Longed free, he did good.
Longed neck stretcher, good too. Stiff heading right (?), but he is gradually improving.
Checked the saddle position and tightness before riding. Yup, saddle loose, slid forward. Undid the girth, slid it all backwards into place again, and retightened. As I mounted, I noticed the saddle moved left to right some. Eh, no big deal. We're not jumping anything, and I am not planning any sharp turns.
Harley started out at the walk and trot moving nice. Bending, giving, turning, and generally being decent. Not near as cooperative as the day before, but he was moving at least.
Within a matter of ten minutes riding walk and trot, I stopped him, and glanced down. Saddle had slid forward 2-3". Argh. I walked him back to the mounting step, took the saddle off, and set myself on his back, just the square and tacky pad beneath us.
Pushed him out to walk. He *Immediately* started to walk collected, didn't fight the bit, and took every bend and turn like a complete gentleman. Due to his *ahem* high withers and not 100% filled in topline, trotting was a bit out of the question. *cough* *ouch*
It's official. Either from new feet, or a saddle problem I've had all along and didn't realize it, we've got a fit problem. I'm scouring the Houston area for a temporary fit, maybe a patch-job with a pad or otherwise... I checked with Barb and the saddle company that made my dressage saddle should be in town for fittings in October.
I have a few choices here, and I'm up for suggestions. Mrs.Mom and I chatted this up a bit, and she offered hers already ... Thanks Momma!
- Take Harley and his saddle to the saddle shop in Houston I like. Ask them to take a look, see if we can pad it until October.
- Take Harley to a master fitter now. Problem is there, finding one. There are a few that "travel here", but I don't see anything on their calendars locally anytime soon.
- Hide the dressage saddle in the closet until October, making sure we're on the fitting calendar then. Get out the huntseat saddle, put on the proper gullet, and teach my hiney to ride hunter again
- Hide the dressage saddle in the closet until October, and go back to riding Western. Deep seat, easy body position, and hard to come out of if he spooks.
- Spend more hours bareback, with sufficient padding *cough*, and get Harley more used to my body movements.
What this does, for sure, unless I can work a quick miracle, is delay any dressage plans I might have had this year. Bummer, dude. Even if I did meet my 2011 goals, I really was hoping to school at a show this year. Just go, play, ride around, get Harley acquainted with the commotion. First, EHV-1 scrambled some plans. Now, saddle fit fried them. I feel like a chicken egg, ya'll. Just nobody flip me over and fry the other side too, hmm?