Tuesday 8 November 2011

Realization #3 - The first law of saddle dynamics...

C'mon now - hands up.  Who's coach has told them to buy a new saddle?

Yep, I knew it.  There is no way I could be the only one who has slithered down this slope more than once.

So, as I was mentioning last time, during my one episode lesson program with the coach who never returned, I of course wanted to get started off on exactly the right foot - which I knew involved trading in the old close contact for a true dressage saddle.  The platypus and I left the building with detailed instructions on precisely what we needed... the Stubben Tristan Special.

(It also goes by some sexy sounding German name, which I can't pronounce, and can't even spell well enough for Google's intuitive powers to figure out what the hell I want.  Maybe someone can help...).

The first hurdle I encountered was that since both the Platypus and me were small in stature - there were not a lot of suitable used dressage saddles around.  Uhh, ok.  So new it is.  (cha-ching).  I wasn't cutting corners here, I needed the right saddle.

The Stubben fitter came out, plunked several saddles on the Platypus, I rode around, every single one felt awkwardly terrible - because of course I had never ridden in a dressage saddle so had entirely no frame of reference other than during my few awful "schoolmaster" lessons.  But I trusted the woman, and ordered myself up a Tristan.  (She did talk me back from the ledge a bit, and I went for the one with "pencil knee rolls", not the hard core monoflap).  Oh, and of course, I went for the upsell bridle and fancy girth.

Alrighty, I am READY.... right?

Well, no.  I now know that this saddle is believed by many to be some sort of medieval torture device.  No problem, I like torture as much as the next guy, but it also requires someone with a deep, effective seat.  Who can ride well.   And doesn't need kneerolls to wedge themselves in place during any sort of lengthened gaits.  Apparently the coach who never returned had high hopes for me, which have yet to materialize.  Eight years later.

But no worries, because the saddle did not have a hope in hell of staying with me for eight years anyways.  Because the minute we showed up at a new barn just a few weeks later ... The saddle was deemed to be so incredibly, unacceptably awful by the resident coach, it was sent right to the trunk of my car not to return under any circumstances... I needed a Schleese.  (which I couldn't afford at the time, and mercifully, never did buy).  Then - I needed something smaller with deeper kneerolls ... then I went to another "house of Ishoy" escapee who rode in a Tristan, but of course my Tristan was by now long gone...then came the Prestige...

You know the drill.

However... The thing I find most amazing about the first law of saddle dynamics is...that, no matter how horrid my coach tells me my saddle fits me or my horse...no matter how quickly my existing saddle has to go...no matter how many times I am forced to struggle trying to make conversation with whatshisname from the saddle store (who yah, yah, he is a hottie, whatever, but not exactly a firecracker), while he uses the saddle fitting tweezer thingy on my mare to try to make the whole process seem scientific and worth the call fee (but really, I am not fooled)...magically, the coach always has one saddle that they LOVE riding in, that miraculously fits EVERY HORSE IN THE BARN.  There is nothing conformational that a wedgie pad can't overcome.

Why can't I just get one of those?  In fact, it has been my experience that this magical saddle often fits my horse so well that the coach wants to ride in IT - instead of the $4000 saddle they just convinced me to buy, which is supposed to be the equine equivalent of the custom fit Miracle Bra for my ass/horse's back.

Now to be fair, the coach is riding horses all day, every day... and comfort is pretty important to your sanity.   If you made me go to the office every day and sit at every whacked out chair in the place, even the stupid large ball thing that the one girl insists is toning her abs while she works (I haven't actually squeezed her or seen her naked - HR can be such downers - but just eyeballing her, I don't think it is effective) I would find excuses in a hurry to only use my chair too.  You like what you like, it fits your butt, it is comfortable...why try to ride your best in something else?

I just wish that this understanding could be extended to me as well and that as long as my horse is happy, they would just piss off and let me ride in whatever floats my boat.  If I haven't learned to sit my ass down properly yet (and..I accept the fact that I haven't), it probably isn't happening ever, in any saddle, no matter how many vacations I pay for the Bahr family to go on.    

For the record... the Prestige is now... in the trunk of my car.  New coach doesn't like it.  Ebay, here we come....again.


  1. Fit the horse, fit your ass – to hell with anyone else ;)

  2. Is the German word you are looking for Schultheis?

    1. YES! Thanks you. Now I will be ready to go out and buy one using the proper terminology when the cycle begins again.