Afraid of being saddled
This has been an issue since I've had Savanna, and keep in mind I've only had her since Feb 19th of this year.
Here's a description of how Sav and I tack up:
Our trailer is our tack room and tacking station. It's kept in the field where I ride. I tie her to the trailer and brush her. She's very calm and accepts everything. I pull out the saddle pad, and she snorts, but doesn't jump or move when I place it on her back. Then when I pull the saddle out, she gets very very anxious and nervous. If I hold it up to her nose, she'll reach her head out and even take a few steps forward to smell it and examine it. I can touch her chest and neck with it, even rub it on her face (English saddle). Once I approach her side, she starts pacing and will hit the end of the lead and immediately change directions, often barreling through me.
It seems to be genuine fear, not her being naughty. I haven't given her any reason to be fearful of the saddle since I've had her. I know the man who broke her out (over a year ago, with no riding in the past 6-8 months) and he is reputable and a great trainer, so I find it unlikely that he did something "stupid" that may have made her afraid.
When I first encountered this problem (the first time I saddled her), I thought a fine fix would be to get her used to the saddle and just keep saddling and unsaddling her until she got used to it and realized it wouldn't hurt her. I would put the saddle on but not girth it up, just let it set there, and then take it off. Gave her a minute, then tried again. She's not afraid of the saddle unless it's approaching her back.
It's strange too, because once I can manage to get the saddle on her back (sometimes she will give up and stand still, but still be very cautious and jumpy) she lets me adjust it and girth her up like it's nothing. But if the saddle squeaks, or something makes a noise on the saddle like something hitting the seat or the irons bouncing, she will jump. She's jumpy, but not spooky, if that makes sense...
What I'd like to have some advice on is what may have caused this, which will ultimately help me find a cure for it. It doesn't seem to be improving at all with the idea that "Once she realizes it won't hurt her, she'll be fine with it". I don't always work her when I saddle her. Sometimes I'll girth her up loose and let her eat hay in the barn, letting the saddle "soak" in. Also, there are no problems when I ride her. She stands still to mount, doesn't care if my leg bounces on her side when I swing my leg over, etc. I considered maybe it was a pain issue, but it isn't. Her back is fine (vet checked) and so is her girth area. Oh and, it's MUCH worse when I try to saddle her western.