Back to the Isabel – for now

IMG_9694 It’s been that kind of week.  You know the kind – when the fact that you brushed out you horse’s tail (oh, and it looked awesome!) for the first time in months, and you were too gratified – waaaayyyy too gratified – by the results.   It *is* looking pretty good.

In reality my angst was driven by the realization that my Albion saddle – with it’s deep seat, big blocks and sticky leather – has turned me into a lazy and less-effective rider.  I’ve pulled my old Isabel out, found a half-pad (a Mattes with ThinLine shims) that works for Derby, and put myself to work.

I’m still dealing with IT band issues on my right leg – that injury isn’t resolved – but as I’m working in the Isabel, I’m also working on my right-side weakness.  After a few frankly ugly rides, I was finally able to put things together somewhat today.   I got to the barn early and rode Derby outside, working in the deeper footing, and I was able to keep him round and engaged for most of the ride.  It’s progress. The Isabel works my core and helps me find my balance in ways the Albion doesn’t, as evidenced by the grossly ineffective ride I hand when giving the Isabel a shot a week ago.  I’m planning to keep the Isabel in the rotation, because it requires so much more of me as a rider.