I wanted to be a cowgirl, I really did. I tried and tried and tried. I tried multiple saddles, and each one failed me. It was not meant to be. I am not a cowgirl.
After almost two years of hip pain, I finally realized that there were two saddles in particular that were contributing to it - my beautiful JJ Maxwell western saddle, and my Heather Moffett Vogue treeless saddle (granted, that isn't a cowgirl saddle, but it did contribute to my problem). I finally gave up on them and sold them. I found a Circle Y trail saddle that had a narrower twist and gave that a try, and that failed me, too. I bartered it and all my western saddle pads, spurs, bridle, chinks, and cinches away. The only thing I have left is my bosal and mecate because those were gifts and I can't get rid of them for sentimental reasons.
And you know what? I am feeling better. Well, getting rid of the saddles and finding an amazing chiropractor who does applied kinesiology are what most did the trick.
But after a gradual transition from my jumping saddle (because it had the narrowest twist and allowed me to comfortably ease back into riding Mac) to my dressage saddle, I am happy to say I am feeling like myself again. And I know it sounds remedial, but I CANTERED MAC YESTERDAY!!!!! I probably hadn't cantered him in a year because that was the gait that caused me the most hip pain and had me contorting myself on the floor to try to stretch or pop my back, sacrum, and hip. But I cantered him, and it was WONDERFUL! He felt so good! HE was so good. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy. No muss, no fuss. Smooth transition, smooth canter, nice circles, and moments of his back coming up underneath me....ahhhh, heaven!
So I am happy to say that I am no longer trying to be something I am not. I am embracing my natural state as a rider whose comfort zone (literally) is doing dressage, and because of that I am happy in my skin, in my saddle, and with my horse.