I was having a hard time with the school saddle. I had been using it for a few months and I had come to the conclusion that it was too small for GM and it was way too small for my butt. It felt like I was sitting on a piece of wood. The Instructor said he could get me a good saddle, but it was going to cost $2,000.00. I decided to take the plunge. I thought that if, down the road, I decided that riding was not for me, I could sell it. When I told my husband what I was doing, his eyebrows rose ever so slightly, but he had the good sense not to say anything. He knew that if he did, I would immediately question his golf membership and golf-related expenses. My order was placed and after 6 weeks of waiting, it finally arrived. It was beautiful!! I was the envy of the barn. I couldn’t believe the difference. It was soooooo comfortable.
GM's tummy was a tad too big for the regular girth that came with the saddle. Unfortunately for GM (or maybe fortunately) they don't make Spanx for horses. Off I went to get an extender. This little device added an extra 5 inches to the girth and hid discretely under the saddle flap. No need for GM to be embarrassed!
I did not want to risk having one of the younger students taking my new saddle out for a spin when I wasn’t there, so I took it home with me after each lesson and stored it in my basement. Carrying it up and down the stairs was a work out for me in the beginning and walking back and forth from the car with it was also taxing. But, over time it became easier. Could it be that I was actually starting to get some flexibility and muscle tone???
My new saddle made me realize how my body was changing....subtle changes, but changes none the less. It occurred to me that I wasn’t dropping the girth as often when I was carrying it back and forth. I wasn't banging my fingers on the gate when I opened and shut it while holding the saddle in my arms. The weight of my new piece of leather used to pitch me forward, causing me to stumbled down the pathway. No longer an issue; my coordination was improving. Eventually, I could easily lift my saddle up and gently place it on GM's back. My saddle measured improvement, but it also highlighted problem areas. After a few months of using my saddle, I noticed that the leather was wearing in certain places from the stirrup straps rubbing against it, an indication that my legs were not as "quiet" as they should be. Having a beautiful expensive saddle did not guarantee that my riding skills would improve.
After I got my saddle, I went out and bought my own grooming supplies - assorted brushes and combs, hoof pick, sponge - and a carrying case to put it all in. I purchased my own red crop, saddle pad and a halter; basic black, of course. I upgraded my boots, bought beautiful insulated riding gloves and a neck warmer. I was now able to carry my saddle AND my grooming supplies back and forth in one go. One day when I was grooming GM, one of the boarders at the stables noticed all of my supplies and my gorgeous saddle and said “Geez, you need your own horse to go with all that stuff!” The seed was planted.
What was I thinking….?