Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was super sore yesterday, so it seemed like a good day to do some saddle experimentation. A friend is selling two Ainsley XC saddles and she was kind enough to let us try them out.

Here is my favorite of the two:

Since it's designed to go cross country, it has a steep pommel, very forward stirrup bar, a balance point further back in the saddle and a relatively high cantle.

I've never really sat in cross country saddles. I've sat a lot in treeless saddles, a bit in dressage saddles, and occasionally in AP or close contact saddles, so this was my first forray into that world.

Unfortunately, this is how it sat on Izzy. Absolutely no way it's going to work.

Sigh. I did try lunging the mare in it with a few different padding configurations while she gave me the evil eye. I ought to know better by now, right?

I trusted in the fact that I've been really good to her lately, so I just hopped on really quick to see how it felt for me. Izzy let me know she was disgusted, but I was only on for less than 30 seconds in the round pen at a walk. Not the end of the world.

Unfortunately, those 30 seconds completely ruined me. The balance of this saddle is completely different than that of my Collegiate Alumni and it just works for me. Understand that I have short legs and a long torso, so I need something to accommodate my conformation a lot better.

Two things:
1) I realize now that my confidence issues with jumping probably have a lot to do with constantly feeling like I'm off balance because my saddle isn't helping me at all.

2) I'm going to have to break down and do wither tracings on the wondermare. I simply do not have any options available for trying other saddles and I don't have unlimited income to throw at this. Hopefully, I can draft my fellow dressage-riding boarder into helping me. She likes saddle stuff, too.

So... anyone want to buy a Collegiate Alumni in relatively good shape? I'll throw in a couple adjustable gullets.


  1. Passier used to make...maybe they still do...a wonderful all-purpose cross country saddle. I don't remember the model I had, but it looked a lot like that Ainsley.

    I have found Passiers pretty good about consistent fit from one model to the next.

  2. Jean--I am currently stalking of couple of Passiers on ebay, BUT they're all too narrow for Ms. Mare. She's going brilliantly in the wide, and the biggest I've found is a medium wide.


    I'm keeping my eyes open and trying to save pennies.

  3. I just wanted to high five another short-legged, long torso-ed sista! ;)

    I ADORE my Custom Saddlery Revolution, but they don't make it anymore:( If you EVER have the chance to have them out (their website is I HIGHLY recommend them. They will measure your horse and adjust/reflock your current saddle if warrented. Their saddles are lovely, and pricey, but I was able to afford mine because it was discontinued. It might be worth it (of course, only if you're interested in one) to call and ask if they currently have any used or discontinued models. Whatever you decide good luck! You seem to have a great eye for saddle fit.

  4. The right saddle makes a huge difference! I used to love my Beval LTD, which fit me wonderfully, was very comfortable, and really fit the bill while Tucker was learning to go undersaddle. Then when I started jumping bigger jumps, I kept getting jumped loose and no matter what my trainer said I could not fix it! Thank goodness she rode my horse in my saddle one day instead of hers, and realized the problem was the saddle! Now I have a Delgrange that I purchased used, the balance is totally different and I feel so much more secure. You definitely need to get yourself something that gives you that feeling, though of course we know it must fit the Wondermare as well. Good luck with your search!

  5. Aw, it's such a shame it didn't work out, but at least you know what you want now!

  6. Is that the Pro National? I so want one of those!

  7. The right saddle does make a huge difference. After spending a lot (for me) on a new Prestige for my horse, it didn't fit my next one in any shape, form or remodeling. I sold it and went saddle shopping for a long time. I was lucky - or unlucky as my old trainer would say - to find an old Courbette - really old, made in Germany - that fit him, it fits Nina, it fits me, the balance is exceptional. I don't have any idea why Courbette quit making saddles like this and moved to the mass produced stuff.
    Unfortunately for those who like to look nice, it is a very faded black - it was from the 'jumpers wear black' era back in the 70s.
    I don't care. When I have 4k-5k to throw at a saddle I will probably find one, until then I love this one and I'm not the one looking at it.

  8. Sitting in a saddle that fits you is such an 'aha' moment! I remember feeling almost exactly the same thing at one point in time. And I agree, it makes a big difference in your confidence when you feel in balance and comfortable.

    Good luck in our saddle search!!

  9. Should have been 'Good luck in YOUR saddle search!!'

  10. I loved my Ainsley Pro-National... I miss that saddle!


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