Well since Hillary at Equestrian at Hart has been talking about her saddle search, I thought I’d join in and share my saddle woes as well. Until I got Stampede my saddle searches were simple – find a saddle that fits me with a medium tree and put it on the horse. I started out riding Stampede in the Crosby Centennial that I had used on Phoenix. Once he started to get in shape and work more he became back sore. With his long wither the saddles like to try to sit on his back bone. Then there is me, with insanely long legs already limiting what’s available. I tried some saddles but wasn’t finding anything I liked. I ended up getting a saddle identical to someone else’s that I knew fit Stampy, even though I wasn’t that into it. So I had a prestige saddle for a while, but it really put me behind the motion because it had huge blocks. Over time I did more research and rode in a friend’s Butet and made the decision to spend the big bucks. For me the Butet had to have a 3.5 flap (longest and most forward they make) and Stampede got the regular tree since it runs narrow. I got the Butet in 2009 and all was well for a while.
After I got Phoenix back I was happy to see that the Butet seemed to fit him since I was already adding a bunch of new expenses. The balance on it was admittedly slightly off, but usable for a horse in light work. Then I started noticing the saddle coming down on Stampede’s wither. At first I thought I just needed to wash my Mattes pad, then that I needed a new one. Each time it would be better for a while then back on his wither. Then it got to the point where it just didn’t fit him anymore. So you guessed it, the panels got squished to fit the fat horse. So now I had to shim up the saddle to fit Stampede and I had to figure out what to do. I called the woman who helped me order my saddle at Beval and we exchange pictures and talk. The fitter at their office thinks that putting in ESP panels will give the best fit, to the tune of $550. So after considering my options, we are currently waiting on the panels to come in, but the place in France is closed in August.
Meanwhile, Phoenix now needs his own saddle. With my height I can’t just buy something (I shouldn’t have sold the Crosby!), and it’s pretty much impossible to find anything used either. So I ride in someone’s Pessoa GenX, even though the flaps are too small to get a good feel. Pessoa just this year started offering a long/forward option on their saddles, that according to measurements should fit me. Hoping to get two cheaper saddles instead of fixing the Butet I got a test ride of the Pessoa A/O with the alto panel for high withers. Of course the Pessoa was a no go on Stampede, on his withers as soon as it was girthed up. So I have ordered a Pessoa GenX for Phoenix, hoping it will come in September.