Hattie and I had a good schooling session today and she really seems to like my off-side side saddle as she was forward going today (I just had to think trot and she did it) and we even cantered on both reins! Even the dreaded left rein canter was good and forward and without effort to keep her going which makes a change from our 3 stride shuffle canters.
I REALLY like riding on the off-side and I think I would go as far as to say, I prefer it. It feels more natural to me and free. Hattie seems to prefer it too, maybe because I feel more at ease in it. It could be that the saddle just fits Hattie and I better than my lovely Manorgrove one too (I really do prefer a dipped seat too). Infact, I'm going to use it in my lesson tomorrow and do the two dressage shows in it later on this month.
I'm also pondering about if I should attempt, just for fun, the Prelim 1 test which calls for a canter on both reins on a 20 meter circle just to see how we do.
Brita aka Smart Alex who also has a sidesaddle blog called Upon A White Horse, started an interesting thread on the Chronicle of the Horse forum (yes, I'm a COTH'er too) about if whether you are right or left handed, if affects your side saddle position and a preference for near or off-side riding.
Personally, I don't know but Brita is going to blog about it more in depth. I know for me, although I am right handed, I do come from a family where left handedness and ambidexterity runs in it on my dad's side. My son is left handed and my dad is ambidextrous.
I have a tendency towards being ambidextrous as I prefer to carry heavy things or do manual tasks like pouring (bottles, pots, etc), with my left hand but fine motor skills like writing, with my right hand. At one point, when I lived at home, my mom banned me from using the can opener as I kept breaking them trying to open it with me left hand which felt more natural. I have a normal can opener now but if I ever find a left handed one, I'm going to buy it for my son and I!
Back to saddles...
Since buying my Beck Morrow, I have only ever ridden in it with the queen on the fixed head but decided today to see how it rode without the queen. I find the queen comfy and it's useful for my my arthritic knee is acting up but it stops from from bringing my left heel back and keeping the side of my calf against the saddle.
I took off the Queen and chuckled to myself at the dinky pommel my saddle has!
LOL, it's TINY! But, just like other things in life, it's not the size that matters...
Without the queen, the narrow little pommel, was actually quite comfortable and I was able to keep my leg on the saddle. The leaping head is a bit wider than the fixed head and is the old fashioned style of head which curls right over the width of your thigh.
Although I can feel metal running along the underside of the tree, I don't think this saddle was meant for hunting and jumping. I'm pretty sure it was meant for park riding and *maybe* for leaping over an occasional little fallen log on a bridle way path. It's just too delicate looking a saddle, especially with it's itty bitty fixed head, to do anything remotely active like hunting in it. That is fine by me as it works well for dressage!
The actual angle of the fixed head is what I like too with it veering towards the saddle in a more upright position.
The leaping head needs to be adjusted though as it's a bit too curved for my leg. I can get it under ok and it's not uncomfortable but I just need it a bit less curly as shown by the pink dots in the photo. The only problem is that it doesn't have a removable cover so I'm going to have to ask the saddle if he can fix it for me.
I also put a rubber martingale rein stopper on the leaping head screw to stop it from twirling around when I ride and to raise it up a bit. Works a treat!
OK, off to memorize the Prelim 1 test!