Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Experimenting Bareback

Well...the saddle arrived...and I have no idea whether it fits. You know when someone says 'obviously you'll know whether it basically fits or not'...well I don't. I have always been absolutely useless at judging the fit of saddles, and I have lost all faith in getting a saddle to fit Echo recently. It's so frustrating.

I popped the Ideal Jessica on her the day it arrived, but only literally dropped it on her back to have a look, and my first impressions were pretty positive. I think it looks quite short, but that is the length my saddler told me to go for, as Echo tends to push the saddle forwards onto her shoulders if it's any longer.

I then lunged her in it on Friday and had a proper look at it and...I don't know! I think it needs adjusting, as it seemed to sit a bit high at the back, but I hope that this will be possible. I had a chat with a friend yesterday about it and she was explaining that as Echo has next to no muscle tone at the moment, saddles are not going to fit her that well. As long as it isn't pinching and I can pad it out underneath to fit, then it will give her muscles the space to build up correctly under it.

So, feeling a little despondent about it all, I decided to ride her bareback on Monday. It was the hottest day of the year (so I figured she'd be a little lethargic) and so I just lunged her gently in a polypad and surcingle for 15 minutes. Then I got on! She was a little surprised, and walked fairly hesitantly for a minute or so, stopping regularly to check that I was seriously going to make her walk like this, then I think as I relaxed, she relaxed and she really started to enjoy it. She stretched her neck down and strode out happily.

It was so unbelievably good to be sitting on my horse again - I was grinning from ear to ear and all I was doing was walking! We had a hairy moment near the beginning when she spooked at something in the bushes. Gripping with knees and no saddle equals one very big response from Echo!

I walked her forward on both reins, doing a few circles and just a couple of steps of leg yielding, then had a trot down the long side on each rein. I actually think that if I can be brave enough, I'd be better off cantering, as it would be more comforable for both of us. I don't know if I did the right thing putting the polypad and surcingle on, but it definitely made me feel a little more secure and comfortable.

She was a little reluctant to take a contact to begin with and I couldn't work out why. But then I realised that I have changed her bit since I last rode her - the dentist recommended that I get her a thinner, double jointed bit with a lozenge in the middle. I can imagine this feels quite different, and, although she's used to it on the lunge, she hasn't really ever had any contact on it before.

The saddler is coming out tomorrow to take a look at this saddle and I have absolutely everything crossed that she can make it fit somehow. Echo has put on quite a bit of weight round her shoulders, but this is usually the place she loses it from first, so this makes saddle fitting a little tricky!

I imagine that if she can alter it she will take it away with her, so I expect we will get to have a few more bareback adventures in the next week or so.


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I meant to post yesterday too - as yesterday was Echo's 7th birthday! I know I've posted this pic before, but it's cute enough to look at twice I reckon! This is Echo at a few hours old.



3 comments:

achieve1dream said...

Oh my goodness she was a cute foal! And still gorgeous lol.

Good luck on the saddle fitting. I'm hopeless at it too.

Another reason she may not have wanted to take contact could just be that it felt weird with you on her bareback. Especially at the trot she might not have wanted to lift her back with the unusual weight distribution.

achieve1dream said...

Oh duh and happy birthday Echo!!!

DressagePonyDiva said...

Sounds like you had a great ride bareback! I am really interested in hearing what you think of the saddle as I have always like the Ideal Jessica, and wanted to purchase one. Love the picture of baby Echo, very cute!

Daily adventures while training my young horse.