Hero to Zero
On Sunday, January 6th I booked my very first saddle fiting appointment. We started with my Dressage Saddle (Zaldi Kira Klass). I had noticed it was fitting wider/lower in the front, which triggered my desire to do a fitting. I’d never done a saddle fitting in the past, so it was really interesting to go through it all. I think I’m well versed enough to note the obvious things in life, but I got a lot out of the appointment. First we started with an overview of Kidd’s current body condition and muscling (or lack of), and she also checked for any structural irregularities, soreness or tension. We didn’t find much in that regard, and we pulled out my Dressage Saddle to get a closer look. The initial impression was as I discovered; and we decided rather than press the tree, we would play with the flocking. We also discussed that though my saddle is a little long for Kidd’s short back, it is the unfortunate nature of the beast considering I have been ‘blessed’ in the booty department. That being said, the saddle itself is quite well balanced with the least amount of contact at the back of the panels so it ‘passed’. Interestingly enough, upon doing some saddle surgery we discovered my saddle has been adjusted in the past. While it’s not a big deal, it is interesting to me because it was never mentioned when I purchased it as a “essentially brand new, used less than 10x” saddle. Regardless after adding some flocking to the front and back and taking a little less out of the middle, we were able to balance the saddle more than before, and together we opted not to ride in it.
Then we went to adjust my Jump Saddle, which by nature is putting significantly more strain on his back and loin, plus one panel was flatter than the other. We decided to reflock it as well, but quickly discovered it is synthetically flocked, which made it significantly more difficult to work with as opposed to wool. We were able to make it a little better, but she wanted to see me ride in it to see how it sat with weight in the saddle. It was getting late in the day and the arena was packed, and I was feeling bad that the saddle fitter had to fiddle with my jump saddle for so long getting the flocking to balance. As such, we quickly tacked him up and I went straight to the mounting block and hopped on in a hectic arena. As soon as I hit the saddle, Kidd felt weird. Different. Completely opposite from our fabulous ride the day before. He felt like he wanted to pile me, and it was a little unnerving. I tried to get him to stand still but decided it would have been a better choice to pick my battles, and just let him get his feet moving. He was anxious, distracted and felt like he was ready to explode at any moment. Regardless, I continued to reassure him and ignore his spooks and worked on some walk/trot transitions. The second time I asked him to trot, after about half a circle all hell broke loose.
We were going down. It happened so fast, the last thing I remember is making the decision to bail because he wasn’t going to save it. Instinctually, I kicked my feet out of my stirrups and attempted to dismount mid-fall, but my timing was off and as his butt got higher, I got sent forward in a half-cartwheel style motion, and ended up face first in the sand; scorpioned and the uneasy feeling of thinking Kidd was going to be landing on me any second.. Tuck, Roll and brace for the impact of 1000lb’s coming crushing down on me. It’s amazing how time seems to slow down in situations like that. Suddenly, you find yourself questioning weird things like why Grapefruits are a thing, when there is already fruit called a Grape.. and how your life will change if you’re paralyzed in the next 5 seconds.
Someone was watching over me that day, because Kidd managed to avoid coming down on top of me, and one of the 8 people I was sharing the arena with (seriously, why do these things always happen when there is tons of people around) managed to grab Kidd for me while I dusted myself off. I tried to ignore the people who were surrounding me with worry, hopped up, and grabbed Kidd. I checked him to ensure he was okay, then got back on him. He was still very worried and didn’t want to stand still when I got back on, but I walked him a few circles and got off. I’m still not sure why it happened, but it did. Luckily none of us were hurt beyond some sore muscles and a bruised and rug-burned forehead, but we were okay. I can’t say that it was related to the Jump Saddle as I’ve ridden Kidd in it for the past few years, but regardless the fitter recommended I find another saddle if I plan to jump more frequently as it’s just not a great fit for Kidd’s back type.
Because it’s semi related, but too short of a story to do an entire blog post about, I lunged Kidd the next day (full tacked, with my Dressage saddle) because my forehead was too sore to get a helmet on and he went around his usual lovely self... until he fell again. Now I’m confused – fluke, or is something going on? I had a Vet Appointment scheduled for that Wednesday, so I decided to give him Tuesday off. It’s a good thing I did, because I went home to find Kai walking on 3 legs due to a puncture wound (seriously horse??!!!!?). I’ll save my Vet Woe’s for my next post, but it’s amazing how fast sh*t can hit the fan. Hero to Zero.