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Speak to me (and my broken tailbone) of seat savers for dressage saddles

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  • Speak to me (and my broken tailbone) of seat savers for dressage saddles

    An incredibly unspectacular moment of carelessness a couple of months ago left me with a spectacularly painful tailbone, fractured in multiple places. It's been slowly healing ever since. I'm finally able to start thinking about riding without the mere mental image of putting my leg over a saddle making me weak with pain, and am trying to figure out if there's a cushy seat saver out there for my dressage saddle that will make it easier to get back on the horse for the first few weeks back. Figured I should order something now so I'll be ready to go when the time comes to get back at it.

    I have a 17.5" dressage saddle that I'm pretty picky about caring for -- wouldn't want anything that could scratch or cause extra wear on the seat. Most importantly, I'm looking for something extremely soft/cushy.

    Any recommendations for a really soft seat saver?

  • #2
    I had a similar problem, and tried LOTS of options. Ultimately a thick real sheepskin worked best. Be careful of the memory foam ones, every one I tried turned rock hard in winter or slipped around too much under me. They can also really rub a saddle if they are made poorly, so check under them frequently! Good luck and feel better.
    PS another option I found worked better and was less noticeable was bicycle shorts with customize-able gel inserts. No one could tell i was wearing them so no awkward questions! Plus I could stick them in the freezer after a painful ride for an instant icepack.

    Comment


    • #3
      I saw where acavallo makes one with a recess for the tailbone. I saw it in dressage extensions latest catalog. http://www.dressageextensions.com/ac...occyx/p/25142/

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry to hear you're on the injured list. I haven't tried it yet, but Santa brought me a Thinline seat saver. The reviews on their website have folks who've found it very helpful. IMO, you might want to wait a bit longer before hopping back on. I'm just coming back from a fractured big toe. I was just about to tack up and try it until I thought about getting off. So waited a few more weeks until I had enough range of motion that it could work on landing. Of course, now it's winter and crazy cold!! Good luck and treat yourself like a sporthorse and don't return to play 'til you're actually healed. My inner Internet MD, thinks it might be a good idea to have clean x-rays before you get back on. And maybe your horse wants to be kept in light work so that when you do get back on, only one of you is thinking "Woo Hoo!!"

        Comment


        • #5
          I use a thinline seat saver for help with sit bone issues. But it's not very soft but does spread out concussion

          Comment


          • #6
            I despise anything that is gel as it moves around.

            I bought myself a nice Mattes sheepskin saddle cover that is quite thick.

            I would go with something like that over a gel one.

            If you can, go try some in a tack store. Put them on saddles and sit on.
            ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

            Originally posted by LauraKY
            I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
            HORSING mobile training app

            Comment


            • #7
              I have the acavallo half pad - it looks like that seat saver is made of the same material. I find the half pad really absorbs the concussion of my guy's hard -to- sit trot. It's not really "jell" but a really squishy soft material with lots of hexagonal voids - almost like a mesh?

              Comment


              • #8
                Don't set your heart on anything yet. When I broke my tailbone I found harder surfaces easier to sit on because it put the sit pressure on my seatbones. Soft padded things put more pressure on my tailbone. Soft seats like theatre seats actually bothered me for almost two years after the injury.


                ??????When it came to riding, sitting in the saddle was one of the easier things. Dismounting was a killer for quite a while. It is astonishing how much we actually use the tailbone! There were days I sat for a few minutes at the end of the ride nerving myself up to swing my leg over and dismount. Sometimes I felt that it would hurt less if someone grabbed a foot and shoved me off - even if I landed in a heap on the ground.

                Your specific injury, confirmation, saddle, etc will determine what you need to be comfortable. That's just what worked for me. :jingles: for good healing!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by WhiteOakFarm View Post
                  I saw where acavallo makes one with a recess for the tailbone. I saw it in dressage extensions latest catalog. http://www.dressageextensions.com/ac...occyx/p/25142/
                  I have the normal Acavallo one, without the recess. I got it to help absorb some of the shock after a neck injury. It does help to some degree, but not nearly as much as I was hoping for, as the gel is pretty thin. It is a hugely comfortable seat saver to ride in though, does not move even the tiniest bit, and I use mine for jumping.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have the acavallo one with the cut out for the tailbone, I fractured my tailbone in September. It definitely helps.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by smilesthepony View Post
                      I had a similar problem, and tried LOTS of options. Ultimately a thick real sheepskin worked best. Be careful of the memory foam ones, every one I tried turned rock hard in winter or slipped around too much under me. They can also really rub a saddle if they are made poorly, so check under them frequently! Good luck and feel better.
                      PS another option I found worked better and was less noticeable was bicycle shorts with customize-able gel inserts. No one could tell i was wearing them so no awkward questions! Plus I could stick them in the freezer after a painful ride for an instant icepack.
                      Sorry you've been through this, but thanks for the advice! I'll stay away from memory foam!

                      Do you have any specific brands/products you've had good luck with, either w.r.t. sheepskin seat savers or bike shorts with gel inserts? I've got a pretty extensive bike shorts wardrobe (for my other 'riding' hobby), but a standard chamois doesn't do much to help the ol' coccyx -- something with customizable inserts would be much better!

                      I've been googling padded shorts in moments of frustration over the last couple of months -- snowboard pants liners, figure skating crash pants, even roller derby. I'm finding a lot of coccyx padding (which I'm sure helps to keep it from breaking, but doesn't sound like something I want between me and the saddle having failed to prevent that painful outcome), not a lot of seat bone padding. I've got half a mind to sew my own coccyx-cutout padded shorts and embrace a full baboon butt look, but if there are shorts out there that have worked for other CotHers, that's a far more promising option!

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by WhiteOakFarm View Post
                        I saw where acavallo makes one with a recess for the tailbone. I saw it in dressage extensions latest catalog. http://www.dressageextensions.com/ac...occyx/p/25142/
                        Thanks! I didn't see that one when I was looking online.

                        And islgrl , thanks for the firsthand feedback on using it with a healing coccyx. Seems like a promising option. Did you wait until you were mostly pain-free to get back in the saddle? Is the gel thick enough to transfer the pressure away from the coccyx/focus it toward the seat bones? What Curly_Feather says about the gel being thin gives me pause about how much relief the coccyx pressure relief shaping can give...

                        The Acavallo seat savers look really nicely constructed. Do any of you who ride in Acavallo gel seat savers more generally have any feedback on how the material affects your seat? Is it sticky/grippy (which it kind-of looks like in photos)? I am pretty averse to feeling stuck to the seat of my saddle, thanks in large part to a damaged hip (e.g. I can't stand silicone seat breeches because I hate feeling "locked to the saddle" when I'm in a position that hurts). Thoughts on whether the gel honeycomb matterial would be tolerable for a sticky-averse rider?

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by aahunterjumper View Post
                          Sorry to hear you're on the injured list. I haven't tried it yet, but Santa brought me a Thinline seat saver. The reviews on their website have folks who've found it very helpful. IMO, you might want to wait a bit longer before hopping back on. I'm just coming back from a fractured big toe. I was just about to tack up and try it until I thought about getting off. So waited a few more weeks until I had enough range of motion that it could work on landing. Of course, now it's winter and crazy cold!! Good luck and treat yourself like a sporthorse and don't return to play 'til you're actually healed. My inner Internet MD, thinks it might be a good idea to have clean x-rays before you get back on. And maybe your horse wants to be kept in light work so that when you do get back on, only one of you is thinking "Woo Hoo!!"
                          I appreciate the Thinline recommendation. I use a Thinline half pad and can imagine that the seat savers are good for dampening concussion. Not sure they offer enough cushion for the current problem, though... Seems like when I can't avoid sitting with some weight on my tailbone, the most comfortable situations involve really cushy seats.

                          I appreciate the "treat yourself like a sporthorse" advice! Heaven knows that most of us aren't inclined to do so. It'll be a bit yet before I get back in the saddle -- right now I'm just trying to put the pieces in place for that transition. The horse side of the equation is another problem entirely. I'm preparing for some career-related financial changes in my life, so I need to be frugal for the next few months (so can't have my trainer keep her in as much work as she needs). I've been doing what I can on the ground to augment her limited riding -- longeing, cavaletti, doing long hand walks out in the hills, long lining. But she's a hot one and I'm going to have to make some decisions like whether it's worth getting on and hacking in two-point before I'm really ready to use my seat just to ease her back into more exercise... keeping a horse sound, fit, and trained is hard enough when you're not also balancing the soundness, fitness, and out-of-practice of a rider!

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Originally posted by alibi_18 View Post
                            I despise anything that is gel as it moves around.

                            I bought myself a nice Mattes sheepskin saddle cover that is quite thick.

                            I would go with something like that over a gel one.

                            If you can, go try some in a tack store. Put them on saddles and sit on.
                            Ah, I wish there were a local tack store where I could try things in person! The only seat saver I've been able to find locally is a foam cushion for a western saddle. The downside to being a dressage rider in a cow town!

                            Does anyone know where to buy a Mattes sheepskin seat saver (in the U.S.)? It looks like Dover used to carry them but doesn't anymore. They have an ECP sheepskin seat saver that gets iffy reviews now. Dressage Extensions has a Fleeceworks option. I'm not seeing Mattes anywhere.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by RedHorses View Post
                              Don't set your heart on anything yet. When I broke my tailbone I found harder surfaces easier to sit on because it put the sit pressure on my seatbones. Soft padded things put more pressure on my tailbone. Soft seats like theatre seats actually bothered me for almost two years after the injury.


                              ??????When it came to riding, sitting in the saddle was one of the easier things. Dismounting was a killer for quite a while. It is astonishing how much we actually use the tailbone! There were days I sat for a few minutes at the end of the ride nerving myself up to swing my leg over and dismount. Sometimes I felt that it would hurt less if someone grabbed a foot and shoved me off - even if I landed in a heap on the ground.

                              Your specific injury, confirmation, saddle, etc will determine what you need to be comfortable. That's just what worked for me. :jingles: for good healing!
                              Thanks for the info about your return to riding! Sorry you've had to go through this, too. Your story corroborates my feeling that even after the fractures are technically healed, I'm going to have some discomfort, which is part of why I figure I'll need something to ease back into the saddle before I'm 100% pain free.

                              I've been having far worse pain on hard chairs than soft ones. I spent most of last week in job interviews -- trying not to squirm while sitting in "ergonomic" spare office chairs with little padding over hard plastic. Pure torture! A month ago I was pretty sure I'd never be happy sitting on a couch or in a cushy arm chair again, but so far softer seats have been the easiest to tolerate. I have this feeling that I'm going to have to make somewhat of a blind choice w.r.t. saddle seat cushion, and that neither my experience of flat seats nor anyone else's post-coccyx-fracture riding experiences are going to be perfectly predictive of what will work best. Trial and error, here we come!

                              I appreciate the jingles! Hope your tailbone pain is far in your past.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by x-halt-salute View Post

                                Thanks! I didn't see that one when I was looking online.

                                And islgrl , thanks for the firsthand feedback on using it with a healing coccyx. Seems like a promising option. Did you wait until you were mostly pain-free to get back in the saddle? Is the gel thick enough to transfer the pressure away from the coccyx/focus it toward the seat bones? What Curly_Feather says about the gel being thin gives me pause about how much relief the coccyx pressure relief shaping can give...

                                The Acavallo seat savers look really nicely constructed. Do any of you who ride in Acavallo gel seat savers more generally have any feedback on how the material affects your seat? Is it sticky/grippy (which it kind-of looks like in photos)? I am pretty averse to feeling stuck to the seat of my saddle, thanks in large part to a damaged hip (e.g. I can't stand silicone seat breeches because I hate feeling "locked to the saddle" when I'm in a position that hurts). Thoughts on whether the gel honeycomb matterial would be tolerable for a sticky-averse rider?
                                I did wait until the pain had gone down a LOT before I rode, I also slipped a disc in the same fall, so that pain was also quite limiting. I am sticky seat averse also, I bought the one with the drilex cover instead of the plain gel so I wouldn't be so stuck in the saddle. I

                                Comment

                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by islgrl View Post

                                  I did wait until the pain had gone down a LOT before I rode, I also slipped a disc in the same fall, so that pain was also quite limiting. I am sticky seat averse also, I bought the one with the drilex cover instead of the plain gel so I wouldn't be so stuck in the saddle. I
                                  Ah! I didn't even realize there was a Drilex option. That makes it more appealing. Thanks!

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by x-halt-salute View Post

                                    Thanks! I didn't see that one when I was looking online.

                                    And islgrl , thanks for the firsthand feedback on using it with a healing coccyx. Seems like a promising option. Did you wait until you were mostly pain-free to get back in the saddle? Is the gel thick enough to transfer the pressure away from the coccyx/focus it toward the seat bones? What Curly_Feather says about the gel being thin gives me pause about how much relief the coccyx pressure relief shaping can give...

                                    The Acavallo seat savers look really nicely constructed. Do any of you who ride in Acavallo gel seat savers more generally have any feedback on how the material affects your seat? Is it sticky/grippy (which it kind-of looks like in photos)? I am pretty averse to feeling stuck to the seat of my saddle, thanks in large part to a damaged hip (e.g. I can't stand silicone seat breeches because I hate feeling "locked to the saddle" when I'm in a position that hurts). Thoughts on whether the gel honeycomb matterial would be tolerable for a sticky-averse rider?

                                    I've ridden in a regular acavallo gel seat saver for years. I love it! I don't feel stuck, (I hated the silicone seat breeches I tried), and can move around if need be. Mostly, they are nice and cushy and just sticky enough for starting my youngster 6 years ago. I just never took it off after she grew up and still ride in it (it's holding up great BTW).

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by x-halt-salute View Post

                                      Ah! I didn't even realize there was a Drilex option. That makes it more appealing. Thanks!
                                      http://www.acavallo.com/ac_product/g...o-coccyx-20mm/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Well, yes, thinly padded, shaped seats would put more pressure on the critical area! I had that problem too! I'm glad the softer options are working for you.

                                        My injury occured seven years ago and hasn't been an issue for years. I hope yours is as obliging!
                                        ?????

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