I've been riding, just not taking pictures. Yesterday we had a good trail ride, Melissa and I and my dad. The horses were very well behaved, but Rosie did not like Sox. She was still flirting with Tonka but not quite so desperately. It is interesting how they have their own social agendas while we humans are socializing in our own way.
Today I took Tonka along to a barbeque at my sister's. He was calm, happy, and pleased to be there. A completely different horse than the one I've been riding all year so far. And I think, maybe, the reason might be saddle fit.
Yesterday when I picked up my dad and Sox for our ride, I also traded saddles with my sister. Not my really nice saddle, just my other pretty nice saddle, a Diamond C I'm trying to sell. I put hers on Tonka at the trail head and I was skeptical about the fit but rode anyway. I made sure to stay on the whole ride, not get off on the steep down hill parts to save his back. He seemed fine. Toward the end of the ride my butt was tired of the saddle, and my knees and hips weren't happy when I dismounted. So it's not perfect for me but sometimes it takes time to get used to a new saddle. When we got back to the trailer I took it off and the sweat pattern was even. Which I've experienced before even with a saddle that didn't fit, so I was still skeptical.
Tonight he was so calm and relaxed, and my sister took some video of us. His back wasn't sunken the way it often is in other pictures I've seen of us riding. So I'm hopeful. I admit I'm still totally confused about saddle fit, so I'm not going to claim it fits. But it seems to make him happy so far.
I also tried out one of my new Myler bits. It's a shanked bit with a port but each side moves independently. It's extremely similar to the Dutton bit that Tonka prefers over any others, but it's smooth metal, not black rusty sweet iron. . I noticed Tonka itching his face a lot during our last ride with the Dutton, and thought maybe the rough texture or something about the metal was irritating the corner of his mouth, so maybe a change was in order. It did seem to work somewhat differently, judging by his behavior, but he seemed to like it. I'm going to keep riding in it and see if it's a good thing for him.
This is the Dutton bit he prefers, but his isn't a 7 shank:
This is the Myler bit, but I think mine has a wider port:
Both swivel in the center.
I'm "this close" to getting my EZ Fit treeless saddle. Just have to sell a few items first. How many bits, pads, and breast collars does a person really need anyway? I counted 12 bits today, and I have at least 5 breast collars. I put some on Craigslist today (but couldn't bring myself to part with any breast collars just yet). Here are some pics in case anyone is interested.