Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Funny Thing on the Way to the Forum

When I got back in to horses as an adult, I wanted to do the jumpers. When I had a successful season on Cuna, it was a build up to moving into straight jumper land.
not gonna lie this looks really big now
And when I got Courage, he was supposed to be my jumper.
i tried so hard to make this happen
Are you sensing a theme?

I like my saddles brown with forward flaps and graceful curves. I like my colored poles that fall down.

But here I am three years later, making the transition to full (for now) DQ. While I make no promises about my trajectory as a rider if something were to happen to C, it appears that the next +/- ten years are going to involve a tiny white sandbox and an over-emphasis on out-of-sequence alphabet soup.
at least i've upped my braid game
I spend 90% of my time in a black saddle with long flaps these days, but I've always been way more comfortable in shirt stirrups and forward flaps. It's how I ride through all the things Courage throws at me and it always has been. Dressage saddles are for horses that behave, not ones that are losing their minds.

But then we went to our little open show and I had zero compunction about throwing the brown tack back on the beastie to look the part.
or... whatever
The weirdest thing happened--I felt absolutely uncomfortable and out of balance. I was virtually incapable of riding without a death grip on the neck strap of my martingale. I assumed it was show nerves and just sensing Courage's underlying tension, but in general, I don't get that weird about shows and this was just a whole 'nother level of fail for me as a rider.
martingale ftw
My first ride back at home was in the dressage saddle. The moment my seat hit the saddle, I was 100% comfortable. I was confident. I knew I could ride anything Courage threw at me, even if it was residual tension/flailing from overloading in the show environment.

It's carried forward, too. My next ride was outside. It was also massively tense (because reasons), and instead of a death grip on the martingale, I felt my hands stay light and giving while my legs draped nicely around Courage's sides. I felt the tread of my iridescent stirrups and I comfortably rode the horse I had in the moment.

I'm not saying I'm some sort of dressage maestro--I most definitely am not. I still tip forward, do funky things with most every body part, and haven't really addressed the sitting-trot-shaped elephant in the room (but I think we're doing another season at first so whatevsies), but apparently my body has finally learned to relax with those long black flaps.

I guess we've found our new home.

18 comments:

  1. That's got to be a nice feeling. I'm not a huge fan the the dressage saddle at the moment since it was one of the reasons I snapped my leg in two. But it's pretty cool you are settling nicely into the dressage grove.

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    1. Haha I suppose it helps I don't trail ride or jump at present. ;-)

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  2. That's how we get you. :) Welcome to the Dressage side.

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  3. I felt the same way for the first two years I rode dressage then I pulled out my jumping saddle for a fun show and was like "omg how did I ride with my stirrups so short I'm going to die" šŸ˜¶ but somewhere along the line the dressage saddle became home ☺

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  4. This happened to me too! I actually just put my beautiful brown french saddle on for a trail ride and it felt weird and it made me sad.

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    1. End of an era. The worst part is mid switch when you feel you can't ride in either. Haha or at least it was for me.

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  5. I have always felt more comfortable in a dressage saddle, but that is probably because I spent 18 years in a western saddle. I think I will always feel more secure when I have my legs long and butt in the saddle.

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  6. I don't even foxhunt in a jump saddle any more, just jack up my dressage stirrups and grab the neck strap!

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    1. That sounds precarious. Glad it works for you. ;-)

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    2. Props to you! I tried doing that for some canter sets a few weeks back (because we were supposed to be dressaging afterwards), and OMG let me tell you- I have never been so sore as I was after galloping for 18 minutes in a dressage saddle. Next time I'll just swap my tack!

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  7. My deep-seat dressage saddle has saved my ass more than once! Leaping, bucking, spooking, antics I doubt I would have stuck in a jump saddle. Guess it's just how you prefer your balance?

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    1. I mean, there's a reason the various disciplines adopt the tack they do, but I suspect there's also a reason various conformations and personalities of people are attracted to those disciplines.

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  8. I love my dressage saddle! It's so comfortable and secure.

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  9. If I spend more time in one saddle over another the other will feel a bit foreign so this makes sense to me. :)

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  10. Ha ha. Well, you could always do dressage in your jump saddle. I started doing this for a while so I could get more comfy asking the same things in that tack as I did in my dressage tack.. It was harder without long stirrups and a deeper seat, but I think it made me stronger...

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  11. Makes tons of sense...after the last few years of dressaging not entirely by choice but because soundness, I'm waffling about what discipline next...the predictability and calmness of hunters is very appealing, dressage only not so much, eventing feels mildly irresponsible and too time consuming as a mom, jumpers too fast and furious, trail too yawn, western too foreign. The good news is my tack ho tendencies mean whole I do not have a horse, I do have the appropriate saddle regardless of which direction I choose next, haha!

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  12. I definitely feel ya on this. It's weird how we find ourselves adapted before we quite realized it lol.

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  13. It's so funny how quickly your feel changes. I've been riding Moiya a lot more and giving Miles a break lately. To my horror, I realized that I felt like I was completely out of balance on MY HORSE at the trot least week.

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