There’s Something About Manny

12 19 canter

I’ve been having the best time riding my friend Amy’s magnificent horse, Manny.  A hunter/jumper by trade, Manny has lovely, correct gaits and is a forward and fun ride.   And for some reason, I’ve been having fantastic rides on him, producing what Christy says is some of my best work … ever.

Aside from Manny’s general awesomeness,  I’ve spent some time wondering why it’s been relatively easy for me to put Manny together, getting him connected and through,  and then maintaining that.   While he doesn’t have a lot of dressage training, he is responsive, so that’s part of it.  And conformationally speaking, his neck is placed on the shoulder higher than Derby’s and I’m pretty sure Manny is level if not uphill, versus Derbs, who is, to tell the truth, built a bit downhill.

On my most recent ride on Manny, as I was fairly effortlessly holding a nicely connected trot together and successfully managing to keep Manny’s preferred evasions (going through the outside shoulder, ignoring half-halts, going onto his forehand) in check, it dawned on me that it could be the saddle.  I’ve been using one of Christy’s saddles on Manny – an earlier-model Wintec Isabell – and I suspect that as comfy as my Albion is, the Wintec allows me to stay in better balance, and in a more effective position.   I don’t have to fight to find and hold my position – I can simply go here and keep it in the Wintec.

So I tried it on Derby on my next ride, and the resistance and fussiness I’ve been experiencing lately pretty much disappeared and the quality of our work improved.   A look at the two pictures below. comparing my position in the Albion and the Wintec, reveals the difference in my position these saddles make.

My position on the downbeat of the post) in the Albion.

My position on the downbeat of the post) in the Albion.


The same point in the stride (downbeat of the post) but in the Wintec. I’m sitting more upright, my hip angle is more open, and my horse is rounder.

The rich irony here is the fact that I have, over the years, bought and sold four 18″ Wintec Isabells.  FOUR.  I’m going to give it a few more rides in Christy’s saddle,  but I’m afraid there may be a new saddle in my future!

About Sarah Skerik
Sarah Skerik is an experienced digital business executive and strategist with a long track record of success in team leadership, employee development, marketing and business development.

4 Responses to There’s Something About Manny

  1. JM Miller says:

    Hi Sarah- I learned of your blog when I read the e-book “Unlocking Social Media,” which was a great primer on social media. As an aspiring adult dressage rider (and PR & communications person by day), I was really excited to read about your riding experiences. I’m commenting on your post because I am a firm believer in saddle fit for both horse and rider. I never thought it mattered that much. But I was having some stiffness issues with my mare when I rode in my hunter saddle so I started riding in my trainer’s dressage saddle. The difference was amazing. Better gaits and movement and best of all, no stiffness. It also placed me in the correct position. I would not have believed it had I not experienced it. The dressage saddle we use is called the Ansur Excel ( It’s a treeless which some riders don’t like but I can’t argue with success. All the horses at my barn go better in it.
    Best, Jennifer

    • Sarah Skerik says:

      Hi Jennifer – thanks for making it over to my “off duty” blog. I have heard great things about Ansur saddles – a woman in my barn swears by them too. I decided to go with the Isabel, however, because I know that it really works for me and my build. Riding in a saddle in which you’re balanced (versus fighting) is a revelation! I swung over you your blog – your mare Iz is darling. I’ll check back often! Happy new year to you both.

      • JM Miller says:

        Hi Sarah – Iz is a sweet mare and I’m lucky to have her. Also, thanks for checking out my blog. I haven’t been at it long but its fun to write about riding. I really enjoy reading your blog so thanks for sharing your experiences. Good luck with the Isabel saddle, I’ve heard good things about them as well. Best, Jennifer

  2. Best wishes for a happy, healthy New Year to you and Derby!! (((♡♡♡)))

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: