Shimming, Saddling, Riding

Yesterday was a great day from the start.  Aspen came in from the far corner of the pasture to meet me at the gait.  I brought her into the arena where I had placed a tarp with two poles over it to hold it down.  She got a good spook in at it before offering to go up, sniff it, then proceed to paw it and bite it until she had completely torn it out from under the poles and balled it up under her.  :)

I fed her her grain, dressed her in my tye-dye polo wraps, and tried my english saddle on her with my theraflex pad that I recently put a new pattern of shims in.  We played with some extreme friendly game with the stick and string and my flag from the ground and from the fence.

She had a couple weird moments yesterday about funny things.  I have some buckets down that I use as markers for my weave and figure-8 pattern, one of them has a slightly torn label that was gently flapping in the breeze.  It's been like that for weeks but yesterday she was very scared of it and refused to go near the bucket.  At one point she seemed to notice her polo wraps and then her shadow and the poles on the ground for the first time and splayed her ears out and gave everything a very long, very still sideways look.  I have never seen a horse look the way she did for so long at seemingly just her shadow.  Strange indeed.

She was giving me all the green lights to get on so, even though the wind picked up and that's usually cause for concern for her (all those horse-eating monsters come alive in the wind!), I decided to ride anyway.  I am very pleased to say that we walked around for a while and then I clucked to her and asked her to pick up the trot and off she went!  Again, she wasn't entirely relaxed or pleased about it, but was cooperative and only tried to put her head down once.  After some time and a few changes of direction I even got some good deep breathes and blowing from her.  When I got off and unsaddled I noticed no dry spots or ruffled hair! The shimming pattern seems to be just right for right now - though I think I'd like to add a thin one to the end of the pad so there's not any steep drop from the shimmed to unshimmed part.  My only concerns are that the sweat marks might be starting a bit far forward - though she had plenty of shoulder clearence when I checked with my hand, and that the sweat marks aren't even down her spine, looks like the saddle was sitting a bit to the left...

Lots of progress yesterday and am hoping to have as much fun this afternoon when I head out there! :)