Due to being stuck in a long boring class last night, I spent about an hour doodling horses. Then I moved on to drawing specific diagrams of Izzy's back and how the saddle sat on it, what pads I was using, and why I was using them. I remembered that she again (sigh) had funny sweat marks yesterday after another frustrating ride. I should probably scan those drawings, if only for amusement's sake.
Anyways, the sweat mark made me think that it must be a saddle problem. She is exhibiting similar behavior to the last time we had saddle trouble. When I drew the diagram, I realized that the funny marks appeared the be under the stirrup bars, and I remembered reading in a tack book that treeless saddles had trouble in pressure reading with pressure in that area. It's a good thing that I didn't have Jean's phone number handy, because I wanted to call someone who knew what I was talking about and ask if that was the problem. (It was 9 here, so probably almost midnight there.)
I didn't have time to go to the tack store this morning, but one of my other diagrams made me think it might be a padding problem. A couple days ago I screwed around with different pads without actually tightening the girth, so I had a pretty good idea of what was available and how it fit Izzy. This morning, then, I pulled out a new pad. I had been using a wedge pad to lift the pommel up off her withers. Today, I tried just a simple foam pad that was even all the way through. It's completely counter intuitive, because we all know that if a treed saddle camps on a horse's wither, it's like the bad news bears moved in to your house and threw a party.
The new pad obviously didn't lift the front as much, so the saddle looked a little different. I was concerned because it gave her back VERY little clearance over the spine, and I thought that once we'd been riding a while, it would sit on her and make her hurt. And of course, you know her reaction to hurt is rear. That's not really my favorite thing about her. I lunged her before I rode (she was wearing blue polos with a matching blue lunge line. So cute!) and she was kind of looky, but really good.
Our ride started out kind of bumpy. She fussed, she didn't want to go forward, and then... she did. I like the new pad better because due to the nature of treeless saddle, I could feel that I was sitting on the wedge, and it interfered with actually feeling Izzy underneath me. The new pad didn't cause that at all. It was almost like riding the gulletless Classic again. I could feel Izzy's back again and she was much better.
Progress is good. She was much happier, and we were back to having the problems we had before she decided not to be happy again. I think we took a couple training steps backwards this past week, but we're ready to go forward again. Of course, now she has a couple days off while I go out of town.