March 18, 2012

Riding in the Prestige Venus K

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Today was the second day of the test ride in the Prestige Venus K monoflap. Yesterday when I rode, it was in the small square ring behind the barn. That ring is on a slight incline and not quite large enough to have a straight line for any distance. Kasane did very well in the small ring yesterday, but I didn’t have a chance to ride in the larger ring because of a lesson going on.

This afternoon was a good opportunity to try riding in the saddle in the larger ring. I lunged Kasane on the line and then put the saddle on her. Chris fro the barn kept me company and watched Kasane while I road. This was the interesting part: I hadn’t had someone watch me ride Kasane to report how she moved in the Venus K saddle versus my Courbette Magic dressage.

Since I first started riding Kasane, she took a while to start to track properly (for her front feet and back feet to track the same hoof prints). I had thought it was because she was adjusting to having a rider, etc. I never thought it might be the saddle fit. Chris said that from the time I asked Kasane to walk on after I got on her, she tracked straight. That’s a HUGE difference. Kasane was also more forward at the trot. She felt freer with her movement.

Chris corrected my position a few times, which was very helpful. She pointed out that I was holding my hands at an angle instead of thumbs up. (I was taught to hold my hands at the same angle as the horse’s withers.) Once I corrected where my hand position, Kasane responded better to the reins. At one point, Chris had me stop and drop my stirrups. She checked the position of where the saddle puts my legs and where my legs fall naturally (great match). We decided that my regular stirrup leathers were set too short, but we weren’t able to fix them at the time.

Towards the end, I asked Kasane to trot again. This time I sat and rode like I was riding Isis (sitting back, riding by visualizing lifting up the front end and freeing her shoulders). We trotted around the end of the ring and then turned to trot across the middle and changed direction. When I did that, I heard Chris say, “Oh my.” 🙂 Chris said that was the first time she had ever seen Kasane trot with suspension (in other words, Kasane had lift and hang time in her trot.).

BIG improvements. Chris, who has watched me ride Kasane since the first ride, said it was the best she had ever seen Kasane — and it was the best she had ever seen me ride.

Wow. Huge endorsement for this saddle.

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