March 31, 2016

Stupidity Strikes Again

You would think that after spending over 30 years on this planet that I would learn some basic life skills. Namely: IF IT ISN'T BROKE, DON'T FIX IT!

I ride in an Advantage Saddle which is a western based endurance saddle. I like it. Gem likes it. It is the first saddle that has ever truly fit the mare. She has gotten an A for back score at every ride. A normal person would just roll with it. Keep on keeping on and all that.

Not me. You see I suffer from something coined "Destination Addiction". Its the feeling that the next thing will be the perfect thing. The next job, the next saddle, the next house. Seriously, its the reason I've moved a dozen times and still keep looking for that "perfect" place. (Most recently it was asking the hubby if maybe we should move to New Mexico, yeah...I'm that crazy)

So I begin to tinker. Yes, this saddle is good...but what if I can find great?

For some reason my heart is set on a dressage saddle despite the fact that some of the highest mileage endurance people say not to. There are all sorts of reasons for this: the saddles have too small of a surface area, they are meant for flat work and cause odd pressure areas with hills, they are built for uphill horses etc....

I don't care. I want a dressage saddle. Two things have prevented me from jumping off the deep end: 1) I have no money at all and 2) I have yet to find a dressage saddle that fits the mare.

When thwarted by simple common sense and a hard to fit mare, the next best thing to do is ride in your current saddle as if it was a dressage saddle. Makes a lot of sense, no?

The Advantage saddle doesn't really force a chair seat, but it doesn't put you in a dressage position either because, well, it isn't a dressage saddle. I've never been sore in this saddle even after a 50, but that didn't stop me on Saturday from cranking my legs back and riding in a more classic dressage position. It felt good at the moment. My legs draped better around my mare and they hugged her sides. She didn't seem to notice either way.

We finished the ride and I patted myself on the back.

And then Sunday morning I couldn't move. I had a knife like pain in my IT band up in my left hip. I hobbled around and tried stretching it throughout the day to no avail. Dusty laughed at me and shook his head wondering if I will ever learn to just leave well enough alone.

Monday I was a bit better, but still super tight. I went to the barn for Gem's farrier appointment and went into a panic when I went to curry her back and she scooted away from me in pain. She was back sore. For the first time in 6 years. Even in the most awful fitting saddles, she was never back sore.

I flipped out. I texted Dusty that the 100 would have to be cancelled. That I would have to sell my saddle and go on a saddle hunt. That all was lost.

He then reminded me of my hair brain idea to ride in my saddle completely different for no apparent reason and that I was sore myself in a place I had never been sore before. He recommened massage. At least one of us is sane.

I massaged her loins where she was sore and she relaxed and began to chew. I rubbed and rubbed and when I was done she was fine.

I, on the other hand, am still incredibly tight at my left hip and all the stretching isn't doing much good. I am going to call my PT friend and ask them for some advice.

Lesson learned though. For now anyway. Don't fix something that isn't broken. Don't change just for the sake of change. At least not a month prior to a 100.



  1. I will say that riding a dressage saddle most recently has been helping my tendency to lean forward/hunch over too much, and it worked for 25 miles, but I'm not sure how well it'll work long-term for distance. Although I'm going to keep on using it until I can afford Dream Saddle (Reactor Panel).

    1. I suffer from the lean forward, hunch maneuver too. Mine was from miles of defensive riding hoping to not die when first with Gem. Someday I'll get a dressage saddle. I know what I want...I just need to find the money fairy first!

  2. Rider's Rescue Rub is perfect for these moments of stupidity (or for a 15 mile ride after not riding in three weeks). It's expensive but absolutely worth it's weight in gold.

    1. Oh! That stuff sounds wonderful. I will have to get some.

  3. I think it is in our nature to just want something new to work better, but sorry it didn't work out! I use my horse's Sore No More lotion at times like that.

    I am happy with the couple thousand conditioning miles (and a few competitive rides, I just don't compete much) I've done in my dressage saddle. But it is a trail dressage model, with a larger footprint and I use a very supportive pad.

    But no changing anything before your 100!

    1. I know, right??? Ugh. So tempting to change all the things. Someday I will get a lovely dressage saddle. Just not now. Even if it doesn't work for the entire distance, it would be nice to have a different saddle footprint for half a ride.