Friday, 9 December 2011

Christmas Dressage!

My side saddle has been depressing me and annoying Hattie so I haven't been in the mood to blog lately as I'm so fed up with dealing with saddles that don't fit, forking out ££££'s, side-saddlers that don't call you back, a horse that changes shape constantly, etc, etc, etc. I'm seriously fed up and tempted to sell all my side saddle stuff and give up but hopefully it won't come to that just yet.

A lady who happens to be a side saddle judge and that has done all sorts of side saddle stuff to a high level, is coming out tomorrow with a c. 1938- 1939 Champion & Wilton for me to try. It's a beautiful saddle, within my price range and still is the lovely tan color that I love as it was hardly used. The saddle she is bringing is the spitting image of the one in the 1938-1939 Champion & Wilton catalog...

She is going to help me with fit and I asked if she could give her opinion on my Whippy and why it's doing the things it's doing despite being fine all spring and summer and being flocked up. I also feel it's a bit small for my butt. Lengthwise it's fine but widthwise, it's a scant 12 1/2" wide and I have big child bearing hips so sometimes I wonder if it's my arse pulling the saddle over as it's too wide for it. The C&W the lady is bringing, has a wider seat like my Beck Morrow does.

Will let you know how we get on!

Going back in time now, we went to the last Hinckley Dressage show of the year on Sunday and it was a special Christmas show where you had the option of doing your test in fancy dress so I went as the Snow Queen from the Chronicles of Narnia. We won for best costume two years ago when I was Mrs. Santa Claus (it was cancelled last year due to bad weather) but this year, went to a cute little girl dressed as Santa on an equally cute shetland pony dressed as Rudolph. You can't really argue with cuteness!!

We only did the Intro A test this time, no prelim tests because I've been battling my saddle and I'm still not 100% healthwise so decided to take it easy and just go to get dressed up and have fun. Our warmup was not so good as Hattie was really not happy with the saddle as I had stupidly decided not to put her grip gel pad underneath it thinking it would be ok since we weren't cantering. The saddle was rolling to the left and pinching her off-side wither so much that she bit my husband when he put his hand there to see what the saddle was doing. I could have kicked myself for not using that darn pad!!! We had been using the grip pad all week without any problem, Hattie was happy, I was happy and then stupid me decides to leave it off that day.

It's a mystery as when I'm off the saddle, it appears that it's sitting correctly with a slight tilt to the right like it's supposed to. It doesn't even press on her wither when I'm off. It's when I sit my fat arse in it that it all goes to pot which makes me think that I'm the problem.

Anyways, I stopped trying to warm up, got off, ungirthed my saddle pushed it back and more over to the right and did not get back on until I was called for my test. The steward let the judge know I was having problems just in case.

Us as we got called in to do our test...

Well, bugger me if we didn't end up winning the class!!!!

As soon as we went in the ring to do our test, Hattie was forward and although not 100%, she was a lot happier than what she had been in the warmup ring. I decided just to let her go forward and not try to bring her on the bit on anything, just let her do her thing. I could sense a slight head nod on the right rein like something was blocking and annoying her, if you look carefully, you can probably just slightly see it in the video. And bugger me again, if she didn't end the test with a perfectly SQUARE halt!!!! You got to love that horse!!!

We got all 6's (which mean "satisfactory") and 7's (which mean "fairly good") for all the movements and our collective comments were "A lovely partnership!", "A very consistent test, well done.", "Just lacking suppleness and balance at times."- which is hardly surprising how the saddle was annoying her and I was trying my darnest not to hang off her left side, lol!

Here is the video of our test:

Hattie falling promptly asleep after our test and with her 1st place rosette. I have never met such a chilled out horse, so chilled out that she is horizontal...

Along with the rosette, we also won free entry into the next show and Hattie got a well deserved stocking of horse treats. I gave her one whole pack of treats when we got back home as a thank you for gritting her teeth and putting up with an annoying saddle and getting us through the test without mishap. I think she was pleased with her prize...

Despite tack failure, I think we did ok and it's not as if we were the only ones in the class either. We definitely earned our 63.91% as there were quite a few in our class too. Hopefully once I sort out the fit of my Whippy or if this C&W ends up working better for us, we will start doing the prelims again. Until then, our grippy gel pad remains!!


  1. Fantastic! Congrats on your great score & your 1st place rosette! You've worked really hard this year and it shows, Hattis is going so well. You guys looked fantastic too! Love the outfit and Hattie's expression.
    Don't get too frustrated, it'll all get sorted out. Just think, at least you aren't here in Canada where an actual side-saddler doesn't exist to help fix fit issues.

  2. I know I've been there, too. Some days I think I should just have one big sidesaddle yardsale, and on others Owen is free to the first empty trailer that comes down the drive. Thankfully, this is usually short lived.
    Well done on your test.

  3. Thanks guys :) Side saddle is just so frustrating as you can't just go to any tack shop and pick up a saddle like you can with a regular astride saddler and there are just so few saddlers around that can do them!

  4. Awww, what a good girl that Hattie!

  5. Bravo!!! I loved the video. I need to figure out how to link my camera to my computer! Your fiding costume is so festive. Hattie was such a good girl and earned every onoe of those treats.