Saturday was lovely. I was at the barn by myself and just enjoying time with Izzy when I noticed something.
On her spine.
Yes, she has a rub mark. Argh.
There could be multiple causes. She wears a medium weight turnout with a shoulder guard. Those could rub. It did show up recently and we just got a new saddle, which could rub. Here's my theory, though: Izzy has a preference for expensive things. She also changes her mind a lot. When we finally got the saddle issue straightened out (she's a treeless-only kind of girl), I used a front lift pad because conventional saddle wisdom said I should do so to even the pommel and cantle.
She hated it.
I used another foam pad for a couple months. She seemed totally comfortable until I started scoping out one to buy. All of a sudden, she hated that pad, too.
So I tried half pad #3. It's think foam throughout with a slight, slight rise in the front. I'd link to it, but I can't find one at the moment. Anyways. We've been borrowing Cathy's pad all winter long and it was great. She liked it. I liked it. She seems to do best with thin pads because that's how she likes her saddle to fit.
So. While ordering my dressage girth a week or so ago, I bit the bullet and bought myself the half pad we've been borrowing. Guess what? Rub marks!! I'm convinced it's related. We couldn't just use the same pad and be happy.
I know it seems logical that the rub marks came from our new saddle, but I'm convinced they're unrelated. Why? Because I don't have my dressage girth yet, so I've used the saddle on Izzy like 3 times. Also, I have a vague recollection of noticing hairs out of place on her back about a month or so ago. I thought I had just mussed the hair and the scurf was showing through, but I bet it was the beginning of a rub. Sigh.
"Ha! Fooled you. I hated that pad all along."
Izzy is very, very sensitive. I guess we all knew that. I told Cathy my suspicions about the rub on Sunday and she looked at Izzy for me. It took less than a second for her to smile and say, "Yep, just like her Dad." When I complained that I seem to have Cassie's absolutely most sensitive baby, Cathy pointed out that I had chosen Izzy (and technically, I did get my pick of the litter.)
I'm reasonably sure the mark is from the saddle and not the turnout blanket she wears; the mark is a couple inches below the pommel and her sheet doesn't sit there.
The most frustrating thing is that there is no easy way to fix this. With every other problem, Izzy has been extremely vocal about what works and what does not. This? Nothing. No unwillingness or lack of forward under saddle. No special sensitivity in that spot or anywhere else in her back. No indication of any improvement or lack thereof. Nothing. And of course, hair grows very slowly. So, if I fix the problem, hair will slowly, slowly come back. If I do not fix it, hair will slowly, slowly rub off. Huzzah.
The past two days I've ridden Izzy in our fancy, expensive sheepskin-lined pad which I've pulled into the gullet as much as possible. Of course, someone thought it was a good idea to not have sheepskin on the spin, so if it rides down at all, we're back to square one. Cathy recommended a half pad with a wither cut out (I'm thinking this in the 1/2") to use under a regular pad. Or instead of. I guess people do that too.
I'm not really sure what to do. I think a big part of the cause is that the jumping saddle I have is an older model. Ansur has since drastically improved the pommel design, which would be fabulous, I'm sure. Also, super expensive. I guess I could sell both of the saddles I have now and try to buy one jumping saddle used. Or I could sell my current jumping saddle to my eventing buddy (and her no-withered halfie) and try to come up with enough money to buy a newer saddle. (This might be my best option. Jean, what year did the new pommel debut?) In the mean time, we can focus on dressage and I'll just have to jack up my stirrups and pretend it's a jumping saddle...