Tuesday, January 20, 2009


I tried a dressage saddle today:

It is a used Canterbury Equation, which has been collecting dust for one of Sarah's clients who has moved on to another saddle. I've never heard of this brand, anyone have experience with it? My legs are so short we had to wrap the stirrup leathers, but it seemed to fit Werther and myself. It also did not seem like too dramatic a transition from my huntseat saddle which was nice. Today in my lesson we worked a lot on me and less on Werther. I spent some time doing our usual warm up getting used to the new saddle and I also rode with a dressage whip for the first time, so I had to get used to that. We worked on my sitting trot and my seat at the canter. When I sat the way I was supposed to, Werther got really nice and round with a really steady contact, Sarah said that the way the dressage saddle is built encourages that roundness. We also worked on giving with my elbows so the horse feels comfortable maintaining the contact, I'm still not entirely sure if I have the motion right. He did not have any issue stumbling today, he must have just been really lazy yesterday. Sarah let me keep the saddle to try for a few days and she knows of a couple more for sale she is going to let me try so I can have a better understanding of what works for me in a dressage saddle. Also, I had a hard time switching hands with the dressage whip, I bought it home to practice and I think I am getting better at it, but any tips or ticks would be helpful.


SassyBrunette said...

I am laughing about your changing hands/dressage whip comment because I know EXACTLY how that feels! I've been riding with my dressage whip for several months now and I am totally comfortable riding with it. Changing hands? Not as much. At first I kinda felt like I was going to hit myself in the face (luckily I didn't!). I don't know any tricks, but what I do know is that I have gotten more comfortable making that movement quickly and smoothly. For me, as long as I maintain consistent contact my horse doesn't even seem to notice what in the world I am doing with my whip/hands in a temporary snarl. I think it is one of those things that bothers me way more than him. Does your trainer have anything to say about this? I've wondered too if maybe there was some "correct" way to make the movement less-awkward. = )

SassyBrunette said...

I googled "how to change hands dressage whip" and I found some sources-I'm just not sure what is correct (http://ezinearticles.com/?A-Quick-Tip-to-Help-You-Switch-Your-Dressage-Whip-With-Ease&id=1515360). I also found several forums with multiple, mutliple posts on this topic. Looks like we're in good company. A few posters even said they ride with one in each hand to avoid having to switch!

Ellie said...

She just said to make sure you turn your receiving hand upside down. I also found when I was practicing that it was really helpful to make sure you grip the whip all the way at the top of the handle so that you have plenty of room for your receiving hand and it is more obvious to a multi-processing brain where to place your hand. Also, if your like me and have a brain freeze when thinking about how to put your hand upside down remember that your knuckles on both of your hands should be on the same side of the whip.I think when I ride tomorrow I am going to practice changing hands a bunch times while I warm up at the walk and hopefully it will be easier when I switch directions at the trot.