If I’d written this yesterday, I would have told you how magically grown up my pony has become. I would have said what a very good boy he was in the harsh glare from the setting sun; how we really nailed our control of the shoulder toward the end of the ride. I would have even told you that he was downright forward and found his go button.
Alas, it’s another day.
He tacked up fine, mounted easily, walked nice and crisp into the arena. He wasn’t very relaxed with the sunset again but he was trying so hard to believe me when I said it was ok, even though the blinding sun must have been a bit nerve wracking.
We did our walk loops, got used to the light (a bit)… then as we started the trot he flung his head up and down, swirled his tail all about, did a jig with his hind leg and came to a stop. Try again, got half a circle and then the same. If you’re anything like me, a list of potential reasons is running through your head.
Is he being naughty? No, it feels like he’s saying something is wrong.
The light bothering him that much? Potentially, he refused to continue forward while going toward it.
Is that little belly abscess that peaked out last week something more and the girth is too tight and hurting him? Probably not, he would have freaked out when I tacked him.
Is his saddle fit that bad? Well, crud. It just might be.
A few weeks ago I started thinking that its time for a saddle adjustment. Fritz’s saddle is a gorgeous custom JRD that we got late last July and it hasn’t been adjusted since. To be fair, it was hardly ridden in for the first three months and it’s only seen regular use for about six. During that time, my pony has happily gained a little muscle and maybe sprung a little more rib (if ya know what I mean). I’m the kind of person who knows every square inch of my animals so I’ve also been carefully watching as his hind end has risen a bit and he’s developed substantially more wither. It looks to me like he needs some shoulder relief and a little more clearance at his withers.
I showed my trainer last week (?) and she set up a massage for him Monday, so she knew what I was looking at today. With both of us in agreement that he was unhappy and too crowded at the withers, I switched saddle mid-ride to one of her Hennigs with a cut back pommel. We ended up with a decently fluid trot but it wasn’t like an instant magical unicorn fix. Its a very different ride between the two saddles so it was hard to tell just what I was feeling in his shoulder action.
The lovely, helpful and exceedingly knowledgeable Mehrdad from JRD is on the case and will be out to refit next week but my worries are bigger than thinking I waited too long to adjust. I’m fairly anxious that he’s totally outgrown the shape of the tree and we’ll have to start all over. I’m sure we’ll find something that works but jeez! It took two months to make the first time. What in the world am I going to do in the meantime? And then ohmygosh my poor sweet pony, I hope he’s not too sore from a poor fit. He really was such a good boy to try so hard.
We’ll work it out on the lunge tomorrow and see how he goes over the weekend in the borrowed hennig. Fingers crossed he’s not too sore. Where’s a pony spa when you need one?