Ugh. I mentioned before that Gem is a fitting nightmare. She is just off. Not only does she have the saddle fit problems I mentioned, but her head is awkward as well. A normal horse size bridle or halter is too big. A cob/pony size is too small. Her current set up fits the best of anything I've been able to find to date and believe me I've tried a lot of different things.
The last saddle fit issue was her forward girth groove. When I placed the saddle on her back in the proper place and tightened up the girth it looked just lovely. If we just walked it was fine. Trot and it began to move forward. Canter and it was all over. In the end it was halfway up her poor neck and bumping her shoulders with every step. Not good. The odd thing about it is she didn't seem to mind. No back soreness. No grouchiness when I tacked her up. Believe me, she wasn't just being stoic. There were saddles I tried that I barely sat in because she made it perfectly clear she was not happy with it. The saddle itself isn't really helping matters because the billets (part of the saddle the girth attaches to) are really far back.
Then, right before the move south, Gem started to show signs of unhappiness when tacking. She would pin her ears and even kick out when I tightened her girth. Not good. To the wonderful Internet I went and found numerous others with a similar issue. No matter what saddle was used, they all rode up the neck to some degree. The two main solutions I found were a) get a saddle fitter to add a point billet at a forward location thus allowing it to sit forward and b) get an anatomic girth. Since option A required both a fitter, which Wisconsin lacked, and a permanent change to the saddle, I decided to go buy a new girth.
|Point billet example. It's the strap coming off the very front of the saddle.|
Of course, Gem has to have a girth size few make and so my options were significantly limited. I didn't want leather, but that is all I could find in a size 20. I got it right before we moved and didn't get to test it too much, but it did stop about 80% of the shift forward and was well made and well padded.
|Mine is brown|
All seemed to be going well until my hour long ride last week. I did a lot of jumping and cantering. The saddle sat in a decent enough spot (still sits a bit more forward than I would like but her pudgy tummy isn't helping matters either and it definitely fit better when she was more fit) but when I went to untack her I noticed a rub. Not good. Sigh. Fix one problem and create another. To the Internet I went and found a fleece girth cover to help. Again, few came in 20 inch, so I bought a 48 incher a cut it in half so I could have two for the price of one :) oh....and it is a bright and obnoxious red to match our endurance colors :)
Isn't it lovely? I tried it out this morning and while I only rode for 30 minutes (tomorrow's post) there were no new rubs. Since it as been a week since my last ride, the old rubs have healed but are still hairless so if it was going to run I would have assumed it would be easier than on virgin skin with hair. So far, so good.
I am hoping to get to a saddle fitter this winter to get the billets looked at and maybe add a point billet. In the meantime we will be rocking out in black and red.