Posted by: shannonc | November 14, 2009

Cinderella’s slipper

So I kind of shot myself in the foot here, but to be fair, I *did* leave a loophole.  When the pony got his Amerigo, I said, “the pony isn’t getting another saddle this year…at least, not unless it’s a used one!”  You see the loophole, it’s not as though I’m in danger of being crowned the princess of subtlety.

The thing is (whine, whine), it’s been very close to infuriating to try and do good flatwork in the jump saddle.  I know that some people can do it.  For whatever reason – skill, differently built jump saddles, absolute mastery of mind-over-body techniques…whatever.  All I know is that I was pulling my hair out trying to practice my D tests in the Amerigo until I gave up, shortened my stirrups, and agreed to let my hips tilt forward.  At which point I could at least get my leg on again, and was able to give up pretzelry as a skill builder.  It’s doable that way, but it doesn’t give me the feeling of sitting into the horse – it’s very “on” the horse.

The pony, of course, is a greenbean.  I seriously spent several months in small pieces and endless iterations getting the pony to move straight off a halt.  The first 2,000,052 times, his left front went out first, the left shoulder dipped, and presto, we are no longer on center line.  This gives you an idea of our grand dressage skill advancement:  we are still perfecting 20m circles and occasionally continue to argue about the wisdom of answering my right leg in a turn on the forehand.  We’re talking basics here.  Plus, as aforementioned, I was not born with the proverbial shadbelly in my mouth (or even the german silver snaffle bit).  Meaning:  I can use all the help I can get!  And let’s just add, I have no shame on that count – if I can get help, I want it!  Cheating, even better :)

Okay, so no cheating.  But after the Joy clinic, Vicki offered me a saddle of hers to try.  It’s an interesting saddle – a black Sankey Barracuda monoflap.  On the cross ties I thought maybe there was a little bit of bridging, but decided to sit in it for a bit.  I pulled down the stirrups, figured they were going to be way too long, and swung my leg over.  That’s when it happened…

It snugged me right in.  The twist felt kind of wide for about 5 seconds, until my thighs stretched (the way they should, lol), and I didn’t need to change the stirrups at all.  I wonder if it looked like I needed roller skates. 

The pony needed a nice long slow warmup because he’d only had turnout since the Myopia pace – and he got it, because I was having so much fun experimenting.  My leg felt great, right on him, I felt like I could push with my thigh, or seatbone, and still stay sitting right in the middle.  No leaning tower of rider.  And ohmygod the CANTER.  Whereas when I normally have to sit, I’m reminding myself every stride to soften my back, soften and follow and sit light, as I feel like my tailbone wants to go thunk, thunk, thunk…in this saddle I wanted to canter all day long.  It was that comfy. 

I’m not sure what exactly the pony thought.  His way of going, if anything, was slightly less correct in that he was tending to hollow, especially at the trot.  This could have been due to a bunch of things, from general stiffness to a pinch to it feeling different to my being able to get my leg on better, bringing him up in front but not having the suppleness to round.  He seemed to agree with me at the canter – he was much more steerable from my leg, felt more balanced, and did no swapping behind.  So we did get some good work, and I want to play around in it some more – and ideally, have someone else watch us in it.  Tape would be good.  I’ll see what I can work out.  Maybe best of all, when I took the saddle off, I didn’t see any telltale holes in the pad marks suggesting a bridge – marks were very even along the panel.  A little bit of blank spots on the pommel points – maybe there is a bit of a pinch there?  Clearance seemed good.

I should be telling myself we need a new kitchen, but instead I might be dreaming of having to buy a nice black bridle to match.  Just might…surely, the brown one wouldn’t do…




  1. hehe…I told you so ;)

  2. Any saddle named “barracuda” is a notch above in my book!

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