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Dressage Saddles

by Schleese

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Recently my husband purchased me the Obrigado saddle for my short backed thoroughbred mare. Who knew my long thoroughbreds actually had short backs? For nearly two years prior I had been riding her in a saddle which I didn't know fit horribly improperly for her. It was too long and too tight and it put me in a horrible seat. I knew it wasn't great but it wasn't until I met with a coach who pointed out just how bad it was. During that time, I had attributed my mare’s behavior of "running out" from under me and hollowing her back to prance around as simple behavior and "full of piss and vinegar" for the first 10 minutes of every ride. I assumed it was just a habit from her racing days. Once it was pointed out to me that it was actually a pain response to her saddle I felt horrible and sick! Immediately getting rid of the saddle I spent the next few months riding her bareback at a walk (oh those withers!) Waiting for the saddle fitter to come and help us find an alternative. Riding bareback I found I sat right up front directly behind her whither and with my leg falling naturally right behind her leg. A quiet spot that made me feel the most at one with her and that gave me a proper seat. Natalie (the fitter) arrived in the early spring and we tried a number of saddles for my mare. Each time, she'd race around the arena semi in control with me constantly trying to find my way back to "my seat". Poor Natalie probably thought we were terribly suited to each other as we ripped circles and kicked up dust. One speed that was all we had. Finally we put the Obrigado on. I climbed into the saddle and (feeling slightly defeated...and embarrassed) off we went. I could tell something was different immediately at the walk. My mare was happy! She was relaxed! With her head down low and her back much higher she had found her saddle. I asked for a trot and we got one from a content horse. No more short steps and hollowed back. A canter was a canter! Not that semi controlled hand gallop with her trying to get out from under me or the saddle. I had a horse with more gears than simply 1st and 5th. And I love that it keeps me sitting right there up front where I like to be and without the double flap I can't help but forget there's a saddle there at all between me and my horse. Tricksy picked her saddle within moments of it being put on her back with undoubtedly a sigh of gratitude that I could easily feel and my coach could clearly see. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you is all there is to say to the folks who designed this saddle for horses like mine and riders like me.

— Lindsey Horner - Peace River, AB

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