I decided to break up with my saddle and I am now making it public. I recently borrowed a friend’s saddle for a lesson and all my riding problems magically disappeared–sounds crazy, but it’s true. I had the “it’s not me, it’s you” phrase run through my mind when I gleefully realized I DO know how to ride! Most breakups are pretty painful, but I couldn’t be happier about this one. I thought about how to break it gently to my saddle; a letter seemed most appropriate. Feel free to use this as a template if you too are in a bad saddle relationship.
We’ve been together about a year now and have shared some special moments. I’ll never forget all our long walks in the park, and that weekend getaway in Temecula earlier this spring. I had high hopes for us together, but lately things have been amiss and I’ve come to realize, it’s not me, it’s you.
And no matter how far back or how far forward I place you on Knight’s back, or the number and style of shims in my saddle pad, it seems we’re just too different to stay together.
Although I love you for your good looks, delicious smell and the way you take care of my horse–you’ve really given him freedom to be the horse he’s meant to be, with your extra narrow tree and the wool flocking designed to conform so perfectly to his shark fin Thoroughbred back, you and I are not a good fit.
I think it’s best that we both move on.
I have been loyal to you this past year of our relationship. I believe in what you stand for: a strong position, depth, yet when we’re together I’m not at my best. Someone observed that when I’m with you my post is off-centered, like I’m “twerking” to one side. Yes, that was the word used: twerking.
I’ll admit that my body is asymmetrical (my chiropractor said my left leg is shorter than my right) but being raised a proper church-going Midwesterner, I am not the kind of girl to twerk in or out of the saddle.
Dear saddle, as much as I care about you, I’ve realized you’ve been a bad influence on me.
Also, remember that horse show? The one with the little X fences? My legs kept sliding back on Knight’s side when we jumped. My right foot slid too far through the stirrup and when I sat deep in the seat for my transitions, I had to sit once and then settle again to rearrange myself.
I was lost and you didn’t support me.
Instead you lied to me.
You convinced me that I was an old, washed up equestrian without the physical capability to ride like I did when I was a younger woman.
You brainwashed me into thinking my best riding days were in the past and that I needed to ride timidly and defensively and make my horse canter a five stride line in seven in order to stay on.
The spin I listened to for too long from you was that my horse just had too much spring, not enough smoothness in his jump, and was too green.
You planted a seed of doubt in my mind about my equine partner. That was inexcusable.
Well saddle, I have finally seen the light thanks to an old friend. We used to be quite close too and though we hadn’t been together in at least six or seven years, we picked right back up where we left off as though no time had passed. This friend (whose last name you share) reminded me that I’m a good rider and my horse can be smooth and we can ride and jump together in unison, like a centaur. So in the future we will be together–this cousin of yours and me.
Please don’t take it personally–you’re a great saddle. And there’s some rider out there wishing she had you right now. I know that when you find that special someone you will be very happy together. And you’ll be just the right fit and you will want to thank me for setting you free so that you could move on to your destiny. Right now we’re just standing in each other’s way.
I wish you all the best and will never forget the time we had together.
P.S. No, we can’t still be friends. That never works.
You Turn: Do you need to break up with your saddle or some other significant figure in your life?