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June 6, 2019: Saddle Fit 101

Finally, the day that I’d been waiting for over six months had arrived. Dave, the co-owner of Synergist Saddle was to determine how Tyra’s saddle might better fit her. I had told him and CJ long before we arrived that it felt tippy and sometimes listed from side-to-side. I added that it felt unbalanced, and it seemed to me that I was riding too high on her back. Also, my stirrup length felt uneven. My right leg felt scrunched and my left leg felt stretched out. Pete also wanted Dave to help him determine if our pack saddle fit Hrimmi.

We all headed out to Dave’s shop after breakfast. I retrieved Tyra and Pete retrieved Hrimmi –we tied them to the

155 Dave looking at mold on Hrimmi's back
Dave looking at mold on Hrimmi's back

trailer. The horses have been trained (for good or bad) to function as a team so we also retrieved Raudi and tied her to the trailer.

The first thing that Dave did was put the Equimeasure pad, a mold of Tyra’s back, on her back. And together, we three examined it. The mold fit perfectly. It was, as Pete said “textbook.” Dave next put the saddle on Tyra, detached the stirrup leathers, and took them into his shop. He immediately noted that I had adjusted them in such a way that one was longer than the other. He readjusted the stirrups so that they again corresponded in length. We three then trooped out and looked at the saddle proper.

Dave and CJ bought the saddle business from his dad. He’s since made over 3,000 saddles. This perhaps is why he moves with assurance and speed. He clearly knows what he’s doing. However, he paused, deep in thought for a few minutes before offering an assessment. I felt like I was again at the dentist, and again to be the recipient of bad news, which was that I had a fractured tooth, which in time would need to be removed.

Dave, who’s brown framed glasses frame a long face, looked directly at me, and then said what he was thinking, which was that the problem was in part that Tyra is round, like a barrel, so the saddle was going to move. He then added that for this reason, I needed to focus on being balanced. I replied that I didn’t want to hear this after coming so far. Rather, I’d hoped that the saddle needed work.

Dave then launched into a lecture about proprioception and body awareness. I was able to follow him, and as well, I understood what he was talking about because he was speaking my language. When there was a break in the conversation I took off where he left off, and talked about the brain’s related proprioceptive role. What I didn’t say was that I had talked at length with friends who were dealing with a similar issue. However, unlike them, I was, because of my training, receptive to what he was saying.

Dave tightened the cinch and I rode Tyra up and down the driveway. I must say that Dave’s having readjusted the stirrup length did make a difference. When I got off, we agreed that the saddle would slip less if I focused on my balance. But at the same time, I’d need to use a crupper and breast collar.

I later told Pete that it’s good that we’re going to Blair Wallace for a few days, because this way, I’ll be able to see if there are any additional problems.

Next: 156. 6/7/19: Dispatch for Friends, Old and New

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