My friend Gill and I, went back to Blaby Mill Stables today to use the outside arena (this is where the dressage show was held last Sunday) so we could practice our jumping for the show tomorrow since Gill does not have access to an arena to practice.
We set up two little jumps (only 1' high) and b*gger me, if Hattie wasn't a little speed demon! For the past month, I've been having to boot her along to get her to canter and jump and today, I was having to sit back and slow her down! It was crazy! Her ears were forward and she was enjoying herself just like before.
I definitely think now that there are several contributing factors as to why Hattie has been sluggish and unhappy over the past month...
1)Saddle flocking needs tweaking after having it nearly a year.
2)Hattie prefers the footing at Blaby Mill Stables.
3)I've been a moron and been riding around with a loose girth.
Roger, my saddler is coming out on the 15th so after experimenting with pads this morning before heading off to jump, I decided just to use the thin gel grip pad until he can adjust the flocking. It's so thin that it won't alter the fit of the saddle but is tacky to prevent the saddle from sliding all over the place.
These photos were taken after we returned home after jump schooling. You can see by the scurf mark left by the balance girth, that the saddle has slide forward to rest in it's "normal" (well, normal for Hattie's conformation) position like it normally does but has not gone straight onto her shoulders like it was been doing for the past few weeks.
The gel grip pad really did it's job today as the saddle is correctly positioned at Hattie's withers and did not try to go "up and over" them like it's been trying to do recently.
I had a feel underneath the panel on the nearside and it has flattened out quite a bit from when Roger took out some flocking in May to prevent anything from pressing on that wither bump she had. I guess it's time to pad it back up there now.
After I got on and tightened my girth to where I usually tighten it, I looked down and saw that it still was a little slacker than I remembered it. Usually I just tighten it without looking when mounted but this time, I happen to look down. I could slide my hand easily between Hattie and the girth. I wonder how long I'd been riding like this? It also probably did not help the saddle to stop shifting around too much if the girth was always loose! I suppose it shows I have good balance, lol. There was only one hole left to tighten it and when I did, the girth felt it's normal tightness like before.
I will try my three buckle three fold girth tomorrow. if that is TOO short, then I'll have to order another one from Robert Jenkins again. It looks like I'm going to have a whole collection of beautiful three fold girths in various sizes!
For arena footing, it's tough, as wood chippings is what we have at our stable. Maybe for jumping, I will book the arena at Blaby Mill Stables occasionally but I'm not made of money especially after forking out for new three fold girths so Hattie will just have to deal with it at least for schooling dressage.
I don't know what to think about jumping side saddle tomorrow especially after how speedy and keen Hattie was today but we shall see!