For my first ride, our cold, but sunny weather continued and Q mare and I had just enough light for a short trail ride, our first since mid October. What a treat!
Bridget and I had a great ride in a trial dressage saddle. I actually hated the saddle (it was a nice Custom Solo, just didn't fit me at all), but B LOVED it and went really nicely, giving me much hope that I haven't actually ruined her training, am riding her with undiagnosed lameness issues, or any of the other multiple dramatic scenarios that keep me up at night if I let them :)
|B looking very fat|
We tried a couple more saddles earlier in the week - same thing, pony was happy and super free in her shoulders and back. Almost everything we've tried has fit her reasonably well, which is a relief. Unfortunately, it seems I'm more difficult to fit, and we haven't yet found the perfect match that allows me to actually use my leg and have a place to sit.
Last night, I got desperate and tried an ancient Wintec. It's truly an ugly, awful thing but at least the flap and knee rolls are pretty non existent, so +1 for letting me use my body, albeit in a chair seat. It's literally duct taped together, so I don't blame B for HATING it and giving me the worst ride ever. Actually, that was a bit of a relief, because if she'd loved it and I was ok with it something tragic could have happened to our tack room of beautiful saddles.
|Q mare impatient for a ride|
We went back to my jumping saddle for our lesson.
Our lesson was good. Dressage, with some canter poles on a 15m circle for an additional final challenge. B was a little less good in her shoulders and back with the return of the jumping saddle, making it more apparent some of of current woes are saddle related. It's really quite minor but it's there - she's slightly less forgiving and I have to be slightly more precise to get the same results so easily found in the dressage saddle.
I do think the majority of the struggle remains her fitness. Luckily, I have a plan for that! At least she's been quite fresh and forward this past week. Cold weather apparently = a short term increase in pony energy levels, fit or not! Dressage is a lot easier when there's an energetic pony engine pushing you along.
Luckily, the saddle fitter is coming this weekend to adjust my jumping saddle, so we'll have that sorted quickly. The wool has compressed a little on one side and it's a bit uneven and pinching one shoulder a tiny bit. She's also a County rep, so I get to try a few of their dressage saddles. We've got another person coming in two weeks, so I'm hoping between the two I'll have some good suggestions for what might work. My budget is about 2k, so sadly I cannot afford to order anything new or custom. Fingers crossed we can find something used that suits us both.