Saturday, November 28, 2015

Product Review: Every Single Dressage Saddle

Before I begin this review, or, rather, scientific analysis, I guess I should go over my credentials:
- riding for 4.5 years
- keeps all 7 saddle pads meticulously organized
- once had 20+ refusals over two courses but still won the hack
Now that we've established some ethos, I'd like to make a claim: Dressage saddles suck. Why, exactly, do I need a seat deeper than a Jaden Smith tweet? Can you give me one valid reason why the knee block has to be as big as my bicep (AN: my biceps are big)? We're already aware that such a lengthy stirrup doesn't work for my stubby little legs, and don't even get me started on the billets.

If that's not enough, please refer to the figure below:

I rest my case.

In conclusion, Dressage saddles are surprisingly enjoyable, even if you've ridden in nothing but jumping saddles with the occasional western saddle for most of your career. I'm not sure why everyone isn't doing this. They're missing out. I will say, using my leg is a lot easier when I don't have a stirrup iron in the way.  was still doing my "sitting" trot. I considered wearing my full seats, hoping that I'd be able to fake it to an extent . . . but Miss El likes my pinstripe breeches, and I didn't want to be a complete disappointment today, so there's that.

Look how cute :3
I rode Abbey, a green Friesian cross. A combination of her greeness and my slight lack of body control due to new equipment meant that the picture wasn't always that pretty. I've been getting lazy about asking Coach S's horses to bend, and I knew from the minute I got on that I was gonna have to micromanage myself to some extent. The struggle to the left was keeping her on the rail while the struggle to the right was keeping her straight.

We focused mainly on the walk and trot because she needs someone to hold her together at the canter, and, well, I'm not that person. Every once in a while she would get a bit speedy at the trot, and it would take me a few strides to get her to settle back down. There was one time where I was more timely, and I received praise for an early correction. Score!

Don't gimme that look
Abbey wasn't a simple horse at all, but after thinking a bit about this ride, I've come to realize that my attitude has changed greatly in the past year or so. Typically when I have a challenging ride, I would think that I was simply not ready to ride that particular horse. I've now moved into a more "I realize that this wasn't the best ride, but I want to try again" mindset. The former isn't necessarily bad, but the latter allows me to maintain my confidence while also taking steps outside of my comfort zone. Riding more challenging horses makes my flaws more apparent (with Abbey, the balance issue was so much more obvious). That causes the fix to be more apparent as well.

Plus it's just pretty darn fun.

Oh, I forgot to mention, she walked out of the ring during cool out. Just stepped right over it.


1 comment:

  1. fwiw i think "once had 20+ refusals over two courses but still won the hack" belongs on your resume haha. also you and Abbey look good together! i was very surprised by how not-weird the dressage saddle felt the first time i sat in one. now i kinda like it!


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