Okay. I didn't want to talk about this. I don't even want to think about it. I have to though, because now I have to figure out how to move on. We had a bit of a wreck. Completely my fault, and totally terrifying, and I felt SO bad. Luckily Tonka is okay (physically), and my saddle seems to be mostly okay, and he didn't run me down, although he did come close.
I was working on saddling him, and he was a little jumpy about the cinch. I should have taken it off, released that pressure and then gone back to it. But I didn't, and he bolted before I had it firmly secured, but it was pretty well tightened down. So it very slowly loosened as he bucked and bucked and bucked all over the place. He came close to going through the fence, but noticed it at the last minute. His main concern was getting rid of that saddle. Which he eventually did, after it had flipped around his belly and stayed there for quite a while. There were flaps and straps flying everywhere. I thought he was going to break a leg. It really sucks to be standing there watching that and totally unable to do anything about it. I did very shakily take a few pictures after he was well into it and I'd resigned myself to having to just watch it play out. You can't really see the saddle much, but it's there, right under his most tender and vulnerable parts.
I did put the saddle back on several times when we were done, but without the cinch. Maybe a mistake, but he was seriously not in a good learning mood, he was still really spooked. He allowed me to put the saddle back on, but he didn't like it.
So. Where to go now... This has affected our relationship. It will definitely affect his future training. I am going to strap some other things to his back before I try the saddle again. And I'm going to do it in a smaller area. Hopefully he won't kill me! My 50' round pen is under construction but only has 2 posts set just yet. So we may end up working in the 28' square mustang pen. It'll do, but it'll be tight quarters. I need to work on gaining his trust again as well. I think we're well on the way. It all just takes time and patience and paying better attention to his emotional needs than I did that day.