Is it the saddle? Or the rider? Or maybe the horse?

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Is it the saddle? Or the rider? Or maybe the horse?

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    08-03-2011, 08:50 AM
Is it the saddle? Or the rider? Or maybe the horse?

Hi guys,

For reference, this is hunt seat in an all-purpose saddle on a horse with a fairly large barrel.

I recently changed lesson horses, and tack right along with it. I think there's something about the new saddle that isn't working for me, but I'm not experienced enough to pinpoint what it is. It's a different horse, who rides very differently, so it could be that, too. My instructor and I have been tinkering with it, but what we're doing isn't fixing the problem, so I figure we could use some help.

I've got what seems to me to be 3 problems, but for all I know it's actually one problem that is showing up in multiple ways.

1. Saddle is banging the crap out of my hoo-hoo when I post. Also, I'm having a lot more trouble controlling my descent on the post than I was with former horse, so my butt is slapping into the seat. Not only am I slapping the saddle with my tush, but I seem to be hitting in a weird spot such that my yoni is really getting pounded into mush at the same time. I also noticed it was hard to find a comfortable position at a walk, even. Saddle felt...I dunno, kind of pinchy or tight to me. The horse is a big-barrel WB, but the horse I'm used to is a big-barrel QH. They both have big bouncy trots, but I didn't have this problem with the former lesson horse. Ordinarily, I'd just assume that I was doing something wrong, but points 2 and 3 below are definitely something wonky with the gear, so I'm thinking this one might be too.

2. One of my feet keeps slipping forward so that the stirrup hits the arch of my foot instead of staying put under the ball of my foot. It is always the same foot, never the other foot. Teacher says I am keeping my heel down, so it's not really that. It happens whether this is the inside foot or the outside foot. We thought the stirrup might be the wrong length so we - shoot, now I can't remember - either lengthened it a bit or shortened it, and it helped a little, but didn't totally fix the issue.

3. The opposite side foot goes numb halfway through the ride, from the middle of my foot forward. My ankle feels like it's at too-small of an angle, which would mean the stirrup is too short, but when I measure it out before and after riding it is the same length as the stirrup that keeps slipping on my other foot. And both of them are the same length that I've been using all summer on the other horse. And yet, they are still, obviously, both totally wrong.

I'll appreciate any insights at all on this. The horse I'm riding now is SUPER sensitive for a lesson horse. He actually listens closely to my seat, and the squidging around I'm doing in this saddle trying to find some place where I'm comfortable, is sending weird cues to him and confusing him. So I'd like to fix this ASAP (preferably without buying a new saddle for someone else's horse).
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    08-03-2011, 10:04 AM
I think you will get a better range of replies in the tack and equipment forum so I'm going to move it there.

I think videos would be a great help - at least still pics of the saddle fit.
    08-03-2011, 10:24 AM
Thanks - since I'm not 100% positive it's a tack problem, I didn't want to start it out in the tack forum, but if that will get me better answers, I'm on board with it.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures, and getting them would be a challenge. Also, my instructor (experienced, not a 20 yo who's learning the ropes) says things *look* OK...they just don't feel that way.
    08-03-2011, 11:08 AM
Can you try using this saddle on a different horse without changing anything else? Can you try a different saddle on this horse? Are you riding in a different saddle than you were on the previous horse? Sorry if you said already.
    08-03-2011, 11:20 AM
To me it sounds like saddle doesn't have a good balance and probably not a good fit for you. Yes, it does happen. My older A/P saddle was like that too: throwing me out of balance on front of the saddle (had to get seatsaver so it'd be softer on my hm-hm front), and my legs ALWAYS moved forward (I don't have this problem with my CC or dressage saddle). Similar with dressage saddle on lesson horse: legs were forward no matter what I tried. Bad balance (my trainer was aware of it). But since saddle belongs to the horse's owner we just had to use it.
    08-03-2011, 12:15 PM
This is a different horse and different tack, which is one reason I'm not sure whether it's fundamentally a tack problem, or whether I just need to ride this guy differently somehow.

I'll ask about using a different saddle. This saddle doesn't really belong to this horse - apparently, the horse is kind of a bear to fit a saddle to because his withers are high (and maybe narrow, but I'm not sure) but he has a nice big warmblood barrel.

I'm thinking about leasing the guy, because he really is a righteously awesome one point, I took my feet out of the stirrups to get the blood flowing again, and he came promptly to a total halt. I'm thinking "WTF? Move on!" but then I realized that I'd shifted my seat when I cut loose of the stirrups, and he'd read that as "Please halt". NOT the experience I had with the former lesson horse, for sure, who wanted a request from the seat and from the legs, and occasionally from the voice, before he got the picture and came to a stop. Anyway, the tack problem could definitely get in the way of a lease, if I can't get this resolved somehow (without buying some highly specialized saddle).

Kitten, what is a seatsaver? My hoo-hoo isn't going to be able to take a lot more of this...
    08-03-2011, 12:23 PM
Eliminate the possibilities. As you said, try out different saddles, what you may end up having to do is buy a saddle that fits the both of you.

Every is constructed differently. Different tree's, different twists, differend flap lengths and sizes, etc, etc, etc - and every person is built differently. What may put 1 rider in a wonderful position, may put another in a completely different position.

Our saddles are supposed to aid us, not hinder us. They are supposed to put us in correct positions, so we can do our jobs without struggle.

I think this is a saddle issue. Lets see pictures or vids. That would help.
    08-03-2011, 12:36 PM
I'd just like to add that maybe you have your weight too far over to the left (i think it's the left you said you get pins and needles in). I also get this half way through riding and my instructor says it's because my weight is to one side ever so slightly. You may not necessarily feel this if you have always ridden with your weight slightly off to the left. When my instructor made me sit properly central it felt odd to me but was correct. This was because what felt right to me was slightly off and I just never knew. Hope this makes sense. I have also been doing some body awareness sessions and in my everyday life my weight is really heavy down my left side even if i'm standing with my weight in my right side (strange and slightly confusing).

Also could the horse not be totally straight? My mare isn't going straight at the moment which is putting me in an awkward position all these things to consider.
    08-03-2011, 01:06 PM
Originally Posted by serafina    
Kitten, what is a seatsaver? My hoo-hoo isn't going to be able to take a lot more of this...
Mattes Seat Saver < Seat Savers < Horse Tack|Dover Saddlery. There are cheaper out there too, but I believe that's what I got years ago (still use it).

I use it during winter too on my dressage saddle (keeps butt very warm).
    08-03-2011, 01:12 PM
Really it sounds like this horse just has a lot more movement and suspension than the previous horse. Horses with a lot of suspension (bouncier trots, more movement through their back when they walk) are difficult to post on and if you don't have a strong lower leg sometimes it can be difficult to descend into the seat.

Also, why did you switch horses?

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