That Mac, he sure does keep me on my toes! After a couple weeks of not riding because it was snowy and cold, it finally got warm enough that my fingers wouldn't freeze off when riding. I've ridden in the new saddle a few times in the arena and on the trail and there's a bit of rolling side-to-side, so the saddler is going to send me some shims and I have a new saddle pad on order. I also ordered myself some offset-twisted stirrups so that twisting the fenders won't hurt my knees. I did get them pre-twisted, but with my right knee (where I had surgery), it still isn't enough. I should get the shims and pad this week and the stirrups will come later. Hopefully they'll do the trick. In the meantime, I have been on a few trail rides and LOVE this saddle for trail riding! It is really comfortable and one day I almost thought I had a heated seat! Really, I don't know how/why it would feel that way, but my buns were toasty warm and comfortable.
Until I get the rolling sorted out I've been doing arena work in my dressage saddle. We took a week off during the holiday when my parents were visiting so I just got on again the other day. Boy Mac was a spitfire! Some days he wants to play along and some days he just doesn't.
I got out my lunging caveson and so have been doing some lunging/groundwork before getting on (I was inspired by a Philippe Karl video that showed him doing groundwork with a young stallion before riding). A couple days we had lovely and impressive leaps in the air, but the last couple of times have been uneventful. I work on large circles, spiraling in/out, trotting over poles, and circumnavigating the arena with a series of circles. Then I do shoulder in and haunches in in-hand, and finish with some flexions in hand.
The past two rides I had were absolutely fantastic!!!!! I think it helped that he was able to loosen up and stretch over his back without me up first, and then after doing some specific exercises at the walk we went to the canter. That really seemed to get him loose and supple and so the rest of the ride was just great. I'm on cloud nine. It was one of those rides that I just want to tell everyone about, so here I am. We worked on transitions, SI/HI, counter canter, collected trot - medium trot, and some cavaletti pole work (cloverleaf pattern). He felt really straight and supple and light and forward and it was just wonderful!
I'll try to get a video or at least some photos in the new saddle when I've got it set up to my liking.
Happy New Year!