I may or may not have waited patiently while waiting for the saddle to come to me this past week. I suppose it wasn't that I was SOOO excited to part with my money or SOOO excited about how epic I was going to be of a rider suddenly (doubtful), it was more the fact that the shipper got the saddle to the UPS store basically the same day I ordered it and then... it SAT there. I get that there was the weekend, but holy cripes it took forever for it to even make it to the postal center. At that point it was less dramatic except that it was due to arrive TODAY. This is also LESSON DAY. I really, really, really wanted to try it out over jumps and its way easier to do this when someone else is setting the jumps and making you do things. I guess I should mention that our UPS guy normally comes around 6pm or 8pm.
So the saddle clocked in at my house at 3:26pm and I left work about 4:15pm to head out to get kiddo and get things ready at the house for my lesson and kiddo's football practice. The saddle was there (of course) and I unwrapped my Devoucoux from the Voltaire box (what world am I in?!) and checked it out. Honestly... it wasn't that impressive. I'm getting used to the look of monoflaps but this wasn't super over the top exciting. It was well made, sure but whatever. I put it in the tack room of the trailer, noted that the cover smelled like previous owners (gross), and started getting ready for the lesson.
Since I'm insane, I decided to take Katy for the lesson and then grab Jade on the way to ride BOTH in the covered arena this evening. Loading Jade didn't take much time though and we were at the arena at about 6:30p for the 7p lesson. Not bad :) I tacked up Katy and the saddle seemed a bit too roomy for her in the shoulders but the rest was ok. I left Jade tied to the trailer for the first time ever and hopped on Katy. Immediately the saddle was much better balanced. I just trotted Katy around in it and it was fine. We started cantering and that's when I knew this was a great saddle - everything was effortless PLUS my legs were already starting to burn on fire from the effort. It was wonderful but also ominous.
Long lesson ahead yo.
Today was our dreaded one jump exercise where I manage to mangle it in about 3253465 ways. Granted these are tiny things, but I'm still trying to do all the things correctly. I'm just mean to myself like that. Jump was ok and I realized about 5000 things on my list were solved with my better saddle position. The next go around Katy WAY over jumped the jump and I... was stuck even firmer in the saddle and felt like a boss. No ERHMERGAHDYING moments. Just.stuck.
We continued the rest of the lesson with me basically worrying less about things I didn't have to worry about fixing anymore and focusing more on offense type things. It was a really nice feeling to have control over my body and it was... easy. Even if my legs were in tears by the end. SUCK IT UP GUYS! And yes, the saddle will be staying.
One thing though, I'd been struggling with using Katy for jumping and my abuse as I like. While the new saddles are WONDERFUL, I'm finding myself started to outpace Katy and had been debating if it was really fair to make her be this horse I needed her to be. Jade is a wonderful challenge, but I got her more for dressage and yes, I'm wanting to do some eventing (especially to get in shape physically and mentally) so I can rock things in the future. She's also a "baby" horse in that she needs a lot more training to be roadready. I've already spent so many years with Katy that its "there" now and we're "doing the things (jumping/dressage/etc)."
During this lesson, Katy was having a lot of issues with knuckling over in her hind end and even tripping at one point (she caught herself but still). This is really not like her, but I've had issues in the past when she starts to get tired where she cross canters and other similar things. I could get her in better shape but that's not really a great pathway with such an older horse in my mind. I'll ride her some more this weekend and see if it crops up again. I did also switch her supplements a little but this seems a bit extreme for something simple like that. Oh and she was coughing A LOT more... supplement swap issue though?