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Trevelyan96
Nov. 17, 2011, 03:35 PM
Is it really so hard to ride both hunters and dressage that I'll need to give one up? After dabbling in dressage for several years, I've been back to the head trainer at my old h/j barn for a few months now, mostly so I can just work on me and build confidence, and also just for the great opportunity I have in working with this trainer. I love this trainer. She's one of the best teachers I've ever seen. In 20 years, I've never seen her raise her voice to a student, or a hand to a horse, but she can bring students to A shows on $1,000 horses and win. She's a positive genius at bringing out the best in any horse, and a really great teacher.

But the close contact saddle and leg position for some reason is killing my right hip and back, (and other unmentionable parts.) And the pain lasts for days. I don't have any problems or pain at all when riding my own horse in my dressage saddle, but every CC saddle I sit in just about kills me. She's been working very hard on my position, but I honestly wonder if my conformation is the problem (short, curvy, with wide open hips, which are perfect for dressage). I can do 2-point, canter, and jump fairly well, but rising trot is murder. I hate to give up my lessons with this trainer, but she teaches H/J, has NO interest in dressage, and I don't think she'd be able to correct my position in a dressage saddle. I do take lessons with a dressage instructor, who likes my position for dressage, but she can only get to me sporadically.

To make matters worse, my horse is the perfect small hunter type. :(

eclipse
Nov. 17, 2011, 03:43 PM
How about trying a different saddle? Sounds like this one may not fit you correctly. I am built exactly like you and use a Barnsby. Fits my wide hips and booty great and I have no pain. I have sat in some others and holy hell they hurt me! (they were narrower and flatter)

betsyk
Nov. 17, 2011, 03:45 PM
What about an eventing-type saddle, rather than CC? Try something like a County Eventer, which will feel really different from your CC and maybe a little more like your dressage saddle. My ancient County CC is deadly painful but my eventer is wonderful (too bad they don't fit the same horse). Any chance the CC doesn't balance properly and that's why it's killing your hips and back?

MorganLuvr848
Nov. 17, 2011, 03:53 PM
Is it really so hard to ride both hunters and dressage that I'll need to give one up? After dabbling in dressage for several years, I've been back to the head trainer at my old h/j barn for a few months now, mostly so I can just work on me and build confidence, and also just for the great opportunity I have in working with this trainer. I love this trainer. She's one of the best teachers I've ever seen. In 20 years, I've never seen her raise her voice to a student, or a hand to a horse, but she can bring students to A shows on $1,000 horses and win. She's a positive genius at bringing out the best in any horse, and a really great teacher.

But the close contact saddle and leg position for some reason is killing my right hip and back, (and other unmentionable parts.) And the pain lasts for days. I don't have any problems or pain at all when riding my own horse in my dressage saddle, but every CC saddle I sit in just about kills me. She's been working very hard on my position, but I honestly wonder if my conformation is the problem (short, curvy, with wide open hips, which are perfect for dressage). I can do 2-point, canter, and jump fairly well, but rising trot is murder. I hate to give up my lessons with this trainer, but she teaches H/J, has NO interest in dressage, and I don't think she'd be able to correct my position in a dressage saddle. I do take lessons with a dressage instructor, who likes my position for dressage, but she can only get to me sporadically.

To make matters worse, my horse is the perfect small hunter type. :(
I had this same problem with my old jump saddle. It was too shallow and causing me to have a lot of pain. I ride dressage too :) My county innovation fixed all of this for me. It is a very expensive saddle but was totally worth it. It has a little bit of a deeper seat unlike most close contact saddles. It feels like a dressage saddle with a shorter flap and easy to get out of when jumping. I would honestly have a rep come out and try riding in one of theirs and see how you feel. It really helped me!

Trevelyan96
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:14 PM
I have too many saddles as it is, LOL, but that may be a good idea. I just sold a County Drespri that was super comfy for me but didn't fit my horses. I can probably find something like a collegiate eventer fairly cheap for lessons.

alto
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:18 PM
But the close contact saddle and leg position for some reason is killing my right hip and back, (and other unmentionable parts.) And the pain lasts for days. I don't have any problems or pain at all when riding my own horse in my dressage saddle, but every CC saddle I sit in just about kills me. She's been working very hard on my position, but I honestly wonder if my conformation is the problem (short, curvy, with wide open hips, which are perfect for dressage). I can do 2-point, canter, and jump fairly well, but rising trot is murder. I hate to give up my lessons with this trainer, but she teaches H/J, has NO interest in dressage, and I don't think she'd be able to correct my position in a dressage saddle.


If you're jumping under 3 feet, then I'd try switching over to the dressage saddle for lessons: trainer may not be excited but your comfort is important & it is possible - just look at some o.l.d jump footage & the saddles they used in those days - depending on the position your H/J coach teaches, it will need to be modified more or less to work with the saddle.

This will give you time to decide if you want to invest in a new jump saddle, look at some GP saddles etc.

At the moment FP is doing the opposite, he grew out of his dressage saddle & into his jump saddle, so he's been continuing his schooling in a County Innovation ... which we may be pulling the rear blocks off of, as the dressage saddle hunt continues on (& on):sigh: This is at a dressage focused barn so there are lots of riders doing lower level jumping in dressage saddles, but FP is the only one doing dressage in a jump saddle :lol:

wendy
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:19 PM
I don't about hunters, but eventers manage to do both dressage and jumping.

Trevelyan96
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:29 PM
Truly, I don't mind giving up the jumping, but I do mind giving up the trainer. :cry:

Appsolute
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:34 PM
I would say saddle fit is your problem, not riding both dressage and jumping... because well there are TONs of eventers, including myself that do both!

I would look for a jumping saddle with a wide twist. Perphaps an older stubben or passier.

Good luck!

Canaqua
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:36 PM
How much actual jumping/what size jumps are you doing with the H/J trainer? If they aren't primarily jumping lessons with decent sized fences, you might be able to get away with riding in your dressage saddle until you find something else.

I'm primarily an H/J person, but I was taking some dressage lessons and have a dressage saddle (found one of those I liked while still looking for a CC saddle I really liked). For several months, I so preferred my dressage saddle to the CC my leased horse's owner has for the horse, that I took my H/J lessons in my dressage saddle. It was just fine for flatwork, trot poles and crossrails.

horsegal301
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:39 PM
Is it really so hard to ride both hunters and dressage that I'll need to give one up? After dabbling in dressage for several years, I've been back to the head trainer at my old h/j barn for a few months now, mostly so I can just work on me and build confidence, and also just for the great opportunity I have in working with this trainer. I love this trainer. She's one of the best teachers I've ever seen. In 20 years, I've never seen her raise her voice to a student, or a hand to a horse, but she can bring students to A shows on $1,000 horses and win. She's a positive genius at bringing out the best in any horse, and a really great teacher.

But the close contact saddle and leg position for some reason is killing my right hip and back, (and other unmentionable parts.) And the pain lasts for days. I don't have any problems or pain at all when riding my own horse in my dressage saddle, but every CC saddle I sit in just about kills me. She's been working very hard on my position, but I honestly wonder if my conformation is the problem (short, curvy, with wide open hips, which are perfect for dressage). I can do 2-point, canter, and jump fairly well, but rising trot is murder. I hate to give up my lessons with this trainer, but she teaches H/J, has NO interest in dressage, and I don't think she'd be able to correct my position in a dressage saddle. I do take lessons with a dressage instructor, who likes my position for dressage, but she can only get to me sporadically.

To make matters worse, my horse is the perfect small hunter type. :(


Ride side saddle? :D;):yes:

AnotherRound
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:43 PM
Well the jumping gymnastics are an important part of my dressage horse's training, so there shouldn't be an either/or except you have a problem yourself! I just as I am typing this looked over to the right of the web page and see jennie brannigan's end of season blues in the photos and video square and she's jumping bareback. Looks like someone photoshopped the saddle right out from under her! Either that's your solution or that's your sentence to hell!!

But seriously, I am very certain your saddles, even though you ahve tried many, are the problem and do not fit your own conformation. Your twist may be too narrow; your saddle seat may be too small. You might be hitting the pommel - sign of not fitting; you might be hittting a shape on the seat with your inside hips which is wrong for you.

Do try some of the other saddle suggestions. I hope you can find some to be sent out to you to try. How tall are you and what size seat are you riding in? For example, if you have a long thigh and are riding in a 16.5, you may really need a 17 or 17.5 and not realize it. You also may need a longer flap, and be riding with your knees too far forward.

Who knows, but do try some of the other styles and types. Quitting jumping is never acceptable!! (that's a tease, I understand how you feel).

hequestrian
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:51 PM
I don't think you have to give it up. I think you just aren't in a saddle that's right for you. Certain saddles I've ridden in cause me
To be sore for days and have my knees killing me. Once you find the right saddle I think that will make a huge difference.

enjoytheride
Nov. 17, 2011, 04:53 PM
I would wager the twist in the saddle isn't right for you. Try switching saddles.

CHT
Nov. 17, 2011, 05:47 PM
Have you considered going to a physiotherapist or other type of medical professional to see if there is a physical issue you should have looked at/resolved?

I have trouble thinking it is just your conformation and saddle unless you have an underlying weakness/issue

danceronice
Nov. 17, 2011, 08:41 PM
I'm short, curvy, and the most open-hipped person you are likely to meet (I routinely gross out my male dance instructors by demonstrating how absurdly far I can turn out my feet, which only the open-hipped can do) and I ride comfortably in a close-contact Crosby PDN Sovereign with a 17" seat. So I'm thinking it's not necessarily the general saddle type. I agree with CHT--you might want to see a PT and see if there is something particular to you that's causing the pain. Not saying not to try other saddles (maybe older, flatter ones without as much padding and knee rolls?) but that much discomfort seems unusual. I can adjust from a close-contact to a dressage to a Western saddle (I find Aussie saddles uncomfortable more because I feel kind of trapped in them.) Some are LESS comfortable than others but if you're in that much pain I wouldn't be so sure it's the saddle.

BeeHoney
Nov. 17, 2011, 09:04 PM
Seriously, try to work on the saddle issue. Sometimes a saddle fit issue can encourage you to ride in a bad way which then causes pain. I would try saddles with different seat widths and different twists, and double check the front to back balance of the saddle on the horse. For example, I have a dear friend who was riding in a saddle that fit her horse but the pommel was too high and to keep from "sliding off the back" of the saddle she was leaning forward and then pinching with her knees and getting a lot of knee pain from digging her skinny knees into the saddle.

Also, keep in mind that riding hunt seat uses different muscles than riding in a dressage seat, so is it possible that there is some weakness somewhere that could be identified/solved with some physical therapy?

dangerbunny
Nov. 17, 2011, 10:42 PM
Do you do any kind of Yoga or Pilates, your body just works so much better when you are strong and supple.

Before giving up a trainer I loved I would look into a different saddle and dedicated stretching regime.

doublesstable
Nov. 17, 2011, 11:02 PM
I too think it's the saddle...

Last year I purchased a lovely Jumping saddle and my knees stopped hurting... but then it was taken apart for a squeak and put back together wrong and it now is out of balance and hurts my back..

I rode in my Dressage saddle today (very balanced) and no back pain....

So it may not be just Dressage, try different saddles....

RumoursFollow
Nov. 17, 2011, 11:57 PM
See if someone around you has a Bates you can try. I had one for a while and had a lot of people that hated it because of the wide twist. It might work for you. :)

GrantanaKC
Nov. 18, 2011, 12:22 AM
I agree that yoga and Pilates would help. You might also want to consider visiting a chiropractor. I had a similar problem, more on one horse than the other. I felt like I was falling off the side of my horse and I ended up shortening my right stirrup until I could get to the chiro. I was in hell and dreaded riding my favorite horse. I thought it was my saddle, but I'm glad I went to the chiro! Now I get to ride my favorite horse, keep my saddle, AND visit my handsome chiropractor! Win, win, win!

M. O'Connor
Nov. 18, 2011, 07:41 AM
The muscles and balance you use for the posting trot are exactly the same ones you use to ride a bike, play tennis, snow ski, and run. If you can do any of these, or even just a hands free shallow knee bend (or make a plie if practicing ballet) there is no reason that a posting trot should be a problem.

Nor are the muscles used for a rising trot in dressage any different than those used in the jumper ring.

The only difference is stirrup length used, and this is reflected in the obvious difference in saddle design.

There is sufficient crossover between a proper foundation of dressage flat work and H/J (particularly the latter) that there is no inherent conflict, which this is explicitly recognized by the discipline of combined training.

Many trainers have become specialists to the point where they concentrate exclusively on a very narrow range of focus. For example, some H/J trainers focus mainly on pony hunters, junior equitation, jumpers, adults, etc. But most good H/J trainers, particularly those who have equitation and jumper clients, must be proficient in their knowledge of basic dressage to be able to do their jobs well. There shouldn't be a limitation in the trainer department unless your trainer is unwilling or unable to accommodate you, or unless doing so would require compromises she has good reasons to avoid (good dressage compliments nearly any other discipline, but poor quality dressage is a misery to overcome).

Your discomfort may be caused by position, a physical limitation (have you seen a doctor or physical therapist?), poor saddle fit (too many issues to mention; have you tried a completely flat saddle?), a lack of stability in your foot at the base of your balance (are you using flexible stirrups?), your saddle pad configuration, etc.

Your horse's suitability to whatever your preferred style of riding is could of course be another limiting factor--but given a minimal level of competence, the posting trot is normally not the deal-breaker.

M. O'Connor
Nov. 18, 2011, 07:43 AM
P.S. A good trainer should be able to spot the problem and find a solution. What does your trainer say is the problem? She should be able to recognize it and help you with it more reliably than a bunch of strangers on the internet.

kinnip
Nov. 18, 2011, 07:58 AM
Don't give up the jumping. It will only improve your dressage, and your horses training. I jump small jumps in my Neidersuss Symphony all the time. I don't even alter the stirrup length. Search Youtube for Prix Caprilli, and you'll see what folks can do in a dressage saddle comfortably.

hollyhorse2000
Nov. 18, 2011, 09:25 AM
Agree with the other posters -- the issue may very well be seat size or twist. Does the maker of your dressage saddle make a jumping model? Or look at saddles that are made by a maker that also does dressage -- Albion comes to mind.

Or a saddle that is more equitation, so you can ride with a longer leg might also work for you. Could you lengthen your current stirrups a bit or ride without them to test to see if that is the problem with your current saddle?

doublesstable
Nov. 18, 2011, 06:47 PM
The muscles and balance you use for the posting trot are exactly the same ones you use to ride a bike, play tennis, snow ski, and run. If you can do any of these, or even just a hands free shallow knee bend (or make a plie if practicing ballet) there is no reason that a posting trot should be a problem.

Nor are the muscles used for a rising trot in dressage any different than those used in the jumper ring.

The only difference is stirrup length used, and this is reflected in the obvious difference in saddle design.

There is sufficient crossover between a proper foundation of dressage flat work and H/J (particularly the latter) that there is no inherent conflict, which this is explicitly recognized by the discipline of combined training.

Many trainers have become specialists to the point where they concentrate exclusively on a very narrow range of focus. For example, some H/J trainers focus mainly on pony hunters, junior equitation, jumpers, adults, etc. But most good H/J trainers, particularly those who have equitation and jumper clients, must be proficient in their knowledge of basic dressage to be able to do their jobs well. There shouldn't be a limitation in the trainer department unless your trainer is unwilling or unable to accommodate you, or unless doing so would require compromises she has good reasons to avoid (good dressage compliments nearly any other discipline, but poor quality dressage is a misery to overcome).

Your discomfort may be caused by position, a physical limitation (have you seen a doctor or physical therapist?), poor saddle fit (too many issues to mention; have you tried a completely flat saddle?), a lack of stability in your foot at the base of your balance (are you using flexible stirrups?), your saddle pad configuration, etc.

Your horse's suitability to whatever your preferred style of riding is could of course be another limiting factor--but given a minimal level of competence, the posting trot is normally not the deal-breaker.

Very nicely said....

I think that's one of the reasons I love love love the trainer I ride with - he was a Dressage rider and I also think that's why he is as successful as he is.....

If you like George Morris or not; he did say jumping riders must have a good understanding of basic Dressage.

When I first started Dressage it was tough for me; then going back to Jumping was strange; but now I can ride in both saddles and feel good. Most of my problems were I was too tight in the hip flexors and am working on that... also pinching with my knees. Have a good trainer watch you ride and see if they can tell where you are having troubles....

alto
Nov. 19, 2011, 01:03 AM
Search Youtube for Prix Caprilli, and you'll see what folks can do in a dressage saddle comfortably.

Any favorites?

Canaqua
Nov. 19, 2011, 08:51 AM
I agree with Doublesstable on the tight hip flexors! I was having trouble posting comfortably in both the dressage saddle and the close contacts. My lower back got tired, I felt crooked and my knees were creeping up the flaps and making my hips hurt. It was worse in the close contact, probably because hip and knee angles are more closed there to start with.

A dressage instructor I was taking lunge lessons with pointed out that my hip flexors were tight. Never occurred to me, honestly, because I'm generally pretty flexible, especially compared to others my age (about 50).

I have a desk job and spend a lot of time in the car, both things that, because of all the sitting, will cause hip flexors to tighten up.

I've been making sure to stretch them very regularly for months and months now and it makes a HUGE difference, not only how comfortably I can ride, but in how comfortably I can stand for long periods of time and in how easy it is to maintain a decent posture. Google "tight hip flexors" and you'll find lots of pictures of what people who sit too much look like...due to tight hip flexors and weak glutes and hamstrings. Looks like everyone I work with, as we all sit for hours writing code ;).

I stretch my hips right after my shower, along with doing crunches every morning. I stretch them last thing before bed. And, I've made it a new habit to do a quick stretch (a couple of lunges) every time I use the ladies room at work, to undo any tightness I acquired sitting in my cube...wash hands, stretch hip flexors ;). Yes, people think I'm weird, but I'm standing up straight and walking with a long comfortable stride and they are not, so I don't care. And, I'm able to ride much more comfortable and with a better position generally.