After delay after delay...and I mean MONTHS of them..I finally got to take my very first sidesaddle lesson last Saturday! I am so excited!! It took almost an hour to adjust and re-adjust the saddle, especially since my girth is still on back order, but we got it all done. Thank you Pam! That girth extender you sent me really worked! I had to have a leg up since Chastain is already a tall horse (16+ hh). I actually could not get my foot into the stirrup even with a (small) mounting block! I could not believe how high I was! My saddle never slipped or rolled. My instructor, Kelli checked and rechecked the girth..just to be safe.
Remember - this is the first time Chastain has been ridden aside as well. We rode in the small training pen and Kelli kept me on a lunge line to start. Chastain never pinned his ears, but I would have liked them to be forward...instead of where they were. We walked both directions and I have to admit that one direction (going left) felt more comfortable than the other. It was obvious that we need to use a reverse wedge pad. (oh goodie..something to raise me up even higher!) since his soft back put a slight tilt on the saddle, but I never felt like I was going to come off the back.
I know that I only rode for about 30 minutes, and much of that was walking, but my legs and back were talking to me! After I felt pretty comfortable, I clucked him up into a very slow trot. It was good, so we took off the lunge line and continued the lesson. After a few laps, I asked him to increase his speed a bit, but still very far from a show trot! We changed directions and trotted in reverse. I think Chastain knew I was really concentrating on me and my position because he started to pull his head a bit...a little 'no-no' this horse has done for years, but nothing that caused any problems.
I dismounted ..not sure if my legs were going to hold me...yeah - I am out of shape! ..but I was grinning from ear to ear. I can't wait until next week and our next lesson. Maybe we can get into the big arena.