Horse Life

Nap vs Dressage

Happy Easter, everyone! We had our Easter celebration Saturday at our house with a bunch of friends. Matt created an absolute FEAST and the kids had their egg hunt. I’m still full.

One thing I love about our house is that right behind our backyard are acres of woods and fields. So we got to take a walk after to combat the food coma.

Yesterday morning we went to church and then breakfast, then came home and Matt was like, “Where are you going? We just got home!”

Dressage, honey. Dressage.

Off to the barn to hook up the trailer and get P ready. When I pulled up, P was eating grass in the corner of his paddock. When I went to go get him, this is what I found:


So I went in and walked up to him and this happened:


OMG. What a cutes.


So then it was seriously time to go. Like, we both have crap stains all over us now and we need to get on the trailer. So I stood up, thinking P will follow and he just looks at me. Ooookkkkk….thought you were supposed to be a flight animal?

Note to self: always keep apples on your person.

We finally got on the trailer and got to dressage trainer J’s farm. Everything was going well until I walked him down to the indoor and there were horses galloping wildly around in the pastures and P was like, “We gots to go!” I’ve never been particularly good at flying kites and Pilgrim was flying high.

I lunged him for a few minutes until trainer J arrived and then we got down to work. I told her about the wonky left lead and we deemed it my problem (I could have told her that). Then horses started galloping again and P was practically spinning in circles. Which was good in a way. See, no one ever believes that P can be psychotic. But he can. He’s so sweet and he tries really hard but I swear sometimes his brain falls out of his head and it’s just NOT. FUN. So at least Trainer J was there to witness it (I think she sometimes thinks I’m making it up) and help me ride him through it. 20 minutes of circles, changes of direction, changes of pace, and he settled into the most absolutely gorgeous trot for like 5 minutes straight. Seriously, trainer J, who is an FEI level rider/judge, was cheering and kept saying “Look in the mirrors! That’s an 8.5 trot!” So at least we ended well.

So then we my ankle was done and trainer J came over and said, “Now, I hate to tell anyone this but this saddle does you absolutely no favors. You have the most beautiful position at the walk and trot and then you ask for the canter and it all goes to shit. Your legs slide back, your shoulders come forward and that unbalances both of you.”

So I’ve known this for awhile, but when your dressage trainer begs you to ride your next dressage test in your jump saddle, you know it’s serious. The blocks are fixed and just don’t work with my long, long legs. The saddle itself is so comfortable and fits P beautifully, but it needs to fit me too. So sadly, the little guy is going up for sale and I’m on the hunt for a new one. Any thoughts on where to even start? When I was searching for jump saddles, I shipped in over 25 saddles for trials. Mucho expensive and I’d like to avoid doing that, if possible. I’ve had to buy a dressage saddle exactly one time and obviously my judgement is skewed. P’s jump saddle is a CWD, but I don’t even know what’s similar. Trainer J rides in Stackhouses, and the chances of finding one used in my budget (trying to stay under $2500) is next to zero. Those suckers start at $5k and are all custom, and P is still growing. Not happening.

As much as it pains me to do it, until I can find a suitable dressage saddle, I’ll be riding all my tests in my jump saddle. I’ve NEVER done it, though I know it’s acceptable and know people who have done it. I just never have and it makes my insides squirm a little. But trainer J says, “No one will care that you did your test in your jump saddle when you beat them all.” I like your confidence, J. It’s much appreciated.


On a completely different note, the Kastel sun shirt arrived Saturday night (5 days ahead of schedule…score!) and I LOVE it. I’m 5’10”, 165 lbs with an athletic build and spider arms, so I ordered a large. I like when shirts come to my hips or slightly below, and I need sleeves long enough to cover my tentacles. The large fits great- the length of the shirt itself and the sleeves are perfect. It’s a little loose on me, but I think the medium would be too short and in the hot sun, I don’t want skin tight anyway. I’ve only tried it on and have not ridden in it, but I think I’m going to like it. When I get a chance to use it, I’ll write more, but if you’re on the fence like I was, I’d recommend it.

7 thoughts on “Nap vs Dressage”

  1. omg his expression in the hay pile is priceless!! what a bummer about the saddle tho… saddle shopping is like, ugh, the pits. i struggled so badly that i ended up buying a fitter who does the shopping for me using tracings etc. would def recommend if that’s an option near you!


    1. Ya, there’s one that dressage trainer J uses but she’s in Germany right now 😦 I’m going to struggle along on my own for now and then if I haven’t found anything suitable, use her when she gets back. I’d rather go horse shopping again than saddle shopping! Too many choices!


  2. that video is TOO. CUTE. i love sleepy ponies.

    im sorry about saddle shopping. its a hell i would not wish on my worst enemy. CWD does make dressage saddles but they are NOT cheap. i’m not sure what area youre in – but the cheapest way to sit in a lot of saddles without shipping is to have a rep come out. i’m not a huge devoucoux fan but my dressage saddle is a devoucoux makila and i love it SO MUCH. my butt shall know no other. im not a big block fan and the blocks on that are pretty small, which i like. i rode in 3 dressage saddles before i married mine and theres definitely an a-ha moment.


    1. I’ve seen a couple Makilas floating around, but know next to nothing about Devoucoux. I don’t think I’ve ever sat in one, but thanks for the suggestion! How does it fit Runkle?


  3. How cute is sleepy Pilgrim!!! He is so frickin adorable 😁
    Devoucoux and CWD are basically the same saddles- they are just different branches of the same owners I think? Either way they’re very similar and I think the major difference is styling 🙂
    I have a Prestige Grand Dressage and I absolutely LOVE it- granted my butt has been sitting in it for 16 years now and it’s basically molded around my butt but since I’m just an inch shorter than you it might be one to try? It tended to fit long leg people better than short… Good luck with the saddle shopping though! And if it makes you feel better I’ve been doing my dressage tests in my jumping saddle and I have a friend that won the Training Level (Dressage not eventing) high point at a fancy recognized Dressage show in NY in her jumping saddle 🙂 So no judge will judge you for not being in a dressage saddle!


    1. Thank you for that! I’ll look out for a Prestige Grand Dressage. That makes me feel better about you and your friend riding in jump saddles. Until I can find some saddles to try, it looks like we’ll be CWD’ing it down centerline. I’ve heard such differing opinions (like all things horse-related) about Devoucoux, but am keeping an open mind.


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