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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?

  • jonem004
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • KarenRO
    replied

    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Dressage_Strider
    replied
    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: http://www.dressageextensions.com/ac...pubis/p/25144/ 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

    Leave a comment:


  • Kyrabee
    replied
    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.

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

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • SBrentnall
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Lunabear1988
    replied
    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!!

    Leave a comment:


  • RedHorses
    replied
    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!
    ?????

    Leave a comment:


  • islgrl
    replied
    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/

    Leave a comment:


  • WhiteOakFarm
    replied
    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).

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • islgrl
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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?

    Leave a comment:


  • x-halt-salute
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:

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