The snow is melting, the trail crews are back at it, and you have got new shoes nailed on the ponies, you’re ready!!! As you are loading your tack back into the trailer after a way too long winter, you look at your old saddle, wishing you had the cash to go buy a new one. Since you didn’t win the lottery it looks like its going to be another year in the old trusted saddle. It’s only your first trip out and you’re already hobbling back to work on Monday morning… Something needs to be done about your saddle situation. Again, you know you can’t afford the new one you want and those cheaper ones out there are junk, and you know you’re better off sticking with what you have. Now that you have decided to stick with the old tried and true saddle, there is a couple thinks you can do to improve your comfort. Let’s start with stirrups… We’ve all been told and or read over the years, that at the end of the ride if your butts sore your stirrup leathers are adjusted to long and if your knees are sore then you have things adjusted to short. Well that’s true to a point, but the angle those stirrup sit at makes a HUGE difference!!! I started riding slanted aluminum stirrups several years ago, they have made my life so much better. This style of stirrup takes the pressure off my knees. I can ride all day long and I no longer have to take my right foot out of the stirrup and swing it around to get blood flowing again, It’s sooooo nice. The right stirrups not only helps your knees they will improve your posture as you ride which in turn helps the rest of your body.
There are a ton of different stirrups on the market, made out of everything from copper to plastic and in every shape and size, find a set that is comfortable and works for you. While you are switching stirrups look at those saddle strings. If they are short, broken, chewed off by a deer looking for salt or you never had them to start with, get some new long ones. Tying stuff up and out of the way or not having to hold that jacket after it warms up. Finally look into getting some horn bags to put your extra belongings in. To start with the access is way easier to get into since they are in front of you than behind you like saddle bags and its better for your animal by splitting the weight between the shoulders and having all that weight located directly above their kidneys. When looking at saddle bags, they are now sewing them with a curve to them, which throws the bags forward of the saddle giving the rider more room in the seat. That old saddle really isn’t that bad, just give it a helping hand.
See you on the trail