This weekend flew by so quickly. This weekend I decided to see if I could play with a couple of adjustable saddles on Ben, since I am having a bit of a hard time with my Isabell, and leaves dry spots on Ben's shoulders, no matter what gullet (wider or narrower) I use. A friend of mine has a Kent and Masters S series, and I have an original K & M - and between us we have gullets ranging from medium, medium/wide, & wide. I should be able to find a good combination, right? Well...
On Friday, Ben and I had a pretty decent arena workout - I played with the S series model. It fit me much better than the Isabell - especially in the thigh, but didn't fit him great despite being adjustable. I got him all sorts of sweaty to see the pattern on his back. Definitely had dry spots - and they looked like bridging dry spots due to placement. And the saddle definitely had a noticeable bridge when i narrowed the gullet, but when i widened it the bridging appeared to go away - and still didnt have even contact on his back. Boo. May try one more gullet size just to have peace of mind- but I'm pretty sure this one is just the wrong shape overall.
Saturday - played more with saddles- this time revisiting my original Kent and Masters. This one seemed to fit better except for that the pommel sits too high, despite the saddle looking wide enough in the wide gullet bar. I felt rocked backward in it. Going to also play with wider gullets to see if any of this is alleviated, but looking doubtful, which sucks! I was so hoping either my KM or my friend's KM would work! There is still hope- with the right gullet and perhaps a flocking adjustment... or maybe I'll just give up.
Sunday - Back to the Isabell. Ben noticeably happier. Grmbl. If only this thing fit me better, and if only it didnt leave dry spots on him. I did stumble upon a good little exercise for me - while at the walk, I pulled both legs away from the horse and held that for a few seconds, then let them back down. I did that a few times, and then at the trot, instead of trying to put my legs on the horse, I tried doing the same exercise, even while posting. It must've been a good stretch because riding in that saddle felt better, though still not ideal.
Sunday was also special because we got to do poles, rode in the arena with 2 others (the arena is small and so it simulates a warm up arena), and then we all went out on the track and did walk/trot sets out there, which was fun. All in all, a great day.
So - back to my saddle dilemma. Next steps: play a bit more with gullets on the KM to rule them out (or be happily surprised), possibly try a new generation Isabell, and the Albion lady is coming out on Sunday. LOVE Albions, always have- they just fit me like a perfect pair of shoes - not sure if there will be one for us, and if there is, lord help me because they are expensive.