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.

wintec

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!