Friday, February 25, 2011

Wondermare Expresses Her Opinions

Let's talk saddles.

Izzy has a Collegiate Alumni saddle. It's a close contact saddle with a convertible gullet designed for high-withered horses. I have the wide gullet installed, and it fits her ok with a front lift pad. Yes, it could be better, but she's happy and that's good enough for me.

When I decided to try out a treed dressage saddle so I could have some extra support, the easiest option was just to get the Collegiate Intellect saddle, which is the convertible dressage model. It fit her back remarkably well. That said, the regular width gullet that came installed was definitely too narrow for Ms. Mare. I tried the wide gullet out of the jumping saddle and had the same result--it fit ok with a front lift pad.

Then I tried to outsmart my horse (never do this): I went to the tack store and got a medium-wide gullet. My thinking was this: if regular is too narrow, and wide is too wide, why not just go for the in between size?

Answer: because your horse LIKES it too wide, dammit.

Yep, did the medium wide thing yesterday. No lift pad, just the fuzzy adopted sheepskin. Izzy had an absolute head flipping cow in which she informed me that she would under no conditions work in that saddle, thank you very much.

I dismounted, took her back to the barn, changed the gullet AGAIN (I am getting really good at it), and put the saddle on again with the fuzzy sheepskin.

Izzy had another cow. NO THANK YOU.


Back to the barn, remove sheepskin, add front lift pad.

And magically... that works for her. I don't know why, but she went forward nicely and behaved herself. We were bovine-less, except for the first few canter transitions. She didn't think she could do them, but she figured it out. Huh. After about a 20 minute ride, she was forward, soft, and stretching into the contact. Oh, and did I mention that we were even able to do some work towards our February goals? Yeah. They might not be a total fail this month after all. Hooray!


  1. Saddle fitting is one of the biggest pains to figure out and get good!! Good for you for keeping on and trying different combinations to see what works best for Izzy.

    I like your new header :)

  2. My horse used to be the same way - once he opened up his back and stretched etc, he needed that extra room, even if it seemed to wide to begin with - maybe it's the same kind of thing for Izzy?

  3. You are smart to listen to your horses, and it seems she's learned she can trust you to listen. It's good that she's so expressive of her feelings - mares can be good that way!

  4. Izzy is getting better and better at telling you when something is wrong. Very interesting about the saddle width. Apparently she does like the extra room.


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