After thinking more about Drift's odd behavior yesterday - repeatedly trying to canter and even doing some leaping when asked for trot or while trotting - I think it's less likely that it was just friskiness than something else, since he's never done this before even when he was very nervous. It's not so much that he wanted to canter - he didn't want to trot, and when he did trot it wasn't his usual flowing trot but more tentative than that. I'm suspecting saddle fit - I changed my padding arrangement after my sliding saddle experience the other day, and I think I might have over-padded the front, resulting in his shoulders being constrained. I'm going to try some different arrangements today and see if it makes a difference. I may also put him back in the (too-long) Neoprene girth again to see if that helps - I've been using a new fleece girth.
I've also made an appointment for a very good saddle fitter to come out in a week or so to look at my Kieffer and all three of my horses. I knew that the saddle needs to be reflocked - it's about 15 years old - the flocking is compacted and the saddle fitter confirmed this when I showed it to him. I'm also still hoping to get an About the Horse light-weight western saddle soon, but have to wait until Pie is back in work and muscled up again to do measurements, so that'll be a while (we're still waiting for the results of his blood tests and DNA test). The lady who is hosting the Mark Rashid clinic I'm gong to tomorrow has a number of the About the Horse (Black Rhino) saddles, and I may be able to try a few on Drift and Dawn while I'm there.
More trailering loading practice for Drift today - he needs to stay on and wait for me to close, and then open, the partition and ask him to back, and I'd like the backing to be a bit less fast - he acts like he's making a prison break - I want him to take direction from me rather than making the decision to get off on his own, for safety reasons. We might work on this at the clinic if I don't get a big improvement today.
And some pictures of the retirees down at Paradigm Farms in Tennessee - cell phone photos courtesy of Melissa. First, here's adorable (and very sleepy) Norman at the vet clinic waiting to have his tear ducts flushed - they always clog up and then he gets goopy eyes and sometimes eye infections:
And here are Maisie (left) and Lily (right) - it's fun to see them together as they are such different body types - Maisie is a Trakehner/TB cross and is a good two inches taller than Lily, but is very delicately built, and Lily, who is a Oldenburg/QH cross, is built like a tank. They look pretty happy!