After 5 years, I am feeling a bit like the chick in the kid’s book “Are you my mother?”
Overall, I have sat in a ridiculous numbers of saddles and researched a ridiculous number of saddles… and touched a ridiculous number of saddles. Sooo when Holly offered to let me try her saddle a few weeks ago I was… incredibly skeptical. After all, I wanted a monoflap and countys weren’t wide enough for my horse.
Well… the last time I had actually put a wide county on May was about 3 years ago. A time when May was not in much of a regular program. Also, I have no idea what model I put on her back… or how far forward I had it. So when we threw Holly’s saddle onto her back, I was more than a little surprised at how well it fit.
Well it didn’t matter how well it fit May because it definitely wouldn’t work for me. That flatter seat with the big HONKING blocks? I was a girl that had hated every saddle with big blocks that I had sat in. In fact, my first ride in Holly’s saddle wasn’t a total home run. The change in balance point had me doing weird things in the saddle.
But… it was the best thing I had to ride in. I changed my set up in terms of pads, girths, and stirrups… and suddenly found myself feeling pretty secure. (Turns out, big blocks aren’t so bad when they don’t interfere with where your leg should be.)
One small problem though. Or rather, a not small enough problem. My behind needed a slightly larger seat. So I set off to find one.
Initial finds were… beautiful… but not quite right. A basically brand new version with adjustable blocks? Gorgeous… but a low flap and a $4K price tag knocked that one out of contention.
Finally, I found one. An older saddle but with a few upgrades and without too much wear and tear for under $2K. I made an offer and then sat back and waited. Eventually, we negotiated down to a price I could pull the trigger on now and that the seller could feel good about. The seller confessed that the saddle hadn’t been used in a while, since she had a kid and stopped eventing. No worries!
The saddle showed up and… it smells like it has been sitting. It is stiff and the “nylon outside and fleece lined cover” turned out not to be a county cover. It need the flocking adjusted and the billets should probably be replaced before show season starts.
However, despite the cosmetic stuff, it is in great shape. The musty smell turned out to be that cover, which now has a new home covering lessons saddles. The stiff panels, while SQUEAKING LIKE THE DEVIL, show no signs of cracking. After an oil and a couple of rides, they are already softening up. (Although, I am seriously tempted to just ride in the thing in the rain and then oil accordingly.) The billets are stretched a bit, but they show no sign of cracking and are plenty secure. All things that are easy to fix and worth the work for the price I got this one for.
The color has deepened a bit with oil. But for me, the test was riding in it. Despite the noise (I had to get into 2 point to hear anyone while walking the first time I rode in it), the balance is incredible. The transition from 2 point to full seat and back is seamless, and I don’t feel myself being thrown back or forward at any point.
My biggest issue now? Unlearning the bad habits that formed in my old saddle. Number one? My habit of kicking my feet out in front of me at the base of a fence. Doing that now throws off my balance, where before that was the only thing keeping me in balance. Now, the name of the game is just letting my weight sink into my heels at the base. Easier said than done I guess.
Oh and… I need an entirely new set of muscles now that I am riding with my leg actually underneath me. Ugh.
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Yay!!!!!!! Congrats on finally finding the one!
now I just need it to stop sounding like a cheap motel bed 😉
Saddles are so annoying! My trainer just told me to stop riding in my saddle because she doesn’t like what it’s doing to my position on Nay. That saddle at least sort of kind of fits him. My other saddle… doesn’t. There is a lesson saddle that I can use but it’s a 16 and I’m not a 16 (and if I show up and a lesson person is using it, I’m out of luck, not that there are that many lessons). So, I have one more saddle at home I can try. I doesn’t fit me at all (seat is too big) and it will throw me in a chair seat and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be too narrow for Nay, but at this point… I’ll try it. That and wait for Michele’s zaldi!
But, I’m so excited for you! And for the first time in my life, I get the saddle frustrations that everyone is talking about. For some reason, I’ve managed to skip these most of my life. And I’m regretting selling my old stubben a few years ago… But, no sense buy a saddle until Nay has developed some kind of muscling… But, know that I’m very envious right now!
Oh man. I feel that. My trainer LOATHED my old saddle. Since it was the only thing in the barn that fit May (because everything else is a thoroughbred), she was forced to ride in it whenever I had pro rides. Let’s just say, I think she is happy to see me (and May) in something different.
I’m such a nerd that the title took me straight to the “Are you my Mummy” episode of Doctor Who which was CREEPY AS FUCK so I like your version better.
Glad that the saddle seems to be working out! Maybe a nice deep hot oil/saran wrap treatment? Just make sure the squeaking definitely isn’t coming from the tree/popped rivet. If you’re sure it’s not, dumping some baby powder in the cracks can help too.
OMG that Doctor Who episode. SHIVERS! HAHAHAHA….me too Amanda me too. And YAY on finding a saddle that fits you both 🙂
I hate you both haahha
Way to take my super wholesome reference and turn it into something creepy af. Of course, now I want to go track down that episode.
As for the squeaking, I am very sure it is just the flaps. It goes away when I have all my weight in my stirrups, and I can recreate it on the ground by moving the flaps against one another. I have it on video… It was that loud.
I have flexed the tree all over the place with no noise (or flexion). And oiling the flaps has already dampened the sound a good amount. I have an independent saddle fitter coming out in early March, so I’ll have her double check too.
Ugh saddles. It never ends.
You can always count on me to make something creepy AF.
Does sound like the tree is totally fine then!
Michele sent me the video link… thanks ya’ll
Good luck living with that in your brain.
Woot! I’m glad it’s working!! That’s got to be a relief! And I totally feel you on the new sets of muscles. When I transitioned from my old western saddle to the one I have currently, all of my muscles had to relearn everything because they were so used to fighting the old saddle. Everything was sore for like 2 weeks LOL. You can do it tho!!
Yeah like… did you know that your thighs should be involved? lol And your core… and not just your lower back attempting to keep everything in place and then aching like the devil? SHOCKING NEWS TO ME.
Wahoo! Congrats on getting a great-for-you saddle. Hopefully those new muscles develop STAT lol
I guess tis the season for dropping your stirrups, right? haha
Yay – a saddle that fits! Boo – now you have no excuse for not being able to ride properly!!
Right? Oh my leg isn’t perfect? I guess I just dont know how to ride.
so happy you finally found a saddle that works for you! even better that it seems in great condition after some oil. I bet you position improves quickly now you dont have to fight so much.