From Endurance to Dressage
Boost It Up a Bit
I am really happy with my new to me County Connection, but when Chemaine Hurtado, owner and trainer at Symphony Dressage Stables, was here on Saturday, she thought the saddle needed some padding adjustments for Speedy. Specifically, she thought it was too low in the back.
I have a decent eye for saddle fit. And by decent, I mean that I can see a poorly fitting saddle, but the subtleties of fit are outside my skill set. To me, the saddle has seemed to be a good fit overall, but in this photo, it does appear as though the pommel is a bit high and the flaps too far forward.
I trust Chemaine, and if she thinks we can improve the fit by altering my pad, I am all over it. As soon as I got home, I logged on to Riding Warehouse knowing they'd have what I need. It didn't hurt that I had a gift card still unspent as well.
I immediately found what I was looking for: the ECP Correction Half Pad with Memory Foam Inserts. this pad comes in two styles - a four pocket and a six pocket. The six pocket definitely offers more adjustability, but I felt like the 4 pocket would meet my needs. As a bonus, it comes in four colors.
For $46.95 (less, because I always save 15%), this thing is amazing. It's nicely contoured, and the fabric is thick and sturdy. Each quadrant comes with three thicknesses of foam. You can use them all, or keep whichever combination works for you. I pulled out all of the shims from the two front pockets. I didn't need them.
I started with all of the padding in the rear pockets first. I was surprised at how much better the saddle already fit. It definitely needed shims.
While it looked better for sure - the flaps hung much straighter, it seemed as though the cantle was a wee bit high, so I pulled out the two thinnest shims.
Since I wasn't sure how it would ride, I chose this more middle of the road option for the first ride. No matter how many times I pulled the saddle off and replaced it, Speedy just stood there munching on the hay in his net. He really is a saint.
I've struggled a little bit with having a chair seat in this saddle. Now that I stretch before getting on, that problem has largely disappeared. When I rode last night, I felt much more balanced. Maybe that extra inch was what we both needed.
Speedy hasn't seemed affected at all by the saddle's fit, but he felt really good last night. It was probably more because he'd had a few days off. He doesn't like to be worked two days in a row, and two days off suits him best. I'll hop on him again tonight. I am pretty sure he's okay with or without a few shims as long as there is a treat afterwards for him.
2/2/2018 06:01:49 am
I bought this exact pad in the past six months and like you, have been really pleased with the quality and easy adjustability. It's amazing how a little saddle fitting tweak can affect the rider's position. Can't beat the pad at that price either!
2/2/2018 06:29:35 am
OOC, what kind of girth do you use? Asking because it looks like Speedy's girth spot is forward of where the billets hang (I have the same problem with two of my horses) and I'm curious if you use a contoured girth.
i bought that same pad and have been happy with its construction and durability. the shims themselves tho.... are pretty low quality foam. mine flattened to paper thinness in just a couple months of use. as far as i'm concerned, the shimmable pad itself is more important than the shims tho - since yoga mats are very easily cut to shim size and shape once you have a pad with pockets that works well.
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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
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Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
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