The Good Spook

Getting my billets fixed turned into a nightmare that involved flocking being added and removed without permission, etc.  Gee, did you know you the reason that a saddle might smash on a horse’s withers (a horse it fit perfectly two days earlier) is because new billets need to stretch?  Me either.  Helllooo…new saddles fit great without stretched billets. Okay, you get it. Jane is traumatized in a 2-glasses-of-wine, 6-slices-of-cake, sort of way.  On a weekly basis.  For two months.  Yes, I’m wearing my fat jeans.

Because I ride in different saddles, I use my saddle as a seat check.  If I can still slip into it and ride, I am probably riding correctly in the saddles that don’t fit me very well.

With no check, my seat has become a little confused.

  • Monday and Thursday: western roping saddle
  • Monday through Friday: dressage saddle with a twist wider than a Volkswagen
  • Monday and Friday: dressage saddle made of cardboard, with uneven rubber leathers.  I think it’s flocked with gravel.

Add a lot of cancellations and time off, and we have one out of shape, low-level, wanna-be dressage rider who is currently riding her personal best (a weird mix of western/dressage) in a roping saddle.

I got my saddle back yesterday (temporarily) and will ride in it for a week (or less, if the developing problem fully develops so I can prove it and get it fixed again.)  My four billets have required 4 barn visits by the repair person,  coordinated with 3 visits by my saddle fitter, so she could point out the errors and insist he fix them.  He will listen to her because she has the certification that proves she knows a saddle that smashes on the withers will not be improved by stretched billets.

If I ever get my hands on that rat

That’s another rant post.  Back to the confused seat.

Today was my first real ride in my fits-me dressage saddle, on Hudson, whom it also fits.  He’s roping tomorrow, so today would be a light workout, lots of easy relaxing stretching work.  Perfect for a confused seat.

Dusty was dragging the arena, so we hacked out on the access road while waiting.  It winds around the outside of the arena.  The saddle balance was finally correct.  But my seat wasn’t.  Dang.  I couldn’t get it to click. Hudson was feeling gooooooood.  Easy springy steps, very loose, overly alert and happy.  I was adjusting my seat (Read: rolling my thigh flab out of the way), trying to force myself to relax and go with the program.  We came around the corner just as someone turned the overhead sprinklers on inside the arena.

The sprinklers hissed.

Hudson spooked.

And just like that, my seat was back.  It was immediate and unconscious.  The bolt was fast but short.  My seat? Centered, relaxed, and glued to Hudson.  The dancing, skittering, and snorting?  No problem.  Deep seat.  Long legs.  Fluid upper body.

You have to love body memory.  My body was not going get thrown under the bus over a little spook, it knew exactly what to do.  I don’t think I would have accessed that information, had Hudson not spooked.

The rest of the ride?  The seat was on.  Good thing, because so was Hudson!

I’m going to say words I never thought would come out of my mouth:  a good spook made me one happy camper.


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6 thoughts on “The Good Spook

  1. Michelle

    So true! I have days where I just can’t get it, no matter how hard I try….next time I’ll know to just go find me some hissing sprinklers and I’ll be all set!

    Reply
  2. Wendy

    I can totally relate to this – I think that my tendency to over analyze if I’m feeling self-conscious about riding (ie – haven’t done it in a while) makes getting the ‘feel’ back a little harder. I have had this happen, too, where a few prancing steps, sideways leap, shot forward or other unexpected movement snaps it back into place.

    Frustrating about the saddle repairs though…glad you got it worked out, at least.

    Reply
    1. delilawagton

      My recent undertaking of remaining seated (though there is no seat in the tiny saddle) on Thoroughbred race horses supports your story. Snorting, skittering, spooks, and dancing always reinforce centered balance. That is, unless they don’t.

      Reply

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