Dom wanted to know if bareback is an option. Yes yes yes! I rode Jackson bareback in my lesson warm up today while I waited for Brett to finish his lesson. I plan to ride in Brett's saddle when I can and bareback when I can't.
Carol and Lori had wonderful comments about saddle fit and brands. Carol has a WOW saddle which has air panels but is also custom. The Bates Isabella is strictly off the shelf so I'm sure the fit isn't as nice as she has. I've never heard of WOW saddles - maybe just available in Canada? Or haven't made there way onto the California scene yet. Personally, I think there are so many brands and styles and twists because there are so many body types. What I love, someone else doesn't.
Today, after Brett's lesson we put his saddle on Jackson. Our trainer, Gayle, was very pleased with how it fit him. I was surprised since when I bought Jackson that saddle didn't fit him at all -- way too wide. So, I was able to take a lesson! The Passier felt wonderful. My leg naturally fell in a straight line and I was able to sit straight with no effort. I think the Bates tilted my pelvis forward a bit and it was a struggle to keep my leg correct. And, O.M.G., Jackson was in heaven. His walk was immediately full of swing and he was stepping under. I felt it and Gayle could see it. The whole lesson was like being on a different horse. I didn't have to ask for forward. I had to ask for "don't run." He took the contact, lifted his back and carried himself. I was able to take him deeper and he stayed light. He hardly argued at all. I was thinking maybe I should get a Passier but Gayle suggested keeping the appointment with Custom. She likes the fitting support they provide and the saddle has a deeper seat than the Passier. If I don't like the Custom saddles as much, I will get a Passier.
On the way home, I was talking to my good friend H. about the saddle situation. She expressed surprise that I needed a new saddle already since the Bates is only a year and a half old. That got me thinking about how much Jackson has changed -- in his topline, particularly. He didn't change a whole lot until last September when I had his hocks injected. Since then, he's changed completely. Once he was able to carry himself comfortably behind, he was happy in the work and "presto!" - new horse! ....and new saddle.
|At the beach a few months after his purchase. September 2009|
|First show. November 2009|
|Same show. He has no butt or topline.|
|Lesson January 2011. He's getting a butt!|
|Starting to look like a dressage pony!!|