PostHeaderIcon Bless the Cantle and Pommel

Dressage Lucky Star

Western saddles have a seat defined by the cantle and the pommel.  The cantle is the owner of the saddle horn.  The pommel is the owner of the back of the seat.  When you swing a leg over your horse to sit on a western saddle, the pommel and cantle gently guide your seat into the correct position on the saddle.  ”Plop” and you are seated where you are meant to be.

Today, Lucky Star and I borrowed a dressage saddle.  Dressage saddles have no saddle horn.  That’s what I was worried about.  I don’t hang onto the saddle horn when I ride, but I really love the horn to be there if I need it. I might be diagnosed with saddle horn anxiety!

Now it was time to mount the cute and handsome Lucky Star wearing the dressage saddle so nicely.

I swung my leg over and sat down.  Horrors and horror came over me.  Have you ever rode a ferris wheel in those wooden seats?  Remember how the ferris wheel has to unload and load new people and you go up, stop and up.  Remember how it feels when your ferris wheel seat stops at the top.  Your body freezes and tries to stay balanced.  Otherwise, the ferris wheel seat will swing too far and spill you out to the ground.  That’s the feeling I had.  I was out of balance on top of the ferris wheel waiting for it to move and spill me out.

I was unbalanced, unsteady and had Lucky moved, I might have fallen off.  I screamed the acceptable horse screams.  The acceptable scream is more like alarm moanings.  I moaned in fear.  I moaned a couple of times.  I drew the attention of the wonderful instructor, Jenny Vaught.  She raised her voice across the arena and told me I was sitting on the end of the saddle.  ”Move forward”, she instructed.  ”Move my body I thought in alarm?” If I move my body, it will tumble to the ground.  Another instruction, “You are sitting too far back on the saddle.  You need to move forward,”  Jenny said.  Jenny always knows when one of her students is in trouble.

I moved forward about a half inch.  I was proud of my body that it was able to move.  ”More, move forward more,” Jenny instructed.  This time, I was able to move forward in the saddle about an inch.  I was starting to believe that I could successfully inch forward on the seat.

Now Jenny was getting really close to where I was frozen in the saddle.  ”Move forward more,” she instructed.  Jenny got to my side and pointed at the front of the place where my legs were supposed to be.  See this pad?  This is where your legs are supposed to be.  Your legs are to be nestled next to these pads.

I was able to inch forward, feeling more and more in balance. Finally, my legs made it to the required position and my seat was situated in the spot meant for it to be in.  I felt a calm come over me as I realized, my balance had returned.

Thank you Lucky Star for your “I’m not moving” dominant attitude.  Lucky Star stood steadfast and brave while I was completely off balance and moaning in fear.

Thank you Jenny for rescuing me.  Whew!

Lucky managed to keep me on top of him rather than being smashed to the ground during the remainder of the lesson.  We even went medium fast for short spurts.

Tomorrow I return to a saddle with a pommel, a cantle and a horn.  Bless the western saddle!

Cowboy Lucky Star

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