You are here:
Do I need to get used to the saddle? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 August 2007 17:01
Sample image
Probably not. It depends on your old saddle and style of riding. Most likely you’ll just be blown away by the comfortable seat, by the big swing in your horse’s back and gaits, and by how easily your horse seems to read your aids and cues now. On the other hand, if your old saddle had forced you into a chair seat, like many Western saddles do, you will feel a change. The Barefoot puts you into the correct vertical position. Any riding manual, no matter if Western or Dressage, shows that drawing with a line going straight down through the riders ear, shoulder, hip and heel. The Barefoot stirrup attachments and seat are positioned to allow you to sit like that. This may feel weird at first, like your leg is further backward, under you. It will feel to the muscles of your inner thigh like you’re sitting bareback. You’ll learn to appreciate this position really quick, though, as it makes for good balance, easy posting, and allows you to follow the horses movements or influence them. This ideal position also feels very stable. Renown riding coach Mary Wanless always asks, ‘What would happen to you if someone pulled your horse out from under you?’ Well, in the Barefoot you would land perfectly balanced on your feet! If you had an English saddle before, and have a wide-backed horse, you may feel you’re sitting wider in a treeless. This is because now you feel the width of the horse’s actual back, when before you were sitting on top of a built-up, narrow twist. The muscles around your hip joints or inner thighs may need to adjust to this, if you have become a bit inflexible. Stretching helps, or some warm-up before riding. Any ‘stretched wide’ feeling should disappear after a few rides. If you have bad arthritis in your hip or other chronic hip problems, you can fix this by customizing your saddle: First, get the Physio pad, it has a narrower seat, with the thick layer being butterfly-shaped. Should this still not be narrow enough, rip off the removable seat, and build up the middle of the seat a bit with one or two layers of foam in a narrower shape. Put seat back on with Velcro.