From Endurance to Dressage
A Balanced Seat?
After two years, we were finally able to get our favorite saddle fitter to come to Bakersfield. Tina Hoover has an excellent eye for correct saddle fit, and she has brilliant explanations for why saddles do this and that.
I have to admit to being a complete failure in the media department though. She checked my saddle from top to bottom and front to back and then she did it all again with the saddle on each horse. Me? I just stood there taking it all in while forgetting to get pictures of her working. Sorry.
In my defense, it was the quickest saddle adjustment ever. Tina popped the saddle up on Speedy's smooth, white back and shifted it around. She looked at me with a so sorry expression. No adjustment needed, she explained. This saddle fits great.
What?!? I was shocked. The past several times she has adjusted my saddle, she has had to move quite a bit of flocking around as I sit on my right seat bone more than the left. This has the effect of squashing the wool on the right side panel, making my saddle uneven.
Over the past two years, I must have been paying attention during lessons because my saddle's wool flocking is now suggesting that I am sitting evenly on my seat bones. Score one for me!
Tina popped the saddle up on Izzy's back and did much of the same scooting, sliding, and re-positioning. Believe it or not, Speedy is a fair bit wider through his shoulders and rib cage than is the big brown horse. Arabs are known for having very well sprung rib cages, and Speedy is no exception.
While the saddle fits Speedy better than it does Izzy, it is still a good fit for my Zweibrücker. Tina said that while a narrower tree might give a more perfect ft, this saddle fits just fine, especially if I use a half pad with a regular dressage pad.
While I knew the saddle wasn't a horrible fit for Izzy, it was a relief to get a nod of approval from a professional saddle fitter. I am hankering for a second saddle, but knowing that this one fits Izzy well enough will keep that money in my pocket a bit longer.
Next up ... the chiropractor puts in his two cents.
7/13/2016 06:33:03 am
Definitely! I don't know if I just have a really good saddle tree or if I've been lucky to just have horses that have similar shapes. Either way, I am not complaining! :0)
7/13/2016 05:45:07 pm
Very true. Knowing that my saddle fits is always a relief. :0)
7/13/2016 05:46:41 pm
Sorry? :0) Even when I was competing in endurance races, I had easy to fit horses. I could easily ride either horse in either saddle (back when I still had my two endurance saddles).
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: