Sunday, November 18, 2007

The saddle on my horse's back: Part I

I need a new saddle. Its a simple as that. My current one was $200. Yes... one of those saddles. Made of cheap and smelly leather that had the black rubbing off it within a month. Its hard, its uncomfortable and its just plain not nice. It hinders my efforts to stay in the correct position. It also pinches my poor thighs terribly, especially when I'm jumping. Its guaranteed that some pretty purple bruises will appear soon after a hard jumping lesson.

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.


Anne said...

Saddle shopping is fun and stressful. Good luck!

It's also hard to tell when you're riding a saddle that hasn't been broken in. You may want to borrow used models to see how you like them. There's a big difference between new and broken in.

Good luck and keep us posted!

photogchic said...

Definately see if you can take them home and try them before purchase. The one I thought I liked turned out to be the most uncomfortable. Good luck!

Wayne Jones said...

When I bought my horse 'Archie' I had to wait for six weeks, my local saddlery messed up three times, in the end I stopped my order, so for the first six weeks rode him bareback around the gallops, I then found a little saddler in Winchester walked in asked for a fitting, little old man popped his head over the counter top & said, yes give me the address very next day on time he arrived ! measured my horse then me, had the saddle in under 5 days made by hand in their shop. It did however cost more money but it fits my horse & I like a glove ! if you not having a saddle made tell them to let you take 2-3 saddles home to try, do they not visit you to measure ? can you take your horse to them for a fitting ? you must have a saddle that fits your horse correctly then fits you...