I’ve been having a strange bit of trouble with my 6 year old mare, and I’d be very happy to hear any thoughts on my issue.
I have a close contact saddle and a dressage saddle that I’ve been using pretty much her entire career under saddle. Most recently (past year) I’ve been riding predominantly in the dressage saddle, and we’ve been awesome.
I pulled out the close contact in April of this year for a hunter-type show, and had an absolutely miserable ride. Ms. Mare was shaking her head so much that we couldn’t even trot a straight line. At the time, I couldn’t decide if it was that she didn’t like her fairly fresh bridle path, the show grounds, or the fact that I was having a meltdown.
Since then, we’ve been riding only in the dressage saddle, with no issues. The other day, I was feeling brave and pulled out the close contact- much less headshaking than at the show, but it wasn’t a fun ride, all the same. I measured her back, discovered that my medium tree no longer fits my now much wider mare, and figured that was it. Tried a medium-wide A/P saddle, and got less shaking, but still some. She measured wide, so I tried a wide close contact with a deeper seat that made me feel more comfortable, and got more head shaking than the A/P, but less than the other CC.
Help! Is it possible she’ll headshake with the more forward position just because she’s gotten so used to me schooling dressage, and she’ll have to tough it out and get over it? Or is there a real saddle fit issue here to look for? Bridle, pads, and everything else has stayed constant- the only thing changing is the saddle and girth, and this definitely wasn’t an issue when she was three!
Any thoughts here would be much appreciated- I want to buy a new saddle for me anyway, but I want to make sure I’m not missing something obvious that might impact my shopping.