Saddles, Saddles Everywhere!

by Equestriangradstudent

I did not get to ride today (well not really ride, I did fit in a quick spin on the Wavy man). And strangely enough I’m not that disappointed. The saddle fitter was here, so we played around with my many saddles. I also got to test ride a brand new Frank Baines. I loved it. Ave did not. That’s probably a good thing as I’m not sure I need more saddles.

Over the span of several hours, between teaching classes, the saddle fitter reflocked my old Max Hopfner (my very first dressage saddle), refit both Albions and helped determine extra padding for the Devoucoux. It was such a process because we ended up switching which Albion goes on which pony. I learned that some horses prefer a tighter fit, and Avery is one of them. My plan had been to check the SL on Abs again, fit the SLK to Avery and reflock the Hopfner for general use. I had bought the  SLK for a general use dressage saddle but figured that Waves deserves his own saddle since we’re taking this seriously now. So I’m back to using the Hopfner on other horses while I dream of my next saddle. I’ve an eye on a Devoucoux Makila, but that’s definitely a far future purchase. Dreaming aside for the moment, I’ve switched the SL to Avery and the SLK to Abs, which I think will be good because I was definitely feeling not quite right atop of Avery. I’ll find out tomorrow if that swap helped!

We discussed why Avery is so hard to fit while we were making all these adjustments. Apparently his withers go on forever. So not only are they extremely high, they’re also extremely long. The joys of owning a Thoroughbred, I guess. He’s been getting grouchier about saddling since our move to the Manor, and despite chiropractic work, massages and Soft Touch girths, it’s gotten progressively worse. I’m hoping this switch will helped, as he seemed less angry about the SL than anything else we tried.

I wish this woman would move to my new job with me! This is the second time she’s fitted saddles for me. She came out for the school, not just me, but she spent quite a lot of time with me and my diva-like ponies. She didn’t charge me for the time spent assessing the Devoucoux, even though I dragged out every pad I own to try to make it fit and made her go through all of them (I was right about what to use, yay!). Even though it doesn’t fit Abs very well, the Beval sheepskin half pad helps out greatly. I like this saddle (it’s a Chiberta, in case you were wondering) because it fits me perfectly and I feel extremely secure in it. My jumping has improved so much in it. The only thing I don’t like is the foam flocking because it can’t be adjusted as easily as wool. I’d love to get this saddle fit to Abs before we start competing again, but it just won’t happen. If only I had the money for a custom one. A brand new Chiberta, how beautiful would that be?

Well, honestly, not that beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, any well-made saddle is beautiful. There’s just something about an already broken in, well cared for saddle that is completely irresistible to me. I’ve never bought a new saddle and I don’t know that I ever will. The breaking-in process seems quite painful and I’ve had some excellent luck with used saddles. That Frank Baines was quite nice, though.

I will not buy another saddle before the move. I will NOT.

I must keep telling myself that.