the side of the saddle.
I recall being on the side of the saddle, holding both of my arms out away from me and still sticking there. Wow I thought, this is really free-form! I recall Champ turning his head back to see what in the world was going on. I finally released myself but almost took the saddle with me (sorry about that Champ)!
After Champ was back in his stall and the half-chaps were returned, my husband and I headed to the grocery store. I climbed into our truck which has leather seats and found myself stuck to the seat.
At the grocery store I wiggled and bumped to get out of the truck. Walking through the store I could feel the legs of my jeans sticking to each other, not to mention cheeks (that are not on the face)!
Yes, our barn has awesome boarders. We help each other out and please don't think I'm not touched by my neighbor's generosity, because I am! I loved wearing the half-chaps. I eventually found my leg aids and my legs were warm and toasty. I'm planning on getting a pair.
But as for the sticky spray, although I don't think I've ever ridden so securely, next time I think I'll pass. :)