I had decided that the saddle needed to be checked based on the underside of the saddle pad. It appeared as though there was a bit of excess pressure around Ike’s withers. He has grown a couple of inches taller and there is a hint of muscle on his topline these days, so the thinking was that the tree might need to be adjusted or that the saddle was too narrow and I’d have to say goodbye to the current model and hunt for a new one. I currently ride in a buffalo leather, Custom Saddlery Advantage saddle (http://mysaddle.com/Advantage.html) that was constructed for my Thoroughbred. I LOVE my saddle. Yes, love. It puts me in the perfect position. The thought of saying goodbye gave me an oogy feeling in my stomach. If you’ve ever ridden in the perfect saddle, you know what I mean.
The saddle fitter arrived and it turns out that we know each other from the local dressage club – small horse world. She had lovely things to say about Ike and, drumroll please, said that my saddle was still perfectly serviceable for Ike!! Hallelujah! [My friend A will be very sad at this news, but my pocketbook was quite pleased.] After watching me ride, she realized that it did need some flocking towards the front of the saddle. Watching a saddle fitter work is fascinating. With all the modern technology available, it is still done by hand and by feel. It is like watching an artist at work. Once the wool flocking was added, I hopped back on for my lesson. The saddle fitter stayed to watch, and thank god she did. Ike was not happy with the adjustments. I could not keep him straight and between the reins; it was like riding a writhing earthworm…not a good thing two days before a show. Ike fell in, he fell out, he swayed like a flag in the wind. Ugh. We stopped, and hemmed and hawed, and Ms. A took the saddle to remove some of the flocking. We popped another saddle on Ike and there was almost immediate improvement. We then put my saddle back on, sans two fist fulls of flocking. It was a night and day difference. I would not have believed it unless I had seen and felt it for myself. The old adage is no hoof, no horse. I say bad saddle fit, bad ride, bad horse.
We ended on a positive note. His canter was lovely today once the saddle fit was as he liked it. Ride times were revised, but I’m still the first down centerline. Thank goodness that I won’t be riding an earthworm.