Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Saddle Work

I bought my saddle (a Cliff Barnsby (AVG) Anky van Grunsven) on Facebook a couple of years ago. Though it was initially very wide on Guinness, I didn't have the ability to do much about it. So, I padded it up and rode in it. Amazingly, Guinness started putting on muscle and weight around his withers almost immediately. Six months after I purchased the saddle, it was no longer a horrible fit for him.

Prescient saddle buying? Is that a thing? 
The saddle the first day I had it. So wide it ate saddle pads...
It's been a long time since I purchased that saddle, and I have been dying to have it looked at. I have felt like the fit is still off slightly, plus it needed new billets. Thankfully, my fellow boarding friend had Annette from Hastilow Competition Saddles out to look at her own saddle. I grabbed Annette and asked if she would mind looking at mine, too.

Annette was awesome. I didn't think the fit on my saddle was that terrible, and I told her upfront "purchasing another saddle is out of the question." She completely understood and told me she thought what we would have work fine with a little help.
The saddle at the end of August. Fit looking okay, but could be better.
After taking tracings (which I've never had done before!), she looked at the saddle. She determined it needed a little more flocking in front (which I agreed with heartily!), and was slightly horrified by condition of split billets. She also suggested we change my billets from standard configuration to a point billet set up. Again, I couldn't have agreed more. She packed up my saddle and promised to have it back in three days.
Saddle fit from the front, prior to refitting. Just a little too dipped down in front. 
As someone who once waited over a week for the Amish guy in the next town over to put three stitches in my bridle, I was floored by her timeliness. Amazingly, she even had the saddle back a day early.

I can't rave about her work enough. The saddle looks lovely. The point billets have made a huge difference in how it sits. No longer does it try to shift forward or cause the girth to pull awkwardly. The new billets are also sturdy and lovely. The reflocking is noticeable when I sit in the saddle. It's easier to sit up and keep my seat in the right place.
Looking great today!
I think I'll keep this saddle around a bit longer. Though, I'm still lusting after a fancy Custom with a super deep seat...

26 comments:

  1. Glad the saddle altering fixed your problems!

    Also is the remote hanging off your saddle in the last pic for a training collar? If so I have the same one for Sonny!

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    1. It totally is!! I use a remote collar for Lyra, though, I'm thinking she's trained enough to switch it to Sonka! We scared up some deer the other day, and Lyra just lay down while Sonka chased them a good half a mile. Bad Black Dog!

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    2. It totally is!! I use a remote collar for Lyra, though, I'm thinking she's trained enough to switch it to Sonka! We scared up some deer the other day, and Lyra just lay down while Sonka chased them a good half a mile. Bad Black Dog!

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  2. see everyone else has all these nice saddle fit success stories (looks great, btw) and i'm just sitting here with my fully adjustable tree and wool flocked panels that just REFUSE to fit my mare. ugh.

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    1. Baaaaah. I think Isabel secretly wants you to go bareback.... ;) Let me know if you need Annette's info.

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    2. Baaaaah. I think Isabel secretly wants you to go bareback.... ;) Let me know if you need Annette's info.

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  3. I'm so jealous. Your saddle looks great. I wish I could get something to fit my little monster.

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    1. You know... I sold a friend of mine my super old (1980s) County saddle for her saddlebred. It fit like a dream. That weird thin and curvy shape that fit NO OTHER HORSE fit him perfectly. Just a thought....

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  4. What a fantastic resource!! The flocking/tracing etc made a huge difference for us too. :-)

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    1. It was so cool. I won't lie, I've always been totally confused about how to actually do a tracing...

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  5. I've never even thought about switching my regular billets out for point billets! I think I'm going to put that on my request list when work's saddle guy is back in town. ;)

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    1. Omg. It made a huge difference! It's even more obvious in person than in photos.

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  6. Woohoo! It looks awesome! I need to get the fitter out for my guy, I'm also just padding it up at this point. I don't know if it will ever fit him super well, but like you, buying a new saddle is completely out of the question for me too!

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    1. Padding isn't always terrible. I know this goes against some people's theory, but if the saddle isn't causing soreness or sourness from the horse, I don't see a problem with padding it to make it work. I think that's why I prefer saddles that are a smidgen too wide!

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  7. a well fitted saddle is essential! bought my just over 2 years ago, had it fitted, checked last fall and this year, it was completely off! had it re-fitted and now Hafl is happy again! shows how much ponies change - even during a short time frame!

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    1. Absolutely! You guys are doing so much harder work now, too. Hafl is much bigger and muscular! :)

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  8. that looks much better. Once I get a saddle I HATE changing it.

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    1. I don't mind a change, but I do mind the massive dent in my savings account!! ;)

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  9. Looks great! I love my Custom :)

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  10. if I ever win the lottery I throw some money your way, until then lovely saddle and glad you had a great experience :D

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  11. I love Annette and the HCS team! If you see her again give her a hug for me

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    1. Absolutely will do! We chatted about you a little already. I remember you gave me her name when I was looking for NS curbs!

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