This is what met me at the barn
I would say he enjoyed getting out this week and being able to roll in the mud. Thank goodness we are impersonating a Roman cavalry horse, or I would have had to cut mud out of his mane. The roach clip is now standing straight up about four inches. He looks so good.
We got groomed and booted. I still hate the boots. They don't fit his back feet at all. although the front do okay. I put on the shoulder pack with two bottles of water. I hate how that fits on this saddle too. However, nothing was going to deter me from riding out today with J. (T was skiing.) When we walked out of the barn, Ashke saw J waiting with her bike by the truck and his head came up, his ears pricked and he knew we were headed out on the trail.
Walking through the neighborhood was an adventure, even with J with us. There were tipped over garbage cans that swear-to-all-the-gods were going to eat him. There was also a mobile speed limit sign sitting on the street that was very scary. There were a lot of startles and jumps, but no real shying.
It was so good for both of us to get out. We did a lot of trotting and four canters. We also spooked at a long, thin, wavey white gossimer thing stuck on a fence post and undulating in the wind. That particular thing caused him to back up rapidly and spin. He's never done that before. I ignored it and we continued on.
J underestimated how cold 45 degrees with a slight wind and no real sunshine can be. She was chilled. I fixed it though by making her bike uphill very fast.
Ashke felt a little bit off. Not lame. Just not correct. He was willing to move at whatever gait I requested, but still felt a little off. I asked J if his boots looked right and she said the backs looked funny (they really are too big) so I pulled them.
He still felt off, so about half way around the loop, I pulled off the fronts. We had a couple of really nice canters and although the first time he grabbed at the bit and tried to take off, all I had to do was say easy and he came right back to me.
About a mile from the barn I finally pulled off the front saddle bags. He felt much better after that. I think the water bottles I had were bonking his shoulders and he didn't like it. You do know he is a Diva, right? Talk about Princess and the Pea. Still, there was something wrong and I hadn't completely identified it yet.
We took three breaks of five minutes or so to pull shoes and to allow J to catch her breath. This was the fastest we've ever made this ride and averaged 4 mph. (I know, it's not that great, but considering he hasn't been on trail since the first week in November, I can't complain.) It was a great ride, although I did notice some stuff that had pretty much gone away: his right hind felt a little weaker, he was trying to pop-up into the canter instead of maintaining the trot, and he felt off.
When we got back to the barn I finally figured out why.
All I could do is cuss.
My saddle. The saddle we both love. NO LONGER FITS!!!!!!!!!!!! It's pinching him over the small of his back, right above the loins. It was very, very obvious when I pulled the saddle. The small grey spot I noticed after our last ride on Wednesday, was the size of Alaska at the end of our ride today.
I've already emailed the saddle fitter. No ride for me tomorrow. I will work the boy in side reins and a surcingle, working on trot-canter transitions for the next week until Bev can get out.
I want to beat my head on the table.
My only consolation right now is that I believe the Prestige Trekkerland is completely adjustable and I really hope Bev can fix it.
This is what dressage training can do to your horse. Grow muscles in his back so that your damn saddle doesn't fit. I told Cassandra I wasn't doing any more of that shit!
Of course, I was kidding. But still.
It's just money, right?