Monday, 26 May 2014

Hattie and The Megan- A Winning Combination! Part Two

You know when you get a saddle that just clicks and everyone is happy, horse AND rider? Well, the two shows we've gone to this month with our new saddle have proved that Hattie really likes it and that it was money well spent.

We went to the Diamond Equestrian show on May 4 and Hattie did brilliantly coming 2nd in Best Turned Out, 2nd in Riding Club Horse and 1st in Style & Appearance.

Note look of terror on my face as we jumped. We really aren't jumpers but if we can get over the small jumps in the Riding Club Horse classes at shows, then I am happy. It would have helped if I had hooked down the flap too!

(All Diamond Equestrian photos courtesy of JKC Photography, Leicester.)

Then on May 11, we went to the first South Kilworth Riding Club show of the season and Hattie was amazing once more!! We came first 2nd in Best Turned Out, 2nd in Ridden Veteran and 1st in Style and Apperance. She did lovely rolling transistions that were dead on, worked well across the back and was working softly on the bit. We also did Prettiest Mare in the fun showing ring as we had a long gap between classes where she came 1st again and did two rounds of clear round jumping at 1'3"- 1'6". The first round we got one pole down but the second round, we went clear so that was good. I wasn't really expecting much at the jumping but just did it to kill some time.

Because we came first and 2nd in our classes, we were automatically entered into the Champion class at the end of the day against all those who had received 1st and 2nds as well and again,. Everyone had to go around together at a walk, trot and canter and then do an individual show and Hattie did not disappoint with her rolling transitions and we won Champion!

Hattie taking a break between classes and eating her banana...

A successful day!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Hattie and The Megan- A Winning Combination! Part One...

Anyone who has read this blog for the past four years, knows how many side saddles I have been through, bought, tried, sold in the quest to find the perfect saddle for my temperamental mare. My dodgey right hip has also thrown a spanner in the works as I need an off-side side saddle now as it's too painful to ride on the nearside for any length of time and we all know how un-plentiful off-siders are!!

When I found out that A Bit on the Side Saddle was able to offer new custom made off-side side saddles, well, I put name down to order one! When I posted about Zaldi being able to make off-siders two years ago, I had been disappointed to hear later about the poorly made trees and fit problems people had been having with their Zaldi Lady England's so glad I never ordered one from them.

Hattie quickly recovered from the kick she received in April (thankfully it was on the fleshy part of her bum and not on the hip area) and I saw that she was galloping across the field again and kicking up her heels, it was work time once again for the May shows.

Armed with my new off-side Megan saddle back from the saddler after getting the panels tweaked and flocked up, we started back into heavy duty work with it.

Us messing about in our new saddle...

Cantering around without reins...

Hooning about on a loose rein, all good fun.

We've been doing all sorts in the Megan, dressage, jumping, hacking, going out galloping and even during our schooling mishaps, like the day Hattie was heavily in season and didn't feel like doing anything, let alone jumping, the saddle stayed rock solid. It did not move, roll, shoot forward or anything and I stayed safe and secure. The sweepy seat that I had it made with, REALLY gives me A LOT of support.

You can see how square I am in the saddle despite Hattie being a little s**t and refusing. There was NO REASON for her to refuse that fence. We had a good rolling canter which wasn't on the forehand, wasn't a high jump and a good line but she just gave me the proverbial finger and told me where to go. Jumping isn't really for me any way but as long as we are able to do the small fences in the Riding Club Horse class, I am happy.

The sweepy seat really did come into it's own this past Sunday when we were out galloping and Hattie shied at some Cow Parsley she saw and slammed on the brakes. If it wasn't for the sweepy seat keeping me anchored and allowing my left thigh to slam down into it, I would have come off the nearside over the front of the saddle. With flat seats, I don't find they give me much leverage for my thigh.

I took some photos of my saddle as I know everyone has been dying to see it so here they are..

Reverse Mayhew fitting for an off-side saddle....

Beautiful soft European posh leather covered panels:

                 The fixed head is the perfect set for me, I don't need a queen with this saddle...

Good generous medium tree, clears Hattie's withers and the bursitis bump on them caused by the ill-fitting Manorgrove saddle. 

You can see the sweep of the seat in this photo really well.

 Comfy pommels...

My saddler agrees that these wide panels are best for Hattie as they distribute the rider's weight better than the old "rolling pin" panels often seen on old antique saddles. They are very similar to what you see on modern dressage saddles. I can feel Hattie using her back more with these panels too.
                        Nice wide gullet so nothing is pressing on her spine. I need to get some new numnahs made up for this saddle as it's too big for any of my current pads and its off-side so can't exactly go out and buy ready made pads. My saddler remarked yesterday how even the saddle's flock is bedding down and how well fitting it still is with no rolling or anything.

Hattie hasn't bucked once in this saddle, nor has it shot forward onto her shoulders once. It just sits there on her back, unmoving like a saddle should do. I just plonk it onto her back and off we go without having to use all those non slip pads, special girths, risers, etc that we've had to use with past saddles. I think Hattie has given this one her stamp of approval!