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rizzodm
Oct. 14, 2011, 11:21 PM
Will a saddle really help me quit leaning forward? I currently ride in a Kieffer Wien, it is the only saddle at the ranch that fits my Halfie. My trainer is constantly telling me that I am perching and after looking at some pics I would have to agree. I have been told to sit on my pockets but I think I need to be told this every five minutes becuase I always fall back into perching.
So has anyone had any saddle revelations that have helped them maintain a better position?
I will bravely post a pic of me perching:
http://i329.photobucket.com/albums/l362/rizzodawn/My%20Little%20Pony/DSC07720.jpg

alto
Oct. 14, 2011, 11:32 PM
Lovely pair :)

You might try going up an inch (or more) in saddle size, also if your halfie always goes around with that clamped tail, something is not fitting right (flash also looks rather tight in that instant of photo capture).

rizzodm
Oct. 14, 2011, 11:37 PM
Lovely pair :)

You might try going up an inch (or more) in saddle size, also if your halfie always goes around with that clamped tail, something is not fitting right (flash also looks rather tight in that instant of photo capture).

It was a rather stressfull day. There was a gymkhana going at the same time of the dressage show and I think she would have rather run some poles that day:lol:
I can put in two fingers with her flash so I think it is okay.

sadlmakr
Oct. 14, 2011, 11:40 PM
It sounds like your saddle is too short for you. Or it is too wide and lets the the front set too low.
You need a good saddle fitter to fit you and the horse.
I hope you can find someone to help.

rizzodm
Oct. 14, 2011, 11:44 PM
It sounds like your saddle is too short for you. Or it is too wide and lets the the front set too low.
You need a good saddle fitter to fit you and the horse.
I hope you can find someone to help.

I am going to look into County. I am hoping a rep can help me out with a used one. The new ones are a bit out of my price range.

MelantheLLC
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:32 AM
Short answer: yes.

I've been in probably about 15 different saddles, on the same horse, in the past 2-3 weeks, several of them on-and-off one right after another, which is the best way to compare if you can do it.

There is an incredible difference between how you sit in each saddle. The angle of your legs and torso are really determined by where the saddle places you in regard to the horse's barrel and the stirrup bars. If it's not right, you will constantly be fighting it, even if you don't realize it.

For me, when I find myself leaning forward and having to work to keep my legs back (similar to your position in the photo), it's because the saddle is too uphill for me. (Opposite of what saddlemkr suggested, so your mileage may vary.) Try padding under the back of your saddle, or just putting a folded towel under it, and ride at least 5 minutes for you to adjust to it, because it will feel strange at first. If you are leaning forward, with your legs in a chair seat as in photo, you may be compensating for the saddle pushing your seat back too far behind the stirrups.

Really the only way to go about it is to get a good saddle fitter out and have them bring as many different saddles that have a chance of fitting your horse and you as they can.

It's just really an amazing revelation to ride in one, then get off and ride in another. Every single one rides differently.

Like trying on shoes!

alto
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:53 AM
You can start by sitting in saddles at the tack shop - if you hate it there, you're unlikely to like it any better on the horse; conversely a saddle that does not fit the horse will be uncomfortable & the same saddle fitted properly to the horse will feel completely different.

If the County rep is unable to leave the demo saddle with you to use over several rides, then just ask for a second demo in a week or so :)
Once you find a saddle that suits you both, you can write down the particulars & search for used versions online (maybe your County rep will have consignment saddles but my local rep does not & demo saddles from County are only discounted by 20% or so ...)

Do read the warranty & purchase policy as outlined on County's site (http://www.countysaddlery.com/products/saddles.html)

BaroquePony
Oct. 15, 2011, 05:55 AM
Saddle fit and balance is definately very important :yes:.

I am a fan of Keiffer.

It looks like yours is sitting low in front, maybe a bit too wide. Also looks like the tree is too small for you. You should be able to sit straight up in your saddle and rest your hand flat on the back of the seat of the saddle, between the backside of your derierre and the cantle. The width of your hand should fill in the sapce between your butt and the edge of the cantle, resting flat on the back of the seat of the saddle. If you cannot fit your hand width there, your saddle is too small.

Then the cantle keeps pitching you forward.

I am using a too wide Keiffer on a Welsh Cob and he loves it :uhoh:, but the saddle fits me and it rests on him very well.

mildot
Oct. 15, 2011, 06:16 AM
Have you tried dropping your stirrups one or two holes and seeing if the extra legroom allows you to scoot up closer to the pommel?

Maybe that will shift your CG more directly under your legs and help alleviate the chair seat and resulting fwd lean.

It's a short term fix, but worth a try if you haven't already experimented that way.

ETA: evidently dropping stirrups, elongating the legs, and sitting centered may actually be the long term fix.

jn4jenny
Oct. 15, 2011, 06:19 AM
The million dollar question is "What happens when you drop your stirrups and relax your pelvis into this saddle?" If the answer is "nothing, I am still sitting as far back on the cantle as I am in this picture," then yes you would benefit from a new saddle with a larger seat. But my guess is that you're probably doing a hunter-esque perch that's holding your entire seat and pelvis slightly above the saddle seat. One can imagine in that picture that if we moved your body like a Barbie doll to straighten out your form, your seat and leg would fit quite nicely in this saddle. It would be an interesting experiment to have your trainer place your body in the position he/she wants at the halt with no stirrups, then take another picture (still at the halt) to see how that looks.

I'm sure that opinion won't be popular on this thread. It's easier to blame the tack because getting a new saddle is usually easier than fixing an equitation fault. Trust me I know--I had that very same equitation fault when I began riding dressage! It isn't easy to break that habit!

Also, based on this picture, your Haffie may not be able to TAKE a bigger saddle. He's a short-backed little guy, and the longer your saddle seat, the more likely the saddle will hang off the back of his rib cage and hurt his loin. It looks like this saddle's just barely staying in the safe zone, so add another half inch and you could be playing with fire.

glimmerling
Oct. 15, 2011, 06:30 AM
I"m going to third the dropping the stirrups a hole or two. It looks as if you're sitting back towards the cantle in the picture. Before you give up on the saddle, have your trainer lunge you without stirrups and see if that gets you into the middle of the saddle. That being said, it does look too small for you seat wise as well.

ideayoda
Oct. 15, 2011, 07:06 AM
It is not about lengthening the stirrups, that can hollow the back. Rather it is about letting all the joints be more elastic, which lowers heels/knees/opens hip angle. I would love to see what you would look like in the leg while in two point/feathering into the heels. Likely the saddle would appear to be better fitting because the knees/thighs would lower/straighten. And a pix w/o stirrups with a lengthened leg would be interesting.

mildot
Oct. 15, 2011, 07:12 AM
It is not about lengthening the stirrups, that can hollow the back. Rather it is about letting all the joints be more elastic, which lowers heels/knees/opens hip angle.
I agree that lowering the stirrups while remaining in a chair seat will do her no good.

Perhaps I should have been more detailed in my suggestion.

Ride without stirrups, and use the lack of vertical constraints (the stirrups) to facilitate moving the pelvis into the center of the saddle and allow relaxation of all of the joints from the hip down to stretch the legs. Then adjust the stirrups so the balls of the feet are lightly resting on them.

I should take my own advice, though. I had a frustrating, out of balance ride yesterday and I could have probably fixed most of it by doing all of the above.

dudleyc
Oct. 15, 2011, 07:25 AM
I think the biggest problem is biomechanical - your leg position is not correct. If I were your trainer I would have you ride without stirrups (starting on the lunge if you are not secure).

You are gripping with the legs, especially the backside of your calfs. This gripping is drawing your leg up and rotating your toe out (slightly). You want your legs to drape around the horse. There is no relaxation in the ankle and your foot is level instead of the heal being lower.

If you had drapping legs (as opposed to gripping), your knee would be lower in the saddle and more under your center. Look at your picture and think of your kneee being about 3 inches lower in the saddle and about 3 inches back. Now can you see how your stirrups are too short?

The change in leg position and the draping leg would allow your pelvis to sit where it should - a relaxed position in the deepest part of the saddle

KateWooten
Oct. 15, 2011, 08:03 AM
Yes, your saddle is not helping. County reps only sell county saddles. Try to find yourself an independent saddle fitter who can show you a bunch of different makes and models - like a mobile tack store. I do not believe that sitting on saddles on a saddle rack in the tack store is a good start to saddle searching. You can't tell anything about the fit of the saddle until you've established how it will balance on the horse.

Petstorejunkie
Oct. 15, 2011, 08:46 AM
fork seat with stirrups won't magically get solved without stirrups, it will just worsen the fork seat.
start by sitting literally like you are in a chair with your knees up on either side of the withers. Scootch your bum as far forward as it will go (with your seat bones pointing straight down) and then have someone lead you around while you sit nice an tall. Take note as to what your seat bones feel like and memorize that feeling of them in contact with the saddle and pointing straight down. you should feel your seat bones like that all the time when you ride.
then have someone take each of your legs out away from the horse, while keeping your knee and toe facing the horse's eye, and then set it down onto the flap (no stirrups yet). then be lead around again while your femur heads scream a little as your pelvis spreads, then go walk on your own being conscious of keeping those sensations of your seat bones, knees forward and pointing down, and your heels stepping on your horse's hind feet. eyes up.
then take a picture of what you look like.
if after all that the saddle is still pitching you forward, it's the saddle, if not... well, it's time to do an overhaul on your equitation.
FWIW, the described above (without assist) is how I start every ride to warm up all the tissues in my pelvis and thighs so that I can truly be one with my horse.

Countrywood
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:03 AM
There are two sep issues ...as people have noted one is your seat itself and the other is the saddle (I am also ex hunter background and slowly clawing my way to become a decent dressage rider)

One problem about seat advice, well meaning as it is, is it tends to pose people in the correct position, draping legs, not on crotch etc, but when the horse starts to move, that's where the problem starts. The rider feels their "pose" starting to wobble or slip away, so they then brace themselves and fight the movement, trying to stay in the perfect "pose". You don't want to exchange a hunter pose for a dressage pose, (which is what I tried to do for a year), you need to ride in movement and harmony with the horse, which is done yes with draping legs etc but can't be done till your core is strong enough and flexible enough hips to absorb the motion etc...this is the part that takes months/years.

That said, your saddle is not helping. It looks small and flat with barely any support, I agree you can't have a much bigger saddle re your horse is compact but it is about how the saddle is proportion and is there enough room in the flap to allow your leg to hang down. So my answer is, a diff saddle will help but you will still have to do the hard work to go from hunter pose to a true dressage seat (I am happy when I get it 15 minutes out of 40 minute ride, about my record to date) Best of luck, as others said, try saddles and they have to be tried on a moving horse...a very comfy saddle on a stand may not be balanced right for your horse at all.

Equibrit
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:11 AM
You are sitting in the back of that saddle.
Because the lowest part is at the back.
Because the saddle is tilted up at the front.
Because the saddle is not wide enough at the front.
Ergo; the saddle DOES NOT fit your horse.

hoopoe
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:27 AM
also the factor about a saddle is how the stirrup bars are placed in relation to the seat.

I loved my wein but found a more open flat seat with stirrup bars a bit set back was better for me on my little QH. A flatter seat with a pommel that does not need to rise so sharply might allow you to more easily change your form

agree that an in-person saddle fitting and consult will be very valuable.

dudleyc
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:30 AM
fork seat with stirrups won't magically get solved without stirrups, it will just worsen the fork seat.
start by sitting literally like you are in a chair with your knees up on either side of the withers. Scootch your bum as far forward as it will go (with your seat bones pointing straight down) and then have someone lead you around while you sit nice an tall. Take note as to what your seat bones feel like and memorize that feeling of them in contact with the saddle and pointing straight down. you should feel your seat bones like that all the time when you ride.
then have someone take each of your legs out away from the horse, while keeping your knee and toe facing the horse's eye, and then set it down onto the flap (no stirrups yet). then be lead around again while your femur heads scream a little as your pelvis spreads, then go walk on your own being conscious of keeping those sensations of your seat bones, knees forward and pointing down, and your heels stepping on your horse's hind feet. eyes up.
then take a picture of what you look like.
if after all that the saddle is still pitching you forward, it's the saddle, if not... well, it's time to do an overhaul on your equitation.
FWIW, the described above (without assist) is how I start every ride to warm up all the tissues in my pelvis and thighs so that I can truly be one with my horse.

I like this dvice better than mine.

rizzodm
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:46 AM
Wonderful advice from everyone, thanks! I am going to set up an apt with a saddle fitter and continue the never ending process of working on my seat.

mildot
Oct. 15, 2011, 09:58 AM
fork seat with stirrups won't magically get solved without stirrups, it will just worsen the fork seat.
start by sitting literally like you are in a chair with your knees up on either side of the withers. Scootch your bum as far forward as it will go (with your seat bones pointing straight down) and then have someone lead you around while you sit nice an tall. Take note as to what your seat bones feel like and memorize that feeling of them in contact with the saddle and pointing straight down. you should feel your seat bones like that all the time when you ride.
then have someone take each of your legs out away from the horse, while keeping your knee and toe facing the horse's eye, and then set it down onto the flap (no stirrups yet). then be lead around again while your femur heads scream a little as your pelvis spreads, then go walk on your own being conscious of keeping those sensations of your seat bones, knees forward and pointing down, and your heels stepping on your horse's hind feet. eyes up.
then take a picture of what you look like.
if after all that the saddle is still pitching you forward, it's the saddle, if not... well, it's time to do an overhaul on your equitation.
FWIW, the described above (without assist) is how I start every ride to warm up all the tissues in my pelvis and thighs so that I can truly be one with my horse.

This is like a free dressage clinic :cool:

Another stretching move that might help is something my first trainer taught me. Drop both stirrups and let legs hang down. At the walk, grab one ankle and pull it up until that heel touches your buttock. Walk around for a minute or two like that and then repeat the other side.

I find that I pinch with my knees and thighs a lot less and that my legs drape/hang down more freely after that stretch.

horsefaerie
Oct. 15, 2011, 10:01 AM
A tip given to me many years ago.

Our skeletal structure determines our saddle preference.

Sit on a chair wearing pants with a seam, like jeans. Feet flat on the floor. Measure the distance from the seat of the chair to your seam. Usually 1 to 4 fingers.

Under 2 you'll probably like a slow rising saddle with a flatter seat, over 2 you'll like a quick rising seat like a County.

Now many Kieffers are quick rising but a few are flat. If your body wants a quick rising seat because of the pelvic angle a flat saddle will have you straining and reaching like crazy. Conversely, if your body wants a flatter saddle you will label the quick rising ones "crotchbusters".

Then your horse has to be on the same wavelength. What fits you needs to fit him as well.

SnicklefritzG
Oct. 15, 2011, 10:19 AM
@horsefaerie: Intriguing. How exactly do you do the measurement? From the seat to the crotch seam? I'm not sure if I'm doing this correctly? Would that distance also be affected by the amount of muscle or meat on the back of my leg?

horsefaerie
Oct. 15, 2011, 10:39 AM
I do not think it is influenced by the amount of muscle. I have gained over 10 pounds this year and it is still over 4 fingers for me. I lurve County and Marcus Krehan and Aachens etc. Flat saddles make me look like a rank beginner fighting all the way.

Yes from the chair seat to the crotch seam.

3Spots
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:01 PM
Horsefaerie -- I am still lost on this one. Doesn't it depend on how far back you sit in the chair? I am assuming "seat of chair" means "front edge of chair?"

Equibit, I always love your comments, but for the life of me, I can't see how the pommel is higher than cantle in the photo. Do you see that, or is that the conclusion drawn from sitting at the rear of the saddle?

OP: thanks for posting and the ensuing discussion

jan

BaroquePony
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:09 PM
It works if you have the perfect chair and the perfect jeans ... then it should help you find the perfect saddle to fit your perfect pony.

Otherwise it is just as tricky as seat vs saddle vs rider conformatin vs pony conformation.

BaroquePony
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:18 PM
One of the reasons I like Keiffers is because they are well designed front to back ... the deepest part ot the saddle is actually in the middle where it should be. They also are flocked with wool, so they can be adjusted to fit your pony's back if needed.

Keiffer's also have an adjustable tree that can be widened or narrowed on their *heat machine* by a certified Keiffer dealer.

I like the standard tree, which comes in a standard or medium deep seat. The standard seat is deep anyway. I haven't seen the medium deep.

They also have another tree that is adjustable with an allen wrench. I do have one of those, but I don't like it for the horse I am riding right now. It doesn't adjust out wide enough. Looks more like it belongs on large higher withered horses.

BaroquePony
Oct. 15, 2011, 12:23 PM
To the OP, it does look like the pommel is lower from the one photo. As it does look like your stirrups are too short and you are pushing yourself out of the saddle.

I would try putting a pommel pad under the pommel. Readjust the saddle to see if raising the pommel just a bit will keep the saddle balanced properly front to back and it may well help your saddle sit further forward and put you and the saddle over the center of gravity of the pony.

It looks like you have two saddle pads under that saddle. If you do, yank one of them out and keep one that is cushy, but not overly cushy.

Get back on the pony, drop your stirrups and see how you fit sitting in it after making these few simple adjustments.

Cute pony and you look like you fit with him very well.

Foxtrot's
Oct. 15, 2011, 01:29 PM
My daughter was a jump rider, and when she rode in a Passier GG, her seat magically changed. Now, to be frank, she is an athlete and has awesome abs, too.

So, yes, the saddle does make a difference.

Pocket Pony
Oct. 15, 2011, 02:34 PM
Saddle most definitely makes a difference. The past two times I had saddle fittings I had an independent fitter come out and we tried probably 20 saddles to start with. First she put each on my horse's back to see which would be a good fit for him. Then out of those I sat in each on the saddle dummy. From there I whittled out the ones I didn't like (too wide, too deep, whatever). Then we put the rest on him and I walked up and down the driveway. I was then again able to narrow it down further to three that I liked the best. When I rode in each of those, the one that both my horse and I liked was obvious. It made riding *easy* and I didn't have to fight for my position. That's what you want it to feel like.

It looks like your saddle is too small for you and maybe you are sitting that way because to sit further forward is uncomfortable. I think our bodies naturally seek out the path of least resistance.

I hope you are able to find a saddle fitter who can help you!

MelantheLLC
Oct. 15, 2011, 11:36 PM
You are sitting in the back of that saddle.
Because the lowest part is at the back.
Because the saddle is tilted up at the front.
Because the saddle is not wide enough at the front.
Ergo; the saddle DOES NOT fit your horse.

I'm with Equibrit, from the one photo, not because of how the saddle looks (don't think you can really tell much) but because of how she appears to be compensating by chair seat and leaning forward.

Hope that nobody walks in on those of us trying to measure the distance from chair to seam. :lol: Only because I am so desperate to find a saddle that doesn't rub would I get out a ruler and try this one.

Carol O
Oct. 16, 2011, 09:49 AM
Looking at your photo, it appears you are sitting more on your pubis than your two seatbones (ishiums). When you sit in your saddle, at the halt, look for the weight to be even between the 3 bones; the two actual seatbones and the pubis in the front. Then try a gentle rock onto the the two seatbone. The pubis will still make some contact, but the two seatbones will take more weight. When you do this, your bottom will be more underneath you, and your back will lose the slight hollow at your waist and will become straighter.

When you gently rock off of the 3 bones, onto the ishium behind (straightening your back; taking out the hollow), your horse will likely walk. When you bring your pubis back to being equal with the others, he will likely halt. Try weighting one ishium more that the other and you may get a turn in that direction.

cadance
Oct. 16, 2011, 12:02 PM
you need a larger seat size, it seems like the perching is due to the place your butt is sitting in the saddle. if you draw a line from your hip to knee, you can see that you're not really 'sitting' into the saddle (or at least that's how it appears to me). i also don't think your flash is too tight, as someone said on the previous page.
ps- CUTE pony!!

horsefaerie
Oct. 16, 2011, 12:20 PM
Snickle, I have wooden kitchen chairs without cushions of any kind. I sit upright with my legs perpendicular to the ground and measure in that position.

Baroque, if you have experienced saddle fitting hell and know what it is like to try 30 different saddles without success it just cuts down the numbers. I know I hate a flat saddle and someone told me about this and said that is why!

If you have two fingers or less you can probably skip the fast rising saddles and just try the flatter ones.

Melan, you are a new reason NOT to drink anything while typing at the computer!!! LOL!

BaroquePony
Oct. 16, 2011, 01:03 PM
Posted by horsefaerie:

Baroque, if you have experienced saddle fitting hell and know what it is like to try 30 different saddles without success it just told me about this and said that is why!

If you have two fingers or less you can probably skip the fast rising saddles and just try the flatter ones.


Ok, I saw a diagram of how to do this, but it was thirty years ago :yes:, and I do not remember the important part :no:.

So, I just went over and sat in my hard wooden desk chair. Put both feet on the floor and then I measured from the seat of the chair up to where the seam of my jeans is in the crotch. Right? I measure about 1 1/2" (approx. 2 of my fingers). Which probably is why I can ride in both flat or deep trees.

So I am no help at all :winkgrin:.

Equibrit
Oct. 16, 2011, 03:20 PM
Equibit, I always love your comments, but for the life of me, I can't see how the pommel is higher than cantle in the photo. Do you see that, or is that the conclusion drawn from sitting at the rear of the saddle?
jan

I did not say the pommel was higher than the cantle. I attempted to say that the height of the pommel makes it impossible for the low spot in the seat to be far enough forward.

3Spots
Oct. 16, 2011, 03:24 PM
OMG, this is soo funny, I am still not getting it -- *where* *what* are you guys measuring? If you are measuring horisontally from front edge of chair to crotch, or vertically, from the seat of the chair UP to the crotch seam?

It seems like the first way would depend on how far back you sat in the chair and the second way would depend on how big a booty you have?

mildot
Oct. 16, 2011, 03:27 PM
OMG, this is soo funny, I am still not getting it -- *where* *what* are you guys measuring? If you are measuring horisontally from front edge of chair to crotch, or vertically, from the seat of the chair UP to the crotch seam?

It seems like the first way would depend on how far back you sat in the chair and the second way would depend on how big a booty you have?

I'm having the same exact moment of confusion as you.

Equibrit
Oct. 16, 2011, 03:31 PM
OMG, this is soo funny, I am still not getting it -- *where* *what* are you guys measuring? If you are measuring horisontally from front edge of chair to crotch, or vertically, from the seat of the chair UP to the crotch seam?

It seems like the first way would depend on how far back you sat in the chair and the second way would depend on how big a booty you have?

Your first option would be variable, depending on how far back you are sitting in the chair.
Your second option is not. (unless you take into account the cut of your jeans)

Door number 2.
Mine measures 1 finger and I like a wide twist, and what is generally considered to be deep.

mildot
Oct. 16, 2011, 03:35 PM
Door number 2.
That's what I thought but throughout this thread the distinction was not clear.

Thanks for explaining it.