After the failure of the 18.5", I was optimistic for the 18". When I had the Trilogy rep out, I was borderline on needing an 18 or 18.5 and she said I really could swing either way. The 18" came and it is in much nicer condition than I expected! It was a demo saddle that had been ridden in lightly before being sat for years before going to a consignment store, where it had also sat for about 2 years. I felt more comfortable in it, the difference in the 17.5 and 18 certainly feels more than a half inch! After a couple of quick rides, I decided to keep it and immediately scheduled the Trilogy rep to come back for a fitting.
Lesson 29 had me coming into it with the wheels falling off of the bus. I had lost a week of time because of a malfunction of the tractor that filled the entire arena with exhaust. Mia wasn't acting right, we hadn't jumped as much as I felt we needed, and A got to see the rarely seen side of me with anxiety lol. We talked through a lot in the lesson, and while I felt better, I wasn't completely solid. I hadn't even jumped 3' yet and we were 2 weeks from the show. Would I blow her tendons by pushing too fast? Things had also went from "easy" to "hard" again on Mia. She had started fighting again, and I didn't always feel like I knew what I was doing again.
We worked hard on the test, doing every part of the test 2 to 3 times to really focus on the technical aspects of the test to maximize points. If Michael Yung can win on his dressage score on a not-flashy mare by being technically accurate, so can I dammit! We put the test together at the end and A was pretty happy. There are a few things I am missing, but she would have given us an 8 on several aspects of the ride. Score! I left the ride feeling really good.
One of the things I kept thinking was that Mia didn't like the 18" saddle. I couldn't pinpoint why, other than she was fighting me, but I needed to find out to fix some of the anxiety. The next Sunday I did a blind ride test for A. I rode in one saddle, then the other to see if she could see a difference. I felt a difference immediately, Mia was uncomfortable in the 18". When I swapped the 18" for the 17.5", Mia stopped fighting with the very first step. I set the 18" aside and decided we are staying in the 17.5" until our show, I don't want to keep changing things right before my show on Apr 25th.