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

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    I used a thinline seat saver when I bruised my tailbone. That and a lot of two point! I'm so sorry that you are doing with this. Sounds painful!!


      My advice: don't return to riding too early. I broke my sacrum and ignored my doctor's advice about waiting 6-8 weeks to ride. After 4 weeks, I did some light riding in a two-point. As a result, it healed crooked and still causes some discomfort and unevenness decades later.


        Original Poster

        Thanks for the additional info on the Acavallo option, friends! I'm really debating between the Acavallo coccyx model (purpose-built, good reviews from CotHers) and the Fleeceworks sheepskin (half the price, some have reported good results with sheepskin for coccyx pain). Decisions, decisions!

        I've got an M.D. involved in my decision making w.r.t. when to return to riding and am already far enough out from the injury that I'm technically cleared to return to that kind of activity, so really the only piece of the puzzle I'm trying to solve is how to make my saddle more comfortable. I appreciate the concern and well-wishes in addition to seat saver advice, though!


          I had a chronically painful tailbone that over time got more and more painful until I couldn't even sit in the saddle. Finally after 2 extensive work-ups, it was found I had a tailbone spur (think pointed spike pointing out the back at a 90 degree angle to the TB). I had the TB removed in 2017. I held off riding for a year. The tailbone is so pivotal to so many things we do and there is a lot of pressure on it sitting so it takes a long time to heal. I am still getting slow but steady improvement in my comfort almost 2 years out from the surgery to remove the offending spike. I don't think it will ever be normal (as without ANY discomfort) again but I have had a lot of improvement albeit glacially slow.

          Unfortunately I screwed up my back in the meantime but finally decided to order the Acavallo coccyx cutout and ride anyway, back be damned. I did hold it to walking but gave the seat saver 2 thumbs up. Mind you because of the back issue and subsequent back surgery, I have not done much trot and canter work but what I have done has been fine. I don't find it "sticky" at all. It has a cover and I can move around just fine.

          Can you do long lining in lieu of riding? I imagine that is painful too but at least you aren't sitting.

          I know how hard it is to stay out of the saddle but sometimes you just have to. Jingles on quick healing.

          Edited to add that for my old saddle, I made my own tailbone cushion. That saddle had a very wide flat seat that was actually a bit big for me so I got one of those 1/2 inch white closed cell foam Roma saddle pads...cut out the tailbone area and cut it to shape my saddle seat then put a black wool seat saver over the top. That worked great on that saddle. The cantle was too wide for a standard seat saver. It was a lot cheaper than the Acavallo SS but I don't think it would work on my current saddle as I don't have as much 'open space' for my butt.

          Last edited by Kyrabee; Feb. 14, 2019, 02:08 PM.


            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 have this one: as I get frequent horrible UTI's, and I haven't gotten one since I've been using it!

            Once secured to the saddle, it does not move at all. As long as you get the "Gel In" kind, it doesn't stick to your seat - it's a fleece like material though so can be hot in the summer.

            I've also ridden in the "Gel In" one, and it's very comfortable, but definitely doesn't allow as much movement

            **biggest thing I would make known with this is it is A LOT of material - makes my saddle feel 1/2 inch smaller


              Original Poster

              Since a spammer decided to copy my words verbatim and start a second thread with an identical initial post that might elicit responses from real people posting in good faith, I figured I'd update this one.

              I've still got coccyx pain, though not as bad as it was a month ago. Still WNL for healing time, but getting toward the long end of it. I've been very slowly easing back into the saddle. Can't sit the trot or really tolerate sitting deep enough to communicate well with my seat yet, but getting better. My extremely forward-thinking horse has been a saint about adapting to this impairment of the seat.

              Given all of the great advice here I waited until I got back on to make a decision on Acavallo Ortho Coccyx vs. sheepskin. It sounds like there's a range of ways that the coccyx fracture could impact riding -- pain when in the saddle, pain only from the concussion of a dismount -- and I wanted to get more information about how the saddle would impact my pain before deciding. Turns out my situation is an "all of the above" one, so I went for the tailbone-specific Acavallo option. So far it's a big help.



                I did a copy-and-paste from the other thread. I made the mistake of riding out three big bucks in September and ended up with a closed fracture in the sacrum (upper part of "tailbone") and assorted closed fractures to my left pelvis. I was back in the saddle after 8 weeks and had no pain in either part. The biggest issue was just stretching out the hip flexors after 2 months of not riding. If you are pain-free now, you should be pain-free in the saddle.

                I second the comments that caution about finding the right material if you feel like you need extra padding. I found that using a wedge pillow with a cutout for the tailbone when I was driving my car. The cushion felt comfy for a couple of weeks and then my tailbone started to ache. I ditched the wedge and feel fine. As I said, I had no tailbone pain with my dressage saddle so I would recommend trying it without a saddle cushion first.


                  Original Poster

                  Originally posted by KarenRO View Post
                  I did a copy-and-paste from the other thread. I made the mistake of riding out three big bucks in September and ended up with a closed fracture in the sacrum (upper part of "tailbone") and assorted closed fractures to my left pelvis. I was back in the saddle after 8 weeks and had no pain in either part. The biggest issue was just stretching out the hip flexors after 2 months of not riding. If you are pain-free now, you should be pain-free in the saddle.

                  I second the comments that caution about finding the right material if you feel like you need extra padding. I found that using a wedge pillow with a cutout for the tailbone when I was driving my car. The cushion felt comfy for a couple of weeks and then my tailbone started to ache. I ditched the wedge and feel fine. As I said, I had no tailbone pain with my dressage saddle so I would recommend trying it without a saddle cushion first.
                  Thanks, KarenRO . I went in the opposite direction -- started with no extra cushioning in the car and in my work chair, and have found some relief after adding a cutout cushion. Riding in an unpadded saddle was very painful, so I've added the coccyx-relief seat saver. I'm a bit jealous that you were able to ride in a dressage saddle without pain after your injury! Even with the coccyx cutout I'm not able to ride completely pain-free. I appreciate the perspective and advice, though!


                    Just an out of the box thought, a close contact saddle might be easier to ride in while you heal? Even riding in a bit more of a half seat to avoid pressure on the area might be a better option than not riding at all. Though those seat savers with the recess for the tail bone look like a doughnut for your dressage saddle and that's rad! Best of luck and speedy recovery!