Saddle update

I’m not quite sure what is going on with the above picture of Lizzie as she looks like she has no neck development whatsoever and resembles more of a yak than a dressage horse in training….we had just come back from a quick whiz on the moor so possibly she was a little tired?

Anyway, the saddle. We spent a challenging 2 hours last week trying various saddles. Elly, the saddle fitter, initially thought she could flock Baz’s so that it would be a good temporary measure whilst Lizzie is changing shape so much. This really got my hopes up (especially as we’d had a fantastic schooling session in it the day before), but even with the modifications it was just too tight around the scapulae, especially the right.

We tried a few more, none of which suited me or Lizzie, and then we found one that had a slightly different shaped tree, that doesn’t fit flush with the horse’s back, but curves slightly away. She felt better in the canter and it was the only one we tried that I felt comfortable in through my back. All the others fixed me way too much, but this one allowed me to move through my back just enough ( I do feel very slightly that I am pushed into extension but nothing like any of the others) yet the blocks were so soft that my legs were just in the right place yet not fixed and rigid and I could really use them.

So, we have on trial for 2 weeks the same saddle but 1/2 an inch bigger. Lizzie hacked very happily yesterday, and we schooled today. Although I definitely get the slight feeling that I am pushed towards extension (ie that my Lumbar lordosis is being forced) it is really minor, to the degree that I could live with it because in every other aspect it is perfect for me. Lizzie also seemed to like it, and her canter was superb. Then we trotted, and the weird unlevel thing came back.

I was so disappointed, and can’t really work out why the canter would be so improved but for her to not be happy in the trot. Still, we have nearly 2 weeks left to play around, and I hope that maybe she is just getting used to the change…. However, I have definitely learnt a huge lesson when it comes to saddles; we all have a different shape and structure that suits us, and it is SO worth spending the time finding what that is – I am very low toned, and clearly being too fixed just doesn’t work.

Take home messages for you:

  • If you are struggling with position
  • If you are feeling uncomfortable during/after riding
  • If you feel you aren’t riding to the best of your ability but aren’t sure why

then try another saddle before you look any further into the situation.

Louise

Published by Louise Towl Physio

I am a Chartered Physiotherapist with Pilates training, and I am an ACPAT (the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Animal Therapy) and RAMP (Register of Animal Musculoskeletal Practitioners) registered Veterinary Physiotherapist. Away from work I have ridden all my life, competing in various disciplines and now focussing on dressage. With my retired horse, Baz, I competed at Advanced level, and I now have a younger horse, Lizzie, who is currently competing at Elementary.

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