Wednesday, September 1, 2010


When I first started taking dressage lessons, I was so thrilled with the prospect of building up my horses top-line.  I just knew that his bony withers could fill out more and his loins could be fuller.  I was so excited to see that process happen and I just couldn't wait.  

Slowly, over time, I have started to see change.  His withers are wider and fuller with less definition between wither and shoulder blade.  His back is flatter and not as hollow.  

I continued to grow more excited with the muscular beast my horse was becoming.  Until one day when his saddle stopped fitting.  This was a few months ago.  My Crosby Prix Des Nations is a medium tree and was pinching the withers.  Boomer showed his displeasure at anything faster than a walk by twitching the skin on his shoulders and swishing his tail.  

I was able to borrow a Wintec All-Purpose saddle that is either a MW or W tree and it fits him well.  It isn't my favorite saddle, but it fits and that is what is important.  

My western saddle has been in the garage for about 6 weeks while I was working on getting replacement fenders.  I finally got the fenders and brought the saddle out to ride in.  I figured I would be more comfortable and secure in the western saddle while pregnant.  

Well, what do you know.  It doesn't fit either.  When I put it on, it sort of sat above him, like it couldn't slide down into place.  I thought maybe it had just gotten stiff from being on the stand in the garage for so long.  I wiggled it down on him and girthed up.  I lunged him before I got on and all seemed fine.  I got on and immediately knew something was up.  As soon as I sat down, Boomer started twitching his shoulders like he had a fly on him.  He just kept doing that as we walked around.  As soon as I asked for the trot, he started swishing his tail like crazy.  He was also resisting the bit a little, but not anything terrible.  I hopped off, slid the saddle back a few inches to free up his shoulders and got back on.  It helped a little with the skim twitching, but the tail swishing started back up as soon as we picked up the trot.  I wasn't in the mood to see if cantering would bring about bucking, so I hopped off and called it a day.  Disappointing is an understatement at this point.  

I am in an uncomfortable position where I own two saddles that don't fit my horse and don't particularly love the saddle that I am borrowing, which does fit.  

I have been hanging on to my Crosby for these last few months because it holds a lot of sentimental value.  However, it doesn't fit me or my horse.  At first, I thought to myself that I would hang on to it in case Boomer changes shape again and needs a narrower saddle.  However, the more I think about that, the less is makes sense.  It is much better to have a saddle be too wide, as you can shim it with an extra pad.  With a saddle too narrow, it just sits and collects dust.  Now, I am leaning towards selling both of my saddles to be able to afford a dressage saddle that actually fits.  Should Boomer get more narrow, I can always use an extra pad to shim.  I have a distinct feeling that there is no way Boomer will ever be wider than a wide tree saddle.  If he does grow more, well, we will tackle that when it comes time.  

I guess my chore for the weekend is to get my saddles listed on eBay.  I will do a post here in a few days with a list of the items I will be selling along with my saddles.  (mohair cinch, neoprene cinch, cantle pack, etc.)


~ C said...

Bummer. I'm in somewhat of the same position. I have a western saddle which I won as an award saddle (= very sentimental), which is too narrow (semi-QH bars). I have an english Solstice which I LOVED LOVED LOVED with my other horse, and it SEEMS like it's going to fit Diego, but I've started to realize I want something more secure. So now I'm in the same boat. Looking at possibly selling my two existing saddles to finance the purchase of a new one. I have a loaner from a friend right now, that works but I do know I want something a bit different. I'm pretty sure I want either a Sensation Hybrid, or some other treeless with a bit of a pommel, a twist, and a more "english" feel. But I hate the thought of selling, to buy one that I'm not sure will work. I'm going to keep what I have until I demo one that I love. I also need to put a few long rides in on my Solstice, to determine for sure that I want something different.

This isn't really much help, =) other than to know that you're not alone with your frustrations! LOL I'll whine along with you.

Sally said...

Just getting caught up and AWWWWW! Wonderful news, love babies! Interesting about your saddles, would love to hear more about the western one! :)

Heather said...

Yeah, saddle fitting is such a pain! Boomer was really very consistent in his shape just until the last 6 months or so. He has been getting worked much harder and more directly in line with a dressage mindset, which has basically been like body building for his shoulders and back. He looks great, but my beloved saddles are just collecting dust. I have my eye on a Crosby Prix St George dressage saddle, used with a wide tree. I figure I can always pad up if he loses muscle tone in slow months.

Sally- my western saddle is an 80's model Circle Y, 15 inch seat with an arab tree and rounded skirt. It is a wonderful little saddle and was GREAT for trail. Puts my in a very secure, correct position and gave me a lot of confidence. Very well taken care of. I've owned it for about 18 months. I did just replace the fenders, as the old ones had just worn out and after 10 hours of riding through water, they just gave up. The new fenders are the same color as the saddle was originally, but they haven't darkened to match yet and don't have matching tooling. Can't see the lack of tooling while you are riding and the color is so close you really can't tell the fenders are a shade lighter. It is a dark oil as was popular with arabs back in the 80's. I replaced the rigging when I bought it. It is a really great saddle and I might be more sad about losing it than I am about my Crosby- but don't quote me on that! It just puts me in such a nice position that made me feel so secure!

Oh well, clearly I am being sentimental. But you gotta do what you gotta do. Plan on having saddles and accessories posted for sale on eBay this weekend. Sigh.

Amanda Mc said...

Heather, I understand not wanting to get rid of a saddle you're sentimental about - I have had the same close-contact Courbette jumping saddle for nearly 10 years now (it's waterproof cover collected dust during the polo years) and thankfully it still fits me and it fits Sunny. It will be a sad day if I ever have to get rid of it

Shanster said...

Yeah - it is a pretty important piece of equipment and should fit correctly... even if his topline is reverting... I would try to find a good fitting saddle because the flocking can always be adjusted but when a saddle fits your horse... it's a good thing for YOU and THEM. And you can find one that fits him and you.

I went thru the nightmare of saddle fitting with much dread... found a consignment saddle that is super comfy for me and fits Sera vs. sitting on her withers and squashing her and making her less than compliant in working with me... you'll find one! And usually if you find a consignment place, they let you test the saddles for a week or more which then gives you something to ride in. Win-win!