I'm casually hunting for the perfect western saddle for us. By casually, I mean I don't really have the money for it right now, but I'm exploring options and price ranges and trying to learn a little about brands and types and models. You know. The usual obsessiveness.
Last winter when we were playing western pony, I noticed that Izzy was very flat at the canter. I wasn't sure if it meant that her saddle was wrong or her balance was off, but it was probably also related to her teeth being all wonky. Anyways, I wanted to see her canter in that saddle today to see if correct teeth had changed anything. I finally finagled Terri, the western trainer, into riding her for a few minutes to see how things went.
Western pony! Izzy ambled around, lazy as could be.
Trotting! Despite how good they look in this picture, Izzy had a head flipping cow. I did not expect that, especially since Terri wasn't picking up much contact or really even asking her to do anything. I've seen Izzy do that under various circumstances, but my perspective was always from the saddle, so I could feel how to address the issue. I'm not familiar with this whole watching thing.
She was cranky, unfocused, and unwilling to be forward at that point, and neither Terri nor I wanted anyone to get hurt. Instead of trying to push her through it and see if she would make good on her threats, we came up with a new plan of attack.
Round pen! Ms. Mare didn't know what hit her. She got all gussied up and had to lunge like a western pony and pay attention. When she finally got the hang of that, the next stage began.
OMG long lining!! Yeah... basically, Terri wanted Izzy to work through her issues on the ground. Izzy was actually a really good girl for the most part. She learned not to ignore Terri and run through her aids and only had one mini meltdown. It was good to watch. Although Terri's style is a bit different than mine, she's very clear with pressure and release, so Izzy figured it out quickly.
All in all, it went well. I think it was good for Izzy and I was glad Terri was willing to work with her.
That said... I think part of the problem is that for 2.5 years, I was pretty much the only one who ever did anything with Izzy. Thus, she learned everything my way. There's nothing wrong with that, but everyone does things differently. Having so many different people work with her is probably good for her in the long run, but it also frustrates her. There isn't a lot of day to day consistency because it's always something new. She's doing well with S now that they're getting used to each other, but even that took time.
Poor mare. 13 more days til I can ride.