As was the case with most things regarding Val and his tack when I first got him / it, how I initially adjusted everything was trial and error. We've had a number of errors. Saddle placement for instance - there are guidelines, but every horse is built differently. Val needs room for his shoulders but also has a bit of a roached back. He has no problem expressing himself - some mini bucks clued me in. For Val to be truly comfortable the saddle needs to be just so. Our first dressage girth let the saddle slip forward. More mini bucks. A timely mention of the Le Tixerant girth from Grey Horse Matters got us on the right track. Val's not too keen on anything but the largest setting for his cavesson. And loose ring snaffles were pinchy. Not good. It's french link eggbutt all the way for us.While catching up on some reading over the weekend, I came across a suggestion that sometimes geldings and stallions can use to have their bit sit just a bit higher in their mouths. There was no explanation of why, and I couldn't for the life of me even tell you where I read it. All I know is when I tacked up today, that thought came to me. I checked out how the bit sat in the corners of Val's mouth. I could really only see one, maybe one and a half wrinkles, so I took up each side a notch.
We had a lovely ride. It was actually hot out - very sunny and still. There were no issues with geography. (!) Making good progress with our big walk, and responsiveness to my asking for it. Lots of trot work. Trot / walk, trot / halt transitions, half halting through the corners and some two point work. Nothing new, but some nice work.
I'll need a few more rides to confirm, but it seemed like Val really liked the adjustment. He was very responsive and did quite a bit of chewing / mouthing his bit. Turning was smoother, and the contact felt easier to maintain. Go figure...
After a refreshing liniment rub down we grazed for a spell. Val tucked into some juicy green stuff while I thought about things. Like how come I could overlook such a simple adjustment. And how long Val may have been trying to tell me about it. Just like with the saddle, the girth, the needle hay... Bless our horses hearts for being so tolerant of us humans, who can be a little on the slow side. :)