Sunday, September 20, 2015

not a winner

The Barnsby trial did not end the way I had hoped - and in fact appeared to be over before it really began. I like this saddle, I really do - but it just isn't right for Isabel.

It seemed to sit well enough on her without a girth, tho oddly I didn't like how far back it came on her spine and yet somehow the flaps still seemed too far up her shoulders. 
The first indication of an issue - there is not even contact down the front of this panel across Izzy's shoulders. 
Girthed up, things are still looking pretty ok from the side. I also liked that the billet straps on this saddle were a little longer compared to the Fontaine, so I didn't need to really wrench it up just to get the damn thing on. (Isabel also appreciates this!)
But yea, the problem of uneven contact down the panels persisted. My hand shows the point where you get 'stuck' when trying to slide a hand down between the horse and the saddle. 
Things felt a little better with the sheepskin on there... Tho the saddle perhaps looks a little less nicely balanced. 
I rode anyway tho - gotta give it the old college try, right? The ride itself was really nothing to write home about. Isabel had a day off to think over our last lesson with Dan, and then it was right back to work. And honestly she did not really want to play. She was very resistant and very against my hand. To the point where I just stopped in the center and alternated pressure on each rein until she would give through her poll and jaw a little, then lavished praise on her. 

She eventually softened up, but it was evident that I couldn't/shouldn't really drill the downwards transitions the way I planned. Instead we recreated some of the same collected canter and popped back over all the same jumps (now all set to cross rails). Isabel thought that was quite acceptable and made very nice work of it - perhaps even better than how we did in the lesson. Good mare. 

And we finished off by playing a little bit with a lengthened trot across the diagonals (pictured). I really have no clue if we're doing them 'correctly' or whatever, but I love love love feeling that moment of suspension and Izzy kinda thinks it's fun too. So at the end of a ride we sometimes give it a try down a diagonal or two (collecting back up in the corners) and call it a day. 
But when I got off, it was pretty clear the saddle had crept forward a bit. Also I had been able to feel Isabel's left elbow occasionally through the ride - something that seems like a red flag. So.... yea idk. It just doesn't seem to be quite the right fit. And I'm a bit frustrated that I went up a tree size and yet this 'medium' saddle is too narrow in places. Makes no sense to me. 

So the hunt continues. Le sigh. 

36 comments:

  1. Boo :( I went to ride my horse on Friday and he's going great in the trainer's Devoucoux that is worth slightly more than my truck...so obviously that's what my hubs needs to get me for Christmas, right???

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    1. obviously lol. maybe they will have a buy one get one special and we can both get fancy saddles?!?

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  2. Emma, have you considered the Lovatt & Ricketts saddles? They make the Arabian Saddle Company saddles, which are meant for horses with short backs and well-sprung ribs. The saddles are LOVELY and you can often find them used online. I've had the opportunity to sit in a couple and they are very nicely balanced for the rider. They also hold their value well.

    I keep wanting to suggest Duett saddles too...I *think* they are now carrying regular and narrow trees? Stacey over at The Jumping Percheron rides in Duetts and loves them. Even new they are more affordable than a lot of other saddles out there and I've heard their customer service is excellent.

    Just wanted to point out 2 more saddle brands that seem to work for unusual equine body types. ;)

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    1. Just went and looked: Duetts are advertised for wide horses but they do offer a 32 cm tree, which is considered a regular/medium. Lily is a TB and she needs a 32-33" gullet depending on how fit she is. (She gets so much topline it makes her withers look smaller, so it completely changes the fit of her saddles.) The saddle that fits her best is my Alta, which is a Wide flex tree with an inverted "U" tree.

      To tell you the truth, I'm still surprised your saddle fitter determined Isabel to need a narrow tree. Arabs are notoriously hard to fit because they have well-sprung ribs which means they often need a combination of medium-wide trees and traditional "A"-type trees don't work for them. I really hope you can figure this out; saddle shopping is such a PITA!

      Duett does offer trials and you can look for them used once you've figured out if they'll work for your girl. :) http://duettsaddles.com/prices/

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    2. thanks for all that info! one of the options i'm exploring is having different reps out to just try anything and everything, so these duett saddles are definitely worth exploring.

      but yes - isabel *is* narrow up front. she's got teensy tiny shoulders and semi prominent withers. anything too wide sits down on her spine. but then again she is wide and flat in back... ugh. the shape of the saddle and panels seems to be the big factor in whatever will work for her, so exploring different saddlers is probably my best bet. so frustrating!!

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  3. How, that's a MEDIUM? It looks crazy narrow.

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  4. Man what a bummer. ditto all of the above sentiments.

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  5. you just need to take izzy to rolex and walk her around and put all the saddles on her lol

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    1. haha at first glance i only read the first half of your comment - like, ooh yes i *should* take izzy to rolex!! lol... but yea we really just gotta try all the things... le sigh.

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  6. Aww no fun! Fingers crossed you find something that fits soon, saddle shopping sucks :/

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  7. Sorry! Saddle shopping is super tricky. Don't give up. It's like kissing all the gross before you meet the prince. Kinda. P.S. I love my County!

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    1. haha it really does have a kind of 'disney' feel to it with all these disappointing saddles - and also isabel feels a little bit like a princess with a pea under all those mattresses.... glad you love your county tho! i took one on trial last winter and loved it, but it was the wrong fit for izzy too.... ugh!

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  8. Um, I meant frogs. Not sure how predictive text went to gross. But kissing a frog would be gross.

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  9. Um, I meant frogs. Not sure how predictive text went to gross. But kissing a frog would be gross.

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  10. Sorry! Saddle shopping is super tricky. Don't give up. It's like kissing all the gross before you meet the prince. Kinda. P.S. I love my County!

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  11. Boo! Sorry this one didn't work out for you.

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    1. yea i'm pretty sad about the current state of affairs :(

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  13. There was no winner-winner chicken dinner here :(

    Sorry, that's what popped into my head reading the title lol

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    1. lol you're not alone - alternate title for this post was 'no chicken dinner' but i thought that might be too weird / out of context on its own haha

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  14. That sucks :( I agree though - I know very little about saddle fitting but I can see that this one doesn't work. I really hope you find something that does soon!

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    1. yea you know there's a problem when even i can identify it lol. fingers crossed for something better soon!

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  15. UGH. Man, you are really having a heck of a time with saddle fit :-(

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    1. it is driving me crazy. i honestly am really struggling with it and am practically paralyzed by the prospect of having to find *yet another* saddle to try. :*(

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