Riding is enormous fun until the saddle starts to chafe the sensitive parts of your body!
Once that happens it only gets worse until eventually you have to stop riding for a couple of weeks to let everything heal. But when you get back into the saddle, your issues start all over again.
This had been happening to me consistently over the past few years. At my last recognized show, I was in such agony I didn’t even want to ride on the second day. But my friends told me I’d spent so much money entering the competition that I ought to finish it.
After those agonizing last two rides, I became determined to find a solution to this painful problem - and giving up riding wasn’t it!
My two specific issues were bruising and chafing between my legs and bad sores on my butt.
Most women (or men) don’t like to discuss this embarrassing topic with others. I suspect partly because we assume we must be riding badly - and who wants to admit that?
But when I did dare broach the subject with a riding friend my age, she mentioned the fact that women’s nether regions become drier as we go through menopause. That gave me an aha! moment, which led to my discovering the way to ride in comfort again.
1. Save Your Seat!
Invest in a real sheepskin saddle ‘seat saver.’ I recommend the Vast Merino Fleece English saddle Seat Saver currently for sale on Amazon for $49.99. Mine has lasted for decades, just to give you an idea of how well made it is. The Western one is more expensive at $87.99.
This seat saver gives wonderful soft comfort in the saddle, is machine washable, and easy to put on or take off. You’ll instantly relax on your horse when your butt sinks into the deep wool!
You will have to take it off for recognized shows, but no one has complained when I rode in mine at schooling shows.
2. Pants Power
If, like me, you don't have enough money to buy a week’s supply of specially reinforced dressage underpants at $34 plus a pair, here’s a cheaper way.
Wear two pairs of underpants every time you ride. Your normal underpants are fine, just as long as they are comfortable.
Combine this with the next two solutions and you’ll be amazed at the difference.
3. (P)added Protection
Buy a roll of foam from Walmart - the thicker the better.
Cut off a strip the width of your underpants’ crotch, long enough to fold in three and place between your legs, over the first pair of underpants. Your second pair of underpants will keep it in place.
You now have a cushion to sit on in addition to the seat saver.
4. Grease Monkey
This solution applies especially to post-menopausal women riders!
Buy a large, cheap tub of vaseline. Before each ride, smear generous amounts over any area that is painful when you ride and this will prevent chafing.
For extra healing properties, you can add tea tree oil to the Vaseline before you apply it.
5. Easy Does It
It took me a long time to make the connection between getting sores on my butt and the way I was riding. But I finally realized my troubles begin whenever I’m stiff and clamped in the saddle.
A classic example is when I’m performing trot half-pass. Instead of being loose and relaxed, I tighten up my butt. My poor horse can’t do what I’m asking of him and my rear-end complains, too!
Once I maintained a soft position in the saddle, together with the help of the other tips, there was no more rubbing and my horse moved way better. It wasn't until I got off my horse that I realized I'd been pain free during the entire ride!
If you’re suffering from soreness and chafing in the saddle, try these tips. You’ll no longer be in pain and will look forward to riding again!
Horses are my big obsession, and I'm constantly striving to get better, smarter and more in harmony with my equine buddy, Cruz Bay.
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