Now don't get me wrong. My saddle has served its purpose. It hasn't hurt Reds back and its only let me down three times, when a stirrup dropped off (this happened twice last weekend). But frankly the saddle has to go. It will be retired into my tack room (which is still in the making) and my new one will replace it.
Now to find a new one. I'm sure anyone who has bought a saddle before will agree with me that it can be a difficult business. Every horse is different, as is every person and finding a saddle that fits both can be hard.
Personally I'm looking a for a close contact saddle, aka a jumping saddle. I really am more keen on jumping then dressage, but thats probably because my dressage has always been the weakest of all my phases. I also have a dressage saddle so that won't be a problem. I want a saddle that has a easy change gullet system so I can adjust the saddle as Red adjusts his muscles. So far these two are my favourites:
The Collegiate Graduate Close Contact Saddle
The Bates Caprilli Close Contact Saddle
I'm leaning towards the Collegiate at the moment. Simply because in the Tack Reviews I've read on the Bates saddle it seems that the leather is incredibly soft and marks easily. But if the Bates fits Red and I better then the Collegiate, then I'll go with that.
In The saddle on my horse's back: Part II - We get the Saddle fitter out to fit these two, and possibly even some other saddles on Red. Keep your eyes open for the next instalment.