Friday, November 23, 2012

Killing Me Softly

Last night I made a mistake.  Sarge and I had gone out for dinner, followed by some western saddle "shopping" for him.  When we got home I had him sit in my cutting saddle on it's stand.  Next, I had him hop on my English Saddle to compare feels.  I also hopped up on both saddles.

Huge mistake.

You see, I've been actively trying to sell my Bates Caprilli Close Contact with interchangeable gullets.  This saddle I've had for close to three years and I've never rode in.  In fact, it literally is brand new.  When I bought it I had been taking jumping lessons and was toying with the idea of cross country.  I rode mostly English style as a youth.  I loved riding English.  Rode in the mountains.  Cattle penned.  Gymkana.  All in my English saddle.  Loved it!

For the last 15 or so years I've rode Western.  Either in a rope or cutting saddle.  And I get these bursts of nostalgia where I intensely crave riding English and working on collected and extended gaits.

The problem?  Well, my hands won't tolerate "English" contact.  I am unable to maintain contact.  The reins retreat out of my messed up hands.  Hence the decision to sell the English saddle...  But after sitting in it I want to ride English.  Right now!  Rationally, and logically I know selling it is the right thing to do, but I wonder if there will come a day when I regret it?

This saddle is killing me softly.


Liz Stout said...

You don't have to ride with contact to love your saddle and riding English. When I audited the Buck clinic last month there were multiple girls in English saddles with western headstalls and the mecate reins. They'd ride with a soft feel per Buck's teaching and then release. They just liked their saddle more than a western. It was inspiring for me to see them out there doing that as its what I've always done. We're not alone!

MTWaggin said...

I honestly have heard that most girls like their english saddles better. Truly western saddles were built for guys. I grew up riding western, always hurt and had sores from them, the one year I took riding lessons and got in my first english saddle I was in love.

Anonymous said...

There are so many different theories/ideas on riding. Like.. 5ls of contact, 10lbs of leg..really? That takes effort. I'm lazy. Lol.
My current thoroughbred likes a lot of contact - actually, he'll lean on it.. Typical track horse. we lighten him up. I prefer him lighter, although I do like the solid feel of him in the bridle.

My last TB, and current little WB, are anti-contact nazi's..the TB hated hated HATED contact (yes, this from a track horse). The WB is still super green so we're introducing the idea slowly. The TB rode on whisper soft contact... and would also happily cruise along on a loose rein.

If you like the english saddle, I vote ride in it! On a soft contact, or no contact, whatever. Jump if you want! Just need the right horse who will do whatever you want on minimal to no contact, whether you're in an english saddle, or a western!

I hate riding in western tack. It was handy when first starting the current TB, because he was a bit tough and the "oh shit!" handle was handy ;-) I have a friend with a rope saddle that I enjoy riding in when I am back home trail riding, but overall I will pick my english tack any day of the week.

Although if you're still trying to sell the Bates....we might have to talk. Lol.

Country Girl said...

Yes, I do still want to sell it. Guinness, won't be "English" and Bugsy most definitely won't fit the saddle. She's draft horse wide. lol