We had very little time, so I fly sprayed, brushed him off enough so he'd be comfortable and fly sprayed, then tacked up. It's so much simpler to tack up English. Got his tack situated and checked the saddle over. It was obvious that if anything, it was too wide on his withers. I could fit my whole hand in the front, granted, my hand is tiny and I think, looking back, I put the saddle way too far up, but I do think it could be a bit too wide.
|Taking it for a spin. Ignore my heels. Ew.|
I lunged him and let him w/t/c for a few minutes and let "A" watch him move in it. On the plus side, he seemed totally happy to go in it, didn't seem uncomfortable in the slightest and moved very freely. On the negative side, it still seemed like it was sitting weird. Like I said, I do think I put it too far up which could've caused that, according to several people on facebook who ride in similar saddles.
After a few minutes of lunging in both directions, I checked the girth and mounted. We took it very slow for the first few minutes while I tested out how he would react to my weight being put on it and he did fine. I checked everything over again to make sure nothing was pinching and it seemed okay, but I did feel like I was propped up a bit too much onto his withers, which probably was from how I tacked up.
|I'm sliding to the back of the saddle, not in the middle.|
He did really great, despite the change. He had a brief moment where he wanted to walk to the barn (one side of the round pen was knocked down) but he got over it quickly and then was great. "A" and I were able to make him back up, which is huge. I think it may have something to do with the lighter weight on his back. The vet said that him not wanting to back up could be from his mild arthritis. She said it's nothing to worry about badly as long as I keep him on the supplements and he doesn't seem uncomfortable.
|This photo cracks me up. Look at his eye. "What are you doingggg, Mom?"|
Despite how well things went, I'm still iffy. "A" said that she thinks it fit well, but I propped it up too much. While that may be true, I honestly don't know if I'm sold on English. I just want to make sure Red is comfortable and is given the ability to do what he loves. At this time, I have to ask myself the question, what does HE like better? While he didn't show any signs of discomfort, I can see how happy he gets when we are taking lazy rides around the trails or herding goats around. Red is in his happy place, when he's allowed to be a calm, slow western horse, as long as he gets a few minutes of playing and running.
And I have to wonder the same thing, as much as I really do love watching english, is that me? I don't want to change my riding style or my horse just to fit in, so to speak.
|Such a beautiful boy.|
I'm probably going to make my decision tomorrow and let my neighbor know if it's a win or no.
It's hard to try new things in a Western world, on a very western horse, while being a very western girl.