I'm taking a break from saddles. Long time readers know that I've gone through approximately 11 million saddles on B, had two saddle fitters involved, had custom alterations made, and spent ridiculous amounts of money. Yet we don't have a saddle that fits really well. Part of that is due to Bridget's ever changing shape...She's popped out some withers and a more dippy back these past two years, meaning my saddles that fit propane tank pony aren't suitable anymore. She's also quite fussy and never moves out as freely under saddle as one would hope, even with saddles the fitter has thoroughly checked over. In a perfect world I'd have the perfect saddle, and then I would order that same saddle in 2-3 different tree sizes for her, depending on her weight and fitness throughout the year.
She's recently been making it clear she's unhappy with her current dressage saddle, and until such time as the fitter can take a look, I'm just not going to use it.
|Bareback pads are the best invention.|
So, I'm having my own informal No Saddle November :) I have no idea when or how things changed, but I am perfectly confident and comfortable flatting B in a bareback pad. It feels like not all that long ago I felt too tentative to be really effective, but now I'm feeling pretty secure and school all the things I would with a saddle. The only thing that slightly worries me is that I like to warm her up and cool her down pretty long and low, and it's not so easy for me to get up off her back without a saddle. She seems very loose in her back and happy though, so maybe I shouldn't over think it. On the plus side, I am much more conscientious about making good, balanced, transitions, because no one needs to die via being shaken by a crazy pony trot :)
|Love this mare, she's so fun.|
Anyway, we're having fun, and thats good, because having fun is basically Bridget's only purpose right now :) Spoiled pony, she's only 10 and basically just has to really work a couple of times a week when I want to practice concepts for my Audrey rides. Other than that, I just try to keep a base level of fitness on her via some light flatwork and stretching in the ring, after which we launch explorations of the neighbourhood trails to keep B entertained. I miss having bigger goals with her, and on my tougher days I want to call myself a quitter, but this feels right for both of us. She's become a different horse (in a good way!) with the change in work and lifestyle and I'm happier just appreciating her for who she is and not feeling like I have permanent tickets for the struggle bus.
|Also very cute.|
Fingers crossed all this yoga and bareback riding pays dividends as far as my balance and coordination. I still have goals of mastering canter pirouettes and tempi changes with Ms Audrey, and she does so appreciate it when I can keep out of her way :) We're back at it with a lesson next week that I'm very excited for.
|Bridget's other job is helping me tidy the barn|
Fingers crossed Ms Sophie proves easier to fit. It would be so lovely to just be able to pop some generic sized, off the rack saddle on a horse and ride!