Friday, February 26, 2016

shopping success! ...and failure

This time last year, I treated myself to a full set of Majyk Equipe cross country boots during a big sale at Riding Warehouse. We used the boots in competition all year... but I found myself losing faith in the fronts over time. Very sadly, they were simply too big.

After finding myself using different boots for schooling outings, I decided it was time to admit it: the MEs needed a new home (didn't take long!) and Isabel needed a better fit.

walking around the frozen arena
I've been very happy with my recently acquired Woof Wear white sport boots - especially in how they fit petite little Izamonster, so I was intrigued when a pair of their cross country fronts showed up on eBay.

new (to me) cross country fronts
And not very long later, they were waiting for me at my doorstep!

reinforced strike pad (boots are upside down in pics. sorry not sorry)
The construction looks promising to me. The interior is covered with small perforations for improved ventilation and the exterior is described as a soft, breathable neoprene. Except it's not really like any neoprene I've seen before - it's almost like a much softer, denser brillo pad. Seems super porous - like we won't have problems with it holding water or sagging.

breathable interior  (left); and porous exterior (right)
That still left us without hind boots tho, and Isabel absolutely needs protection on her hind cannons. Always, actually. Ankle boots won't cut it, even for jumping in an arena. She rarely interferes back there, but when she does she means business and opens up a big nasty gash half way up her cannon in the same place every time.

So. To Maryland Saddlery to peruse their consignment section! And also take advantage of their extended President's Day sale - cleverly designed by letting customers choose puzzle pieces, each with their own discounts labeled on the back haha.

thanks obama!
And naturally, while I was there, I had to check out their saddles too. Of which the following came home on trial with me:

berney bros left, brand spankin new HDR right
The Berney Bros saddle felt incredibly similar to my Bates, with perhaps a slightly more forward flap. It has wool flocking too. The HDR (I think a Volans) felt pretty interesting to sit in - actually had a ton of room in the flap to accommodate my relatively long-ish thigh, but was perhaps small in the seat. Oh, and foam panels. Both looked potentially promising, tho, and given MD Saddlery's generous trial program, I opted to take both.

who needs a safety pin when you can bejewel your rider number using these sweet magnets?
Then I just kinda browsed around a while ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the fancy things they have in the main store - like these crazy neat magnets. Have you seen these before? I sure haven't! Apparently safety pins and yarn are for the birds. This is how you attach your number in style.

so sparkly!
The bling was a little rich for my blood, tho, so I headed across the parking lot to the more familiar consignment section. Which had more options for the rider interested in making... a different kind of statement haha.

feeling patriotic? here's a helmet cover for ya!
Of course, it was also here where I spent entirely too much time digging around the tub of boots... Ultimately tho it was a successful search and produced a very simple, appropriately sized pair of Weatherbeeta hind boots that look perfect for our purposes. 

Weatherbeetas in back, Woof Wears up front
It's not the same look as our MEs, but frankly I'd rather feel confident about fit. These will need testing (esp through water) to convince me they're the solution to our woes, but so far I'm optimistic. 

officially my new favorite saddle pad
My other exciting snag for the day? This super cushy, soft (and brand new!) black dressage pad. Seriously I find enough brand new high quality saddle pads in this consignment section listed for mere dollars (this was $12, I believe) that I could never justify buying anywhere else. 

Obviously it had to come home with me, seeing as my only other non-white dressage pad is maroon and therefore doesn't match my new Dark Jewel Designs browband haha. 

both of these saddles appeal to me for different reasons
Once home, it was saddle test ride time!!!!

Except. Um. Well, the HDR was chopped immediately. Nothing about it looked right to me. Ugh.

looks *almost* promising. alas, 'twas not a fit
I felt better about the Berney Bros (well enough to take a pic), but it had practically no clearance even without a rider... Plus Isabel was having her Very Bad Day and fussing with saddles seemed like exactly the opposite of a good idea.

"i don't feel very good, are you even listening to me?!?" - most long suffering of all long suffering mares
So the potential test ride was saved for another day, then scrapped entirely when others ultimately agreed that it sat too low and was not likely to be improved enough with a half pad.

Ugh. That also concludes my efforts to try bringing saddles home to assess myself. I just don't know enough about the finer points of fit, nor am I confident in my choices. I'm just so done with it. No more picking out trial saddles.

so we relax with grass
So I shot off a text to the fitter I worked with before breaking my leg telling her I am (finally) ready to take advantage of her saddle shopping services.

We'll see what happens!

59 comments:

  1. Good luck! I hate saddle shopping so much.

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    1. ugh me too... at this point i've been saddle shopping (either feverishly or casually) for a year now, with only a slight shopping suspension when i bought the bates - foolishly thinking we had solved the issue.... (ugh i'm still bitter about that first fitter...)

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    2. The latest fitter hates my dressage saddle, but Stinker is very happy and I had the vet check and there is zero back soreness. So I don't know what to think about that, although it might be because it is a different brand...If I ever get a new horse, I am picking it based on if my saddle fits them or not (JK sort of)...

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    3. idk... i really don't want to believe professionals have their own agendas... but ultimately that's just naive. if my horse didn't get sore i'd definitely scrap the whole shopping adventure altogether, since i love the bates for me... oh well.

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  2. Super splurges and fab finds ☺
    Happy renewed saddle shopping at least you have a knowledgeable ear to bend and learn from

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    1. i sure hope that proves the case! i thought we had a solid professional last time ... but alas, it wasn't the right solution for us

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  3. Nice boots and I LOVE that saddle pad! The Woof boots have been a great fit for Dino as well, they're so good for dainty legs. Those bling magnets are super popular with the western/breed show crowd - the more judge-blinding the better!

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    1. i'm pretty optimistic about the woofs - esp with how they fit around the fetlock. i just need to really pay attention to putting them on correctly and i think they'll stay put!

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  4. I've seen those blingy magnets on the breed show crowd before... they seem to love them. No surprise there! lol

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  5. Magnets are definitely a cross over from the western world:) Alas those MEs also twist on Prisoner, so sad as I love a different pair of their boots that I have. I would love to hear more about the woof wear ones that you got!

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    1. i think our horses need to get together a support group for petite-faced, dainty-legged bad ass event ponies! regardless, i'll be sure to share how the woofs are working out for us!

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    2. #iwantintoo

      I've heard rumors the ME might be coming out with pony sizes at some point though...in the meantime those woofs look pretty great!

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    3. i've heard that too... not sure when or at what cost however. probably will be more than what i spent on the originals, which itself was more than i got for selling them...ha the balance just keeps going farther into the red!

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  6. Those number magnets came onto the scene several years ago- I see them mostly in 4-H around here. I was going to get a set, but then it seemed I stopped doing anything that required a number to be on my back- it's always on Penn now. Too bad about the saddles- I really liked the look of that HDR!

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    1. i really liked the look of that HDR too.... not so much the white stitching, but the feel of the leather and how it was put together. the gullet channel was SUPER wide too - which seemed promising. sitting in it was a different experience from what i was used to, but 'different' in a way where i wanted to try it moar. it looked like a joke on the actual horse tho - only like a third of the panels were ever really in contact even when it was girthed up. boo.

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  7. Yikes, those magnets things are....something!

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    1. haha i kinda like them! couldn't really see myself buying them ever, but obvi they caught my eye!

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  8. You're somewhat close to me and if she travels to your area (she might!) I highly recommend Heather from Saddles 101 (http://www.saddles101.com/home.html). I've used her for 10 years. She's fabulous :)

    And I totally understand saddles shopping frustration....which is why I never do it on my own haha :)

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    1. thanks! we're working with a fitter already, but if it doesn't work out i'm probably just going to quit horses forever.... lol jk, if it doesn't work out i'll def look into heather.

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  9. Saddle fitters, man I know. Saddle shopping, man I am about to know. Here's to hoping for an easier process for both of us!

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    1. seriously!!!! i don't think i would be so frustrated if our first foray down this path (with highly recommended local professional) hadn't ended so unsatisfactorily. like, i did everything the "right" way - work with a professional to choose a saddle and fit it to the horse. except, the saddle she okayed was never gonna work, plus her method of fitting unfortunately was all wrong for princess Iz

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  10. Awesome deals!! Fingers crossed everything with the saddle fitter goes really smoothly :)

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    1. thanks - i'm starting to feel a little excited about it!! :D

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  11. I'm off to my local Maryland Saddlery tomorrow too! Loving finding deals. FWIW, I have a Berney and love it. Finding it was a little like catching a white whale, but it was in a stack of like 300 saddles at Middleburg tack exchange. FWIW, Berney Bros will make you a custom saddle (for your horse AND you for a really good price (like $1200, not sure what your budget is). All that said, I sat in a Prestige last week at Maryalnd Saddlery and shouldnothavedonethat.

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    1. ha yea i remember reading that you love your Berney Bros, and was def interested in giving it a go. alas this one does not fit my horse. and frankly, i am DONE looking at saddles myself. i've easily trailed ~20+ in the past year and am just DONE DONE DONE, will not look through another website or sift through another stack lol... so for now i'm putting all my delicate little eggs in my fitter's personal saddle shopping services. please cross your fingers that it works!!!

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  12. Oh fun! saddle fitting and shopping can be a pain, but it is oh so fun to try and compare different saddles!

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    1. i thought it was fun last year when i started. now? i am OVER it. so over it haha. i just want someone to hand me a saddle and say: "here this is perfect for BOTH of you" so i can give them my money and be done with it. ugh haha

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  13. Just for the heck of it, the Berney had a good curvature to the back for Iz. Just needs more wither clearance (I'm vaguely educated on this saddle fit stuff now, so I must share). Also, that patriotic helmet cover plus Barack Opuzzle reminds me of something I've been meaning to post, so that'll likely be up on Sunday ;)

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    1. right - you're spot on about the saddle. i really like the balance on her, and how the panels felt contact-wise across her back. tho things weren't quite right up front - uneven contact there, probably relating to the tree being the wrong size (and thus only having about one finger's width of clearance from the wither).

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  14. saddle shopping is the WORST. good luck and god speed.

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  15. Ugh. I hate saddle shopping. At least you have good consignments shops to shop from. And a saddler! I want to just quit and ride bareback. Except I don't actually want to do that. But I really don't want to saddle shop anymore.

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    1. i've shopped pretty much across the country at this point - only a fraction of my trial saddles have been from the local place, actually... and they were all more or less failures for us. booooo!

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  16. Best of luck on the saddle search! Violet uses Woof boots, too. They seem to fit her little legs the best, and we've never had an issue with them.

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    1. that's good to hear! so far so good with the woofs!

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  17. That's unfortunate about the saddles. Hopefully the fitter has something that will work for you guys!

    If I'm ever on the east coast, do not let me near that store! lol :)

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    1. ha! don't worry, should you ever venture out this way, i won't make you come all the way out to these stores. we'll just go to the neat ones near Austen instead ;P

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  18. Saddle shopping is the WORST. I hope you find something you and Izzy both like!

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    1. thanks! i'm optimistic that a solution is out there for us (my chiro is always flummoxed my my fitting tails of woe, saying that izzy's back isn't particularly complicated... i just need a lot of hand holding apparently, lol

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  19. I found my perfect saddle. Sadly, it's $5,000. Which is almost three times my budget. I've found some used options online but even used the best I can do is like $3,200. Sooo... I'm saving my pennies and sitting in other stuff at the moment and trying to convince myself that my heart (butt?) isn't set on the most expensive saddle ever.

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    1. omg yea... i'm not even allowed to test saddles that far out of my budget... bc sometimes the butt wants what it wants!

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  20. Sounds like a good call to contact the saddle fitter. Hope it's painless for you! I always have a terrible time fitting saddles but I don't have any professional help.

    I kind of like the sparkly magnets...is that wrong..? :)

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    1. ha i like them too! but probably would never be able to justify them (esp since they're not supper applicable in my chosen sport lol)

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  21. Ugghh, saddle shopping...fingers crossed for a super easy experience! Count me in as secretly liking those magnets as well, although I'd never wear/buy them.

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    1. ha yea that's about how i feel, on both counts! lol

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  22. I kind of want those magnets for my fridge.

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    1. oooh yea, and they're super strong too so they would really HOLD

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  23. Oh no! Bummer about the saddle- saddle shopping is almost more frustrating than horse shopping!

    Love those XC boots, though, especially the Woof ones!

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    1. i'm pretty excited about the woof boots :) not so much the saddle shopping, but we've been at it more or less for a year now so... le sigh.

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  24. The magnets are really popular in the stock horse and saddle horse worlds. Too bad about the saddles! I am so relieved to not be in that boat any more.

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    1. very exciting that you finally got your saddle sitch figured out!

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  25. Saddle shopping services are really really nice!

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    1. right?!? i didn't even know it was a thing, but apparently it totally is with this fitter!

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