Sunday, June 15, 2014

Psych Up or Psych Out

I've only had my new saddle for a couple of days and we've already shown in it once. We had a dressage schooling show on Saturday and I rode one test. Just the beginner novice B test. I figured we'd get one more practice in before Midsouth this coming weekend.
After our test
The test did not feel like our best. The only way I can describe it is I felt hesitant as I was riding. I think part of it is definitely adjusting to the new saddle. I've ridden in my old saddle for so long that I know it is going to take some getting used to this new one.

But our score did not reflect how I felt. We actually got the best score we have had to date, A 32.5. I've ridden for this judge before and she is notoriously generous but her comments are usually really positive and helpful and she is consistent. I bumped into her during the lunch break and she commented that Loki is looking much better than the last time she saw him and how he's really bulked up. It was very nice to hear!

But I find myself wondering if I'm heading for a big psych out next weekend at midsouth. We've had a lot of successes here lately but these are all little schooling shows (on our own property no less!) and not to belittle myself or my fellow competitors but the competition at Midwouth will be much stiffer. But even though it is silly I still feel this pressure building in the back of my mind saying I need to continue being successful.

So I guess I need to define what success is going to look like next weekend. What does success look like? Is it just the safe standby of if I have fun and don't die it's successful? Or is it getting some specific score and jump clear? How much pressure do I put on us? I'm honestly not sure. I'm going to have to think about it. The only thing I really want to happen is for us to be able to jump without our usual fight, me nitpicking and Loki blowing through my half halts. I just want to be able to get through stadium and XC with some semblance of fluidity. Oh and to smile. I want to remember to smile! :)
Me in the new saddle. I'm feeling a little self-conscious about it still. In some of the pictures I think it still looks big for me but in others like the one above it seems just right. Saddle fit seems like such a subjective/personal thing. It feels good but different so until I get used to it I'm just not going to be 100% sure that it was a good decision. I'm hopeful, though!


  1. The saddle size looks good to me! I can see how it might not feel great during a dressage test -- it is definitely an eventing feet-on-the-dashboard-going-off-the-big-drop saddle -- but you'll be happy with it once you get running and jumping.

  2. I am in-between seat sizes so I opted to go up a size rather than down. I believe I read somewhere that people think American's tend to under-saddle themselves; in other words, they often choose too small of a seat. Ultimately it is how you feel in it. Do you feel balanced and comfortable? If so, it shouldn't really matter if the saddle 'looks' too big. I've had people comment on the size of my saddle in relation to my rear, but I'm comfortable in both so I simply ignore it. Ride in what works for you physically.

    PS: I think it looks wonderful :)

  3. New saddle! I just had the same dilemma with my new saddle. Though I know midway size works I was more concerned about flap. I actually ended up reordering because the flap just felt too big.

  4. The saddle size looks like a good fit too me. Remember to breathe and try to spend some time visualizing the ride you want to have (that helps me anyway!)

  5. Agreed with Hawk! I think it looks great!

  6. Goals are hard! You don't want to set them to high or too low - still have to have them attainable but also push you some. I am sure that you will figure out what will work best for you and Loki :)

  7. Have you tried shortening a hole? A lot of riders want to lengthen their stirrups for dressage - but if you are dressaging in a CC sadle or jumping saddle - you need to keep your stirrups at a shorten length - that is how the saddles are designed for. I am now dressaging in my jumping saddle and this is what I practice. Your leg just looks a little forward, and a shorter stirrup might help that.

    1. dressaging in a jump saddle is just difficult all around. I mean, I've done it, I know people who have won doing it, so it's all possible, but it is more difficult- a jump saddle (especially a custom jump saddle like the one pictured) is not designed for an effective dressage ride, it's just not. so, hats off to those of you who have to do dressage in a jump saddle. dressaging is not flatting, and thus, it's difficult! doable, but difficult. so go a little easy on yourself!

  8. Adjusting to a new saddle is really, really hard. I still don't adore mine if it makes you feel any better!

  9. We always add 5 points to any combined test score because they are notoriously generous at combined tests, lol! Even so, a 35-37 is competitive at Midsouth if you can go clear in the other phases!

    I totally understand about the scoring though. Last year, I got frustrated every time we didn't really get ribbons. Or top 5. Man I was hard on him. I mean you really can't look at the scores- you have to look at your own personal growth and realize that, with time, the scores will come. I think this is a great goal: "The only thing I really want to happen is for us to be able to jump without our usual fight, me nitpicking and Loki blowing through my half halts. I just want to be able to get through stadium and XC with some semblance of fluidity. Oh and to smile. I want to remember to smile! :)" If those things are accomplished, you should be happy. If a ribbon comes with it, then you should be happy with that, too!

    Also, I think the saddle looks like it fits perfect... maybe you're so use to riding in something that doesn't fit that it seems weird!!

  10. Oh my gosh- I do the same thing every time at shows! Prior to my classes I'm like- just schooling a greenie! Then after I cry because I didn't beat all the kids on their ponies. Seriously.
    I probably need to define a specific goal and when I've achieved that goal- success! Regardless of score or ribbon! Yours could be "cool new saddle." Whoops- you've already done that :)

  11. Love the new saddle! And good luck at Midsouth -- most important thing is to have fun. If you accomplish that, I'd call it a win!