The big day finally arrived, the saddler came out to fit my saddle today. What can I say, It's absolutely stunning. I'm so, so pleased with it. Wolfie was warey again of the saddler (he possibly could have been the vet carrying a saddle). Wolfie gets quite tense when anyone new enters his stable. We fitted the saddle and girthed it up. Straight away when the saddle was placed on Wolfie's back I could see where it was supposed to fit. I got on and began walking him around the school. Almost immediately, I felt his back arch and he put in four bucks one after the other, getting bigger each time. The saddler just encouraged me to gently ask him to walk forward and he settled and walked calmly around the school. I then asked him for trot and he put in a full blown rodeo demonstration. He then settled again and trotted beautifully around the school. The saddler felt that it was partly remembered pain from the last saddle not fitting, as he objected at anything new and then when he realised it didn't hurt, he was fine. And also the fact that he's a 5 year old that's not been in any consistent work for a long time. Also it is a close contact saddle and would have felt completely different to Wolfie and my weight distribution would also have been different. None of my girths fit the new saddle, so I was riding with a very loose girth, but despite that, even after Wolfie's handstands, the saddle didn't move. I also felt very safe and secure in it, it's really comfortable. The saddler commented on Wolfie's lovely paces and athleticism, he's good at being vertical. I walked up and down one of the hills and the saddle felt great. The plan now is to get Wolfie hacking out over the next few weeks and get him a little fitter. Once I start schooling again, the saddler wants me to get him back out and he will do another assessment as the saddle should have bedded down by this point. I'm glad I ended up getting the saddle custom made (not that I had much choice), but I am really impressed with the service the saddler provided and he told me to call any time if I'm worried about it at all over the next few weeks. The saddle has a 'Y' formation girthing system. I need to get a new girth. I'm not a fan of synthetic girths and will probably buy a leather girth further down the line. I always have to use a sheepskin girth sleeve on Wolfie, he's not cinchy in any way, but he is very tickly and sensitive on his belly. I'm thinking of getting a Christ girth which is fully lined with lambskin. The seller where I got Wolfie's bit has some, I've never seen them anywhere else and I liked what I read about them. In the meantime I will buy a smaller synthetic girth and use that with the girth sleeve. Another blogger commented recently that once in a while you come across a horse that you don't want to get off. Wolfie is one of those horses for me. We have a lot of work to do over the next few months, but once Wolfie's fitness is built up I feel that he is physically and mentally ready to cope with a few more challenges and it will be time to ask a few more questions of him.
I missed being able to tell my mum about the saddle. I know she would have been pleased for us. She liked the horses and she liked Wolfie. She used to enjoy hearing about what they had been up to. My mum was never scared off Wolfie, she would just go into his stable beside him and pat him. She didn't have any experience in handling horses, but she wasn't intimidated by him. I remember when Wolfie was in the vet school I used to go and visit him in the evening and would take him outside for a grass walk. My mum came with me a few times and I remember on one occasion we were standing hand grazing Wolfie when I saw one of the vets. I gave my mum Wolfie's rope and went to speak with the vet. I was gone around 10 minutes and when I came back, my mum and Wolfie were gone. I was imagining every scenario that could possibly have happened. I started running down the road when I happened to look over and there was my mum still holding onto Wolfie and he was happily grazing on Glasgow University's cricket pitch. He had done his usual marching off in walk and my mum had no option but to tag along beside him. That's a habit that's never been broken. He never tries to break away or goes faster than a walk, he just marches off. I hope that my mum knows that we have the saddle.