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myhorsewalksalloverme

Why Can't I Just Ride?

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I have been riding dressage with an instructor for 6 months now and have been progressing well. Gems has been making HUGE progress. I bought my saddle used approx 4 months ago, a 17.5 Passier GT-long 17 flap. I just got the front end re-flocked a month and a half ago and am very pleased with how the saddle fits Gems and she seems happy with it also.

I am currently at a plateau(sp?) in our progression. I feel that maybe it is my saddle. When I bought my saddle, I thought that it actually felt like I could have used an 18 seat. However, since I have now correctly learned how to sit and where to sit in the deepest part of the seat, the saddle seems a bit large and cumbersome. It feels like when I am correctly sitting in the deepest part, my saddle goes on for miles behind me. I understand that I still have a weak core and it takes work to create the strength to continuously sit in that sweet spot. I am constantly sliding back to the widest part of the saddle, was back towards the cantle. I just can't stop it...even with my core engaged, I slowly drift back.

My trainer said that first of all, she thinks the seat is too large for me. She tried to talk me into originally getting a 17 seat, but b/c at that time, I had not learned how to sit, a 17 felt too small. She said that when I have a well developed seat, I can handle a larger seat, but being a beginner, there is no point in fighting to stay stable in this saddle. She also said that the flaps are too long as now I understand b/c of my longer legs and the fact that gems has a small barrel, I have to ride with shorter than average stirrups and now my flap is getting in the way of my aids. She said the flap would work for me if I was riding a larger barreled horse.

Do these seem like legit reasons to sell the saddle and start the search again? Should I just hang in there and force myself to sit in the seat? I don't know if I will ever be able to as no matter how much I try to relax my pelvis, I end up tensing in some way to be able to hang on per se. I feel like a deep seat would be beneficial, but I have read contradicting ideas on wether or not deep seats work for tilted pelvic floor riders.

I just need help...I am so stressed out

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For one, unless your horse is TINY, you can ride with long stirrups even on a smaller horse. My gelding is 15.2h and pretty narrow still, and my 5'9" self can ride with a very straight leg on him. You just have to use your leg correctly (inside of calf, not heel). Just look at all the grown men at the SRS on those little 15h Lipps.

Two, I don't think anyone can help you too much without pictures or a video. Pics need to be from the side, standing, plus WTC. You might just be tensing up and scooting your butt to the back and tipping forward, and a smaller seat isn't going to help that. If anything, it will make it worse.

I think that in general, most Passier saddles are a poor fit for someone who truly has a tilted pelvic floor. It's the way the seat slopes up to the cantle. Even the medium-deep seats they make are like that.

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I think that in general, most Passier saddles are a poor fit for someone who truly has a tilted pelvic floor. It's the way the seat slopes up to the cantle. Even the medium-deep seats they make are like that.

From what I have been researching, it seems this is the issue. To be honest, when I was first saddle searching, I was so confused by all the factors in saddle fit that I went with the passier based on the fact that most things I read said that they had an open seat that did not tilt you either way and allows you to find your seat. I was trying the safe route. I always though that a tilted pelvic floor needed a slower rise to the pommel, but it seems now that I know what to search for, I have read the exact opposite; that a tilted pelvis usually requires a steep rise to the pommel. My saddle is 100% opposite from this.

Here are photos to give you a better idea...

2775371370093743938S600x600Q85.jpg

2230415470093743938S600x600Q85.jpg

This next pic is the first time I ever sat in the saddle. The xtra padding was there b/c it was sitting low until I had it reflocked. Don't worry, I don't use those spurs, lol. My mom was borrowing my boots and rides a SMALL horse, so she needs them :-)

2276292920093743938S600x600Q85.jpg

Video: sorry, not very clear, but it may help!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CJnKIStzUM

Thanks for the help!

Edit: just wanted to add to please not comment on the video...it's horrible. It was during a rough spot in our lesson as I was learning to get gems foward w/o getting her in the mouth and slamming on her back. One of the worst rides I have had since starting dressage. Unfortunetely the only video my mom has ever taken...lol.

Edited by NikkiS

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I have the same saddle! 17.5, long flap.

alysepics073.jpg

Have you read Sally Swift's centered riding?

I can't tell you if the saddle is the problem, or a general weakness in your position and core. No saddle can fix that, just time in the saddle.

I'm poor and lazy when it comes to saddles, so if it fits the horse, I would work my position around it. But that's just me.

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I have the same saddle! 17.5, long flap.

alysepics073.jpg

Have you read Sally Swift's centered riding?

I can't tell you if the saddle is the problem, or a general weakness in your position and core. No saddle can fix that, just time in the saddle.

I'm poor and lazy when it comes to saddles, so if it fits the horse, I would work my position around it. But that's just me.

I have read it in the past, but I am actually in the process of re-reading it! Found it last week in a used book store for $5 and knew it deserved a spot on my bookshelf...lol. Funny thing is, when I read it years ago it didn't make much sense and I don't think I even finished. Since starting dressage, I actually understand what she means in the book, so I am learning much more this go around...lol.

Part of me thinks that it may help to cheat by wearing full seats or using a sheepskin seat cover, lol.

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OK, who "diagnosed" you with a tilted pelvic floor? Did you sit in a hard chair and see how many fingers you could fit between the chair and the seam on your pants? If so, how many fingers was it?

If you have a pretty neutral pelvis, you are much more likely to be able to ride comfortably in a wide variety of saddles. But those of us with a tilted pelvis can really struggle to ride in a saddle that tips us forward, regardless of core strength or working your position around it. And even if you can do it, why spend so much effort fighting a saddle.

From the pics, the saddle doesn't look too big to me. It just looks like it might not fit you well.

Try a Kieffer if you can get at least 3 fingers between the chair and the seam. Go with the size 0 or 1. How long is your thigh, hip bone to center of the knee?

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I was diagnosed an ortho surgeon @ 13 yrs old w/a tilted pelvis. I have constant back pain on a daily basis in my lower back. I have seen a few different chiros and while it helps, they have not ever completely alleviated my pain. I haven't been to a chiro in a year or so because I just cannot justify paying $200 per month to get adjustments when they don't make a huge difference. I have also done the chair trick and I can almost fit four fingers, but I have small hands as well...so, it may not be that extreme.

I was curious about the kieffers and have looked at a few. I will keep that in mind, thank you. I rode last night and really concentrated on my saddle and how it fits and recognised a something else. No matter how I try to relax my pelvis and wrap my thighs around the saddle, it seems I just can't get my legs wrapped like there is space between the twist and my thigh that I feel I just can't "fill in" if that makes sense...do you think I need a wider twist?

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It's not cheating to wear full seats, it is actually something I'd never consider NOT doing. It's something that is going to help your riding.

I've ridden in several different Passiers and for the most part, they are generally not drastically different in the way they are made. I've also had a couple. To me, there are other saddles that are easier to ride in, partially because Passiers are not "padded up" and don't have the really deep seats and big knee rolls--you do have to be correct in your position. For someone who is learning and solidifying their position, I can see where another saddle would be a whole lot easier. I can't say that when I switch over and ride in my trainer's Passier, though, I ride any differently than I do in my Albion, although the Albion is not overly padded either. But, I've also ridden other saddles that are a whole lot more comfortable/easier to keep a position.

With your problem I think you may have to look at it in a couple of ways. You are going to continue to get better. I completely agree with Shiloh about the flaps, especially after viewing the photos. I don't think the flaps are too long, especially when you consider over time your leg is going to relax and it will get longer. Right now your seat and leg is still a little tight/tense but as you continue riding it will lengthen and drape down from your hip around your horse. The seat is just a very typical Passier seat, it is rather flatish but from looking at you I don't get the feeling that you are swimming in it, plus one of the things you have to look at with seat is also length of leg. I would worry about a 17" being a bit small after a while, especially when you start doing lateral work in the future. Take for example, if you are talking about size of rider, I am 5'5" and weight 110lbs and ride in a 17.5 saddle, but in order to be able to have the right size for length of leg and be able to move correctly in the saddle there is NO way I can ride in a 17"--I do have very long legs though when we go to leg, upper body ratio. You have long legs as well.

Is there any way you have the opportunity to try out some friends' saddles? Over the years I've had a County, which was comfortable, but pushed my leg forward into a chair seat, so I really did not like that saddle over time. I had a Jaguar, which I loved!!! It was not the easiest saddle to fit to a warmblood, so that was a bummer. It was very comfortable and I loved it. I had a Passier Grand Gilbert and one other--I did want to try the Hubertus Schmidt but went with the Albion. I had an Anky but cannot remember a whole lot about it. I had a custom saddle from Schlese which was impossible to fit, but a nice saddle. One other custom saddle where I was very "taken" by the saddle maker but sometimes that happens, chalk it up to experience. I now have an Albion fitted by Ann at Equestian Imports and she's amazing. I've ridden TONS of different saddles when I was looking.

BTW, I think Gem's very nice looking. You look good on her. I like the pictures. You, the saddle, and she look nice together.

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Thanks for the compliment PMJ, it just made my day :-)

I WISH I had friends that rode in anything but an Albion so I could try different saddles, but there are three big dressage barns in my area; two barns have about 90% of the riders in Albions and the other barn is ALL bates/wintec Isabells, lol. Not much individuality here in MT ;-) I really do like most Albions that I have ridden in but a new Albion is out of my price range currently. I have seen many around the $1500 mark online(used) and I would not hesitate to look into purchasing a used one if it comes down to having to buy a new saddle.

I figured that once I develop a stronger seat the passier may work wonderfully, but after my ride last night I finally realized how much out of balance I am and I find myself going from either chair seat to fork seat on Gems and sometimes I have noticed if I am entirely out of balance during a transition I bump her in the back. Usually, she gets tense when this happens but last night, she actually drastically DROPPED her back during one transition to canter. I felt terrible. The worst part is that sometimes, when she is getting tense and a little angry with my I find myself wanting to blame her or put fault on her. That is not fair. After last night's ride, it helped me to decide that I NEED to find a saddle that will make it easier for me to find my balance, for her sake.

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Get a bucking strap, or make one. Put a flash through the dees in the front of your saddle. You can see it on my picture.

Grab that with the outside hand to stabilize your position at any point- sitting trot, canter trans, spooks, so you don't bounce or catch her in the mouth.

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I just picked up an OLD Jeffries from a friend to try on Mir, and I really like how it sits me. It's old, and it needs some flocking work (still soft, just not flocked to fit my horse), but the leather is lovely, and the pommel is great. I think it's worth about $200.

If it doesn't fit Mir, I can send you pics and such if you would be interested. It's brown, but long billets and in really pretty good condition.

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Classic Saddlery makes two different saddles that are scecifically designed for people with a tilted pelvic floor.

http://www.classicsaddlery.com/saddles/saddlesclassic.htm

You can find them used and they are nice saddles. I owned a Vivian, but ended up selling it, because it didn't fit my pony.

Thanks! I actually did see those! I was really curious about the Vega. I think I may have her send me one to try :-)

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Try a Kieffer first if you can find one. They are much more common and thus affordable, and they tend to fit the horse a lot like the Passier does. Not that the Classic Saddlery ones are not nice, but you can find an old Kieffer for about $500. And the trees are adjustable too. The standard MW Kieffer fits just a hair wider than the M Passier does IME.

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Try a Kieffer first if you can find one. They are much more common and thus affordable, and they tend to fit the horse a lot like the Passier does. Not that the Classic Saddlery ones are not nice, but you can find an old Kieffer for about $500. And the trees are adjustable too. The standard MW Kieffer fits just a hair wider than the M Passier does IME.

Ok, I will keep that in mind :-) I need to sell my saddle first, hopefully I will get at least what I paid for it, $800. I had it reflocked in the front a little over a month ago, so I think I may ask around $1000 w/free shipping or something. After the saddle sells, I will have a budget around $2k, so I think I can find something decent for that price.

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What model is your Passier? The Grand Gilberts are a dime a dozen, but the other models tend to be harder to find, and thus have a better chance of selling for a decent price.

$2k will definitely get you something decent used.

I am probably going to be selling my dressage saddle soon. I hate selling saddles, especially the higher end or less common brands. You don't get a good price on Ebay, and selling them by consignment can take forever. But for a Passier, go with Ebay.

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What model is your Passier? The Grand Gilberts are a dime a dozen, but the other models tend to be harder to find, and thus have a better chance of selling for a decent price.

$2k will definitely get you something decent used.

I am probably going to be selling my dressage saddle soon. I hate selling saddles, especially the higher end or less common brands. You don't get a good price on Ebay, and selling them by consignment can take forever. But for a Passier, go with Ebay.

It's a GT. 17.5" Wide. In mint condition, really. When I bought it, it was literally not even close to being broken in. The billets look new. My saddle fitter said someone had either taken REALLY good care of it and didn't ride much or just plain let it sit and never be used. It is a 1991, so for 19 yrs old, I cannot believe the condition really. I got a deal @ $800 when I bought it. It even has the gusseted panels which makes this saddle even more rare. I have seen pretty used GTs go online(pelham saddlery has a few right now) for $1200-$1400! That seems a little high to me, but it gives me a better chance at selling mine for $1k! lol

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I would just put it on Ebay. Link to the ones on other sites (which don't really SELL for that price, it's just what they ask). See what kind of interest you get. But be willing to let it go for what you paid too.

I really hate selling saddles. If this one that I am borrowing from a friend ends up working for my horses, I will probably just email the couple people I know who like this brand or the person who designed it and see if they know anyone who is interested. And then I will keep my fingers crossed that I can sell it that way.

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I would just put it on Ebay. Link to the ones on other sites (which don't really SELL for that price, it's just what they ask). See what kind of interest you get. But be willing to let it go for what you paid too.

I really hate selling saddles. If this one that I am borrowing from a friend ends up working for my horses, I will probably just email the couple people I know who like this brand or the person who designed it and see if they know anyone who is interested. And then I will keep my fingers crossed that I can sell it that way.

I won't put it on ebay. That would be the last resort, you just lose sooo much $$ there. I will be selling it via Tacktrader. I have had good luck with that site. I was eyeing a GT months ago when I bought my saddle(before I found it) and it was listed on usedsaddles.com for $1200. It sold there in one month. My second to last resort will be to trade it it to usedsaddles.com. They give you 70% of what they think they can sell your saddle for and then you do not have to wait for it to sell and use it then for a credit on another saddle purchase with them.

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The most I've EVER paid in Ebay fees was $35, on a $1300 saddle. You lose a ton more money when you consign them, and if that store is only giving you 70% of the value... if they think they can sell it for $1k then you will get $700. You would make more listing it on Ebay for $1k.

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I had very good luck with tacktrader. I'm sure this was part luck, but my saddle sold in a week, for the price I asked, and no consignment fees. I did spring for a photo-- that was $10 for 90 days. I know when I was searching for saddles, I never looked at the ads if they didn't have photos.

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I had very good luck with tacktrader. I'm sure this was part luck, but my saddle sold in a week, for the price I asked, and no consignment fees. I did spring for a photo-- that was $10 for 90 days. I know when I was searching for saddles, I never looked at the ads if they didn't have photos.

Yep me too. Except it costs $20 now :-( I sold my close contact saddle on there for $50 less than I was asking and it sold in two days! I have tried selling on Ebay twice now and everyone is just looking for too much of a good deal. I had the same CC listed on there for a week @ $500 (buy now) and no bites. Listed it on Tacktrader for $750 and sold it for $700...sooo...lol. sticking to that website :-)

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That's nice to know about tacktrader--I have some lovely bridles and such I need to sell.

Vega's are really nice. I tried one (didn't fit my horse) and it was really a nice riding saddle. You can also think about working with Ann at Equestrian Imports. I know she does have a payment program. I think it only works with new saddles, but it might be worth looking into. She is so great on fitting, even long distance. She worked with me on one horse long distance and it worked very well.

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That's nice to know about tacktrader--I have some lovely bridles and such I need to sell.

Vega's are really nice. I tried one (didn't fit my horse) and it was really a nice riding saddle. You can also think about working with Ann at Equestrian Imports. I know she does have a payment program. I think it only works with new saddles, but it might be worth looking into. She is so great on fitting, even long distance. She worked with me on one horse long distance and it worked very well.

Thanks for the info. I will check her out :-)

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