Thursday, March 3, 2016

Final Voyage in the Demo UltraLight


Or at least, good enough.

Took my final ride in the UltraLight this morning. The purpose of this excursion was to see if adding a pommel bolster to the saddle would improve the pokiness under my thigh from the wide-twist frame rails.

Such a basic thing. A Sensation saddle pommel bolster - triangle of felt with velcro on top and bottom, filled with something foamy. Given the size of the seat on this saddle, I need a bolster a little longer than this stubby one, but I was able to stuff it in where I wanted it under the sheep and get a feel of how it could work.

It was a highly scientific experiment. Take pommel bolster, stuff it under the sheep in the front of the saddle, get on the horse, wriggle the bolster around until it gives appropriate propping.

It wasn't exactly a finessed concept (nor did it stay in place, predictably - it kept slipping backwards), but it was good enough for my purposes. Adding just that little bit of padding caused me to have to put my stirrups up one hole. Shortening the stirrups means that I'm slightly higher in the seat, which in turn changes the geometry - makes me less splayed and puts the wide "frame rails" further down my leg - and indeed, the wideness was a lot less bothersome this morning. Frankly I was surprised how little it took.

Geometry of why adding the pommel bolster works

According to my training schedule, I'm supposed to ride 10 miles this coming weekend. Given that this coming weekend is due to bring us 4" of rain, I opted to move my ride up to the last available non-raining day = this morning.

You can see the weather coming in. Everything is very green this time of year. 

pft came with me and we rode another lap of Cool (since it's half-way to work), this time with a fair amount of relaxed trotting thrown in - relaxed for me and for Fergus - good sign. We trotted some slight downhills, just to give me a feel for the balance point; and we trotted some twisty knee-knockers, to see if I could; and at one point when my sheep leg came untied from the back billet, I was able to swivel sideways in the saddle and stick my bum far enough off the opposite side to be able to reach down and retie it - not something I could do in my Sensation.

Shimming for both the Fergus side and the Lucy side still need attention, but I've seen enough to be able to tell that I ought to be able to make it work for both of us.

Narrow knee-knockers meant for some fancy trick riding - something I'm happy to say I was comfortable doing in the UltraLight

And so tomorrow I have to send the saddle on its way to its next demo-customer. I'm sad to see it go and, EuroLight trials notwithstanding, hope that I'll have one a lot like it sitting back in my tack room soon.

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