Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony. ~ Thomas Merton

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New Saddle & Renewed Determination!

image from http://www.parellisaddles.com/
For any who may have missed my subtle comments, I bought a super-wide Natural Performer.

It was one of those things that just happened.  I'd made the decision to purchase one through the layaway program but in the week before Thanksgiving, a few things converged and I was able to buy an in-stock saddle.  It took eleven days from when I ordered it to front-door delivery.

My biggest challenge in my riding is my confidence.  I've made great strides in the last year or so but when it comes to cantering, I still get all wadded up.

So while most folks progress to an English saddle to further develop their riding, I'm going the other way.  I'm moving from my beloved and phenomenal English saddle to a new western saddle.

Because my issue isn't how well I ride.  As it turns out, I'm a pretty darn good rider (when I get out of my head and out of my own way).  My issue is letting go and just riding.  And for that, I have the idea that a western saddle is better than an English saddle.  Valid or not, what's in my head matters because "in my head" is where most of my problems reside.

I am more determined than ever to get through my L3.  Not for any other reason than it's time.  I've been mucking about in L3 for three years.  That's long enough!  I've been stymied in my riding for longer than that and it's time.  It's time to be positive and progressive.  It's time to have some real fun with my horses.


Naturally Gaited said...

It's a beautiful saddle. Did you try one out before you bought one? I'd love to try the new endurance style..

You know, it is funny. I'm pulling out my Wintec english saddle (waiting to insert a wide gullet) to see if it will help with my "chair seat." I suspect that I've gotten too relaxed!

I'd love to see a little video of you in your new saddle. Hint, hint. :-)

Lisa said...

My saddle is pretty much identical to the picture on the blog. As far as trial before buy, sort of. I rode in my friend Keli's ages ago and Kelly Sigler rode Cricket in hers. I rode Bleu in my friend's super-wide up at Carol's. I did try out the Fusion years and years ago and hated it. Total opposite with the Natural Performer.

Carol Coppinger has the Cruiser and really likes it. If nothing else, when you go to your camp, try it out and see what you think.

One thing I've learned about a "chair seat" is that the saddle and stirrups play a role but it's more to do with our bodies than anything else. When I think about how much time I spend sitting, it's no wonder that has become a "natural" position. I've found that stretching my inner thigh muscles, stretching my psoas and hip flexors and working on the flexibility of my IT (ilio-tibular) band does more for getting my leg in a natural position than anything else.

A wide saddle combined with narrow hips is going to create a chair seat because the legs cannot relax to drape around the saddle. The leg has no choice but to draw up because the muscles are short & contracted.

Fortunately I start with wide hips so I have a little advantage. But I need to spend more time stretching. I need to get back to Pilates! (maybe after the first of the year . . .)