My yummy new saddle delivered just a few weeks ago and fitted by the County saddle fitter last weekend is actually an updated version of my old saddle–a County Stabilizer. And here it is. . . ta da!
The leather on my old saddle was a lighter color which now looks incredibly vintage, and it was a 17.5 and apparently I’m now an 18 inch (I like to think that my legs have continued growing longer). I would probably still be riding in it except for the fact that the old one has a medium tree and my current horse Knight needs a narrow tree. And the stitching is coming apart in several places after years and years and years of wear.
Clues Your Saddle Might Not Fit You (and you’re not a bad rider)
I rode for about a year in a different saddle model and during that time was convinced that my riding had degraded and it was an inevitable part of getting older. Here’s what happened and how I felt in the other saddle (which fit Knight perfectly so I have almost no regrets about riding it in for the past year).
I Never Felt Secure/Frequently Felt Insecure–my legs were like swinging pendulums back and forth from Knight’s girth to flank unless I made an extreme effort to press them into his side.
I Was Frustrated that my trainer had to harp (in a nice way) on my lower leg position every lesson–it was like in my brain I knew what my legs should be doing but I just couldn’t physically execute.
I Was Unorganized–when I would land after a jump or try to sit deep for a transition, I had to sit once and then reorganize my seat to find the sweet spot in the saddle. That is no fun!
I Felt Far Away From My Knee Rolls (is that what they’re still called?)–it just seemed like I was never connecting in the saddle like I should.
To sum it up I felt lost in the saddle like I didn’t really have the sense of where my seat was supposed to be.
Saddle Problem Solved!
After borrowing a friend’s new but used County Stabilizer and having an amazing riding lesson in which both my trainer and friend who frequently lessons with me said, “You rode like a different person!” I made the decision to part ways with my previous new saddle (I’ve had it a year) and get a newer saddle, another County Stabilizer (just like the one I bought at Barrington Saddlery, my fave tack shop in Illinois in the late 90s).
So I broke up with my saddle and ordered a new one knowing I’d have to sell the old new saddle.
More Good Saddle News
I’ve had one or two lessons in this new Stabilizer and so far there have been no, “fix your leg” or “heels down” comments! Also, when I sit down in the saddle I can detect easily and exactly where my derriere is supposed to be! This makes for more precise downward transitions. And did I mention during my last lesson, I kept hearing, “Really nice, Susan,” and “Good job!” and “Good boy, Knight.”
So if you get into a bit of a riding rut, there’s a chance you might not suck as a rider–it could be your saddle is not living up to your expectations and you haven’t figured that out yet. Don’t blame yourself until you’ve tried a friend’s saddle.
Your Turn: Are there times you doubt your own riding ability? Have you ever had a similar equipment breakthrough?