Since my last big lightbulb moment with Kiki, I've been kind of at a loss as to what to do. I've ridden her a bit in my jump saddle. I've ridden a ton bareback. I've tried to take a little time to reevaluate.
In general I've been really pleased with the progress of the last few weeks. There are moments when I still doubt myself, moments where it all still seems really hard and fruitless, but also an increasing number of moments where things feel satisfying and right. As long as those moments continue to increase in frequency, I'm ok.
Recently, I've started hunting around for dressage saddles I can borrow for a little while so that I can start adding that piece back in. The bareback has been really fun, but it's whacked out my position a bit (I've gotten stronger in my leg and seat, but it's hard for me to motivate to be really correct in my core and upper body without a saddle... my problem, I know, but there you are) and in the long run I've got to get a working saddle if I want to compete again. Fortunately, I think I've found a saddle that I can borrow for a little while that fits Kiki pretty darn well.
But more than that (and here's the lightbulb of the day), it fits me amazingly. Holy cow. Riding in this saddle has made me realize that I'd never until now sat in a dressage saddle that was big enough for my freakishly long thigh (as in, you may think you have long thighs, but you haven't seen mine: my father is 3" taller than I am (6' versus 5'9") and I'm almost 2" longer than he is in the thigh; the only reason I'm not 6'1" is that I also have a suspiciously short torso).
It was revolutionary. Suddenly I could sit as easily as I do bareback (something which has never been true for me before, because, I'm realizing, I've always been fighting against too-tight blocks and seats). I felt like I wasn't collapsing or contorting my upper body nearly as much to try to stay balanced. It was free, easy, and smooth, even when Kiki was being difficult. Wow. Wow wow wow wow wow. I think I'm in love.
I feel like this fall has been the season of saddle discoveries. I'm not sure how many more surprises I can take in that department, but at least this one was a lot more pleasant than the last...