It was such a nice day today that I decided to go on a hack this evening and do it side saddle!
Hattie came into winter a right fatty horse, she's such a good doer and gets fat just looking at food so thought winter would be a good time to try and get that extra weight off of her before the spring grass comes through and she gets even fatter. I cut out the hard feed as we weren't doing any hard work and just gave her Happy Hoof chaff (which does not have any molasses or fattening things in it) and gave her loads of hay. I think she is just about at the right weight now and the trick will be trying to keep her at this weight during the spring and summer. Hattie seems to do best with LOTS of fibre (chaff and hay) and not any processed feeds which blow her mind (and her weight!).
Anyways, with the extra pounds off, I noticed that the saddle fit ALOT better than it did in December. When the saddler had come around to put the point strap on the off-side of my saddle in November, he did say that the tree had gotten a little bit narrow for her but that it was still ok.
Well, looking at the saddle today, the panels fit flush with her- better than they did last year. Also, with the weight loss, she actually has withers and a defined shoulder now instead of one blobby mass on each side of her withers, which helps to hold the saddle in place and stop it from sliding forward. The saddler did remark on the lack of definition of wither and shoulder last year as she didn't have the indentation most horses have that locks the saddle into place due to her extra weight.
A nice fit on the nearside..
And a nice close fit on the off-side..
Unfortunately, due to Hattie's weight loss, my lovely wide and soft 54" three fold girth that I bought from Robert Jenkins last summer, is now too big and I got to try out the used narrow three fold girth that I found on Ebay earlier this year.
Although the leather isn't as soft and lovely as my other girth, it work great with my saddle and it didn't seem to bother Hattie as long as I use with with my sheepskin fleece cover. I'll need to keep a balance girth keeper sewn onto it as there isn't one and had to use my spur strap to anchor the balance girth to the three fold!
If you are noticing the weird girth placement on my saddle, it's because Hattie has a very forward girth grove which requires me to use the point strap on both sides of my saddle to be able to set the girth forward enough on her. I then have to buckle my balance girth on the bottom billet hole underneath my three fold girth...
With Hattie all tacked up and ready to go, we set off!
It took me a while to get the "sweet spot" back on my saddle and my muscles did not want to cooperate but I was pleasantly surprised when we started trotting that I didn't bounce as much as I thought I would and my lower leg stayed put more or less!
We even got a few canters in and *I THINK* managed one on the left rein for a few strides. Unfortunately, we had to quit cantering as Hattie got too excited and took off cantering on the paved lane, trying to head towards a little girl on a tiny Shetland pony cantering our way! I managed to stop her but she was prancing and snorting on the spot at the tiny rider and the equally tiny pony cantering past us!
I kept thinking "right shoulder BAAAAAACK" and right heel to left shin as all this was going on and managed to sit it out. We then headed home on a loose rein so Hattie could chill out a bit and had to lift my cane up and off of her so as not to wind her up even more (that's why it's sticking up so high in the photo below!). We have alot to work on tomorrow when we school side saddle.
Then finally nearing home in one peice!