I put the regular fleece pad under the saddle and girthed it up, and off we went to my little circle on a hill to ride in it for Toni's approval. We didn't ride in it for long before she began to ask questions about the way Scout was going. She of course noticed his non-willingness to go forward and many other things I had not noticed. She had me place my hand under different areas of the saddle near Scout's shoulder. It was all I could do to just partially slide my hand under some parts of the saddle. "Not good," she said. She had me get the Wintec that Nancy from Trumbell Mountain told me to adjust to the medium-wide gullet (according to the back tracings I sent her). So, we put the Wintec on Scout and I climbed on again. I started out in the medium-wide and there was an immediate improvement in Scout's willingness to go forward. He began tracking up at the walk and was much better at the trot. So much better, in fact, that he wanted to keep doing canter departs rather than trot. Not sure if that was good or bad, but he was definitely more forward, for a notable difference. We had a great mini-lesson that provided some more "tools for our toolbox." And oh, how it made me miss lessons with Toni! She is such a wonderful teacher! Just out of curiosity, Toni had me change to the wide gullet. Scout went around fine in it, but we both agreed he went best in the medium-wide.
Needless to say, I was sooooooooooooooooooo disappointed that the Stubben wasn't THE ONE, but I am relieved I didn't purchase it and ride in it long enough to cause greater problems with Scout's back. So, the immensely beautiful, incredibly buttery, oozingly supple, almost perfect saddle is on its way back to it's very kind and generous owner who allowed me to try it for over a week. My sincerest appreciation to her - hopefully the saddle will find its perfect owner in the big Labor Day tack sale in her area. If any of you are interested in the saddle, let me know and I will pass on the contact info. It is going to make someone an awesome saddle.
Many thank yous to Toni for her years of priceless experience which helped to divert us from a potential disaster. Now, on to looking for another saddle....I think I found one with good potential (below)...and this one is adjustable, so that is even more promising! I'll keep you posted.
Collegiate Convertible with adjustable gullets
On another note, one of my dearest friends picked Scout and me up this past Saturday to go to another friend's farm to ride. It was the first time since the in-hand clinic in February 2011 that Scout has been to a new place since we bought him. He was a bit anxious, but he finally settled down (with the help of some Parelli games - a fun story for another day!) and agreed to be a good pony. I was very, very pleased with him! My friend rode him for a bit and gave me suggestions that we put to use today. Scout had Sunday and Monday off, so he was ready to get back to it today and he definitely retained what he had been taught on Saturday! He is a brilliant little fellow and I am so proud of his efforts to understand what I ask of him. We are certainly learning together! We had another awesome ride this morning. They seem to get better and better!
Oh! And another exciting side note - we signed up to ride in a "Western Dressage" clinic on September 23 at the River Region Horse Council Expo and Clinic going on in our area. We will ride English and I have 2 friends riding in it with us!! Very excited about that...
Had to share these photos with you - my middle son who is 11 years old took these photos to enter into a National Geographic Kids Photo Contest. I thought they were fantastic, so I had to post them. Enjoy!
K.C. cat chillaxin' in her favorite chair