For those of you who remember my saddle dilemma from last week, you will be pleased to know that I have solved the problem.
First of all I tried a couple of friend`s saddles. The Black Country was far too narrow, whilst the Thorowgood was ok, albeit on the narrow side, and when I went for a canter in it had the odd sensation that my horse was galloping out from underneath me as the saddle slid back. Another Ideal saddle fitted as badly as my own so I opted for the padding technique.
I managed to procure a flat riser pad, which lifted my saddle up off his withers and thus solving the fit problem. Excellent.
Then I borrowed a gel pad with anti-slip properties and put that onto my horses back first of all, followed by the numnah, riser pad and saddle before doing it up with my anti-slip girth and attaching the breastplate. There is no way this saddle is moving an inch!
I took my boy into the school and warmed up to jump. Much to my relief I didn`t feel like I was perched too much on top of him and the saddle didn`t move. So we popped over a cross. And took a stride out. It took a few goes for him to stop launching me into mid air and remembering it was only about 2`6″. I moved onto a 3` upright. Which according to Otis was at least five foot! Slipping my reins, I relied upon the homing device in my bum to stay on the saddle. So we practiced the upright and then a similar sized spread until Otis was jumping with slightly less exuberance (not by much though). I think he was much freer through the shoulder and able to use his back much more with the new tack arrangement.
Just to make sure that the saddle fits ready for Sunday`s event I took him along the gallops, for an easy-going canter for the first lap; gallop up the hill in knee-deep grass, and then a flat-out-slightly-out-of-control gallop back along the gallops. Miraculously, I was still sat in the correct position at the end! So fingers crossed Sunday`s event goes well …
Our view from the top of the valley, looking down onto the gallops.