Crazily enough, it's NOT because the saddle fit! As we know, haven't ridden at all since Thursday a week ago. I tacked him up in his usual stuff, making sure the ear bonnet was on this time, using my client's Crosby saddle. At first glance, it looked good! The panels actually fit his shoulders on the sides, and it was well off the withers. So far off in fact, it seemed to almost be pinching. Also, because of how high the pommel was, the cantle seemed to be sitting too low in the back. Went ahead and decided to sit on it and try it out.
I led him to the usual pasture, and put him on the longe line. He was SO lazy, not a buck in him today. He looked calm, quiet, and sound. I climbed aboard, and walked down towards the road. I definitely felt like I was sitting in the "back seat", and even though the saddle LOOKS beautiful and squishy, the seat really was not comfortable at all. Asked for a trot, and he felt absolutely dead lame. I immediately walked back to the ladder, and removed the saddle. Well ... now what? I had no other saddle with me, and I wanted to take advantage of the quiet mood. So, I did what ANY normal, sane person would do.
Yup, I did. I got on my not-been-ridden-in-a-week green ottb on a cold, brisk, windy day BAREBACK. At least this time I had all the padding from the saddle that didn't work, so my ... ahem, nether regions were well padded;) At first, he was a little confused, but once I got everything straight underneath me, he was good. I spent lots of the time at the walk; bending, leg yielding, and circling. He's actually getting good at that. Trotted on the straightaways, focused on keeping my elbows bent, and he was really good. Didn't spook at any vehicles, or show his butt in any way. He was just a GOOD boy all the way around. Towards the end, he picked up a little left lead canter of his own accord. It was light, balanced, and he didn't swap or buck. Not only that, I stayed on! He's actually GREAT bareback when his spine isn't going up ... well, you know where!;) Finished on a high note, and I literally threw my arms around his neck from up top. He just blew out a little soft snort and didn't try to knock me over with a head scratch. Once we got back in the barn, I took off his bridle and let him scratch to his heart's content on the soft curry. After another peppermint, I smoothed his coat with the hard brush, put his blanket back on, and let him out with his girls. I'll go back in a little bit and try on a few more saddles. Will provide pics of the trace clip tomorrow; wish me luck! I can't draw a straight line to save my life, so this may be amusing. Sorry for the crappy quality of the pic up top; my camera phone isn't that great.