Bimini and I have a new County Perfection Saddle! Yippee! I’m so excited. I think it’s the nicest thing that I have of my very own. Of course it’s all due to many more generous hearts. County is a sponsor of Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival, and they awarded a prize of a new County saddle of the recipient’s choice to the winner of the Second Level Division. I was able to win the saddle back in 2011 when Betsy Tyler let me borrow her darling horse Romeo for the show. Let me tell you, that Betsy girl has one extraordinarily beautiful soul. County is amazing for awarding such an awesome prize, and I’m so thankful to them for honoring it all these years later! Many many many thanks to Dressage4Kids for making such an opportunity possible and to Marie McCullouch of Finger Lakes Saddle Solutions for putting everything together and making it happen!
I’ve always enjoyed riding in Courtney’s County Perfection saddles, but I’d like to think there is just something extra special about this one. It has the slightly longer flap to accommodate my legs, and it really feels like home. I don’t tend to be very high maintenance when it comes to the saddle fitting ME. As long as the horse is happy, I’m used to making anything work. But from the very first step of trot on Bimini I had to shout, “I love this saddle!” I feel like I can connect with Bimini more easily and that I can relax any tendencies to fight the tack and just ride. It takes away the noise I didn’t realize I had been tuning out. Yay for a saddle that was built to hug my body without interfering AND make a happy horsey!
Bimini has been clearly so much happier having his very own clothes. He has been sharing saddles with other horses that don’t quite fit the way that they should and having back soreness as a result. Within a couple of days of working in his new County, Bimini really felt like a different horse; this saddle has him so much more naturally relaxed over his topline and willing to connect.
After we got some hours in the new saddle, Marie McCullouch, our County representative came to make sure it was just right for Bimi. She came on the first day back to work after Courtney and I had been in Kentucky for a clinic for a few days, so I didn’t expect Bimi to be at his very best, but he had his halo polished and ready for his stretchy start. As Marie progressed through the adjustments she would fix a little something and then Bimi and I would test it out to see how it felt. The saddle continued to feel very nice to ride in for me, though midway through the adjustments Bimi’s collected work was a bit tight. It was seemingly normal resistance and I chalked it up to our first day back to work; however, it amazed me that Bimi’s back and willingness to collect changed dramatically after Marie’s final little adjustment. I didn’t change my riding or school anything to make him better in that time, the final shift of the wool just made him clearly so much more comfortable and free to use his top line!
Thanks again to all the contributors to this sport making these kinds of opportunities possible left and right. You’re awesome.