Keil Bay's saddle got checked yesterday and I have to remind all you riders - if you haven't had yours fitted in awhile, or if you have been having funky little things happen like finding a foot repeatedly floating in a stirrup, a saddle pad bunching up or jamming down, feeling unbalanced in the saddle, etc., it could be something easily solved by a simple saddle fit check.
I've been noticing for a few months that Keil Bay's pad ends up jammed down over his withers by the end of a ride. One day it was so bad he was stretching down and turning his neck and shoulders trying to free himself up. I got a new, stiffer pad with more "swoop" at the withers and that helped but did not solve the issue completely.
My saddle fitter arrived yesterday and I was tacked up and riding when he drove through the gate, so he could see what happens. He had me remove the saddle so he could measure the Big Bay's Very Broad Back and compare notes to the last visit. Keil has gotten a bit narrower through the withers, and the wool flocking in the front of the saddle had gotten very soft. The combination of those two things meant the pommel was tipping forward when I rode.
Well - I didn't feel so much like *I* was tipping forward, but have noticed myself having to put my legs back further, which I suppose was my effort at maintaining the balance.
Keil Bay stood and watched while David worked, completely intrigued with the plastic bag of wool flocking, the crunching sound that I suspect he thought *might* be indicative of a treat, and the satisfied look of a horse being fitted for work. Keil Bay loves being fussed over.
David fixed the flocking and tried the saddle on sans pad. He worked some more, tried it again, and showed me that it was totally stable. He then saddled Keil Bay up for me (a rare treat) and sent us into the arena to try it out.
Wow! I was back in my comfy deep seated saddle again. My legs were perfect. The rising trot was smooth and forward and easy. The pad stayed right where it was supposed to be.
I was lucky that when I bought Keil Bay his previous owner agreed to sell me his custom-made saddle, which happened to fit me perfectly too. I didn't know until I had David out the first time, but it was actually his father who fitted Keil with this saddle originally. The saddle fits him well, as long as I keep a check on it and get things adjusted as needed.
A badly fitting saddle can do terrible things to a horse's back and a rider's position, which in turn throws the horse further off balance.
If the subtle issue I had addressed today made such a huge change, I can only imagine how dramatic something bigger would be.
On a totally different note, I woke up this morning and sent out some emails regarding the current novel. The very instant I sent the last one, the phone rang. I didn't get to it in time to answer, but the caller ID said Feature Film Inc. There was no message, and I'm sure this was some sort of sales call, completely unrelated to anything. But I take it as a sign of something good to come for this novel.
Which, by the way, I feel would make a QUITE FINE feature film, so if you know anyone looking for a project, send him/her my way. :)