Well, I had my lesson on Thursday- I managed to mount fairly gracefully, I think. Altivo accepted the bridle and bit pretty easily, and we walked around the arena for a while, circling barrels, traffic cones, and any other obstacles in our path.
My instructor then put me on the lunge line, to work on my trot, and Altivo kind of gave a little head toss, so to be safe, she had me dismount so we could see if there was an issue there. It seems like his left stifle is bugging him, and the term "patella fixation" came up. Since he hasn't been exercised regularly in eons, there's a chance that his locking knee is from basic un-fitness.
I've hired my teacher's daughter to ride him twice a week to work on him, since my saddle still isn't in yet, and he needs a more experienced hand to trot and lope him. My job, however, is to walk him and free lunge him in the meantime, and we are going to evaluate him in about a month or so. I hope his leg gets better, I don't want him to see being ridden as a horrible scary thing that locks his knees up.
I finally ordered my saddle!!! Because I'm still learning, and eventually want to get a supercool endurance saddle (maybe even treeless?!?), I decided to go with a beginner, easily kept up saddle- the Abetta. They only make two styles in the draft tree, both with horns, but they're comfortable, inexpensive, and simple looking.
Reinsman Tacky Too, the Team Equine Durango, and the Classic Equine ESP pad.
All have good reviews, all are around the same price, but I've heard the Tacky Too pads can get slick if your horse sweats alot- he does at the moment since he's out of shape! And I've heard the ESP's can break down, and the Team Equine's website isn't that user friendly.
And I want a good pad that'll hold up to use, but I also want it to be pretty!!! I'm such a vapid consumer, but seriously, looks are a minor concern too.
I've been working on having him stand near the mounting block some more, and he's gotten really good at standing quietly, even if I step up to the top step. He used to side step or bounce around slightly when I got that far- it's so awesome to see progress!!
I also think the hoof glitter helps too. :)