Sunday, September 13, 2015

cherry picking (not as easy as advertised)

Posting this on a Sunday bc even tho it's super relevant to my interests, I suspect the topic of saddle shopping might quickly exhaust readers.... so... here are more trial saddles on a day when maybe not a lot of people tune in haha.

I have two saddles heading my way and already I can feel the irrational hope welling within - and that sinking feeling that maybe nothing will ever work and I will eventually cripple my mare...

Barnsby Whitaker 17" medium tree
Let's start with my latest craze - the saddle on which all my hopes and dreams are currently pinned. It's a Barnsby Whitaker described as being in excellent condition. The seat size looks good, I'm willing to experiment with medium trees, and wow the price is absolutely right. In fact, the price is a tad suspicious. Perhaps bc it's an older model (googling horse forums re: the serial number makes me believe this saddle was built in 1998)? Not entirely sure...

Anyway, people tell me that Barnsby saddles have relatively flatter trees, and while it's difficult to tell when a saddle is just on a stand like this, that looks to be the case here. The panels are foam... but also have wool felt. Not entirely sure what that means, but perhaps it suggests that there might be some wiggle room with adjusting the fit?

The trial period is a little intense - only four days - and full payment is required up front. Plus shipping costs are on the high side (tho still well within the common range from my last foray into saddle shopping). We will see tho. This saddle should hopefully arrive sometime this week.

brand as yet unknown, 17.5" narrow tree
This saddle is local from the Maryland Saddlery, same tack shop that I got the other trial Bates last winter. Their trial periods are super flexible and no payment is required (and no shipping!). Meaning I'm a little more willing to take on more questionable saddles.

This saddle is a little bigger in seat size than I'd like, but it has the narrow tree. It might also be a little too curvy in the panels, but I figured it'd be worth a shot. The biggest unknown here is the brand. So it's hard to assess potential quality through just a picture. We will see - it's ready for pickup as of this writing, I just need to go out there and take a look (and maybe pick up a few other things too?).

Fontaine Lyon, 16" wide tree 
And then there's Kaitlyn's Fontaine that I've been riding in for the past week or two. I like this saddle for me - it's a tad small but more than makes up for it with grippy leather and flaps that make me feel super secure. So much so that jumping 3'6" in it felt pretty comfortable.

I'm not, however, convinced that it will work for Isabel. It still rocks a little bit, and is too wide without corrective padding (and even with, I'm worried that there's pressure right under the middle of the seat). It also seems to want to sit to the right on her. That might be a function of her uneven muscling (we're working on it!) and could probably be addressed with corrective padding. But we will see. 

Oh, and also I'm not sure this saddle is even for sale lol. Kaitlyn has been super generous in letting me borrow it while her mare is out of commission with stitches, but she's expecting to get back into the saddle now and will likely want to try this out for herself.

back by popular demand: the gif of my very special kitty Martini struggling with an invisible force field coming between him and his object of desire. i relate buddy.... i totally relate

So that's the current lay of my saddle land. Blah. Here's a post summarizing my previous trial saddles and shopping experiences if you want a little more background on this whole saga. 

Please wish me luck, and feel free to share any related experiences or ideas or whatever you might have! Or, ya know, just silently pity me and get on with your weekend ;)

32 comments:

  1. ... silently filled with pity. Now. Find a saddle so your shopping can quit inspiring me to shop, too.

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  2. Good luck...I keep checking online for options for my guy...and sighing because there are none.

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    1. that's super frustrating. i've been checking online sites religiously. one that has proven useful is http://www.equinenow.com/english_saddles.htm - i think it's actually an aggregation tool that trawls other sales sites and brings them all together with really easy-to-use search filters so you can see what all is out there in one convenient location. good luck!

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  3. I hate saddle shopping so much that I gave up and am doing dressage in my cc.

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    1. i don't blame you. ironically, the dressage saddle that i bought on a total whim (also a bates) is working out just fine for the horse. but i have zero interest in jumping in it...

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  4. Uhhhh saddle shopping is actually the worst thing ever. I think I need to go through this for a jump saddle for Kat

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    1. ugh what a bummer. hopefully Kat proves easy to fit!

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  5. I feel your pain! Crossing my fingers for you :) I love the look of that barnsby.

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    1. thanks - my fingers are so seriously crossed that this barnsby will fit the ticket

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  6. Saddle shopping is hard! Hope you find what you need.

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  7. seeing saddles and wanting all of them. getting them home and having none of the fit. saddle shopping sucks

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    1. seriously. my very first foray into saddle shopping last winter, i brought home like 8 saddles on trial and was super excited about them. and yea. not one worked. booooo.

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  8. Work has a 17" Sommer Esprit S in stock that could work, but I think that's about it. :( I'll keep my eyes peeled for anything suitable that comes in, though! (As always!)

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    1. thank you! i've been checking your shop's site every week or two actually haha... but will definitely let you know if i want to try something!

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  9. I tried both my saddles on my mare before I bought her. Had they not fit I would've sent her back. Almost kidding. I'm surprised your arabian is a narrow!

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    1. lol... luckily my mare is definitely the more important and valuable piece in this puzzle, which is why i'm so motivated to find something that works for her.

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  10. I agree, saddle shopping is hard! But it looks like you're really organized about it and there *is* a saddle out there for you! :-)

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    1. thanks - i certainly hope so! if only being organized was enough! we shall see tho. i'm optimistic!

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  11. Ugh... my least but favorite task in horse shopping... saddle fitting. It is overwhelming for me and while I generally know if a saddle fits or doesn't fit, determining which one that 'fits' is the best match, just boggles my mind.

    I do love my Bates and my horse is pretty easy to fit but I am not a fan of the Cair panels when dear pony wants to be round and bouncy over fences. The cantle flips up off her back.... *Sigh* So does it really 'fit' her? I don't know... I hope you have better luck!

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    1. see, my bates has actually been converted to wool, but it still rocks and flips off her back. i honestly am starting to believe that it's the shape of the saddle itself. either the trees or the panels or whatever are just to curvy. hopefully something flatter will work better?

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  12. Saddle shopping is literally the worst.

    I do ride in a barnsby to jump and it's a great saddle. It fits my OTTB really well, which is possibly the least helpful information I can give you.

    Good luck with your trials!

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    1. thanks! good to hear that you like your barnsby too. i've heard a lot of positive things about it, so hopefully it'll live up to the good rep when it arrives!

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  13. If you need a flat vs a curved tree, maybe check out the Prestige Roma Jump. That's what I have, and truthfully I DON'T like it at all for flatting but for jumping it makes me feel very secure.

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    1. ooh interesting! i've heard great things about prestige saddles too - haven't seen any yet matching my particular specs but will keep an eye out

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  14. The saddles look promising! Also, the cat gif is PERFECT for saddle shopping roflmao

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    1. the saddle just arrived and i am literally SO EXCITED to try it!!! also glad you love my cat haha, he is speshul :D

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  15. OMG your cat. My cat is obsessed with pens too, but he's never gotten that desperate with my glass table. Best gif ever hahaha

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    1. he's..... well, he's not a smart cat haha. makes for endless entertainment tho!

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