Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Saddle. Shopping. Why.

The best at showing off saddles
Not too long ago, I made a comment about not liking my saddle and the inestimable Gingham offered to send me one of hers to try. (This is the secret to saddle shopping--friends will let you try things out.)

I of course told her no because 1) I wasn't saddle shopping and 2) I own four saddles and 3) I had no saddle budget.

And then I started to think about it. Here's a rundown of my current saddle inventory:

1) Ainsley Cross Country Saddle, 18" seat, wide tree, super forward flaps. I love, Love, LOVE this saddle. It fits me better than anything short of a CWD. The balance point was made for me, the leather is soft and good smelling, and what else is there to say? Oh yes. My skinny little OTTB could go canoeing in this saddle and not get wet. It's a true wide. He isn't and never will be. It breaks my heart because I love it so much, but it will.not. work for him.

(And before you ask, yes I have borrowed a medium Ainsley and tried it on him and I just didn't love the fit. Wasn't mean to be, I guess.)

J Wo in action. So wish this fit.
2) Jimmy Wofford model Harmon & Scott XC saddle, 18" seat, narrow tree, super forward flaps. This was Cuna's saddle and it fit his shark fin withers beautifully. The balance point was good for me, the leather is actually pretty nice, and I've put a ton of miles in this saddle, both in the arena and (mostly) out in the open. Only problem is that this saddle was too narrow when Courage walked off the track and he isn't getting any narrower. I tried putting it on him the other day and definitely discovered that he lets you know when something doesn't fit.

So that's out.

Looking fly in the very useful Stubben
3) Stubben Sigfried (I think?) 18" seat, medium (I think?) tree, AP flaps. I snagged this thing on Ebay when Courage first came home because I needed to ride him in SOMETHING. It's ancient, but the leather is in great shape and it's a sturdy saddle. It's actually less slick and more comfortable than you'd think for a Stubben of this era. It fits Courage quite nicely, and it does nothing for me, especially if I try to jump. Hurzzah for having unusual riding conformation!

Which brings us to our latest model.

Berney Brothers is pretty
4) Berney Brothers AP saddle, 18" seat, MW tree. This is a lovely saddle that I picked up on English Tack Trader this spring. It's a nice saddle in great shape. It works better for me than the stubben, but it really isn't great. I need a really forward flap to accomodate my wonky leg, and this is just a nice, normal flap. It also doesn't fit Courage great. I think my lovely Ecogold half pad was helping out a lot, because he isn't back sore at all, but the saddle is doing us no favors.

Gratuitous jump photo for no reason
So there you have it. I have two saddles that fit me and two that fit my horse and nothing in the middle. Hence, I revisited Gingham's offer and her saddle is currently here with me on trial. Cross your fingers for us... oh, and email me if you want one of my saddles. Seriously. They are all kept in a way befitting a tack ho.


  1. I too am in the process of trying a saddle. Hope this one fits you both! I think horses should come with a saddle when you buy them. At least you'd have one then... Anyways, good luck! :)

  2. What? All that and you didn't tell us what you have on trial??? ;)

  3. I'm actually looking to unload a Stubben AP saddle myself. 17" seat, MW tree, forward flaps in GREAT condition if anyone is interested....?

    Good luck with Gingham's saddle, keeping my fingers crossed for you and Courage! I'm sure it looked brand new when it arrived to you :)

  4. ±I love the ancient stubbens±! ±They last for forever±!

  5. Ugh. I have two saddles I need to sell still :-(

  6. I have an Ainsley too! It's currently with a friend, but works great for my hubby. At last count I had SEVEN saddles (that's not counting the one on the way). ACK! Seven saddles and one horse on stall rest, LOL...aint that how it goes?

    1. This makes me feel SO much better about my tack hoarding. It really is shocking how easy it is to add to the collection... especially when you cross over multiple disciplines... eek!

  7. Good luck with saddle shopping :) Looking forward to hearing more about it!

  8. It really is amazingly challenging to find a saddle that fits both horse and rider! Good luck with Gingham's saddle =)

  9. I just went through the same thing with my jumping saddle. I fit me well enough but not my horse. I found a really nice one on consinement that fits both of us. My fiance and I have 12 saddles between the two of us and I still had to go out and get a new one.

  10. I hope the saddle works. I officially hate saddle shopping!

  11. Saddle shopping is a tack ho's worst nightmare. We want all the pretty saddles - they look good, they smell good, they feel so yummy, but realistically, they all make us look fat. Best wishes on a fast and painless search.

  12. Hmmmmm. Could I try the Berney Brothers and the Harmon & Scott? My saddle doesn't fit Apollo too well ...

  13. I wish one was a dressage saddle LOL! I really need one. I hope the trial saddle works out!

  14. Oh man, I hear you on the saddle fitting woes. I need a 16.5 seat in most saddles but my horse is extra wide (clyde X). I could find great saddles for each of us separately but nothing that worked for both of us. I ended up going custom and to be honest it's still not perfect. Fingers crossed for you!

  15. I recently got the "I think your saddle is sitting too low on her spine"- NOOOOO!

  16. Verdict is still out on my new saddle, theres a NQR way its fitting that must be figured out, whih hopefully i can do, i love the feel overall. And I'm happily selling my cheaper western and Pessoa saddles since neither work that well for me or the mare. Which means I can buy another western saddle once the funds rebuild...hopefully... Hope you like the saddle!


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