Confusion All Around

At my last lesson Barbara wanted me to balance PJ and then go forward.  Today she just wanted me to go go go.  But I couldn’t couldn’t couldn’t.  I was driving as hard as I could but PJ wasn’t going anywhere.  She tried to explain what I needed to do with my core to drive him.  She adjusted my position and worked on getting me to be looser in my joints.  I get that.  Okay.  The new position feels like I’m tipped forward a little but if that is correct, then I can reproduce that feeling.  The joint thing I get too.  I know I don’t bounce through my joints as much as I should.  But it wasn’t the whole story.

Barbara also said that I sit to the back of the cantle of my saddle and that was probably why I wasn’t being effective in my driving aids.  I tried everything to fix that issue but nothing I did worked.  I really think it is my saddle.  I bought my saddle for “my old guy,” Fletcher.  My then trainer had the same brand/model and let me try it in the middle of a lesson.  Fletcher went instantly better – freer in the shoulder, more forward and over the back.  I cried for days thinking that my current saddle must be hurting for him to not go as well in it (nothing else was different).  Well, the store owner gave me a GREAT deal on a new saddle that was supposed to be just like my trainer’s but it didn’t feel the same as hers.  I was told that’s normal because each is handmade so they are all a little different.  And now I’m two horses later and still not thrilled with this saddle.  It could definitely be me because Bridget doesn’t let whatever saddle she’s in compromise her position, but I’m dealing with many more issues.  I’m trying to figure out this dressage thing, and the horse is trying to figure out this dressage thing. I don’t want to keep fighting my saddle, if that’s the issue.  To try to find out, I’m going to ride in a few different saddles at the barn and then have a saddle fitter/seller come in with a bunch of models and try different ones out.  I think I will know when something feels better than what I have.

I’m just so frustrated.  Is it my position? My timing? My strength? PJ being lazy (I don’t think so)? PJ being confused? The saddle? And why did Barbara concentrate on balance one day and then say what sounded like the opposite the next day? I’ll have to ask her that one at my next lesson – her next student came into the ring and I was just so confused I didn’t want to start a conversation she didn’t have time to finish.  And of course, this bad ride clouded my entire day…

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