I had a great ride with my neighbor on Thursday. He wanted to work on faster gaits, especially cantering, with Belle. I rode Cody with her curb bit. We took a nice trail that a variety of terrains. The first part is a wide grassy trail through the shady woods lined with blackberries. Other parts are open freshy mowed hay fields. And still other parts are rougher trails up and down a big hill on the property where we rode. It is a pleasant area. It was also the perfect temperature. It has cooled off a bit here and I think the high was only around 80 and the humidity was not too bad. And on top of it all, we did a lot of trotting (his horse gaited, of course), and cantering. And it was just a great, fluid riding relationship...we just rode and whenever one wanted to go faster or slow down, we did...no asking and making sure it was okay...we just did it. Both of us like to train and make sure our horses respond to their rider, not the other horse's actions, so it was great practice for them. And both of our horses were well behaved on our ride. It really was so much fun. I wish I had taken pictures. I never take my camera along when I ride, but I should...I only have this one picture of her in the pasture from that day I rode her.
Another great thing was that I discovered that the new saddle I was trialing fits Cody pretty well. It is a Circle Y Omaha. I love how comfortable it is to ride in, so I was really hoping it would fit Cody and/or Chico. My husband and my dad both sat in it and it fits them well too, which was my main goal in getting another saddle.
I rode Chico in it last week, and he seemed reluctant to canter, even half-heartedly putting on the brakes and giving a little buck at one point. I'm not sure if it was the saddle or if it was just the day. Or maybe he was stiff from a previous ride. I do think that he is a little stiff from old injuries he's had and I think he needs some conditioning to evenly build muscle.
He sure does look nice in it though! It looks black here, but it is actually dark oil.
After that ride, I checked the saddle's sweat pattern and it has left a dry spot on the left side of his wither, but not the right side.
I also used a different saddle pad than usual, so I'm not ruling out that the saddle won't work for him yet. I think he needs a little conditioning, and a different saddle pad, then we'll see. But it does fit Cody! So now I have a saddle that will fit each fat horse, so I can have others ride my horses with me!