One other reason I finally rode yesterday was that the horses finally had a full day of turnout - they had been stuck in their stalls on Monday and Tuesday due to the extreme cold and had only a short day of turnout Wednesday.
I rode both Red and Pie in the new saddle, using a much thinner pad for Red - the saddle still wasn't 100% level but it was much better and he seemed very happy with it. The pad was a doubled over one, and I think with a single width thin pad things will be just fine. Pie also seemed to approve of the new saddle.
With all three horses, I didn't do any lungeing or groundwork first - I just got on. All three horses were absolutely fabulous - forward, responsive and soft. All three seemed happy that we were working together again, and all three rode just like they always do. Pie even came to the front of his stall and waited for me to get him out to ride, which is unusual for him - usually he's more interested in eating. It sure feels wonderful that things are getting back to normal.
I'm working on a post or posts about the calm horse . . .