Stinker's back last January.
He was starting to get puffy spots at the base of the withers. I thought this was due to having rear risers in, so I removed them and started searching in ernest for a saddle fitter that would come to our barn. We are in a bit of a waste land. There is one lady that is a few hours north, but she refuses to respond to anyone as soon as she learns our location. There have been at least five individual people in this area that have contacted her. I sent her so many message (email and Facebook) that I felt like a crazy ex girlfriend. The part that annoyed me the most is she would not even take the time to say "no I won't come down there." At this point I would have happily taken a message that said "Fuck off." At least then I would know where I stood.
This is from August. And you can kind of see the puffy. He also looks wider to me.
You can kind of see the puffy here. I really need to take better pictures.
Removing the rear riser helped for awhile, but I really struggled to maintain my position. I am constantly fighting not to get dumped off the back of the saddle. So I decided to try a County rep that another lady had used. I wasn't sold on the whole idea, but I was desperate. My plan was to try jump saddles (then find a used one) and get my current dressage saddle fitted. I love my dressage saddle and I have an old jump saddle I use on Pongo, but the tree is way too curvy for Stinker's flat back. Like most well laid plans, nothing happened the way I planned.
And...someone bought a new jump saddle. It so wasn't the plan. Of course I liked one that is a new model and used just aren't floating around yet. What really sold it for me was how much fun Stinker had jumping. He is so freaking cute and no I had a massive fail and don't have any pictures or videos.
He was his typical self and very antsy/prancy to start. Getting into two point at the trot on him is hell. Once I am up there, its fine. But he is so uphill it took me awhile to find my balance. Also there is the whole thing of I use my seat bones so much that as soon as I lift out of the saddle that he wants to shoot forward. I have not figured out the whole half halt in two point thing. We got it together and trotted a cross rail a couple of times.
The first couple of times were rather uneventful. He only sort of jumped and sort of trotted. The third time he didn't pick up his feet and knocked the rail. The next time through he over jumped it by more than a foot. The thing that really got me was how much he perked up. His energy changed from OMG I am waiting for something bad to happen to OMG this is fun. It didn't look different but it felt different.
I am super excited to get the saddle, but I have to wait and wait and wait. Hopefully, everything will fit correctly. It was after I had time to think that I started going to crazy town. The saddle is a narrow, and I am now freaking out that it won't fit him and I will have spent a crap ton of money and not have a saddle that fits. After I talked with D (she talks me off the ledge way too often), she made me feel better about the saddle for him. I then started worrying about the saddle fitting me. I have bad hips and some saddles are hell on them. If I ride in the wrong saddle I can piss my hips off so much that they cause my lower back to spasm and then I can't walk much less do anything else. So yeah, I am trying to keep the crazy down and focus on being excited to have a jump saddle (in a few months) and being able to jump Stinker.
Back to the dressage saddle...I made a major mistake. I agreed to try some dressage saddle, which caused her to focus on getting me into a new saddle and not fixing the fit of my current saddle. I didn't like any of the dressage saddles for me, but I did like Stinker in one. There is no way in hell I am buying a saddle I don't love not to mention I don't have the budget for two custom saddles at the moment. I didn't really have the budget for the one, but I am young and allowed to make some dumb decisions right??
The end of the dressage saddle fitting was the fitter shimmed a pad to make my saddle sit level, which has made the puffiness at the withers even worse. I really don't know what to do. I know she will be back in a couple of months, so hopefully I will find my balls and get more forceful and get her to fix the flocking at the front of my saddle and resolve the pressure. Until them I am limiting my time in the saddle to 1-2 times a week. I think I am going to go back to no pad and fight with my position rather than continue to put too much pressure up front.