Saddle for learning to canter?
I would like some thoughts about which of my two saddles would be best for learning to canter. Iíve been cantering off and on in lessons for a couple of months, but I think itís time for me to start doing it consistently. Iím planning on cantering on Teddy right now, then working my way up to Pony, because Pony is unbalanced and I am unbalanced, and neither one of us is happy when he canters (he tosses in little bucks every now and then). Plus Teddy is a lot more forgiving and doesnít act up. I rode Teddy today in Ponyís saddle, and to my surprise it seemed to fit him pretty well. The two saddles are pretty much as far apart as you can get, for English saddles.
Ponyís saddle is an old-school European dressage saddle. It is high in the front and especially the back, stiff as a board, and super slippery. It sort of forces your upper body to be straight, because man it hurts if your posture is not right.
The other saddle is a jumping saddle, but it has less forward flaps than a lot of jumping saddles (but itís not an AP saddle). Itís super soft and plushy, like a Barcalounger. I mean, your butt just sinks right into it. Also sticky! Your butt is literally stuck to the saddle.
My main problem, right now, with cantering, is that I donít feel like I quite have the rhythm down right. I feel like my upper body needs to be doing one thing (being perpendicular to the ground, I guess), my lower body needs to be doing another thing (following the motion of the horse, I think), and hips and pelvis need to be doing something else in order to keep the top and bottom of my body moving together. I further feel like I need to be sort of sliding my pelvis in the saddle in order to do this, and the sticky saddle doesnít really encourage that. But itís so, so soft. Oh, and also I still feel off-balance when cantering. I guess Iím thinking the dressage saddle is better for what I need to work on.
FWIW Iíve fallen off once when riding in both saddles, although with the plush saddle I was just learning to canter and I fell off in the field when I lost a stirrup, and in the dressage saddle Pony was really acting up. But I am not sure that either one of them is really better or worse in terms of keeping me on the horse.