Finally! Dover Saddlery put “my” saddle on sale! The Warendorf mono-flap, in my size, and the regular tree — I wasted no time, let me tell you, and ordered it at midnight online. It came in two days! Of course, the night I got home, it was on the porch, in the pouring rain. Fortunately my UPS guy had a plastic bag over the box to protect it. I opened it up, unwrapped it, covered it in a bag and ran to the barn with it. Lucky was not amused when I pulled off his blanket, put a pad and girth on it, and threw it on it back while he was eating his dinner. He is serious about food and being saddles while eating was NOT acceptable. As soon as he was done, I literally jerked his mouth out of the tub and tied the end of the lead rope to his halter, walked him to the end of the barn, squeezed him around the mounting block with the barn door closed and … uh oh. Without stirrups, I could not get a leg over his back. The new saddle with its padding sits up a tad higher than the jump saddle. I lifted my leg for a hop-over. No go. He moved just slightly and YIKES I was doing the splits, one leg still on mounting block, one leg over horse! This is absolutely not working. Put him back to finish eating, took saddle in tack room, found stirrup leathers and stirrups — and the bars are new and very snug. I struggled for about 10 minutes each side to get stirrups on the dang thing. My “new saddle excitement” by this time is waning fast. Back I go to get the Grump who has now got the Stink Eye going at me. Threw saddle back on, climbed back on mounting block, positioned horse. All this time, it’s pouring down rain outside, you can’t hear yourself think with the tin roof. I get on, it’s heavenly of course. Fits him beautifully and nice for me. I like the knee blocks and seat, doesn’t trap me or lift my hips forward. Anyhow, I walked up and down the aisle carefully — with just the leadrope and halter — and Lucky had had enough. When we passed his stall for the third time without going back in to finish dinner, he curled his head (his sign of “get ready, here comes the Volcano Horse”), lifted both hind legs OFF THE GROUND IN THE BARN AISLE and BUCKED. Yikes again. I am here to report that the new saddle is just fine in terms of stickability. But I got the hint. So we returned to the tack room end of the barn, with a lot of halter-rope pulling and yelling to “behave”, and removed said new toy — and returned His Highness to his dinner. I got the Stink Eye for a while for that!
Last night I got home late, as usual, with work adding so much to my day now. So I dragged him out and put the new saddle on again, this time, at a better time of day, dry, with a lunge line activated for good measure. Yes, he bucked — I was concerned. What if this saddle is bothering him? I don’t think so. After a few springs and high spirits, there was no Stink Eye, and I got on and he was SO much freer in his shoulder. I think he would like an elastic girth rather than the hard and fast one I have on it now so that’s the next shopping need, but I had a wonderful quick ride in it and really enjoyed it. Now I have to remember how to sit in a dressage saddle — stop lifting my pelvis so far forward and keep myself centered! I like it and have notice a difference already in how I need to give the aids. Good stuff, going forward.