Brena gained a new saddle today. At least it's new to her. This is my spare saddle, which used to be used on the old grey gelding Pintea. I made the change on the advice of a visiting saddler. Brena has quite a straight back, and this saddle has a slightly flatter tree that gives a closer fit. The old saddle served well owing to rather soft stuffing that provided for an acceptable fit. There were no obvious signs of ill fitting, however I did think that the stuffing had become very soft. However the spare saddle fits better.
It feels good to ride in too - comfortable, secure and providing a firm link between Brena and I.
We started as early as possible considering that I could not finish work too early. Nevertheless the sun was low at 6pm, near-horizontal and golden upon the ridge. Southward we began, down into a shallow valley filling with a sea of shadow. Our ride became a race against time, the fate of autumn evening excursions. I wished to cross the one road with enough light to be safe, for we have to go a little way along that thoroughfare between villages too. Fortunately we encountered not a single vehicle, just two cyclists and they had stopped to talk.
The silent trail back up to the ride we took partly at canter, Brena keen to accelerate. Still she starts off by dropping her head, a balancing manoeuvre that feels confusingly like the rounding of back before a buck. Then with me standing in the stirrups and giving her a loose rein she sorts herself out and flies.
The newly harrowed bare chalky fields spread milky in the twilight, as if all were softly moonlit. Yet barely a sliver of moon showed above darkening trees.
As for the trees, this was not only Brena's first ride in a new saddle but our first of the year kicking crisp fallen Beech leaves and crunching them underfoot.