Monday, January 5, 2015

Weird saddle problems

So, almost a year ago I bought a new saddle. 

In case anyone remembers or cares, pony had the BIGGEST problems being fit for a saddle. NOTHING fit my dang horse. 

She has narrow withers, wide shoulders and a kinda broad back. She also has long actual shoulder blades, which means that when she walks her shoulders are moving back way far, which runs into any saddle tree ever. Seriously. 

She's kinda mule shaped hahhaha. 

So after trying every western saddle tree known to man, I was riding her in an older jump saddle, it didn't fit her great and if I rode for too long it would pinch the sides of her withers. 

When I tried to choose a picture of the old jump saddle I was using I accidentally clicked on this. Enjoy my equine safety at its finest.... ;)

This was the english saddle I rode her in for a while. 

So anyways, I had a friend at the barn that heard I had been looking for a saddle, I said I would take any type, if it fits my horse I don't care what type of riding it's meant for. 

Turns out, she works for reactor panel and is trying to learn how to be a saddle fitter and could use the extra practice of fitting pony. 

So she measured Ponys back and brought out a few saddles to try her in. 

How many people have heard of reactor panel? 

You should look them up because they're amazing. 

Basically, you have the saddle part, that you sit on, but underneath there is no flocking. Instead, it's Velcro. 

Then, there are two panels, they're literally super lightweight and flexible material, that are the size of a panel of a western tree. These attatch to the saddle part using polyurethane discs, so basically the polyurethane absorbs the shock from your body and the part that is touching your horse bends and flexes with your horses back. 

So basically, it's the perfect fit. 

They're expensive (duh, what about horses isn't) but totally worth it. 

I ended up buying my saddle (obviously after having it on trial for a month or so) and pony has never been so thrilled about a saddle. 

A lot of horses will deal with an ill fitting saddle. Nawt pony! She freaks out if her shoulders are too tight, it literally makes her unridable. 

Here's my beautiful saddle 

See how the top part of the pad looks thicker? That's because they are sewed to hide the panels, the panel sits inside of it and is covered to make it look like a 'normal' saddle. 

It's amazing. And the disks can be moved based on if and how her back changes. It can also be adjusted for other horses. It's really awesome. 

So here's where a weird thing happened. I had a sheepskin pad because it lifted the saddle up higher off her shoulders and made it fit a little better, it was the best option for her. I felt like my positioning was strange but I chalked it up to me being out of riding for a while and needing to work on my seat. 

This is my sheepskin pad

Then, about six months ago I took the pads home to wash them (each side has a separate pad) and I used a regular quilted pad while it was at home being washed. Obviously, because that's hard work and they have to be carefully hand washed I cleaned one and then never found time to clean the other. Until this week. So I've been riding in the green quilted pad for months. 

So on Wednesday, I switched back to the sheepskin pad, and BOOM, I felt like I had no control and my seat was awful again. Seriously. It was crazy. 

I felt like I was tipped forward, and like I couldn't get my butt underneath me. My main problem, was that I felt like my leg was behind me rather than under me and not effective at all. I felt 'perched' on top of her. 

I didn't put two and two together until friday, and today me and my trainer tried one pad on right after the other and she agreed with me, the pad completely changes the way you sit. Isn't that strange?! So weird. 

Obviously I'm getting my friend to come back and check it to see if we need to adjust the discs, but it's so weird that the pad could make such a difference to your seat when it makes it more correct on the horses back. 

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