The saddle pad is a full sized saddle pad, so it looks huge. I see a saddle that still isn't quite perfect. It isn't resting on her shoulders as severely as my Big Horn, but it still pops up in the back. I should try it again without the breast collar some time, maybe that would make a difference. I think I might have to just take her into the local saddle place if I choose to pursue this further. But first I have to sell my saddle. Boo.
Fast forward a month and we found ourselves at Donida Farm to practice or warm-up etiquette. There was a schooling show taking place this day so it was a perfect chance to figure out why we were having issues in the warm-up arena and how to fix them.
We got there around 9 or 10 in the morning and there was almost no one there! Maybe ten participants, if that! This was nice because then I have more room to work Mercy, but we came here to work on high pressure situations. OK...
As soon as I got Mercy saddled and into the arena she immediately tried taking off into a lope. Umm... no, that's not acceptable. I took hold and worked her into tight circles at the trot until she cooled down. It took quite a while, but she finally let up, for a while.
I finally got her to collect a little bit and asked her for the lope going to the left. Her circles got continually larger and larger. And when we got to one side of the arena she would shoulder out and ram toward the fence. I was finally able to realize that she needed more direction BEFORE the issue showed itself. So a couple of strides before that one sticky spot I made a point to direct her into the circle and voila! She didn't shoulder out! And she smoothed out:
She wasn't collected, but I wasn't worried about that because she wasn't fighting me, kicking out at other horses riding by, or trying to run off.