I wish my phone hadn't run out of battery yesterday when I went to see Echo as I'd have loved to show you all a picture of her being ridden.
I went to the yard to meet with the saddler and Tammy who is rehabilitating her because Ella, her physio, has said that she is still really sore at the back of the saddle area. The saddler had come out a few weeks ago, but had gone before Tammy was free to talk to her and she had said the saddle was fitting really well. I wanted her to see Tammy ride in it, so asked her to come out again.
And I'm so glad I did! In the stable, even I could see that the saddle looked good- it sat nicely in balance and seemed to be comfortable. We got out into the yard, Tammy got on, and our problem was immediately clear- the saddle doesn't remotely fit Tammy. Not even close. She sits nearly on the cantle and no wonder Echo is getting sore in that area as the saddle isn't spreading her weight evenly. I got on, and it was fine as the saddle has always fitted me quite well. So it was back to the drawing board, as Tammy is the one riding her.
Tammy had a look for a couple of spare saddles she has and we tried an Ideal first- which was far too wide- and then an AST, which I have never heard of. It is much chunkier than my saddle, but it seemed to fit reasonably well. We tried it and she didn't refuse to move (which is what she does if she's not happy with a saddle!) so we put the prolite numnah back on and took her out for her morning ride.
Tammy always rides her with someone walking beside her, to try to stop her spooking and doing any damage to her surgery site. She is a bit of a wuss on her own but she will build up to this when she's stronger. It was so lovely to see her ridden- and bizarre at the same time. Only about 3 or 4 other people have ever ridden her besides me and it's always very strange. But as you'd expect, being trained by a professional dressage rider, she is looking absolutely lovely. She walks out really well and is keen and happy. She is only doing road work at the moment and this has been a learning curve as she's never really done any before.
She was so weak to begin with that she was dragging her right hind toe a bit in trot, which you can see on her hoof. But the combination yesterday of her being a bit stronger now and in a saddle that puts the rider in balance and doesn't block her behind seemed to have really helped and she wasn't dragging her toe at all. In fact, Tammy said the trot transition was much better yesterday, which is really encouraging.
It's a much longer and slower process than I was expecting, so in many ways I'm really glad that it's not me doing it. Tammy is so careful and methodical. She religiously does her physio stretches and uses the tens and equilibrium machine every day (which Echo apparently loves!) and she is building the work up as she feels Echo get stronger. I hadn't really realised just how long it would take, having had so long out of proper work.
Hopefully, we are building some really solid foundations again and she will be fit and sound in the future. Fingers crossed!