Finally I made it up to the yard WITH my new saddle :D It's got a few of the expected scrapes and scratches but I'm confident they'll look better once I polish it. But the leather's in fine condition and more importantly the tree and panels look straight. It has an interesting girthing arrangement. Firstly it's got short straps, odd for a dressage saddle but it actually works out better for Quadi as he has a very forward girth groove and he is very close behind his elbows, so the buckles are better up out of the way.
Once again he looked sluggish coming in and I was wondering about LGL? The grass is barely coming through though.
Whilst I'm not a saddler I trust myself to fit a saddle to my horse and try it out on the basis that I'll have a saddler out soon to check and reflock. There is great wither and spine clearance, no bridging and light even contact all through the shoulder. I put a sheepskin pad and saddlecloth underneath and took the boy for a whirl.
On the way to the school he was very odd about walking through the mud. Doubly paranoid by this point about his feet!
He felt great as he moved off, I didn't feel split in two over his back and oddly I could feel his movement MORE through the tree. Great swinging strides too, I was happy. I could only have worked him 20 minutes at the most, didn't want to do too much without having saddle fit checked. Because there was a pony in the turnout next to the school he was a little inattentive to start and apparently the poles down the sides of the school were terrifying(!) But it wasn't long till I got some sense out of him. We did a good stint of trot work and finally he's starting to understand that snatching the contact and ploughing forward and down at speed doesn't help. I used serpentines to really bring down the tempo whilst not losing energy. Unfortunately I found it troublesome to maintain correct rises in trot, had to resort to posting up and down rather than up and forward, but we can work on me once we're settled with the new saddle arrangement. Can't say he was 100% co-operative on the left rein, I had to work very hard for achieve any sponginess down that rein. As soon he gave me that and stayed reasonable soft from trot to walk I called it a day.
What made me happiest was that he didn't bite at his sides when I untacked, so here's hoping the longer girth arrangement suits him better :) And no headshaking! Not a groundbreaking day but positive nonetheless!
Then I hacked Fin. Boing! Fun from start to finish, we even popped jumps and had a cheeky canter :D
Quadi is currently out naked. He's not bloated or padded with fat (the crest on his neck is at least soft just now) but if I muzzle him I worry he won't get enough fibre over a 24 hour period and he'll get an acidic tummy. Which will leave me with a poorly and grumpy horse. The grass is a little short and sparse for that yet. It's going to be mild over the next few days so even if it rains he won't catch a chill, his coat has been flattened with a winter of rug-wearing but I never groom the grease out of his hair.
Of course, if he has LGL putting him out without a muzzle on might be a very stupid idea on my part. Just never sure what to do for the best!