And now, for the stupid topic of the day... how on earth do you condition yourself to hoist a heavy western saddle onto a horse?
To make a long story short, I am only 5'4 and really small all around. My normal riding mare is 15.1hh and I have the hardest time saddling her up with my western saddle. Granted, it weighs like 40lbs. It's a Les Ertman roping saddle and I love it and don't want to get rid of it in favor of a lighter saddle. It fits Vegas like a glove and is seriously comfortable. I'm attached to that chunk of leather. Normally, I ride English and those saddles weigh nothing... but I've found that my Western saddle is a little nicer to my back (nearly broke it a few years ago and it's never been the same). I have wretched shoulders from another accident, and hoisting a heavy saddle onto my nearly pony-sized mare is just a struggle. Sometimes, I find someone at the barn who will lift it for me, but I don't want to depend on other people.
What can I do to help build up strength in my shoulders so I can do it easier? I've also considered building a larger platform/stepping stool type thing. I have a hard time hoisting the saddle up higher than my shoulders and if I had a bit extra height, it might be easier to do. I can carry the saddle around just fine, it's just the lifting it above my shoulders that's the issue.