Welcoming Back an Old Friend

Bast is growing up. This year he's EIGHT! That seems to mean his back is settling on a final shape. I've noticed his withers are a little more prominent than in his 6 year old year, when they basically flattened out completely. That was the year he decided my old Barnsby was too narrow and uncomfortable, and I borrowed a wide saddle from Emma to help make him more comfortable.
It might've had a seat like plastic, but this saddle was so needed (and so generously lent).
This borrowed saddle was wide enough for Bast's growing back, but also slippery and with too shallow of a seat for me. My stability was non-existent in it, and began creating a massive problem with the canter departs. It wasn't helping me get a handle on the bolting problem, either. Bast has always been very sensitive to my balance as a rider. So, while this saddle was a great stop gap, it needed replaced by the end of that year.

My trainer sold me an old Custom, and I fell in love with it. The knee rolls were more significant than my borrowed saddle, and the seat was deep enough to give my unstable hip some support. Bast's canter departs immediately got better, and his confidence shot up.
I love feeling secure in the saddle. I know I'm not alone here.
It's been a year in the Custom. Despite several fittings, I think it's too wide for Bast. It slips slightly from side to side, which creates an instability. With my tendencies toward leaning, this has made developing first level and into second increasingly difficult. I haven't been sure if it's me or Bast or the saddle causing the biggest issue. Something needed to change, though.
Trying, and failing, to keep my body straight and stable above this horse.
On a whim, I drove down to Pig's tack room and grabbed his old saddle. I haven't used it on him in months, preferring to ride bareback anyway. I wondered if Bast's eight year old back and recently sprung withers would once again find some comfort in this old saddle.

From the initial look of things, it was promising.
Looking good to start!
Though the wither allowance on this saddle is laughable on Bast (it soars above his withers like an airplane over middle America), the panels seem to lay really nicely again. I girthed it up and rode in it, resulting in completely even sweat marks on the pad. Best of all? The horse went better than ever, and I didn't seem to be falling off the horse completely to the right.

Did we find our solution?
Gosh I hope so...
I'm still not sure if the issue we'd been fighting had been the saddle fit for Bast or myself (or both), but the change has overall been quite positive. Best of all? This saddle feels like coming home. It saw Pig and I go from 1st level to 4th, so a lot of my riding style was developed in its slightly too small seat. It isn't a perfect saddle for me, but right now it's perfect for where we are.

Thanks old friend. I'm glad I didn't sell you.
Maybe someday Bast will graduate to Pig's big boy bridle, too!


  1. Horses change so much as they grow and get conditioned. I feel like we all need about 10 saddles to choose from.....

  2. THIS IS SO EXCITING. I can't imagine how awesome it must feel to get back in that saddle.

    And also the reason I am loathe to sell off my saddles. Hence the two free saddle racks in the tack room lmao.

  3. i'm so so so SO OVER dealing with saddles that don't fit *me,* that i can't balance in or find that perfect sweet neutral spot. turns out, my horse is way happier when i'm balanced too -- like he goes from having to wear two separate entities (the rider and the saddle) to carrying one cohesive balanced unit. so glad to hear the Barnsby is fitting that bill now that Bast has filled out a bit!

  4. Yay for a new (old) saddle that works for both of you!

  5. Saddle fitting is one sixth circle of Hell I'm sure, but how cool is it that he gets to wear Pig's saddle!! A piece of history and a piece of Pig with you on every ride with Bast - that is pretty cool.

  6. Hope this is the golden ticket because saddle shopping is the WORST.

  7. it soars above his withers like an airplane over middle America this made me spit coffee out this am hahahah omg dying laughing. So glad you found something to work right now for you and Bast. YAY!!


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