Monday, January 19, 2015

my unicorn

Our appointment with the saddle fitter this weekend didn't really go exactly to plan. It turned into more of a 'consultation,' with plans to regroup again later when we have saddles that might actually work... 

Wick came up lame in the lesson earlier too, so riding him to test out saddles wasn't really an option. Plus, it was pretty cold out, and I somehow parked my trailer in the ONLY shady area in the field. Not really sure how I managed that one... 


So instead, the fitter mostly just gave us a crash course in how to find the points of the saddle, and make sure that they're placed in the correct location on the horse's back. Then she showed us how to test if the tree is too wide or if there will be movement. She then demonstrated this with the county... le sigh, such a pretty saddle too... 


Only one of the saddles we brought had a narrow tree - and this was the one she liked the most. It's the wool-flocked Bates saddle that wasn't particularly inspiring to sit in at the tack shop, but that we brought along anyway for unknown reasons (since neither of us really liked it haha). 



But it actually fit Isabel pretty well. There were some imbalances still that the fitter felt could be worked out by reflocking. And I test rode in it to get a feel for how Isabel went, and whether it was comfortable. It definitely fits better than the wintec! 


The saddle is quite over-priced for its condition, tho, and I'm honestly not really in love with it. So I don't think I'll make an offer on it.... But I'll probably ride a few more times in it (if I can find a place to actually ride) before the trial period is up

our arena is covered in a sheet of ice... boo

So the fitter gave me this description of what to look for: 
  • 28 cm tree
  • 17" seat (Isabel's back is too short for anything bigger)
  • minimal gusseting (maybe 1 inch)
  • wool flocking
And she also recommended that I get an anatomical girth (probably a 46" for Isabel). 

The plan is to do a little more digging around for saddles now that we have a better idea of what the horses need, then we'll regroup. So, uh, if any of you happen to have a saddle matching the above description, hit me up!


28 comments:

  1. At least now you know what to look for! Best of luck on the search

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    1. thanks!! having more specific criteria really helps narrow it down (haha that was a pun there) :)

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  2. Saddle shopping is always an exercise in patience. I just don't like the all purpose look of that Bates personally. In general they don't tend to put you in the best position for jumping. I'm not sure what your budget is, but maybe a Bates Caprilli?
    If you can't seem to find something locally, I had great luck calling places. In particular, allthebestusedsaddles.com (which is really Beval used saddles) was really helpful on the phone and they have lots of selection in varying price ranges.

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    1. that saddle is listed as a bates close contact cross country saddle - not an all purpose, but it's SUPER old i think. i will look into the caprilli - thanks for the recommendation!

      thanks also for the website! i've had a few recommended to me, but they're all bookmarked on my work computer (oops) so i'll have to wait to do more shopping until i'm in the office, er, working. lol.

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  3. Well sounds like it didn't go exactly to plan, but you have lots of information now!? Best of luck on your hunt :)

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    1. thanks! i think, even tho it didnt' go according to plan, it went better than otherwise. she essentially gave us a free consultation with the understanding that we'd contact her when we really needed a fitting/reflocking. works for me!!

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  4. Good luck! I poked around at work, and we unfortunately don't have anything that might even sort of work for you! (We primarily deal with dressage saddles, so no big surprise.)

    If you like the saddle, don't be shy about making an offer! (As long as it's reasonably within what the going rate for those saddles are.) LOTS of our saddles have been sitting around on consignment for months- or sometimes YEARS! Consignors are sometimes pleasantly surprised to remember that they had a saddle for sale and get a few hundred bucks. (This is how I got my dressage saddle; I offered about 35% less than the consignor was asking and they accepted because the saddle had been sitting around since 2008!)

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    1. thanks for looking at work!! definitely lmk if anything comes through that might work!! :)

      and thanks also for the insight of behind-the-scenes at the shop - i'm SO TORN about making an offer on this saddle. on the one hand, it works better for both isabel and me than our wintec... but on the other hand it definitely isn't love...

      my max payment for this saddle is 60% of the listed price... and part of me thinks it's too insulting to even offer that... but maybe i should try?

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    2. Okay, I did some hunting at work and rustled up a Passier PS Baum that I was SURE we had- I was afraid someone had it out on trial, but turns out it just got misplaced in the dressage saddle section. (Here's the link: http://bit.ly/1EsH6F1)

      I've emailed Passier to see if they can tell me what year it was manufactured and what the tree size is. I'd judge it as narrow to medium, but who knows. It may be moot anyway, since Passiers can be adjusted.

      I promise the color isn't as hideous as the photos make it out to be! (If you're interested, I can take some and see if I can capture it looking more normal.) It's also been here since 2010, so I imagine you could get it for less than they're asking.

      I wouldn't be afraid of offending anyone with a low offer. Your stores probably do what we do- someone makes an offer, we call the seller and say, "Hello, someone wants to give you $XXX for your saddle. Do you want to accept that?" Usually, people say yes or no immediately, although occasionally they'll take a day to think about it. Then we'll call you back, tell you what the seller said, and either ask you to come pay for the saddle or bring it back. You don't actually have to talk to the seller yourself, which is a great relief when you're offering something way lower than what's asked.

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    3. interesting, thanks so much for searching around!!! i actually don't hate two-toned saddles (tho i know they're not super popular) - but will definitely be curious about tree size.

      also - any idea on whether it's wool flocked? i didn't include that on my original specifications list, but it actually is a make or break factor.

      thanks again!!

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    4. Okay! Passier emailed me back and says:
      "Our saddle book shows us the following details:
      -Passier all purpose for jumping
      -Built 05/1994
      -Size: 17"
      -Colour: havana
      -Tree width: 28.5 cm"

      It IS wool flocked and the flocking seems pretty good- it feels pretty even and smooth, and isn't hard as a rock.

      Let me also add that I will TOTALLY not be offended if you don't want to try it or don't want to buy it! (It doesn't matter to me if it sits in the store for another 5 years lolz) You can email me at stephanie(at)thehorseofcourse.com if there's anything I can help with!

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    5. thanks so much for doing the legwork on this!! the saddle checks off pretty much all of my specifications - which is AWESOME!

      tho i'm a little concerned by the looks of the saddle that it will be the same story as the bates i have on trial: fits the bill for Isabel - but isn't super inspiring to sit in...

      so i'm not quite ready to make a decision on a trial (or super duper low-ball offer haha!) - but thanks, this is definitely good to know about - esp if perhaps i just need something to hold me over in the meantime? thanks!!

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    6. You're so welcome! I can now justify reading blogs at work by saying, "Hey, I tried to sell this person a saddle!" ;)

      I haven't sat in it on a horse, just the saddle buck at work. Other than being way too small for my giant ass, I think it feels pretty good. But I'm partial to Passiers, because they don't have tons of padding or giant knee/thigh blocks. Just a personal preference!

      Anyway, I'll keep an eye out for you, just in case anything else comes in!

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    7. haha awesome! i'd say this TOTALLY counts toward work lol. and thanks for your opinion on the saddle.

      i'm hopefully testing out a friend's saddle that matches something available for sale... but if that also doesn't work out either i'll probably ask for a trial on the passier. definitely lmk if anything else comes in that looks promising too!! thansk!

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  5. Well, I'm bummed that your saddle trial didn't work out that well, but glad you got info from the fitter on figuring out what you need!

    Errr weirdly, I might have a saddle that fits the bill. I'm going to email you.

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    1. UGH somehow I can never convince Google or Blogger to give me a blogger's email. Shoot me a message if you want to know more. confetti (dot) airplane (at) gmail (dot) com.

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    2. thanks so much - i'm eager to learn more about your saddle!

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  6. Mmm are there are other fitters you can use? The comment about seat size makes me question her knowledge. Seat size has nothing to do with your horses size. An 18" seat can cover the same length as a 16" deep seat - the seat size is relative to the length of your thigh and type of seat on the saddle. Proper seat size is as important as tree size. You might be a different seat size in different saddles also.

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    1. thanks! the seat thing may have been my own misinterpretation... isabel has a short back, so the length of saddle is definitely a factor. and in my experience 18" seats are frequently longer than 17" seats (even tho, as you say, this isn't a rule)... but i think the fitter recommended that as a guideline to help with my searches - and for what it's worth a 17" seat is my ideal seat, tho i could probs go a half inch in either direction

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  7. Getting some more info for looking is helpful. She's a narrow thing!

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    1. she's SO MUCH more narrow than i would have ever expected - it was definitely an enlightening experience!!

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  8. I feel your pain - kind of frustrating that you didn't get a definitive answer, but give it time and it'll come :)

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    1. yea... i'm trying to be patient, but it's really not my strongest suit haha!

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  9. Great to have more defined search criteria, happy bargain hunting! I hope you find one that works for you...i read a blog a few weeks back about an online cosigner enter type store based out of Canada (i think) but cannot for the life of me remember whose blog that was - super sorry! Maybe A filly's best friend...but prob not seeing as Tori already commented. Sheesh I'm useless, SORRY!!!

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    1. aw thanks! the hunt is definitely on, tho i always find these things so stressful lol. hopefully something will turn up soon!

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  10. I'm so behind on reading blogs, but trying to get caught back up. Sorry the fitting didn't go quite like you expected, but you did at least get some great information! Keeping my fingers crossed you find the perfect saddle soon. :D

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    1. thanks!!! haha there's been a lot of action on the saddle front lately, with highs and lows galore :)

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