I just diagnosed myself because there’s no other explanation for the madness I’m about to type next:
I need a new dressage saddle.
Trainer J has told me the last 2 lessons that this needs to happen, but I’ve stubbornly refused to even look at saddle websites.
Then this past weekend at Windridge, I decided to take her advice and experiment by riding my dressage test in my jump saddle. And it was heaven. Even though the judge wasn’t a fan of ours, she was even less of a fan of everyone else, including those in dressage saddles. And it was so nice not to have to fight my tack for once.
I just…have NO idea what I’m looking for. Trainer J is sponsored by Stackhouse and that’s all she rides in. I simply can’t drop $6k on another saddle, at least not this year.
My own (used) Stackhouse is a great saddle. It’s comfy, got great leather, looks nice, fits P (not an easy thing to do)….but much like my old dressage saddle, it doesn’t fit ME very well.
When I tried it, it was miles away a better fit for me than my original dressage saddle, which was an HDR. So I mistook that for actually fitting me, and me just having things to work on (balance, leg in the correct position, etc). But I’ve made more of an effort to ride in it these past couple weeks and it’s clear now that it’s just wrong for me. My knees hang over the knee rolls and the balance doesn’t work for me- while it doesn’t tip me fetal-position-forward like HDR did, I’m constantly in front of or behind the motion. While I can get away with riding in it for a short while, like warmup + dressage test length, I’m fighting the saddle so much that it wears me out and makes my hips sore after awhile. I have yet to make it through an entire 45 minute lesson with Trainer J because I get SO TIRED.
So, there. It’s written down so I must actually do something about it now. But where to start? Do I like blocks? Deeper or more shallow seats? Wide or narrow twists? Monoflap? And I can’t even begin to think about flap length.
I have stupidly long legs, especially from thigh to knee. I mean, who needs this much length on their legs? It’s unnecessary.
Not to mention, I don’t even know what a good dressage saddle FEELS like. So I don’t want to get sucked into thinking something fits, only to find out that it’s marginally better than the last one, like I did with dear old Stackhouse.
So if anyone has any suggestions on even where to start (or what to avoid), send them my way! I’m not in any hurry, since apprently the world won’t end if I do my tests in my jump saddle, but I am going to start browsing…maybe.