Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dressage Saddle Trials

Well, Louie and I are getting back on track with our dressage, he is doing (in my opinion, we'll see what Marlene thinks on Thursday) fabulously with shoulder in and haunches in at the walk, and we've even been trying a little bit of leg yield and shoulder in at the trot.  This is much harder at the trot, but I don't feel at all like I'm working hard to get it at the walk anymore.  So I think in time it will come.  I hope that this week Marlene gives us the all clear to continue our work at the walk and start working on the trot. 

All the while, I've taken out a few dressage saddles on trial from a local tack shop, and alas I learned that dressage is much easier practiced in a dressage saddle.  So I think perhaps I must get one, but, since I'm not totally committed to dressage as my primary discipline, I don't want to fork out a lot of money for one either.  I know, I'm picky, and that is a lot to ask.  But once again, we're faced with the same huge challenge- the fitting.  Thankfully with all of the work we went through last spring/summer to find our hunt seat saddle, I've now got much more knowledge at my fingertips about fitting and what we need.  But it's still a struggle to find that perfect saddle.
We have tried 3 saddles thus far, two of which were nice, but not quite right for me as a rider, and one other that I brought back, but I think could work.  The above photo is from our ride yesterday in a Lovatt and Ricketts Ellipse saddle, taken by Laura from our stable (thanks Laura!).  Looks like we're working on a leg yield here, if I have to critique Louie, he has too much bend here.  But as you may be able to tell from this photo, my leg position isn't ideal, and I had a little trouble keeping my lower legs in the correct position.  I couldn't balance well with my stirrups at the length where they should probably be (longer), and the stirrup bars are a bit too far forward so I have trouble balancing my legs beneath me.  Also I am having trouble keeping contact on Louie's sides with my lower legs in this one, so needless to say, it is going back to the shop.  Super nice and comfy saddle though, buttery luxurious leather, just not the right balance for us.  Thus the search continues.  Stay tuned. . .

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