After a rubbish schooling session yesterday (and with me ready to chuck it all in!), we got third in our dressage test today!
Yesterday, Hattie was all over the place, rushing, etc, I was all over the place with the saddle tipping me forward and to the left that I felt so disheartened. I can't ride Hattie properly if my saddle is making me sit bizarrely so took drastic action while I was cleaning my tack yesterday night for the show.
I have a big pack of this non slip foam rubber grip stuff (like what is on expensive Barnsby Grip saddle pads and what you use underneath your carpets to stop them sliding on the floor!) that I bought last year to use under my old side saddle. It's good stuff as even if you fold it, it doesn't get lumpy or have any pressure seams. I started cutting off and proceeded to "reflock" my side saddle as I couldn't face another day of being tipped here, there and everywhere!
I couldn't reflock the front, so I used a sheepskin girth cover today under the front of the saddle to lift it up. I added lots of grip stuff under my left thigh all along between the saddle and the panel as the flocking had gone soft and was making me roll to the left thereby making me sit crooked to the right to counteract. I also put a little bit underneath my right thigh about mid-panel to balance things out. Then I pounded the panels with my rolling pin to unlump it and make everything smooth and VOILA! Problem fixed until the saddler is able to come out! I do love that grip stuff, it's a heaven send.
Riding today was ALOT easier not having to battle an unbalanced saddle and Hattie was more co-operative today too!
We even got one of our best ever scores too! 62.1%! Hattie did get our usual "lacking in purpose" comment as she always goes into "donkey mode" when we have a show. She hates doing any kind of work and would rather just go on hacks and eat all day. Our comments were basically that our circles were odd shaped (I knew this, circles are hard!!), we lacked in "straightness" going across the diagonals and down the center lines (it's hard missing a right leg!) and that Hattie needs to go in a more "forward manner" (yup, I know- I have a donkey for a horse!). So these are things we need to work on, maybe I should give Hattie some oats before a show? LOL!
Equitation wise, I think my position has gotten better and I kept my elbows under control! I don't lean back anymore like I used to do in earlier tests and I'm riding with a longer stirrup leather than I used to with my leg jammed up under the leaping head. I did notice though, in the video, that my right shoulder had crept forward a few times during my test which I think contributes to Hattie drifting on our lines. I REALLY need to concentrate on my right shoulder back and I think then that will help us to be less crooked on our lines and maybe scrape us some more marks at our show next Sunday!
Here is the video of our show today:
The show gave out some really posh ribbons today as well! Our 3rd place one was peach and yellow with "Merry Christmas" printed on the tail in gold!
I'm not really please with how my riding habit is fitting these days though and I think I need to lose a bit of weight. It was was rather tight on the bust and hips today!! I also wish the sleeves were a bit longer on my jacket too as I get fed up with having the cuffs of my show shirt show. I bought longer cuffed riding gloves this summer but even gloves can't make up for the lack of length in the sleeve!
I'm schooling tomorrow afternoon so I'll be armed with my judges comments of what to work on!!
I also added more photos of the mechanical side saddle horse to my Why I REALLY NEED To Play the Lotto blog post so check them out!