I was trying different saddles on Gitta 2 days ago and one did not work out quite as planned. It slid up on to her withers and the stirrups were flipping onto her shoulders and she had a melt down. I had to go over everything in my mind until I realized what caused it. I switched the saddle with the lunging cavesson and everything was fine.
The next day I spent some time trying to find where and what the trigger points were and it seemed to be things flopping around on her shoulders. With some slow work I was able to get her to accept my riding helmut bouncing off her shoulder at walk and trot. That was all I had with me that night.
So this evening I brought the milk bottles on stirrup leathers and went to the round pen. After going through the plastic bag work again that she knows, I switched to the milk bottles. Different sound, feel and look to them and she was not happy, so I started fromm the beginning with them in my hands and working with her all over her body until she accepted them bouncing off of her standing still.
Then I secured them to the front of the saddle on both sides and we started on a small circle at the walk, switching directions every couple of minutes. That took about 6 minutes for her to accept that. Her only reaction was to look sideways at them and freeze when they got to swinging. Once she stopped those reactions, then started with some trot steps. After 20 minutes of slow work and giving her time to figure it out and think it through she was trotting both directions nicely. During the 20 minutes she attempted a melt down twice but with a quick snap of the rope on the rope halter and a sharp "NO" she stopped and went back to being okay.
So I found I can switch off the reaction and she goes back to business.
After ten minutes of not reacting, trotting relaxed and forward switching directions 4 times I called it a day.
Lot's more work ahead with things hanging off the saddle! But she is staying true to form and does accept things if you give her time and don't surprise her.
And we decided I should put a crupper on her to keep the saddle from coming forward. The search for the right saddle will be another adventure I am not looking forward to! My 34cm Duett fits the best but does still slip forward a bit. Right now she is like a slippery sausage until she builds muscle, she does have a wither.