After spending what seems like endless months searching for a saddle that not only fit and pleases my finicky horse, but also fits my extremely long femur, the search has finally brought me to this saddle:
Say hello to my new Collegiate Convertible Diploma (with a long flap ;)). After sitting in many saddles, such as HDRs; Cicruits; Marcel Toulouses; even a few Pessoas and Bates, I fell in love with this saddle. The flap length works well for me when I do anything and everything from flat work to jumping, the seat isn't hard like a rock, the leather is a much nicer quality than some of the others I've sat in, it fits Jet like a custom saddle, and the seat has the perfect depth and twist to please my personnal preferences. I just LOVE this saddle.
The first time I rode in it, I had a bit of a mishap. I was putting it through my test run (w/t/c, half seat, sitting trot, how it felt with no stirrups, jumping, etc) and Jet decided that it would be more fun to see what I look like going over a fence while he stayed on the other side and watched.
He had been acting a bit funny that day. It might have been the weather, or something caught his eye, I have no idea. I was definitely jacked up and ready to go. I knew that he felt ok in the saddle because when we tried the last saddle on him, he was jacked up but instead he wouldn't move. All he did was buck in place and pin his ears. He does this with any saddle he isn't 100% happy in. But he was moving around just fine with the Collegiate.
My Aunt (my instructor) set up a large crossrail so I could start to test jump in the new saddle. He pulled some of his usual "I haven't jumped in a while so I'm gonna test you before I go over it" stunts which include buldging out, running out, going fast, supermaning, or going nice and forward to the jump, then just trotting over it like it's a groundpole. This day, he added a new one to the list. For the first time, he actually straight out refused with a dirty stop. The few times before we went over before he stopped, he was flying through and supermaning. After I reminded him that he does have to listen to my aids, I finally got him going nice and slow and steady to the jump and then BAM, he stopped. I would have been fine if he didn't proceed to tuck his head between his front legs and fly backwards. I went over his head, knocked over the jump and landed on my knee. Jet just stood still with the "OH SHIT! I didn't mean to do that! I'm so sorry!" face on. From the ground, it looked like he was about to come jump the pile of poles where the jump used to be and were I was but thankfully, he didn't. I'm just glad I didn't land on my head again like I have the past three times I've fallen off. I'd consider that a lucky break!
When I stood up to go fetch my refusing horse, I could already tell my knee just wasn't right. When I got back in that saddle and started riding, I was in serious pain. But, I kept riding and working with Jet until we finally worked everything out and he was jumping it like a pro. As soon as I put him away, I checked on my knee. It was already burising and swollen.
I took some Advil and decided to suck it up. Bad idea. Two days after the fall, I was in a dodgeball tournament at school (it was a group of my friends from my major - Large Animals - so we called ourselves the Moo Croo). We won the costume contest for the tournament! We all dressed up like cows. In our first and only match, I managed to get pegged in the knee and fall and twist it. We were the only all-girl team so needless to say, we didn't win our match, even though it technically should have been a tie! I went home that night with an extremely sore knee.
Now, more than a week after the fall, my knee is just now starting to feel better. I can ride without it hurting but if I over work it or hit it on something, I'll be close to tears. It gets better and better each day so hopefully I'll be 100% soon.