I popped over to my trainer’s barn on Friday just to watch some lessons. Even though I don’t jump, I enjoy watching the other gals go, and they are always quite tolerant of my questions (I ask EVERYONE questions). I just learned what chipping means (adding a stride). After everyone was done riding, we had a discussion about saddle fitting. No one at JL’s barn ever has their saddles adjusted, and when I asked why not, no one seemed to know why it was necessary.
So when Tina Hoover, my saddle fitter, showed up, that was my first question: why don’t the H/Js get their saddles adjusted? The simple answer was that many jumping saddles have foam inside and not flocking. Hmm … didn’t know that. The more complicated answer had a lot do with how little contact with the horse’s back that H/Js have. Dressage riders have far more contact with their horses’ backs and are far more likely to feel when the saddle isn’t sitting quite right.
And that was exactly why I felt my saddle needed some work. For the past little while, I have felt that I was tilting to the right. My saddle wasn’t slipping, but I just felt … crooked. I always assume that any glitch in my riding experience has to do with my ineptness. If my saddle feels crooked, it’s probably me, but since she was scheduled to be in my area, I figured having her professional eye was a good call.
Tina had me hop up on Speedy G, saddled without a pad, so that she could see how her adjustments worked in real life. Right away I felt that I was sitting more deeply into the saddle and it was a whole lot easier to sit up and back. Tina called it giving me a different place to sit. Definitely.
Fortunately, the fix is pretty easy. Since the saddle fit Speedy so well, it seemed easier to just go back to the riser pad that I had been using on Sydney last year. It raises the front of the saddle by about an inch, which is hopefully all he needs.
Since I started riding in a dressage saddle, I’ve had my saddle’s flocking adjusted once a year. We don’t have any local saddle fitters, but if we did, I think I would have my saddle looked at every six months. That leads me to ask: if you’re a H/J, is your saddled filled with foam or flocking? If it’s flocked, do you get it adjusted? For the dressage crowd, how often do you have your saddled adjusted?
I told you I ask a lot of questions.