I had a saddler out to Echo today - one that we have had in the past, but have not used for a while. Tammy uses her all the time and really trusts her, so I was happy to give it a go.
The first thing she said is that she doesn't think my saddle fits Echo very well at all...considering we had the last saddler out about a month ago this is pretty frustrating! In her opinion it's too narrow and sits too high at the front, which is pinching her shoulders and sitting too low at the back, which, given that that is where Echo gets sore, is a bit of a problem. She was happier with the AST saddle we've been riding her in, although it twists to the left when she's ridden. Tammy agreed to let her widen the tree slightly and fit a balance strap to the right side, to clamp it down and stop it twisting.
I rode her before and after this was done and there was definitely some improvement afterwards. I could feel the saddle trying to twist, but the strap definitely stopped it happening. The saddler wanted to see her trot with the saddle on so I got to have a few trots just on the long sides of the school. She was very funny- she was absolutely dying to have a canter and when I asked her to trot she leapt up into a kind of half canter half trot- she settled after a few steps but it was very sweet. The saddler was pretty happy with it and so Tammy is more confident that she can crack on and do a bit more trot work.
However, this still leaves me with no saddle once we have finished at Tammy's. The saddle we're using is still really only a stop-gap. It'll do while we get her fit and into full work, but we had a bit of a chat about what to do next. The saddlery works quite a lot with Ideal saddles and she has suggested that we look at a brand new saddle where we can select exactly which tree will work and exactly which shape of saddle. Which is great, but expensive. I don't have to think about it for a couple of months, and I will obviously try to sell my Lovett and Ricketts saddle to cover a bit of the cost. It's a big decision, but I guess at least then I will know that it fits her.
So I will be saving my pennies over the next couple of months and in the meantime we will keep riding her in Tammy's saddle and hopefully keep making the progress we have been. I'm riding her again tomorrow morning out on a hack, which will be great. It was so nice to ride her in the school today though... Almost like having my pony back!