In other news Sara Ivie came out yesterday. She came a little late. She showed up about 4:20 and chatted and she had me ride in my saddle first. She evaluated my saddle and said I did a very good job with what I had to work with. She said the shim pad with him is pretty much a must at least for the time being. Then she had me ride in some of her saddles. It was very interesting to me to feel a distinct difference in each one. The difference in the way it felt for me but also the difference in Steady. There was distinct tension in him when the saddle was not fitting well. Resistence to rounding his back. Then when they fit him well he was relaxed and even stretching some which is not something I get often out of him. The 'conquest' was the narrowest tree she had which was narrow and still was not narrow enough. WOW that was eye opening. She said he needs and extra narrow! As far as fit for me the twist was not good for me in this tree. It brought my knees out away from the saddle but I did like the fact that I was not put in the backseat like I am in my saddle. That made it easier to post correctly and get out of the saddle at the base of a jump. She suggested that part of the reason I feel I am throwing myself forward at the base of the jump is because I am in the back seat so much that I have to kind of fling myself up to keep up with him. Same kind of concept in my posting. I always struggle to get that just brushing the saddle post and too often feel I am hitting the saddle then coming back up. But I did not have that problem in any of the County's it was easy to have that brushing the saddle post I am always striving for. Out of all of them of course I like the highest end 'sensation' but I also really liked the middle one which is the 'inspiration'. As far as fit for Steady well she said I would need to have a custom saddle made for him to get an optimal fit. Extra narrow tree, extended tree points, shoulder gussets and extended panel. Of course right?! I do agree with her and it made me feel better that I was not just crazy thinkign that he is impossible to fit because she had trouble and didn't have a saddle in her truck that would fit him even halfway decent. But to fork over $4500.00 for a custom saddle is just not an option right now. Some day? Probably. Now? No way. It is hard and a bit discouraging knowing the truth about my saddle but at the same time I am very glad I know. My saddle fits OK. The biggest problem with it is that there is a bit of a bridge in the middle of the panel. Making pressure points in the front and under the cantle. Then add to that, that it kind of puts me in the back seat, plus Steady already struggling with his lumbar going out and causing him issues adds up to definitely not optimal fit. Pretty much what I found out was that he has a high wither, uh duh, hollow behind, lacking topline, oh wait I already knew all of those things, but it was good to get a professional confirmation of all the things I had read and studied and worried and stressed over with Mr. Steady . I did find out that for as big as he is, he actually has a short back. So the smallest seat size I can get away with the better for him. That was great information to find out that I had never considered. All in all she spent 3 hours!!! at my house trying saddle after saddle after saddle. I was very impressed with her patience and determination to find something that will be best for not just my horse but me too.
So now my wheels are turning about a new saddle and it is going on the wish list. My biggest concern about my saddle that I learned yesterday is that jumping is a problem. I didn't realize that some of our jumping issues were so much connected to my saddle. Riding in other saddles I could feel and see the difference. He is holding his breath over jumps in preparation for landing because of the pressure on his lumbar region. He is not jumping round and upon landing his back end is "left in the next county" as Sara put it. Then he kind of runs off inverted and bracing. Then in two of the other saddles we did not get that same reaction over the jump or after. That is the hardest thing because now I know that jumping is causing him pain and it is hard to ask him to improve on something that he is doing because he is trying to avoid pain. Grrrr... So we will be doing flat for a while and slowly going back into jumping small stuff just to get a baseline of when, why and how the pain is being caused. I know he was probably sore to start because we had jumped pretty hard two days in a row and I was planning to give him at least a week before jumping him again but I didn't realize she would have me jumping to evaluate. So I am going to give him at least a couple weeks of just flat, then start from there. All in all I am very glad I had her come out and would happily recommend her as a saddle fitter.
Soon to come are more clinic videos/posts, we still have ditches, banks and water to cover. So stay tuned :)