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Saddle too small or do I need to learn how to ride all over again? : (

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  • #21
    Originally posted by RedHorses View Post
    If (as you say) the old saddle put you in an incorrect position, and the new puts you in the correct position then keep the saddle for a while and try to adjust.
    Yes, I agree .... <<but>>....

    Just because a new saddle puts you in a "correct" v. "incorrect" basic position, doesn't mean it really fits the rider. There are hundreds of saddle fit threads on this board where people try saddle after saddle until they find *just the right one* and many of them SEEM to be a good fit, but don't feel quite right.

    So I agree that you should TRY to ride in it; but this is also where a good trainer can help a lot. I took a saddle on trial once from a tack store with a reasonably good selection and person who seemed to know how to help you fit yourself to the saddle (and I tried about 20 saddles in the store). When I actually sat in it on a horse, it was terrible. My trainer wouldn't even allow me to canter in it because I was so unstable. So what appeared at first to be a good fit, wasn't actually a good fit for me on the horse.

    Give it some time, and if possible have someone video you so you can see what you look like AND what it feels like. And if you can't make it work, don't assume it's all your fault.

    Comment


    • #22
      OP, if you could post some pics of you in the old saddle vs new saddle that would help us figured out if it is the saddle that is the problem or if it is your position. Videos would help too.

      Best test (IMO) is to hop on bareback and go for a ride. Can you keep your balance w/t/c? If so then it is DEFINITELY the saddle that is the problem, not you. If you feel like you're falling off at the trot, then it is probably you.
      come what may

      Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #23
        Had a long tiring weekend at work. Last Thursday when I was going to ride, it was freakishly windy.My friend got bucked off of her horse. We spent all afternoon, before I had to go to work, in the emergency room. Luckily, nothing's broken, and she is fine. Then it was work all weekend...today was the first time in the saddle since Wednesday...

        Your post seems to have helped me, with time I'm hoping it'll get better. Now that I've watched video my friend recorded today, I'm more confused. More on that later.
        Originally posted by mvp View Post
        More on what I meant:

        I'm guessing that the reason you could sit in the deep 15" but not the shallow one is because that seat held you in one place--- so if you were stiff in the knee and hip, the saddle didn't let you move around enough to know it. Now the shallow one lets you move-- which should come from your pelvis-- and it's revealed that you don't follow from that part of your body. D'oh!--It felt as if there was more room to move in the old saddle, even if it held me in place. My pelvis was usually very fluid with Zeph's motion, but definitely sitting on the edge of my seat bones...My interpretation of when someone says "ride your pockets".That tends to want to round my lower back though.While my hip and knee were stiff, there was room.The new one feels as if my butt is pushed up against and almost over what little cantle there is. In a trot,it feels like I'm going to ride the upper edge of the cantle. So maybe that is confusing me?

        Also, it's rare that the person "bracing in the stirrups" feels the most pressure on the balls of their feet. I think they are holding their leg straight from the hip to the knee; the ankle moves some. They might have sore sitting bones in a hard-seat saddle and if they are bracing badly.That's correct, I am bracing, and rarely feel any pressure on the balls of the feet.Funny, my seat bones do hurt usually, when they did not before. This is starting to convince me.

        So you need to relearn follow. IMO, bareback will get you only so far. If I were standing in the ring with you, we'd talk about what you feel in this saddle while you are walking: If you are following with your seat, how would you describe what you are doing with your body? What can you feel? Any images that capture it for you?Today just walking in the arena, I found myself trying to brace, so took my feet out of the stirrups, but kept my knees bent and heels down to get a feel for as you say "leg melting around the horse". I pictured my legs to be like the legs of a plastic indian molded to fit on a toy horse! It felt as if my seat bone on one side would come up against his back on the same side as he's stepping with that rear leg.It would push me up and forward on that side.Once my feet were back in the stirrups,I found that instead of moving my legs forward or back to give a cue, I had to just rotate my hips in their sockets to apply the pressure. This was the only thing that worked without tightening up my inner thigh and thus lifting my seat out of the saddle.It took a lot of concentration, and remembering to relax!

        For me, this means I can feel both sitting bones and my pubic bone. I stretch out the front of my body-- from my belt buckle up, but I try to notice if I can feel it stretching down, too. (I have been told that I ride like a guy--crotch anchored right down there on the front of the saddle so that no soft parts pre-arranged to be out of the way could get caught. It's also how you engage your core, which is the only basis for sitting some fugly trots). Also, I feel like my leg is melting around the horse. You could tie a parachute hanging low behind the horse to each of my ankles, and I'd be pulled down, around the horse--- but without any muscular effort from me.Funny this made a lot of sense! I basically tried to picture it like this: Forgive me if this sounds crass, but I tried to picture a suction cup of sorts in the space from my pubic bone to the seat bones. It causes me to arch my back more and sit up more straight in the saddle, but if I stay relaxed and go with the horse, I don't bounce. Makes it hard to relax the back. Each time my legs would try and tighten or move forward to brace today, it was a conscious effort to relax my legs stretching down around him.

        In any case, pick what works for you at the walk-- when you look tall and drapped around the horse. And then! Pick up a jog. Recheck to see if you can reproduce the feelings in your body that you had when you were that tall, elegant equitation rider at the walk. When you lose it, walk again. When you get better at this, you'll start to lose it "take your inventory" and then be able to recapture what you had with your seat at the walk. Think I may have moved too fast today, and tried too much trotting and some loping.Trying to make up for lost time over the weekend Steering,transitions, and stopping are terrible but it will come in time.At least today I'm not red black and blue from gripping the sides of the saddle with my knees! Hopefully that's a positive sign.

        That's all. Sitting well does take some fitness. IMO, it's better to do it right for short stretches than to do it wrong for any amount of time. You will get better at it! And when you do, the size/shape of the saddle won't make so much difference.

        Thanks so much! I will just keep trying! I also started doing the circles with no inside stirrup, and can feel why it will help.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #24
          Originally posted by S1969 View Post
          Yes, I agree .... <<but>>....

          Just because a new saddle puts you in a "correct" v. "incorrect" basic position, doesn't mean it really fits the rider. There are hundreds of saddle fit threads on this board where people try saddle after saddle until they find *just the right one* and many of them SEEM to be a good fit, but don't feel quite right.

          So I agree that you should TRY to ride in it; but this is also where a good trainer can help a lot. I took a saddle on trial once from a tack store with a reasonably good selection and person who seemed to know how to help you fit yourself to the saddle (and I tried about 20 saddles in the store). When I actually sat in it on a horse, it was terrible. My trainer wouldn't even allow me to canter in it because I was so unstable. So what appeared at first to be a good fit, wasn't actually a good fit for me on the horse.

          Give it some time, and if possible have someone video you so you can see what you look like AND what it feels like. And if you can't make it work, don't assume it's all your fault.
          Definitely willing to give it time. Hopefully it does put me in correct position. After watching video my friend took today, I can see it's better than the old saddle, but not sure if my position is correct.Though, I have not been trained well, so there is no way for me to tell. I do have a photo of me in the old saddle to compare with.Will try and figure out how to post those a bit later.

          As for bareback, I can sit the trot for about an hour now without bouncing all over, and without getting sore. At the lope,my balance is not as good, but is getting better. I've only done loped bareback maybe 10 times, but can turn and do transitions and circles without falling off. What I really need is a good trainer.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #25
            Here goes, first time posting a video to a forum. Hopefully the links work. I'd been riding for a few hours prior.The quality isn't that great. My stops aren't usually like that, but this saddle has me all screwey right now. So glad my horse is such a doll! The last circle of the video at the lope, I lost my inside stirrup., ugh.
            (If we look funny together, it's that Zepher is 14.1, and I'm a bit over 5'9".)


            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXYvMCzt9WQ

            Here's a picture from late summer of last year in the old saddle.
            https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater

            Comment


            • #26
              You might want to compare a still from your video to the images here:
              http://www.equinestudies.org/whos_bu..._2008_pdf1.pdf

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by dnabbody View Post
                Here goes, first time posting a video to a forum. Hopefully the links work. I'd been riding for a few hours prior.The quality isn't that great. My stops aren't usually like that, but this saddle has me all screwey right now. So glad my horse is such a doll! The last circle of the video at the lope, I lost my inside stirrup., ugh.
                (If we look funny together, it's that Zepher is 14.1, and I'm a bit over 5'9".)


                http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXYvMCzt9WQ

                Here's a picture from late summer of last year in the old saddle.
                https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...type=3&theater
                I can't see your FB photo (probably due to privacy settings) and I don't ride western, (so take my critique with a grain of salt), but to me it looks like your feet and knees are way ahead of your hips; and I can see why you would be struggling with your balance.

                Compare to this picture (lifted off the web, no idea who the rider is):

                http://www.freewebs.com/bcpleasureho...euth%20037.jpg

                And not to get into a discussion of WP etc., but this rider looks balanced because her heels/knees/hips/shoulders are basically in line with each other. I know that there are variations of this position depending of discipline, but overall, you need to be basically aligned or you will be off balance. (In your case, your body is behind your heels & knees -- if you tried to stand in your stirrups you would not be able to do it).

                I don't think you look like you're in a typical "western chair seat" - because you look really uncomfortable. Stirrups look short and placed too far in front. Maybe that means the seat is too small, or something else; not just stirrup length.

                Maybe some western riders will chime in to help. I know that different kinds of western saddles are built differently (reining v. pleasure, etc.) so hopefully someone else can comment on the saddle specifically.

                Comment


                • #28
                  I see you leaning back sometimes, being left a bit behind. Yes feet are out in front a bit. Your pelvis is tilted back; seems like that is pushing her into more trot than it typically considered a western jog.

                  I also think the stirrups are too short and that is preventing you from SITTING in the saddle as opposed to bouncing along.

                  Nice lope! When I tip forward with the downward transition like that, it's because I'm not sitting down. Make sure you SIT DEEP before/when you ask for the dt.

                  The picture S1969 posted is a very good example of position.

                  Just a note on video taking...have your friend hold her phone sideways next time for a bigger/wider field on the screen.
                  Ride like you mean it.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    duplicate
                    Ride like you mean it.

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Nice horse and your hands are quiet. Love that you have your shoulders back and are nice and straight. Good job.

                      Now, I don't think it is the saddle per se, but the fact you are a relatively new rider riding a horse with big movement. You do have your legs out in front of you and your stirrups are too short. You have a very long leg, especially your femur. Now, take heart here, as you improve and really get your leg under you, those long legs will give you a very elegant seat.

                      So, back to basics here, either with this instructor or another one. You need to learn to open your hips and get your leg back under you in straighter line to hip, heel etc. You need an instructor that will actual teach you some dressage or just good horsemanship to help you get your leg back, your heels down and under you and you need to learn to post that big trot. Good old fashioned two point or standing in your stirrup type of exercises will really help you find your balance. Lunge lessons would really be to your benefit for learning your balanced seat. Most western riders post big trots, and western pleasure horses jog, not that beautiful big working trot your horse does.

                      I have had arabians and it takes time to learn to ride their big movement. You have a nice horse and you can learn to ride him beautifully with more time and practice. As for the saddle, it needs to fit the horse properly and you need to be comfortable in it too. The stirrups need to be longer and you need to find that "sweet spot" in the saddle where your legs are under you and your butt isn't pushing into the cantle. If the saddle seems a little slick, get some chaps or chinks for security or stick tite. When you first mount, stand straight up in your stirrups and then sit right straight down. I am betting your butt isn't pushed into the cantle. That's where you need to sit.

                      Practice, practice, practice and send more pictures of you in a longer stirrup and with your leg under you and relaxed. And have FUN!!

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by craz4crtrs View Post
                        Now, I don't think it is the saddle per se, but the fact you are a relatively new rider riding a horse with big movement.

                        I have had arabians and it takes time to learn to ride their big movement. You have a nice horse and you can learn to ride him beautifully with more time and practice. As for the saddle, it needs to fit the horse properly and you need to be comfortable in it too. The stirrups need to be longer and you need to find that "sweet spot" in the saddle where your legs are under you and your butt isn't pushing into the cantle. If the saddle seems a little slick, get some chaps or chinks for security or stick tite. When you first mount, stand straight up in your stirrups and then sit right straight down. I am betting your butt isn't pushed into the cantle. That's where you need to sit.

                        Practice, practice, practice and send more pictures of you in a longer stirrup and with your leg under you and relaxed. And have FUN!!
                        I didn't get the impression that the rider is new to riding; only that this saddle is new. She states that she can trot for an hour bareback, and can lope bareback but not as well.

                        I agree that having a good trainer on the ground will help a lot, but I am not convinced that the saddle is a good fit for her based on the fact that she says she can ride better without it.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by S1969 View Post
                          I didn't get the impression that the rider is new to riding; only that this saddle is new. She states that she can trot for an hour bareback, and can lope bareback but not as well.

                          I agree that having a good trainer on the ground will help a lot, but I am not convinced that the saddle is a good fit for her based on the fact that she says she can ride better without it.
                          New to riding "properly" in this saddle then. Since she is so comfortable bareback, she is gripping too much with her legs, her heels are up and those things contribute to "bounce" and feeling insecure.

                          Even riding bareback, learning to drop your leg down, draping your leg around your horse, same as you should be in the saddle.

                          Riding bareback is hard, and on a bouncy arab, even more difficult. A lot of riders struggle with trying to ride in a different position than you are used to. I rode bareback a lot as a kid, and now that I am old, there is no way I would be able to ride securely all day that way.

                          Since you are so comfortable bareback, go to earlier suggestions and ride without stirrups in your saddle practicing with your leg down and around the horse with heels down, etc.

                          So, dnabbody, how long have you been riding, a couple of years or your whole life? How long have you been riding this particular horse? This may help the suggestions being made. I didn't mean it as a negative when I said relatively new rider, it could just mean to this discipline. Sorry if came across wrong.

                          Also, those old Simcos are so flat and slippery I can see why you are having issues. I couldn't see the saddle at all in the video or at least what I watched. What are you wanting to do, reining? Play on cows or western pleasure? Maybe you need to try more saddles and compare.
                          Last edited by craz4crtrs; May. 9, 2013, 10:37 AM.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #33
                            I don't think you look like you're in a typical "western chair seat" - because you look really uncomfortable. Stirrups look short and placed too far in front. Maybe that means the seat is too small, or something else; not just stirrup length.The video shows me in the new saddle. Due to learning to ride in the old saddle with the chair seat position, my legs habitually move forward.I even used that saddle during my lessons on other horses, so wouldn't have known the difference.The video shows less forward leg movement than before, when my toes were well up at his elbow area.Sometimes my toes would bump his legs at the trot, and my calf would hit the cinch instead of his barrel.

                            A few days ago I just spent 2 hours in the saddle at the walk out on the trail, and think I found where my legs/pelvis need to be (based on what kind people here have suggested, and similar to the pic you posted), and how to relax them.Keeping them that way at another gait is a different story, but trying to take it slow.I also lowered the stirrups one hole since the video was shot, and my legs hang more straight under me without losing the stirrups. Think I'm getting the feel for how I should be sitting, it will just take time and practice.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              Grrr...Looks like I need time and practice posting replies too

                              Thanks for the compliments on Zeph.He's been a saint through all of this! However, he has learned a lot as well, such as a more balanced lope, and being (somewhat) collected. He doesn't protest anymore, and seems to be a willing participant to go out and work. This is all a direct result of my learning to be a better rider too. He was only under saddle for maybe 3 years when I bought him, and had only done a few 25 mi endurance rides. He liked to crow-hop or stop completely instead of loping, run through the bit for stopping, and putting his nose way up in the air with the bit in his teeth! We've gotten a handle on each other in a relatively short amount of time!

                              I've had this horse for 3 years, been riding him a little over a year and a half, but only about 10 months consistently (4-6 days per week, at least an hour or so each time). Since I ride until I relax, and often, it has helped me ride a little better in a short time.We had a lot of set backs after I bought him.He is my first horse in over 25 years.No offense taken by anyone's presumptions, I am here to learn. Had an old horse when I was 12 whom I rode around bareback on out in the hills, but no formal training other than the guy who has been working with me the last 10 months up until recently. We put my first horse down when I was 15, he was 26. The only other riding I've done between now and then, was when I was 16 interning at an Arabian breeder's place for about a year. I didn't know a darned thing though! I consider myself a green beginner. Am also new to this saddle, but believe I should be able to ultimately ride any horse any saddle well enough to have basic control. This Simco has a low cantle, and shallow seat. Seat is suede,saddle is from the '80's, but the man I bought it from used it once.

                              The last week I've just worked on feeling what works better while keeping the heels, hips, shoulders aligned.NOT EASY! Have been working on relaxing my legs, and not moving them forward, also tilting the pelvis upward a little. Found the best position first with no stirrups, then would try and duplicate it with them. Am also trotting circles with the inside leg out of the stirrup a little, but trying to establish what works at a walk first. We've done a little bareback too. You are right, I do grip more with my legs bareback, so was working on not doing that yesterday. After about an hour and a half, I was starting to feel relaxed enough to sit with a more open hip,and slow his trot enough to a collected jog. I do a lot of thinking about what proper position is and how it should logistically work, but it's hard when I just don't KNOW.
                              Also hoping to hear back from a dressage trainer I spoke to yesterday for a lesson next week. I want to do lunge lessons, and basic lessons for balance and see where it takes me. Was interested in doing reining, but there really aren't many events close to me. There are way more dressage and open shows. At some point I'd love to show Zeph off, if for any reason, just to say we did it and to get him exposed to different things. So I want to be practical about a discipline.This new saddle has also shown me that we must have a good basic foundation before just taking off into any one specialty.

                              A word on "bouncy Arabs"--Many people have commented to me on this, but I prefer it.The QHs I've ridden here at the barn are choppy and hard.Tough for me even to tell what lead we're in, but a lot of that is due to inexperience I guess. Maybe I'm just used to the Arab trot!

                              Anyway, everyone's suggestions and links have been supremely helpful! A lot of food for thought! I do SO appreciate it, and hope to be good enough someday to help someone else out!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                A fantastic exercise for learning to balance without gripping with your legs is to ride bareback and point your toes at the ground - actively point (think ballet) not just allowing them to drop. When your muscles are engaged in actively pointing your toes at the ground it's very difficult to grip with your legs. Any time you feel you're losing your balance/seat, lift your toes up and settle yourself, then point them again.

                                You will very quickly discover whether or not you are holding yourself on with your legs gripping when you ride bareback.

                                I've done and still do this exercise myself.

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