Not Again. (Yes, Again.)

img_4875We’re two weeks into our sojourn at the new barn, and we’ve had some really fantastic rides – better than I have any right to expect, in fact, given how out of shape Fredders is after his assorted lamenesses.  I mean, look at him.  He looks amazing, despite the monkey on his back hauling on the right rein.

Unfortunately, the quality of our rides plummeted this week, marked by a sour attitude and resistance.

img_4873 He’s not lame – I threw him on the longe on Tuesday and was treated to a display of remarkable athleticism that lasted 45 minutes.  A horse needs to be entirely, wholly sound to pull the crap Fred did on Tuesday.

We worked through the issues last night, and ended up with some decent work, including some very decent trot/canter transitions on a 20M circle.

Tonight we had a lesson, and it was a different story. Fred was clearly uncomfortable, curling behind the bit even on a loopy rein, gaping his mouth and in general registering his unhappiness in every way he cold muster.

img_4874I hopped off, and Christy and I looked at the saddle.  I had been over his back before I tacked up, and found no soreness, but we determined that it was pinching on either side of the wither.  So I slid the ThinLine I use out from underneath it, which would free up quite a bit of space around the head of the saddle, and got back on.  Well, that was a bit too much of an adjustment – the saddle was now sinking in front, and definitely was impinging on his shoulder, especially when I asked him to bend.

“If you got on him without the saddle, that would tell you clearly if that’s what’s bothering him,” Christy ventured.

I’m not a huge fan of riding bareback. Horses are smooth and slippery.  My Thoroughbreds all had prominent withers and spines that I wanted no part of.  But Fred is kind of like a couch.  I got over myself, took off his saddle, and slithered aboard.

bareback-2To give his spine some relief, I stuck the ThinLine under my butt, and off we went.  Fred is actually super comfortable, and I stunned Christy by trotting him a bit.  He was pleasant and willing.

Christy and I agreed that my next step is to break out the gullets and shims and go to work.bareback 1.jpg  I’m going to start with some 8 mm front shims under the panels.  If that doesn’t work I’ll switch gullets, but I think shimming will do the trick.

Oh, and I’m going to buy a bareback pad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital marketing executive and strategist with a long track record of success in content marketing, social media, demand generation, event marketing, sales enablement, product management and business development.

3 Responses to Not Again. (Yes, Again.)

  1. Emma says:

    Ugh saddle fit is the worst. At least now you know!!!

  2. tbdancer says:

    What Emma says. Went through one VERY expensive “custom saddle” nightmare (“custom” in price only) struggling to “sit back sit back sit back” (my instructors were all “on a loop” with that remark) only to find out wen I had the saddle reflocked that IT was pitching me forward, being a 17″ seat when I clearly needed a 17.5-18″. The knee pads when it arrived were jutting out in front of the flap (the “saddle fitter’s lame–haha–attempt to keep my knees back so the saddle didn’t LOOK too small). Now, in a saddle that actually works for me AND for the horse, we are progressing more quickly. Won’t even get to Second Level (we’re almost ready for the Century Test) but he’s happy and I’m feeling more like a dressage rider. I know Fredders is happy that you figured out his discomfort. (I also envy your ability to fix it yourself ;o)

  3. I love bareback – luckily Val is comfy too. The worst part is my awkward scrambling when mounting lol. This is the bareback pad we use. It stays put and I feel super secure on it.

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