Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Polly and the Saddle Mystery

Day before yesterday, Sunday, Johnny and I rode out the driveway to head up our favorite trail across the road. Or Mr. Smith and I headed out. Polly got part way up the drive and flat refused to go. On our last ride, she had turned her head around toward her side as though something was bothering her. We had adjusted the girth and that seemed to satisfy her. This time there was no satisfying.

I wondered if she was just being stubborn. (You'd think I'd know better by now, but I'm human and not always too bright.) By putting Mr. Smith behind Polly, we managed to push her up to the wooded trail away from what little traffic we have on our road. But something was definitely bothering her. We adjusted more straps that could be pinching her on that western saddle that we have ridden her in for many years. Nothing seemed to help. We switched horses for a bit and she was better with me but there was still something wrong. Johnny got back on and turned to let her go home. She would not move even in that direction. Finally Johnny dismounted and walked her toward home. With no one on board, Polly walked willingly. Johnny mentioned, as I turned to go on up the trail alone, that we ought to try a different saddle sometime.

As I rode on, it suddenly occurred to me that we had a different saddle right here and could try it now, so I trotted back to where they were trudging home. We unsaddled the two horses and put Mr. Smith's Wintec Pro Dressage saddle on Polly, the western saddle on Mr. Smith. Johnny climbed aboard and presto! Polly was her normal cooperative self. We continued our trail ride together with no more complaints. I'll bet Polly thinks her people are the dumbest creatures on the planet. She was trying to tell us the saddle hurt and we just didn't get it.

Polly is 31 years young and has changed shape in the last year more than ever previously... she is thinner and has more prominent withers. The saddle she has worn since we bought her at age 18 obviously no longer fits her. (Doh! I can hear her saying.) Johnny will have to get used to riding in a dressage saddle. He seemed to do okay on Sunday. I may turn him into an English rider yet, thanks to Polly.
This is the photo I took of our Morgan mare, Renwood Pollianne, better known as Polly, ungroomed and unposed, when I returned from California last week. Not bad for 31. I figure my Morgans age about 2 1/2 years for every one human year, making Polly 77 1/2 in people years. I hope I look that good, and am as agile, at 77.

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