I should probably start this recap with full disclosure that Kentucky surprised us with second summer that day, AND I was riding in a new-to-me saddle. To break that down, KY went from 80 degree, beautiful fall-like days to a 99 degree day with 60% humidity… just in time for my lesson. Fun time.

As for the saddle, a friend of a friend is trying to sell her Barnsby Diablo saddle. When she mentioned it was an 18″ seat and a generous MW tree (that needs the flocking adjusted), I was semi curious. Then, I found out that it was already on the property that my trainer was at and… I figured it didn’t hurt to give it a try.


Awkward angle, but you get the idea. Much deeper seat with much larger blocks.

Again, the flocking needs to be changed to fit May, but I was fairly happy with the shape on her. Honestly, getting in a saddle like this was such a weird feeling. It is CUSHY and COMFORTABLE and has big blocks in it. So different from my fairly minimal Stubben. I warmed up quickly on the flat, just getting a feel for getting into and out of the new saddle. May seemed comfortable in it with no sucking back or crow hopping.

We warmed up over a very small vertical, just looping back and forth over it. Then we made it a big bigger and all seemed to be going well. The first exercise was the first jump of both my courses. It was an oxer set kind of awkwardly off the rail with a placement pole three strides out and then another on stride out.

At first, I was a bit like… ummm what? with this exercise. It just seemed really random. Then I rode it and oh hahaha ok. So the point of it was thatΒ  you really had to come FORWARD through the corner and maintain your own straightness to get the distance/line/jump. You couldn’t turn and then get straight because then you would miss to the first pole. You also couldn’t suck back and then go forward because of that pole. Man, this one really instilled the whole lesson in one little exercise. You have to love that.

Once we nailed that, it got put up a bit, and we went and did our first course. Again, we started with that oxer exercise then moved into a straight line then a bending line. Fairly standard stuff.

Things I did well… we are working on moving May more forward and open between jumps and then just regulating the balance and straightness too the jumps versus still trying to create energy as I jump into lines. Overall, I felt like this honestly gave me much better distances (except to the last fence, which I conveniently cut out from the insta video… gif just for you).

Things I could have done better… I struggle with not just getting out

of the saddle and cruising. Is this a weird thing? Like I get up… and then don’t know how to use my leg lol. I am not sure if this feeling is partially the saddle being so muchΒ more than what I am used to or if this is an ingrained habit. Something to work on.

Also, since I am jumping in with more impulsion. I don’t then need to CHASE her down the lines like I did over the last fence. If I had just maintained balance and rhythm, it would’ve ridden better. Oh well. Good horse.

The second course was similar, but we bent to the right after the pink and then did the liverpool the other way to finish up over the blue and purple oxer.

Not totally sure what was up with that first line… She went to fade right on me. I corrected and pulled her off the lead in front. Oh well, all is well that ends well. The yellow&orange and red,white&blue, jumps went up a bit, but they still rode great.

My line from pink to orange&yellow wasn’t maybe the best line, but after she blew me off turning to the pink, I really didnt want her to just keep falling through that right shoulder. That change set us up almost TOO well for the liverpool to oxer line…. since she moved off my right leg better than I was expecting and we faded left… making that line a bit long.

Honestly though? I was super happy with it. We feel more than ready for BN next month. As for the saddle? Jury is still out. I think it isΒ better than what I have, but it doesn’t make my butt sing like the bliss monoflap did. That being said… it’s well within my current price range, AND I did feel more secure when things weren’t quite right… vs. feeling thrown out of the Stubben and having to scramble to get back into it. I would like a saddle fitter to see it before I make any decisions, for sure.

So lots of change this lesson, but I think we handled it really well. Do you feel like making changes in your riding/equipment leads to immediately improvement? Or does it just always feel kind of weird at first but better later?

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  1. Stacie Seidman

    I think it’s hard to adjust to a new saddle! So much so that I keep going back to my old one which is too small for my butt. But my opinion (not that you asked…) if the Bliss really made your butt sing, I’d hold out to find something that gives you the same reaction. Spend more once, rather than less multiple times in search of what you really want.
    You two are definitely looking ready for BN! Sounds like a great lesson!

    1. Emily

      Yeah. I think that is where I am leaning. I am going to ride in this one another time at least, just to make sure. But honestly… that bliss monoflap was just too perfect.

  2. martidoll123

    If the saddle is affordable for now and you can sell it later for same or more do it!! You guys look amazing! I can’t believe how forward she is. I think Remus needs to come back to fat camp to install a forward button on him πŸ™‚ HA cant wait till next month to see how it all goes (AMAZING IT WILL GO I KNOW) πŸ™‚

    1. Emily

      Remus’s forward button is like 2nd gear hahahaha. I will say that… this time, Mandy is going to make you send your saddle too πŸ˜‰

      1. martidoll123

        I am not sure why I didn’t send my saddle last time. #notthinking πŸ™‚ HA HA

  3. the_everything_pony

    My two experiences were pretty different, but that’s probably because one was English and one was a Western saddle lol. I could immediately tell in the western saddle that it sat me in an exponentially better position (my previous saddle tilted you way forward). But my muscles were so used to compensating for being tilted forward that I was extremely sore for a good month getting used to riding in the better saddle. The English one wasn’t as immediate as the western, but it was more little realizations as I rode, even if my butt did sing a bit at how freaking comfy it was lol. I never realized I didn’t feel secure until I rode in the demo of my Sinead saddle, and even that saddle didn’t fit me right (I needed a 17 and it was an 18). Then I’d apply my leg, find it easier. My knees didn’t bulge like in the other saddle. It was easier to keep my lower leg back. I got in position and just stayed there, instead of fighting to be there. It was so much easier to balance in it that I rarely felt like I would have to scramble back in the saddle.

    So, all of that to say, if that bliss monoflap felt like angels singing – then I’d wait and put down more money at once. There is something to be said for getting a saddle that is better for you to ride in right now, but then you’re down the cash you paid for it, and I have discovered that reselling a saddle is not as quick of a turnover as we hope most of the time lol. So personally, I would wait until you can find that bliss saddle πŸ™‚

    1. Emily

      OH man… I feel you on that last part. I have been trying to sell my dressage saddle for… 4 months now? Lots of nibbles. No bites. >.<

  4. Holly

    Totally agree what everyone is saying on holding out for the right saddle – last thing you want to do is end up in this spot in a year or two. I just bought a dressage saddle so God knows I feel you here.

  5. emma

    she looks great! sounds like all the adjustments and whatnot you’re working on are really paying off πŸ˜‰ that saddle DOES look cushy too haha, it’s always fun to try out different styles to see what feels good and what feels…. just different lol

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