My Own Experience – Why Not
I have recently been updating the website and have added a testimonial page for both clients and fellow equine professionals. Content to be added in the coming weeks – watch this space! I have never been sure about writing my own testimonial, I have ummmed and ahhhed over it, but my time with my own horse this week has made me want to write something of my own experience.
The first time I ever sat in a Schleese was while I was on a fitting trip in the USA while training. I could have cried. I am still not sure if I felt more angry or happy. I had always spent the first ten minutes of my ride ‘stretching’ my hips to feel truly deep in the saddle. I also spent many hours doing exercises out of the saddle to stretch my ‘tight hips’. Who knows what damage this did to my body. I also thought I was crooked, getting so frustrated with my right leg rising and always sitting to the left. I had worked on it and improved it, but it remained a conscious effort. My first sit in a Schleese female saddle, adjusted for the asymmetries of that particular horse, and I sank deep into the seat and felt perfectly balanced and straight. I couldn’t believe it. Riding was effortless.
When I fitted a Schleese saddle to my own horse the same feelings occurred again, only worse because I also felt guilty. The horse I thought couldn’t bend to the left, could happily bend to the left. The horse that cantered disunited on the left rein 90% of the time didn’t canter disunited once. The horse that used to play up in certain areas of the school no longer played up. I felt guilty my saddles (many) had been the cause of these problems and I had tried to school him through them, but so happy I had found a solution, and happy that my horse was more capable than I ever thought! There is so much more to say about the improvements in my horse but I don’t want to go on too much on here, you’ll just have to meet me for the full story!
It is the same for most of my clients. I have seen clients cry with both joy and sadness when they realise how their equipment had failed them and their horse. Because a saddle is that. A piece of sporting equipment. To help us, not hinder.
This post is inspired by yesterday’s experience. Having not had chance to ride my own horse all that much, I managed to get in a couple of rides this week. I noticed he didn’t feel so good on the left rein anymore and not so fluid in his movement. I also felt like I was having to shift my weight to stay central. I had a good look at the saddle and the dust pattern, and although there was not a lot wrong I felt a little adjustment could be made.
I rode my horse again yesterday and wow. My horse can still bend left, he can still move forward freely, and I can still sit central. Just a little tweak can make all the difference proving it is so important to have your saddle checked on a regular basis!
I came home realising that getting involved with Schleese and Saddlefit 4 Life was worth it if only just to finally sort a perfect saddle for my own horse at the age of 18 years old. I will be forever grateful to them for that. But hopefully I can help many more horses and riders in a similar situation too.