Sorry for my crappy bloggin skills and my lack of updating.
Update #1: Saddle Issues
So the saddle fitter came out on Saturday, it was quite the ordeal. I had talked with her on the phone for quite a bit about what I was looking for (dressage saddle, cheap, wiiiiide tree) and had to repeatedly emphasize what a tank Howie is. My fitter has been in the business for about 30 years and has come across lots of big draft mixes, so she said she was sure she could find something. When she arrived at my place I had Howie all ready to go and she took one look at him and said "you really weren't kidding when you said you needed a wide tree." She then proceeded to measure him, did all the tracings and stuff and I showed her what I was currently riding in. Apparently its sinful. It is a standard wide tree close contact jumping saddle and supposedly does not fit him at all. So no saddle riding until the new one comes, just bareback
After taking tracings of his back my fitter told me that Howie is the widest horse she has ever fitted. No joke, she has never seen a horse with as broad of a back as the H pone. No wonder my hips kill after long rides. She brought 8 extra wide saddles and none fit. She showed me the tracings of his back and explained where a narrow, medium, wide and extra wide tree would be, Howie was a good 2 inches wider than an extra wide horse on either side. So we talked about options. Looks like I have to get a custom fitted saddle and the easiest and cheapest route is this.
Wintec saddles have an exchangable gullet system. Its nice, but Wintec is a synthetic brand so not as high quality as some other saddles. My fitter will take an extra wide gullet, heat it in the forge and make it wider and put it into the higher end Wintec dressage saddle model. Not as expensive as expected, but still, quite the ordeal so I will be waiting for a few weeks before I can saddle up Howie. He is gonna gain some more poundage. Lesigh.
Update #2: Fitness stuffs
Until I got the news that I was forbidden to ride in a saddle, everything was going very well. Under saddle we had worked out most of our issues, thank you dressage whip, and we were starting over fences. He was doing great, even went up a hole on either side with the girth!! I also turn him loose every morning in the arena and let him thunder around like the crazy beast he is. The better fitness means a more lively Howie which is phenomenal.
And now for some pics