So the rump rug worked great. Gotta get some pics sometime and share how I did it - very easy to use in the saddle, and it wasn't bad to make, either.
Arabee warmed up nicely at the walk, but when we started trotting she got pretty HOT. This was okay, because she was still controllable. It was actually a hoot to ride! I surprised myself by not minding too badly when she kept breaking gait into a canter - it was calm, and FUN! I just may end up being a competetive rider, after all! We will see!
Still had saddle slippage problems 15 minutes into the ride even with the addition of a crupper, so I got off and readjusted, and strapped down the crupper. I had it way too loose to affect anything. Tightening it helped, but it also caused a tiny bucking fit the next time she cantered, but it was easy to bring her back. She'll just HAVE to get used to it, or else learn to enjoy having the saddle riding up towards her neck. She was good though later when I asked her to canter, no bucking :-) even though the crupper had been tightened.
She was good.
There will be no riding on a totally loose rein for a while. I had visions before getting out on the trails of trotting down the trail with absolutely no contact on a looping loose rein, but I just like my knees too much to try that just yet. They are mostly loose, just not draping. There were some times at the trot where she got pretty hot to go, that I had a pretty good hold on her. I tried to ease up my hold and use my voice and legs instead, which worked surprisingly well.
Rode a full hour, counting warm up and cool down, and I had a wet, sweaty horse. That is saying something when the ground was starting to re-freeze again by the time I finished up!
I still am in amazement at myself for why in the world I quit riding for sooooo long. After I finished up tonight I was so ENERGIZED from the ride, and I know I had this much fun before. I'll try to quit pondering that one for now, and just really enjoy the ride now.