Friday, August 12, 2016

Saddle Fitting and Pilates

It's been a very busy week over here. Dylan is back in work and doing great, I'm up to my armpits in clients this week, and I also have the babies to all work! Oh, and did I mention it's been nearly 110 degrees every day this week? 

Last Saturday, I finally (after months) managed to wrangle down the closest Schleese saddle fitters, who thankfully were already coming to WD for the weekend to do fittings. The Schleese is not mine, it belongs to K and was custom fitted for Dylan many years ago, so it came with him when he came to Texas. It took me 6 months until I could ride in it without feeling like my legs were going to break off at the hip (I need a SUPER narrow twist to accommodate my issues), but have grown fond of the saddle over time. Dylan has changed a ton since he has been here, so I wanted to make sure everything was suitable for him still.

The fitter herself is actually an alum from my college! She graduated a year before I started and we knew the same horses and professors... how about that. They took a million measurements of Dylan, watched me ride in the saddle, and then took it to change the tree and reflock some bits of it. The technology of Schleese has changed a lot in the past 10 years, so they of course wanted to sell me a new $5000 saddle... I politely declined. 

That said, after we put the saddle back on and went back in the ring, there was a HUGE difference in both the way I was sitting and the was Dylan was going. He felt so much freer in his shoulders in the canter - and he has tons of freedom up there already - and I was sitting in a better spot. Everything felt so much better! It was amazing how just these little adjustments changed everything so much. 

I'm pretty sure that guy knew I was creeping a picture

Also, I think it's safe to say that Dylan is a very good boy, because people continue to do things like lead their horses right up to him or next to him, despite every saying "that's a breeding stallion please don't do that!" He of course talks to them and wiggles around but does not flip out or go for the other horse, thankfully. Good boy. 

He feels really, really good. His leg is staying down, he is sound, and he is getting his fitness back. 

My plan is to take him out at 4th this winter. I am extremely anxious about this, as it's my own 4th level debut and I also haven't shown in a rated USDF in nearly 10 years. I don't really have any interest in doing schooling shows - if I'm going to spend my money on showing, I'm going to make it count by god. 


Speaking of fitness, on the same day as the saddle fitting I tried something new - a pilates class geared specifically towards the dressage rider. I've done a lot of yoga, but never pilates and I wasn't sure if my body could handle it. To my surprise, I did better than I expected I would! I have more strength than I realize. The class's main objective was to bring awareness to the core, and how to specifically isolate and use the lower abs. I REALLY learned a lot in terms of engaging those lower abs and lengthening my lower back. My seat sometimes alternates back and forth between sitting well in my truck but then rounding my shoulders and slumping up top, to sitting ramrod straight up top but then getting a bit swaybacked and off my seatbones. Getting both of those things together at the same time is hard ya'll. But applying this new knowledge to my saddle time is going to be super helpful. 

I have a lot more to catch up on with the babies... but that will take another blog entry for sure! In the meantime, here is the one and only looking completely perfect and excellent and beautiful: 

I miss working her, but she's enjoying her downtime for sure. 


  1. Dylan is just such a looker. Glad his saddle matches now. :-)

    1. I blame you for the Climatex bandages that I am now addicted to.

    2. I blame you for the Climatex bandages that I am now addicted to.

  2. Damn, when is that fat mare due again? Next week, did you say?

  3. Very excited for your dressage return!
    I feel you on the getting everything together in the saddle is hard - I'm sure most every rider has saddle struggles and it's never silly to invest some time out of the saddle working on yourself ;)

  4. He is looking very good! One of these years I would love to get a custom saddle. Why do they have to cost so much?!

  5. Ok who makes the white boots with black fluff??? Love them!