Saturday, June 28, 2008

Padded

Today I spent several hours at the stable with Steen. It is windy today, and that had him a bit riled up. Also, I can tell I haven't been spending as much time with him lately. He was just a bit more inclined to be fussy today than he has been in a while, although he didn't do anything bad, by any means. And he's back to accepting the bit without the slightest protest, so I count that as a good thing.

The best news, however, is that although the start of my day with him was a bit frustrating due to a very extended grooming session born of his filthiness (it has been rainy and muddy again) and then the utter failure of the first of my two potential corrective saddle-padding solutions, it rapidly turned around when my second attempt succeeded. While educating myself about saddle-fit, I read that some pads can actually cause saddles to sit incorrectly, and I came across one trainer's opinion that everyone should always ride with a 1" thick felt pad under their saddle. Now, I am not one to say things like "always," but I thought her prescription could be worth a try. So, this was the second thing I tried today, and it seemed to do the trick. I noticed as soon as I placed the saddle on top of the pad that the extra width in the pad itself prevented the saddle from dipped forward like it has been doing. Then I got on and before long started to notice hopeful details, like as we trotted Steen was more willing to drop his head and relax than ever before, indicating he is more comfortable with me on his back than ever before. So, feeling increasingly optomistic, I worked him until I could be sure he'd broken a good sweat, then led him back to the tacking area. When I took the pad off, oh wonder of wonders, no dry spots! Just to be certain, I let him roll in the fine dirt in the arena because his withers are white and sometimes it is hard to see the dry spots when they are on such light hair. The even coat of dirt on Steen's back when he stood up confirmed all my hopes. No dry spots. None at all. I am quite relieved, and am excited to put in a good long session tomorrow without worrying about anything having to do with how his saddle is fitting.

In case anyone was curious, the first (failed) corrective saddle-padding attempt involved something called a wither-widening pad. Don't ever buy one. They are rubbish. Fortunately they are also inexpensive. =)

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