Friday, January 16, 2015

saddle saga continues!

So this is part photo dump (for my own record) and partly seeking input. Short story: I went to the tack shop last night!!! Long story: I went to the tack shop last night!! lol


We hung out for about an hour and a half, looking at - and sitting in - everything they had. 



The woman helping us was super helpful, and stayed with us the whole time - discussing the merits of each saddle. She was quite knowledgeable about both how a saddle ought to fit a horse, and how it should fit us. And apparently she's got a similar build to me - short not particularly tall, but with most of the length located from hip to knee. 


2 bates (wool flocked), pessoa, toulouse, and county

We settled on five saddles to take on trial (above) - as both Wick and Isabel are getting fittings. 


I'd love if this pretty little county worked out!

Confo-esque shots:

So obviously I headed straight to the barn - primarily to move my trailer, which was apparently in the way (and oooh boy did it take me a hot minute to re-park that puppy in the dark...), and to stow the trial saddles in a safe place.


And naturally I pulled Izzy out of the field to play around. First up: trying to grab some photos intended to illustrate what I'm working with here. 



Tho I suck at photography, and, uh, I don't really understand the finer points of conformation. 


So it's entirely possible that these photos are zero help at all. Eh, I tried!


Next up: trying the saddles on!! I had some technical difficulties with my phone - it REALLY wanted to die in the cold. I insisted tho and it *mostly* cooperated - but there are no pictures of either Bates saddle. One didn't really inspire me when I sat in it anyway, and the other has the wrong gullet size in. 

Again - my photo skills here suck in part bc it's dark out and in part bc I don't really know what I'm looking for. So -- for those of you who actually CAN assess saddles via photographs, I have no idea if these will even help. But here they are anyway! 

Pessoa

I liked how it looked up front... 



But not at all in back... Is it just me or is that totally the wrong shape for Isabel? In any case, I was so uninspired by this that the saddle was pulled off with no further pics. 

County

I'll be honest with you - I was not totally impartial here. I wanted this saddle to work. 



But... 



The fit actually reminds me a lot of my wintec - a little low up front, not a lot of contact between the rear panels and Isabel's back... Our problem is that the Wintec rocks around and moves a lot. This saddle looks like it could do the same.. but maybe adjusting the wool flocking would help?

Toulouse

This was not a saddle I picked - B thought it might suit Wick, and it's a nice saddle. So we took it. The above picture doesn't really show it - but the fit around the shoulders looked a little questionable. 



Looks ok from the side?



And maybe better than the county from the back? But idk - the area around the shoulders seems to come into and out of contact a lot when I walked Isabel (again tho - I really am too ignorant to truly know what to look for...).


So - uh, thanks for reading if you got this far?? Lol - it honestly wasn't a very motivating dress-up session, as I'm thinking that none of these five saddles will work out. But maybe you see something differently than I do? Or have further insights?

Regardless, we'll take them on Saturday and see what the fitter says. And maybe she'll have some other demos or sales saddles that would work better? Seems more and more likely that we'll have more shopping to do after the fitting... but that's ok I suppose!

27 comments:

  1. Seems like some fun was had at the tack shop & barn afterwards. I am no saddle expert but it is hard to judge from photos and of course adding a girth & rider will give you more insight as to where things are touching.
    Hope all goes well with the saddle fitter on Saturday & that you find what you need without too much hassle and expense!

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    1. it IS fun to do this shopping - tho i tend to get frustrated quickly and just want to settle on the first thing that works lol... in any case - thanks! fingers crossed it all goes well tomorrow with the fitter!

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  2. I pretty much agree with your judgement so far- maybe some more shopping to do. But just FYI, the flocking being moved around does make a huge difference in the fit. When my horse got fitted for a saddle, the fitter reflocked my trial saddle for free. Hope yours is just as nice! Good luck :

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    1. thanks! i'm hoping that the fitter will say something like 'ooh this will work we just need to reflock it' - that would be great! her fitting fee includes that service, i believe, tho since these aren't *her* sales saddles i'd have to buy the saddle before we could alter it haha

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  3. I agree with your assessment so far... the Pessoa is a definite NO, and the Tolouse panels definitely fit her the best in the back. Very curious to see what your saddle fitter has to say!

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    1. i'm super curious too!! i think the toulouse is our best shot of this bunch... but something about how the pommel is cut back around the shoulders gives me pause. we shall see!!!

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  4. I'm going to guess the Toulouse is the best fit!

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    1. that's certainly what it seems like so far!! it's hard to tell if 'best' of this group is really any good tho haha.

      the saddle is a dream to sit in tho, so i'd actually be quite pleased if the fitter likes it!

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  5. Tough call - I love the front of the Pessoa and County but the gusseted panels on the County scare me - the Toulouse panels look good too. . I'd actually like to see the Pessoa with the girth tightened and you in it. Also a side pic for the Pessoa would be helpful in gauging the balance and where it hits her shoulder. Trumbull Mountain has a ton of helpful info on saddle fit (http://www.trumbullmtn.com/).

    Of course your saddle fitter will be the definite authority on the fit of these guys.

    I sympathize with the agony of saddle shopping - just a nightmare usually. Good luck!!

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    1. *toulouse panels look good though, not too

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    2. thanks! i probably should take a closer look at the Pessoa - but those rear panels just looked so bad!! but of course the fitter will know better than i do about it...

      the ladies at the tack shop actually seemed to be fans of the gusseted panels on the County - like it maybe allowed for a more tailored fit?? idk haha. thanks for the link!

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    3. from what I've read/experienced, gusseted panels are better for flatter backs and non-gusseted for more roof-like backs. So the ladies at the tack-shop are right on. I'm guessing Izzy does have a flatter back than my TB mare. Either way, good vibes headed your direction!

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    4. thanks!! yes isabel's back is flat flat flat haha - except for those pesky withers, which want something a little narrower... ugh why is this horse so tuff to fit?? ;)

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  6. I'm so bad at fitting from pictures. Hope your fitter is helpful!

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    1. haha yea... i'm so bad at fitting period!! at least this fitter is supposedly awesome -- fingers crossed!!

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  7. I'm definitely not great at fitting from pictures, but here's a couple of things you can do to help yourself out before the saddle fitter gets there.

    1. Put a girth on, as tight as you normally would, then run your fingers under the panels of the saddle by the shoulder. If you feel any pressure points smaller than 2 fingers, that saddle is immediately off the table -- those pressure points are usually tree related and probably can't be flocked out.

    2. Run your hand under the panels along the back feeling for open spots or heavy points (without a girth). Try rocking the saddle back and forth on the back -- if it rocks, then you will have the same problem you're having with the Wintec. If it doesn't rock, but there's a space of air in the middle, then it's "bridging" Isabel's back and that's no good either.

    To me, the front of the county unfortunately looks a too low on Isabels withers, and with your weight and a girth I'm not sure it will be comfortable to her. The Toulouse really does look the best from these pics, but it's hard to tell without being there in person. Good luck!!

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    1. thanks - those are super helpful tips! i didn't try any of them with a girth.... which now strikes me as kinda silly - oops!

      i *did* try the rocking thing tho, and fortunately none of them rock very obviously, or least not as much as my wintec... but even so the wintec doesn't rock crazily just sitting on her back either - tho it definitely moves when we're riding

      your assessment of the county pretty much matches my sense of it in person. it kinda looks ok, but as soon as we get moving and jumping and what not, it's gonna dig straight down into the hollows below her withers... boo.

      oh well - we'll find out for sure (hopefully) tomorrow!!! :)

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  8. I would beware of Toulouse. If anything ever goes wrong with the saddle Toulouse will laugh at you and walk away. Also, check the tree or have your saddle fitter check the tree, they frequently come out of the factory warped.

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    1. interesting, i'll definitely ask the fitter about it!

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  9. I agree with Nicole, you need to be girthing up these saddles to properly assess fit. If fit looks good there (she described what to check already), get in the saddle with no pads under and assess fit under rider weight. Good there, then proceed to tack up normally and try it out.
    Honestly, I don't like any of them from pictures. Isabel has a fairly straight back so will be a bit of a harder fit when it comes to back panels. I would google what saddles fit flat backed horses best. The only one I know of is Amerigo Vega from helping a friend find one for her horse.
    I love saddle fitting other people and their horses, wish I was closer to help!

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    1. thanks! fortunately it's not actually up to me to properly assess fit, since we'll be working with a fitter... i mostly wanted to play around haha (since i'm stupidly eager for resolving this whole thing!!)

      but i appreciate all the help i can get with regards to how to assess them moving forward - and girthing them up is definitely on the 'to-do' list now!

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  10. Oooh they are all so pretty! I love the County, and Toulouse looks comfy. I'm sure the saddle fitter will help you figure out the best fit, or if you have to continue shopping. Fingers crossed one of them works out!

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    1. they are both SUPER comfortable!! i just wish they were also super perfect for isabel lol... oh well, we'll figure something out!!

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  11. The only one that remotely fits is the Pessoa, the other two are big NOS. I would keep looking.

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    1. yea... it would have been just much too easy if the first batch i looked at produced a winner... lol maybe we'll have better luck with the fitter's demo/sale saddles!

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  12. I dont think any of them fit. Im also a firm believer if they dont fit without a girth why would they fit with one? Definitely need a flat saddle

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    1. yea that was kind of my thought too - both in regards to all of the saddle fits and checking with the girth... this is much harder than i expected lol!

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