Wednesday, November 3, 2010

saddle change

Tonight was a busy night at the riding stables. Seemed like everyone was out on the thirty-degree night with their horses. Most of the school saddles were on other horses in the arena, so out of kindness Hollie let me borrow her own dressage saddle for my lesson. (I am used to general english-style saddles. I never really feel correct in them. )She warned me it would be different.

It was a revelation! I had never used that style before but never had I felt more comfortable, more in control, and more content on the back of a horse than I was tonight. (And that horse was 16.2 hands!) For the first time I felt like I was riding that horse: not just a passenger stranded on her back. Hollie actually said "wow" noticing the difference. She said it was my best lesson ever and I swelled up with some slow-earned pride.

I am not good at this riding thing, but I am stubborn. I go for lessons every week and through heat, cold, bruises, and frustrations I keep going back. Every time I go I am grateful I did. Some weeks that half hour on the back of a trotting beasts is the only peace I get. I'm forced to focus 100%, relax, and for a few minutes I actually release all my tension. It is wonderful.

Tonight was a fine, effortless, ride. Now I am more interested than ever in Dressage. What a handsome sport. Sometimes it just takes a small, simple, change to make everything better.

12 Comments:

OpenID breezyink said...

I remember the first time I went from a school saddle to my instructors dressage saddle! I know exactly what you're talking about. Maybe you can sweet talk her into letting you try it out a few more times. ;) It really makes a world of difference!

November 3, 2010 at 8:51 PM  
Blogger Velma said...

when i bought my good karma saddle, a 30 year old stubben i was in heaven. still a hunt saddle, but oh, so wonderful. a good saddle really matters, especially when it fits your discipline. SO glad you had a great lesson.

November 3, 2010 at 9:21 PM  
Blogger twistie said...

Have toy ever tried a treeless western saddle? ::insert angelic praise noise here...:: It's WONDERFUL! What about bareback, personally my favorite way to ride, talk about a connection! I'm so glad you are enjoying one of my favorite things to do! For me it is mind erasing!

November 3, 2010 at 9:30 PM  
Blogger Sue Steeves said...

Yaaaaaay! Welcome to the Dressage Club girl! I switched over from hunter/jumper fifteen years ago and never looked back. It is really the only time I feel even a teensy tiny bit gracefull. I still have my first dressage saddle and it is my favorite to school in, but to old to show in. So glad you find it inspiring as well. Now I really wished you lived closer so I could have a riding buddy.

November 3, 2010 at 9:58 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

I love dressage. Did it for a few years while I was at University. It is a wonderfully "cerebral" sport, as well as being a great workout and good for one's own posture. When my kids get older I plan to get back into riding. You might enjoy reading "Centred Riding" by Sally Swift. Wonderful book about basic positioning, etc and quite readable.

November 3, 2010 at 11:53 PM  
OpenID thatsthelife said...

Jenna, have you seen this?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKQgTiqhPbw

Andreas Helgstrand, World Equestrian Games, Freestyle 2006.

The most spectacular dressage performance I've ever seen. I love how the mare digs in when the bass cranks up. Look how floppy and relaxed her ears are - she just loves to dance!

November 4, 2010 at 2:58 AM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

It really makes a difference when your seat and legs are in the right place doesn't it? Mind you, there are dressage saddles and dressage saddles - you gets what you pays for! Enjoy!

November 4, 2010 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I second the comment on bareback- THAT is the way to go! But I trained and competed in dressage for YEARS (worked my way up to 2nd level before I had to sell my horse) and I agree- it is so peaceful and you really feel 'one' with the horse.
I had a gorgeous County dressage saddle and I REALLY wish I had held on to it (not like I'd get lucky enough for it to fit my next horse someday...but you never know!)
Glad you were able to try it out and found it so enlightening! =D

November 4, 2010 at 7:27 AM  
Blogger DarcC said...

From a lifelong horseperson - the right saddle makes all the difference! Style is completely individual, whatever feels "right" to you. When you are ready to buy your own - buy top-of-the-line. Cheap saddles are worse than useless, they can hurt you and the horse physically and can even ruin a perfectly good horse-human bond.

November 4, 2010 at 8:34 AM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

i assume you were in a close contact before? not sure if you are interested in jumping but if so look around for a better fitting saddle, sometimes school saddles don't have the propper padding, might not be fit correctly, or lack knee rolls which are great for a beginner (or rebeginner) rider.

dressage is great for foundation work and totally helps with your seat and balance, especially if/when you decide to jump...which of course you'd then need a close contact/jumper saddle for.

i rode gaited horses for the first time this summer...if you haven't done that before you should totally try. i kid you not, you feel ONE with the horse the gait is so smooth. a sitting trot is heavenly. i doubt a dressage/hunter/jumper barn has any gaited horses unless someone has one boarded there, but look into it. its an experience worth having.

November 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM  
Blogger BaileyDog said...

"No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle." ~Winston Churchill

There is nothing quite like riding in a good quality saddle on a good horse. I own two saddles I love but no horses. My friends have joked that when I finally go shopping for my own horse I will have to bring the saddles with me. If the saddles don't fit I can't buy the horse.

November 4, 2010 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Dressage is great. I dabbled in it with my friend's horses. They had been used in training level. The 16.2 gelding had the most amazing extended trot! He was quite good at half-passes, too.
Do you ride the same horse each lesson? You could really develop a bond while working on dressage patterns.

November 4, 2010 at 6:07 PM  

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