Arrived at Susan's place just in time for my lesson to start. She saddled up a senior ottb at her place, and off we went. We walked through a good solid buncha trail obstacles. Poles, ground poles, over the bridge, through the L-shape, around the barrel pattern. All of it without a hitch. Romeo was bored, but listened to all of my cues, without any problems. He even walked up to the mailbox, after a few efforts. He never spooked at it, which was great. Susan's horse got cookies for walking to the mailbox, and Romeo watched nearby. When I got to the box, Romeo quickly tilted his head, looking at me, as if asking, "Mom, Okay, where's MY cookie? I did it, didn't I?" I agreed. I'm looking forward to being able to tack up, and walk him to the string of mailboxes at the end of my street to get the mail.
We checked my eventing saddle for fit, and my guess was correct - it didn't fit quite right. But it's not the saddle - it's the padding, or lack there of. Susan looked at my english pads, and explained they're not fluffy enough for his back, with the muscle tear up by his withers. She suggested I use my western pad, english saddle, and Tom Thumb bit. "Only change one thing at a time, and since you said he wouldn't stop in a complete tack change, let's just change the saddle, and then the rest of it a little bit at a time."
He was much better when I only changed the saddle. He stopped when I asked him to, and felt more like himself walking around. Definitely more like Romeo, and less like a nutty speed demon without brakes. I'll look a little goofy for a while, tack all mis-matched. But we're not headed back to any shows for a while, so I'll be content looking silly and learning how to balance again in my english saddle.
Next week, we're meeting again, but it'll be a feed lesson, with Romeo staying at home. Susan has what looks like a pretty neat feed program, and I would like to learn more.