Need some help with saddle/fear/showing..
Well..we (the barn) went to an NAHA show on Sunday, and I got my first two ribbons (yay, only second year of showing, second show on the horse). I feel accomplished overall, but I've figured out a problem. No kicking, only a little hyper (walked out of ring (yes! It's been what I was working on at home), and no head tossing (didn't put the tie down on and kept my hands quiet..mostly). But, I think I have a rather..large, issue. Drew (friend) brought it up to me after the show that I looked like I was basically holding on for dear life everytime I ran. At the show, I knew I was tense and held the horn too much (wayy too much for 6-7 years riding and 2 years showing), but I didn't realise that I actually looked like I was clinging on and looked really uncomfortable while I was running.
Now, I remember last year where I only touched the horn during take-off (horse lunges forward, but a different horse), and around barrels or the end poles. I never need the horn riding Tunie or Dude. Now I'm riding Lucky (same saddle for the past 2 and a half years) and she canters/takes off even smoother than Tunie (all showed in the same classes, etc). So, after Drew told me, I thought that maybe it's because I'm still nervous letting Lucky go full out (because she can be crazy), let alone pushing her (Sunday's show was the first time I pushed her).
But then I thought about the saddle. I'm running games in a roping saddle.
And then I thought about why the saddle would bother me when I'm fine at home riding and never use it aside from take-off/spins/stopping.
Last year when I was riding Dude, I was really comfortable with him, stayed on everything he gave me (rears, balking, spooks, bucks, etc), and I never held onto the horn at all. So, Drew, Alajia, and I were in the field getting ready to run, and during our take-off, Dude lunged forward (more than normal I'm guessing), and I fell behind the saddle and onto his butt. I ended up jumping off before I DID fall, and was fine. Never had an issue running, never had an issue riding him.
Then I moved to Lucky this year. We went to Fanklin, PA for our first show together. I fell off in exhibition barrels because I accidently put leg on her and ran her towards the barrel instead of around it (she slammed the brakes on and turned, I kept going and landed on my ass beside the barrel). Got back up, took my belt off in case I fell again, and went back in for another run. Did perfectly fine, barely held the horn the rest of the show, and continued not to at home when practicing. I held her back that show, and used my classes to get use to her a little and not worry about anything but doing the patterns correctly.
So, I went back home, I've been working on absolutely everything with her since, and yesterday was our first show after that. I knew I was tense going in, but I figured out where I went wrong. I'm nervous of letting go for fear of falling behind the saddle again in front of a bunch of people. I don't need the horn when I'm running at home aside from where the horn is there for, so I figured that's the most practical reason for grabbing it while at a show. Not to mention, I will bet any money Lucky would start bucking and kicking as soon as I sat on her ass instead of in the saddle. And then I looked at my saddle compared to all the barrel saddles everyone else uses. The cantle on the saddle I've been using is much lower, and angled down more than on a barrel saddle. Which, I can't seem but think might be creating a bit of a problem when it only comes up about .5-1.5 inches from the seat of the saddle.
So..I've been thinking about what to do to help me get over this crap, and run as good at a show, as I do at home or at the park's arena where there's only my barn people to laugh at me, lol.
I can't think of anything but to just let go and ride. I don't want to put myself in unnecessary danger of being kicked in the face, if I fly behind my saddle again, and fall off behind her.
And I'm sorry this is so long o.o
I didn't really know how to condense it down more because this explains why I think this, and what happened before to possibly cause it.
I really appreciate any help, replies, etc.
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