On Wednesday, I picked up my reflocked saddle and was so excited about trying it on Echo. Thursday morning I decided to ride in the school in it, just in walk and a tiny bit of trot - pretty much all that I have been doing bareback - and see how she felt. I was really disappointed. She just didn't feel right in it. She kept stopping and napping, swishing her tail and shaking her head. Now, I know that she's had a long time off work, but this is not like her at all. I encouraged her forward and got her to keep her head carriage low, so that she could stretch under the saddle, but after ten minutes I'd had enough.
There was an instructor just coming into the school and her pupil asked how the saddle was - I briefly said that I wasn't that sure, so the instructor had a quick look. She said she thought it was tipping me forward and that the balance of the saddle was a little low at the front. She recommended that I play around with trying different pads under the saddle, to see if I can raise the front fractionally. With this in mind, I rode her on Friday morning, with a little patch of sheepskin under the front. It was like riding a different horse. She walked on as soon as I mounted, felt relaxed, wasn't pacing at all and was happy to half-halt and take a contact.
It's amazing how sensitive she is (although several people have said to me that cobs often are) but I guess it is a good thing that she is so adament when she is uncomfortable. Once I was happy that she was comfortable, I took her for a walk to the end of the track outside the yard and back. I couldn't go any further than that on my own as there is a lovely big field of pigs just round the corner and she has only seen them once before - and was not impressed! I think we need to meet them again when we have a nice calm friend with us for support.
It was a beautiful sunny day, and it was AMAZING to be out on my beautiful horse again - and here is a view that I cannot tell you how much I have missed!