First of all - horseless no more! Yay! I don't think, anyways. An old friend posted on FB that she needs someone to ride her horse, which I jumped on of course. I get to go and ride him for the first time tomorrow and I'm pretty nervous.
I haven't ridden for a few years. I'm sure it won't take long to get my seat back, but he's a h/j horse and I have never really ridden h/j. I've always had a hard time finding my seat in a hunt saddle. I'm used to riding saddle seat and dressage and a hunt saddle puts me in an odd position compared to the others and I find myself overcompensating for that and have a HARD time sitting a canter because the seat of the saddle is where my butt wants to be. Has anyone else experienced this and do you have any advice?
Could you take a regular lesson or three on a school horse with instruction, where that will be addressed, before trying to practice that on a horse that may not be as forgiving as a school horse would be?
This way you would not have to worry about this being the first time you ride in so long and that you are not familiar with the saddle.
I ride for the first time tomorrow! He's really a total packer - been there, done that, knows his job, probably better than a schoolie. I'm just going to be riding him to keep him occupied while his owner travels, not do any serious schooling so I'm not really worried about that. I just need to figure out how to make my body deal with a wedge underneath it!
First off congratulations, but really something like an old Stubben isn't a whole lot different than a dressage saddle. There's one spot to sit, no pushing back and the flaps are quite thick and well blocked. H/J saddles are a lot more critical in terms of construction as far as supporting your position, although I've ridden in some ss saddles that felt totally wrong and made my leg feel as though it was kicking out in front of me. On the flat that's not great but over fences it's really bad.
I took H/J lessons for a little while this summer and my biggest problem was stamina in the two point, keeping the legs still over fences and on the horse, not flared, and keeping my hands down. I'm OK with a low head but really dislike a horse on the forehand or a horse I have to kick along. I'm just not in shape for kicking along anymore.
I've ridden Western, Hunt seat, a little basic dressage and now ss. I did ride in a Stubben and it felt like the proverbial sofa but was well balanced and supportive and I got used to it after a few rides.
As long as the saddle fits both of you you'll get used to it soon enough.
Just got back from my first ride. It went really well, he's a neat horse. Aside from being out of riding shape, it was like I've been riding all along. I also met a hunt saddle that I LOVE. OMG the thing is like butter - my butt didn't want to leave it! Aside from that, the horse has this great, rolling canter that would be hard NOT to sit.
Thanks for the ideas everyone! I'm sure I'll have some more hunter questions down the road!