Friday, November 4, 2011

Disaster Averted

Trying to take advantage of the late spring weather and my only day off, I rushed out to the barn and saddled up to ride.  As I put Desi's bridle on I noticed a 'funny' looking loose strap. I almost didn't take the time to really look at it, I just wanted to get on the horse. 

But something, intuition or instinct, made me drop the bit and look again. 
Boy, I'm glad I did. I had lost a Chicago screw! As a matter of fact- I had lost two.  
I could so easily have not gone back to look at that 'funny' looking loose strap...and the outcome of that would have been a dropped bridle at a most inopportune time. 
I'll bet most of you don't check your gear daily either. 
Oh we SAY we do. 
We mean to...
but there is always one more ride and then....
Today was a good lesson for me. 
There are other places that I DO check regularly 
the slobber straps, 

...and the off side billet. (That one I buy new every year. It's just my own weird little quirk..)

And of course I check the rigging plate on the near side, and the latigo.  You can see that my saddle needs a few new stitches! ( But the copper brads are in good shape.)
The most overlooked places to check are the ones you don't readily see- 
Under a buckle you will want to check for missing screws or ties.  Under the fender you will want to check the blevins buckles and hobble straps. 
On your bridles you will want to check all of the straps for wear,cracking or rotting. 

In some places it has already begun raining or even snowing, so now is a good time to really go over ALL of your gear and check it for wear. 
And if you find something that needs repairing or replacing- do it right away. Your riding is probably on hold due to the weather anyway. A few hours out of the saddle won't matter but a missing Chicago screw or a few thin stitches will. 

It is just too important to put off!