Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sunday's Lesson Cancelled

With the wind whipping around, clouds looming overhead, rain in the forecast, I was absolutely determined to have a lesson. Went out to catch Chewie, he walked right up to me, head down, licking & chewing. I assumed he wouldn't be bothered by the wind, and the sharp bursts of 38mph gusts wouldn't bother either of us.

While tacking up, on the last polo (rear left), a burst of wind startled both of us. I dropped the wrap, went up to his head, grabbed the lead, and just started talking to him, "easy boy, not a big deal, just a wind burst, we're okay..." More licking & chewing. So I went back to tacking up & getting him ready.

Out to the round pen, and, with the exception of a few outbursts of chaos, he was great warming up. Side reins 5 & 6, quite a bit of good trot from him, with minor distractions from the wind. The bursts were causing some of the round pen side panels to flap, and each time they'd smack up against the pen fence, I'd get startled.

Robin showed up, and I finally admitted I was scared to death. There was a fear, hiding in my chest, that, no matter what I did, I couldn't shake it. There was absolutely no way I was calming down. Lesson cancelled, and Robin stayed around, as a friend, to keep an eye on us, and help talk me through at least a little ride.

I climbed on, stayed at a halt, progressed to walk, even did a little WP jog. But there was no shaking my fear every time the wind smacked those panels against the fence. (Going to need to fix the panels to the fence at the bottom of the panels... that's all there is to it.) Chewie was a saint, but no matter how calm he was, the wind overruled, and I couldn't get past my fear.

I have no explanation for the panic, other than I was worried he'd spook, I guess. Chewie stayed calm, and, as long as I rode deliberately with a plan in mind, he complied. He never took off, never got fast on me, never avoided a halt when I asked for one.

Checked saddle fit. Hunt saddle fits great. Good contact in the front, nice balance side to side and front to back. Dressage saddle doesn't fit so great. Near the top of each side, there's absolutely no contact, also lifting the back of the saddle & giving it more "wobble". Adding the half-pad makes it worse, with even more space up front on top. The solution? A new gullet. This will be the first time I'm glad I own the Wintec Pro Dresssage Saddle, with the interchangable gullet system. I have the smaller size gullet on order, and the dressage saddle will sit in the trailer until it arrives.

Total work for Chewie? 50 minutes.

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