To ride dressage is to dance with your horse, equal partners in the delicate and sometimes difficult work of creating harmony and beauty.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Still not satisfied

Once the giddy feelings of relief over Lance moving more freely that first night in the new saddle subsided, I found myself second-guessing, well, everything. The same freedom of movement didn't seem present the next day, making me wonder if the saddle really did it better, or just differently. I've continued to school Lance briefly whenever I can, over-analyzing everything in my desire to be fair to this creature who so generously packs me around on his back, comfortable or not.

The balance of the Wintec Pro wasn't ideal, so we installed front shims. That improved both the balance of the saddle and my comfort, but at the cost of some of the shoulder room the extra-wide gullet plate provides. I am also concerned that the flaps will be too short when riding in my tall boots, and I'm not thrilled with the grippy fabric.

On Thursday I had an idea. I called Julie, who now works at Gallops Saddlery, and asked if they had any wide-tree saddles in stock to try. When she said they had two, a new Toulouse and a used Amerigo, I cleared my schedule to pick them up. They felt good to me on the saddle buck, but once on Lance's back, it was clear they would NOT work:
As you can see, both sit on Lance's back somewhat like a banana, the back of the panels curving up and away from him. Both of these saddles would concentrate my weight in the middle of the tree, and would NOT encourage him to lift his back. The Wintec, on the other hand, sits on his back properly:
His back is obviously suited to its straighter contours.

Tomorrow Lance sees the chiropractor. I'm very interested to learn what she finds, and get her opinion on saddle fit!


Lori Skoog said...

We have had many saddle fitting clinics at our farm and I have learned a lot. Finding the right saddle can make all the difference in your horse's back and your ride. Did you ever try a Mattes Pad underneath your saddle? I ended up with an Albion SL (Dressage) and it still fits my 29 yo mare. When they don't fit, it's like you having size 9 feet squeezed into size 6 shoes...does not feel good.

Michelle said...

Yes, I have a very good fleece numnah that I got for Russell and have used faithfully except when analyzing a different saddle's fit. So many people don't realize how critical saddle fit is to a horse's comfort and well-being; a sore back will make a horse compensate in other areas and can lead to injuries like suspensory tears!