Thursday, October 1, 2015

Trying a New Saddle, or "Someone Sponsor Me"

I mentioned in the first Stephen Birchall clinic post that my saddle fit isn't perfect. I've known that since I bought the thing, but it's the best I've been able to find/afford. Now, I'm thinking both Pig and I may have outgrown it.

I've developed a theory that as you ascend the levels in dressage, you get pickier about your equipment. While this saddle was fine (great, even) at getting me through the woes of 1st-2nd-3rd level, I'm thinking I fight it too much to really make huge improvements improving at 3rd.
Here's a picture of me sitting terribly to drive home my point.
For me: The seat in the saddle is a little too far back and not as deep as I would prefer. The flaps are also cut a little too forward for me, causing me to like to shoot my legs out in front of me, or lose my balance and shoot them back.
For Pig: The saddle is a touch too wide at the wither and a touch too narrow over his shoulders. (Now. It used to be waaay to wide everywhere. Horse has seriously bulked up.) He's started acting a little more resistant to saddling, and had a stint of possible saddle soreness two months ago (tightening up the girth seems to have helped the issue).

I could probably get the saddle reflocked to help it fit Pig better, but that will do nothing for me. Unfortunately, I'm also not allowed to buy a saddle until I land a full-time job. (Freelancing part time does not a saddle payment make...)

Of course, that didn't stop me from trying a barn friend's lovely Custom the other day...
Oooh, I'm interested...
While the saddle is fit for my friend's now-retired horse, I had hopes it might do okay on Pig. I'm still up in the air. It seemed a touch wide at the withers (but maybe just as wide as the current saddle), but didn't actually rub his withers during our ride. I didn't use a fluffy pad, just to be sure I was evaluating fit by the withers properly. The saddle also bridges slightly right in the middle of Pig's back.

Now. I know bridging can be bad, but I've also heard mild bridging isn't so bad. I would call this case mild. Pig didn't object to the saddle, but he rarely shows a huge difference where saddle fit is concerned.
I have the saddle a smidgen too far forward here. (I seem to always do this when first using a new saddle. Ugh.)
I'm not 100% sure how well a Custom fitter could mold this saddle to Pig's back. I've heard great things about Custom, but it's still a saddle with a tree. You can only do so much.

As for me? Hooooooooooooooooooooooooooo boy. I love it. The flaps are a smidge short for me, but not enough to hinder anything. The seat is perfection. I stick right in the right place and my hips SPRING open. It's glorious. That deep seat is 100% what I crave. In fact, the seat is so deep I hardly touch the thighblocks. They are useful when doing things like changes, but otherwise aren't more than gentle reinforcement of the seat.

Guys. I need this saddle.

Think I can qualify my saddle dreams as a 501c charitable donation? Huh? Huh??!

Yeah... me neither. Damn.

30 comments:

  1. Hehehe, it seems to be the time for new saddles for everyone! Interesting about the thigh blocks. I always see that kind of block and think, "Argh! Restriction!" and then I keep away from the saddle because I've sat in enough other saddles that "hold you in" (mostly Trilogy) that their owners swear by and I hate because it's eating my thigh and butt. I can't say I know much about the bridging thing.

    I would just ask to borrow it for a while, or maybe do payments? Is it actually for sale, or just for sale to the right person?

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    1. It's quietly for sale right now. She has another horse and another saddle, but also isn't needing the money from it right now. Payments might be a possibility if I land a full time job.

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  2. It's soooo prettyyyyy. You can probably just sell a kidney or something.

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    1. Totally. Here, have some of my liver, too!

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    2. That one grows back so its like a neverending resource!!

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    3. I dunno... I like wine an awful lot

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  3. I want a new saddle too. But sadly, it's not in my budget right now either. I just window shop online a lot.

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  4. I am about to be in the same position. There is a County rep coming in a couple weeks. I've told her I can't afford new, but I'm still going to try some saddles. I will live to regret this. Good luck with your search. I have a love/hate relationship with saddle shopping.

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    1. Ugh. I love and hate County. Pushy reps make me crazy, but the saddles are really nice. When they fit they are fantastic, the problem is getting them to fit.

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  5. Look at hole in the wall used tack stores! I got my Custom Versailles (an old monoflap model) for $600 + tax. It was green, needed repairs, and someone had clearly dropped it or chewed on it. But after this thing, I will never ride in another brand of saddle, I LOVE their seats. Like I wish I could bring my saddle to work and sit in it all day. I'm hoping poor TC grows into it because it's a tad on the wide side for him but I can't just up and buy a new saddle right now. Especially not for a horse who is still growing!

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    1. Is it frowned on to ride with two or three fleece pads under there? ;)

      Seriously Custom is THE BEST. I have loved every single one I've ever sat in (and my old trainer and Lou both ride in Customs, so I've put my butt in a lot of them!). Any clue how easy they are to adjust. I've heard they are pretty flexible with adjustments...

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  6. Oh man, Customs...we have a couple on consigment chilling in the store right now and their prices are bananas. They seem so comfortable, though!

    I second Megan's advice- start checking hole-in-the-wall tack stores in weird parts of the country. You will eventually find something that has been sitting in a store for 8+ years that the owner has forgotten about it and will take a very cheap amount of money for!

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    1. I think Megan might have found the deal of a century. I'd have jumped on that too!!

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  7. Wow! That is a really nice saddle!!!

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  8. I bought my saddle from a friend (with my same conformation!!) who also had a custom. I got to ride her horse in the custom one time and it was soooooo nice. :-) Ah well. My saddle fits us both.

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    1. Yeah, I wouldn't lust so much if I wasn't kind of over fighting my saddle. That said, my hips were wicked sore after riding in this sucker!

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  9. sooo pretty.... what's a little extra money down the tubes anyway, right? the dogs don't have to eat gourmet every day ya know!

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    1. More like I'd be sharing their food!!!

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  10. I hear you on the saddle woes. If you find one that works for both you it's worth the money. That said, I love my Kent and Masters saddle - it's affordable and it has an adjustable gullet which is a huge plus.

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    1. It's only worth the money if you actually have the money, which is honestly the issue. ;)

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  11. My trainer is trying to get me to ride in her Custom. I'm afraid to do it, because I'll love it too much and want one for myself. Because obviously at Training level I need a $$$$$$ saddle.

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  12. I was toying with the idea of setting up a go fund me page as an alternatice to birthday gifts tgisbyear as i hit the big 3-0 in a few weeks. I was thinking of using the cash for saddle purposes as Nancy needs her own saddle & Kika's probably needs some rejigging.. .but I've been too shy to set it up and think it probably a bit geeky even though I'd rather people donate a fiver than spending more money on something I'll never use. *sigh*

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    1. Girl. I feel you. I better get nothing but breeches and cash for Christmas. Or this saddle. I'll take that, too.

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  13. I ride in a Custom Revolution and I LOVE it. It's deep, and it just keeps me where I need to be. I am jinxing myself here, but it also keeps me on my horses' back no matter how hard they spin or spook. It fits Speedy really well, but is a bit wide on Izzy, although over the past few months the fit is getting better and better as he continues to build a top line. I bought mine online for a total steal. It looked completely brand new, but I only paid around $2300 for it.

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    1. oops .. should have added that it has the buffalo leather which makes it butter soft and super grippy.

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    2. Girl. You are making me drool. Knock that off and continue with your awesome self. :)

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