Friday, January 6, 2012

Cinderella's Slipper

Have you guys ever noticed how finding that just right saddle is something akin to Goldilocks (this one is too wide, that one is too narrow!) or Cinderella's slipper (though statistically speaking, how many chicks do you think would have fit that shoe? Must have been more than one...)? I mean, how different types of backs can a horse have? What ever happened to narrow, medium and wide? Now we have saddles that are too long, have the wrong twist in the tree, too long of flaps, too narrow over the spine, and on and on.... Not to mention personal comfort... I mean some saddles ride like mideval torture devices and others feel like your floating on a cloud miles above the horse, then some dressage saddles have flaps that go to my ankles (side note: if there are spur marks on the flaps of your saddle, it might not fit you).

I remember that blissful ignorance when a saddle was 'good enough' because it didn't rub the hair out of Opie's withers or perch on the top of her broad back. Oh, those were the days... And we thought that bucking was only a behavioral problem. Though, to be honest, it might have been as far as Opie was concerned....

Now, because I know better, I have 5 saddles. For three horses. To be fair, they aren't all dressage saddles, so it could be worse.

RC has his super custom dressage saddle (with banana panels) that only fits when wearing a fuzzy half pad that also gets shared with Delight (oh, saddle fitter, where art thou?).
Then I have a Stubben jumping saddle for each Delight and RC... because Delight has a much wider back than RC, and you never know when I'll want to try jumping.
And RC's western saddle, for those pattern classes and drill team stuff. Or when I don't feel like working.
And now that I have Tilly, she has her very own dressage saddle (thank you, Santa!), which is a definint improvement over having to wear RC's Stubben (I have three girths, and none were quite right... Young horse, loose saddle... yikes).

First of all, I finally got my brown dressage saddle (honestly, who hasn't lusted after the brown saddle/chestnut horse combo?)! And it looks so handsome on Tilly! Now, I had my reservations upon actually seeing the saddle up on Tilly. The seat looked awfully small and the saddle was awfully light after hauling that Schleese around for so long... This saddle didn't extend as far back over her ribs (which is good) and that seat looked awfully small (especially after the holiday binge eating...).
Turns out I worried for naught.
The saddle fit both me and Tilly very well (though I did have to lengthen the stirrups... Which were uneven to start with), but has no knee rolls and the flattest seat I've ever felt in a dressage saddle. This saddle is on the total other end of the spectrum from my banana panel saddle. But I love it!

I know, I know... Pictures will have to come later, when all three of my horses aren't so worked up with the nice weather and a week off of work.

By the way, it was 40 degrees outside this morning! In the UP! In January! Global warming? I'll take it!

Also, in an effort to prompt comments or prove that anyone at all reads this blog, I have volunteered to give a Dressage demo to the local 4H kids. What would you want to learn about dressage? What do you wish people had told you before you got started? And I don't have a GP horse to show off, so the piaffe/passage and one tempis are right out.

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