Well I moved her. We're now back at the yard she was at before I took her up to my parents' house last year, and everything is back as it should be. I feel bad, to be honest - I hadn't realised how unhappy Echo was until I got her back here: she is a different horse - she's my horse again.
It's been such a relief to have her back here; this yard suits my lifestyle so much better and evidently it suits Echo too. She's still in a field on her own, but she has a horse on each side and regularly has chats over the fence. We haven't had any stress in the stable, even though she is left in nearly until last every morning, and she has only got through the fence once. If I had written this post last week, I could have said there have been NO breakages whatsoever...but last week she decided to get into her neighbour's field. In fairness to her, the electric fence wasn't on, she had finished her hay and she didn't do anything once she was in there, so it was all OK. And best of all, there was no nastiness from the yard owner - she just said that we need to remember to put the fence on.
So in other news, we are still working on getting her sound and it's taking so long!
In the last four months, Echo has had a saddle on twice. Twice. But I am really really hoping that things are about to start improving. She had the farrier out last week, who said that at last we are starting to see some growth on the outside of her foot - not masses of it, but this is progress. He watched her walk on the hard surface and was happy to see her moving much straighter now too. With any luck, this set of shoes might be the last ones that have to have studs in, as she is starting to level out now.
So following on from this, we had a saddler come out as well. I was convinced that my saddle didn't fit - she had become so sore wearing it back in July when I first moved her down here that I thought it had to be a poor fit. The saddler measured her back and shoulders, drawing diagrams on a piece of paper. She then had a look at my saddle and said that actually she didn't have much of a problem with the way it looked on her back - it needed a bit of work, but was a good width for her right now. Interestingly, she pointed out that it is in fact a wide fit - I thought it was medium-wide. She's always been a MW when in work, so the saddler suggested that it would be worth sticking with what we have for now, as it is possible that she will change shape and need a new one at some point.
So she has totally stripped the saddle out and reflocked it, shaping it much more accurately for her back - she has quite a lot of shape in her back at the moment, and the panels were much too hard and flat for her. Unfortunately the saddler can't come out to look at it again until the middle of December, so I am going to have to pick it up from the shop, try it on her myself and hope that everything is OK.
In the meantime, I have been riding her bareback quite a lot. I was using a polypad with a surcingle, but recently a friend lent me a bareback pad - a lovely suede one that has a western style cinch to fasten it. I tried it on her last week, got on and she hated it. She has got into the habit of stopping dead and refusing to move if she doesn't like the feel of something. While this sounds as if it would be helpful, I do think she milks it a bit...When the saddler came out she tried my saddle on her with a prolite underneath it to soften the feel of the panels. When I first got on, her back came up and she refused to move. I was worried that this meant it didn't fit, but I managed to turn her and push her on and she soon settled down, eventually feeling fine in it.
However, I really hope I'm not ignoring a huge problem here. When the bareback pad made her stop dead, I took it off and put the polypad and surcingle back on - and she was fine - she walked out comfortably. I really just don't know what to think. Probably, the only way I will know is to try the reflocked saddle on her and see how it goes. I suppose it's possible that she is finding the feel of the girth a bit odd, as it has been so long.
So tomorrow I hope to pick up my saddle and I will let you know how it goes. Next on my list of things to do is to get her back and pelvis looked at by a Bowen specialist. But she has cost me a fortune already this month - that might have to wait until after payday!