On our ride today I borrowed Belinda's Abetta western saddle. Now, I would never buy a synthetic saddle as I really love the feel and tradition of leather. But, I thought it might be good to try a western saddle because I have considered a Circle Y Arab saddle. I did feel more secure with the high cantle behind me. The stirrups really hurt the outsides of my knees though. I didn't have that problem with Sallie's western saddle on Pete even though it was brand new a cheap leather. We did have to punch new holes in Belinda's stirrups to shorten them, I wonder if they were too short.
Boomer was a real ass on this ride today. We headed up the road and got about a 1/4 mile and he started going sideways, backwards, down in the ditch, etc. I was kicking and popping him with my reins and he was just getting madder and madder. He wouldn't follow the other horses either. I tired getting off and walking. He still wouldn't go north up the road. So we walked a circle and headed back. We passed the road to the barn and continued south because I wanted him to know that he wasn't winning by getting to go back to the barn. He didn't fight at passing the barn road at all. When we turned around to head back north TO THE BARN, he freaked out again. In some lady's yard, when she was standing there watching us with her dog. Finally, I just kept him backing up when he started going back away from the road. I got him backed up onto the road and he turned him around and he was a little slow, but he went. I was so frustrated. I just don't have the confidence I need to deal with that. In the arena, I wouldn't hesitate to get after him and get what I wanted. But on a road, in someone's yard, 1/4 mile from a highway, I just can't do it. I am afraid that he will step into the drainage ditch and hurt himself, I am afraid of getting thrown off and him running out to the highway, you just can't know what could happen. I know people who may think, oh you just need to have better control of him and that starts at home. Well, he is a gentleman in the arena, and I can move his hips and shoulders wherever I point them. But, when he doesn't want to do something, I can't force him. This is the first time he has ever acted like that and I don't know what his problem was. We went down the same road on Monday and he was fine. It is hard to work on something like that when you are in an uncontrolled situation like being on a road or trail. Though, after I backed him and got him going again, he was fine for the whole rest of the ride. We rode the barns trails for about an hour and he was fine going through mud, standing so I could get a water from Belinda and hand it back, and he didn't even freak out when he had a vine wrap around his back leg! Overall, he was very good, but there was still that ass in him that I hate to see.
Back to the saddle issue, I did feel very secure with the cantle of the saddle being so high, but it really hurt my knees. I am just not sure a western saddle is the right choice for me. I don't know if it was stirrup length, position, or twist, but it wasn't good! Sallie's cheap western saddle didn't torque my knees too badly and I was the one breaking it in! So, even though I don't actually have the money to spend on another saddle, I am trying to choose between the Arabian Saddle Co Solstice and the Circle Y Mojave Arab saddle. The Solstice has a nice deep seat, longer flaps, and small knee rolls. It looks like it would really hold you in a comfortable position. It almost seems like a dressage saddle to me. It would have the stirrups I am used to and the feel I am used too. It is also fully customizable and is custom fit to your horse. Price: $2300. The Mojave is a western saddle built on an arab tree. Not much else to know about it. Price: $1500.
I really want the Solstice, but it really is cost prohibitive. Though, if I have learned anything in my years it is that spending money on a good saddle/tack is worth it as they can last for decades if well taken care of.
To sum up my life right now: Chemistry is hard, my horse is bad, and I want a new saddle.