Back to

Monday, November 15, 2010

Saddle back

So the last week has again been busy. I guess I should be happy that I have time to blog once per week. December I will write more often (I hope). Last week again was not great. I rode Gram on Tuesday night, and it was not good, we were both stiff and just yucky. Heidi Basler, the newest addition to the barn was giving a lesson, so I tried my best to avoid them. I did a lot of work on a giant circle which revealed to me that I need to circle more! The big mare doesn't care for circles, she would much prefer go down the long side. (A side note, Donnie drove the scooter from the city to the barn to store in the horse trailer for the winter!)

Ryan rode Gram on Wednesday and then Thursday I had to work late...again. So Saturday when I went out the barn we work on suppling and just a few tricks. My parents came for a quick visit and to see our progress since the Kathy Connelly Clinic. Donnie was able to come to, so it was quite the adventure! We did a few canter walk, walk canter transitions and ran through our trot half passes and baby canter half passes (which were slightly out of control, so we did one that wasn't running and called it good). I think my elbow is getting better. Everyday I think belly of my forearm facing up. That seems to be the route of the problem. Funny, something I have struggle with my entire life, and she gives me a solution in 10 minutes... Oh to be that good!

Sunday I went to the barn solo and I had the arena to myself. Gram was fantastic. She has really gotten to like the idea of treating from the saddle. After just a few times, she now turns her head to me when she does something good, like ok Mom hand it over! When I got on, I realized that I had put the saddle on further back than normal. Previously, in my Prestige I did put the saddle back further to allow for the shoulder freedom. When I got my Schleese and met with the rep, she put the saddle rather high, so I have been trying to do the same. I must not have been thinking because I put the Schleese in the Prestige position. But once I got on, I honestly was just too lazy to move it! Well, I amnot sure if this was in my head, but Gram was awesome. Her trot was really lofty in the warm up- the canter warm up was great. There was no stiffening in her lower neck. It was a great ride. Who knows why, but I think the saddle placement allowed her shoulder to move more freely. We worked on our 10m circles. I tried my best to not help her too much. This is normally our problem, I help her to death and cause bracing. We actually got 10m circles in the canter in both directions. The left is her stronger canter, so the circles generally aren't a problem, it is the right where our 10m circles tend to be egg shaped and closer to 12m. We worked on our half passes, and then really made an effort to work on our collection and activity in the canter. I still need to remind myself to sit deep and help lift her shoulders. Overall, it is coming together really well! I just hope that I can work on the changes more over the winter. Though the plan is still to bring her out at Second level next year, so there really isn't any big rush. It would just be nice to have the option to also go third, even though that is the level that I most struggled with as I learned.

Here is our new treat stretch that we do before our rides:


  1. I agree with you about the saddle placement. I always thought that one placed the saddle rather high on the horse's back and then gently slid it toward the rear until it stopped naturally and therefore found its own place. Too many people want to put that saddle way too far forward, and, as you have stated, it interferes with the shoulder.

    As for treats--just make sure Gram doesn't turn around and beg just as you are doing your halt and salute ;-)))

  2. The saddle thing is strange, because my Schleese has shoulder relief panels, so it really doesn't interfere with the movement. Because her back is so long, I feel like the saddle being placed further back is just more comfortable for her. I just know I never want to be a saddle fitter! ha!

    We have a legal binding agreement on the treat- two taps on the neck and then I lean over, and then she reaches to get it! ;)