Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Saturday, March 3, 2012

In the Arena # 109 - New Neidersuss = ♡+ !!! x 1000

Yesterday was full of ups and downs.

Fedex says my Neidersuss is on truck for delivery!

Fedex man has to deliver the saddle to my Dad's house because my address doesn't exist in Fedex-land.

Heck. Someone has to be there to sign for the saddle. Dad needs to run out for a bit. I rush to take my recycling to the dump so I can cover the gap...

As I leave the dump, and turn on to the main highway in front of the school, I spy Fedex man! I run Fedex man down... (not literally)

Fedex man puts the box in the back of my truck... a box not even remotely saddle shaped. (unless you squash it!) As I head for home, obeying the speed limit of course, I ponder what condition the saddle will be in.

Wouldn't have shipped it quite like this, but saddle appears to be intact. Of course I document the package opening ceremony - just in case.

The saddle looks as advertised, excepting more wear than I thought on the billets. Worst case scenario I get them repaired after a while.

Now to the moment of truth... At this point I've got serious butterflies. Buying this saddle was a total crap shoot. What if Val hates it? What if I hate it? I've only just come to grips with the fact that I hated my last saddle.

I grabbed Val, led him up to the tack room, and slipped it on. It very politely sank into the sweet spot. No bridging. Lots of gullet clearance - high and wide. Naturally sits away from his shoulders.

Edited to add this picture without the pad...

I put my sheepskin half pad on and girth it up. So far so good. Off we go to the mounting block. No helmet, no proper footwear, no dressage whip... breaking all the rules. I got on and Val seemed happy with everything, so we did a little test drive.

Does this saddle make my butt look big?

Oh - it felt sooooo good to be in the right part of the saddle without fighting my tack. My dad checked for me. My heels were below my hips, my hips were below my shoulders. I asked for a left handed turn on the forehand, perfect, first ask. I asked for the trot, we moved right on out. Immediately - no hesitating or head tossing. Success.

Every silver lining has a cloud... it is a tad wide. It tips forward slightly on his back, and I felt a bit tipped forward onto my crotch while we rode. Definite difference from the chair seat I was thrown into with the Natura, but I did expect this.

My thinking was, without consulting a saddle fitter, I'm super unlikely to get a custom fit on Val. He's just not the easiest to fit. He's got pretty good withers, big ol' shoulders, wide overall, but lacking topline. Going a little on the wide side seemed the best choice. A - because he can't handle pinchy feelings or crowding his shoulders, and B, because with more and more work, he should fill in with muscle. In the meantime, I've got a thinline saddle fitter pad with shims coming to prop up the front.

What makes me a little sad, is how long Val had to put up with discomfort, and how long he tried to tell me about it. And... how long I kept thinking that the problem was that I sucked at riding. I doubted I be able to "do anything" with my horse, dressage-wise, when the simplest things seemed so freaking hard sometimes.

I'm letting it go, but hoping to absorb the lessons I'm supposed to learn from this saddle adventure - mainly - always listen to your horse, and try not to be so hardheaded.

I'm looking forward to our future rides. (and we're not quitting bareback!)


  1. Hooray for a new saddle that fits! Well, fits better ;). It's a pretty easy fix to have a fitter add a little stuffing to the wide spots or ride with a shim until Val fills out.

    His neck looks really nice. I like the muscle he's developing!

  2. I'm happy to see you got your new saddle and seem to like it. I think once you get your new pad with the shims it won't tip forward anymore and you'll feel more comfortable.

    I wouldn't beat myself up over past experiences with Val. We all make mistakes unfortunately and it leaves us second guessing ourselves a lot of the time. On the other hand our experiences make us smarter and more in tune to what our horses need. Good luck with your new saddle.

  3. Shannon-

    Do you think Val looks more muscly? sp Yay - that makes me feel better.
    It's hard to tell when you look at them every day.

    I've been trying to counteract the bad muscles the slow feeder gives him, and the on the forehand ones he came with. ;)

  4. GHM-

    I knew the fit would likely be a little wide. It was a calculated risk. ;)

    The improvement in how my leg hangs alone, is worth any adjustments I may have to make. I also have to play with the girthing. This saddle has those offset billets - probably not the proper term. I may be able to compensate there too.

  5. Ohh sending u good saddle fitting/liking vibes! It is such a crap shout isn't it?! Your sweet Ponee is NOT as belly fat as Laz, btw, he looks good!!

  6. So glad it arrived and that you like it better than your old one! It does look like it sits higher in back but your shim pad will hopefully fix that, and if you get a saddle fitter to reflock when you get the billets replaced you should have a pretty perfect fit!


  7. Oh, gorgeous new saddle and glad it fits well, I always get nervous about buying saddles online, you never know! Anyways, congrats.

  8. billie-

    Even though it's something that needs to be corrected, sitting with my pelvis tipped more forward like that made me aware of how chair seaty I was in the old saddle.

    I think I was asking Val to go forward but telling him not to with my seat. I was always fighting for my balance...

  9. Do you have a mattes pad that you can put shims in? That way you wouldn't be tipping forward. I've found it to be very useful. The new saddle sounds great - especially Val's reaction to it. Yay!

  10. May you have many happy rides in your new saddle!

  11. Annette-

    I have a thinline saddle fitter pad on the way. It's fleece and has pockets for shims, plus comes with two thicknesses of shims. I'm hoping that will do the trick. In the meantime I'm going to try the old no bow wrap shims. :)

  12. Compare the photos of the saddle with and without the half-pad. In the photo with the half-pad, the saddle is tipped forward toward the pommel. The balance of the saddle on his back looks much better without the fluffy pad. Try a more streamlined pad and the tipping forward you experienced may be reduced or (hopefully) nonexistent. If you can get the saddle to fit without shims, that would be the most comfortable. Extra padding can just cause more pressure under the front of the saddle...

    I like the width of the channel and the angle of the panels for Val's back in the rear photo.

  13. Val-

    Thanks for your input. :)

    I totally agree - that's why I edited the post to add the no pad picture. There is also the girthing to factor in. I'm confident we'll get a decent fit after I have more time to mess with it. We've had a rainy weekend so far...

  14. Awesome!! Glad it mostly fits and that you both like it!! Congrats!


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