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Sunday, 9 November 2014

Mandatory No-Stirrups November...

No-Stirrup November is mandatory for me - my saddle was just taken away by a saddle fitter! I  only have my bareback pack for the next week - my only option is riding with no stirrups! Speaking of saddles...I have to step onto my soapbox for a moment.

I bought a custom saddle in 2008. I was a stupid 21 year old (not that everyone who is 21 is stupid, but I was). I struggled with finding a saddle to fit an uber wide Clydesdale cross but had a seat small enough for me. I ended with with a lovely cliff barnsby AP saddle that I loved. But it wasn't quite right on Apollo. It was used and likely a re-flock would have sorted out the balance issue. But it was VERY popular at the time to have a custom saddle made by a local saddle maker. They were made with french leather and air panels (oooh! ahhh!). I was in a pretty serious car accident and decided to buy a cheaper car and use the remaining funds for a custom saddle. And I have lived to regret that decision! Here's why:

- The seat has always felt a bit small for me. Even when I was 10-15lbs lighter it felt small. 

 - The fit was originally decent on Apollo. But the air panels have fluctuated substantially with the seasons, so in winter my saddle feels kind of deflated. Now the saddle is officially "bridging" and the saddle fitter agreed with me that it was a bit narrow. 

- The saddle is supposed to be checked every 6 months. I have had mine checked - never. The saddle fitting company has provided some of the worst customer service I have ever received in my life and I gave up last year trying to have someone come out and look at it. 

- The saddle cost $5700 (ack)and I wasn't 100% happy with it from day one. I should have spoke up but the saddle fitter kind of bullied me, although that's no excuse to accept a subpar product. Especially with that kind of price tag.

- I have tried to sell this saddle two times since owning it. It has been for sale or at a tack consignment shop for at least two years total time. I have had it listed below $3000 (but would probably take 2000) and I have had almost zero interest as these saddles are no longer in style.  

Lessons learned: Don't get bullied into buying something you don't love (speak up!). Don't spend money on stupid things you shouldn't, this purchase was truly ridiculous...the saddle cost 3 times what I paid for Apollo (not that I would sell him for a million billion dollars) and cost more than my current vehicle - that money would have been much better spent on a horse trailer, savings, etc. Also - don't buy from DK Saddlery.  They suck. 

So I'm kind of stuck with the stupid saddle now. I decided to have it re-flocked with wool. The saddle fitter thinks he can tweak it for a decent fit on Apollo, not perfect as it's still a bit narrow. I'm going to use it for this eventing season and then go from there. It is kind of pretty but for a custom saddle there is nothing custom about it. It should be ready for me to ride in the clinic next weekend, fingers crossed.

I had a lovely brunch with my parents today (a late birthday brunch!).   As my birthday present they are going to pay Henry's board for one month. Which is awesome and truly appreciated. November is sort of our "horse-versary" as I paid for him in November 2012. I finally received the invoice for Mystic's two vet visits in October so this is a wonderful surprise. I spent the rest of the day driving on sketchy roads to put proper blankets on ponies. Henry was covered in snow and was a little afraid of the blowdryer but we worked through it.  It's going to be -29 tomorrow with the windchill.... *cringe*.

BRRR!!! Here's is Henry from November 2012 vs. August 2014:

22 comments:

  1. Happy Henry horseaversary!
    Saddles & saddle fit are the bane of all equestrians. I feel for you! I had a saddle fitter sell me a saddle that i don't think EVER fit Kika, she was so uncomfortable that she wound up rearing because i trusted the saddle fitter when o had him check the fit twice before giving up and selling the thing for 1/4 of what i paid for it.
    Hopefully your new fitter & the wool flocking will help. Enjoy the clinic!

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    1. I'm sooo mad at myself about the stupid saddle. It was a very expensive life lesson :)

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  2. I sure miss Alberta, but not the -29 days! Hope your saddle comes back perfect!

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    1. I always forget why I live here in the winter.... :P

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  3. Ugh that sucks :( That is a lot for a custom saddle that doesn't fit right and you aren't happy with

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    1. I know right?! And I let myself be bullied into keeping the stupid thing.

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  4. what a frustrating saga about the saddle :( i definitely have similar concerns in trying to go "all out" with a saddle for my leased arab... it's scary spending a lot of money with no guarantees. in any case, hope reflocking with wool will help substantially!

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    1. I just got the saddle back and it looks good, won't be able to ride in it for a while... we'll see :)

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  5. Happy "horse-versary" ! I've been where you are with a crummy saddle fitter and wound up selling both saddles he fitted for less than I paid for them. We all make mistakes. I had years of trouble trying to get a saddle to fit Dusty, she is wither-challenged." I finally got a custom saddle made from a company in England and it wasn't all that expensive. The company's name is Black Country Saddles. When you're ready you can probably google them and see if you like what they offer.

    Can't believe your weather. Good luck with that.

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    1. I have heard of them, I will definitely give them a try once I'm ready to get a saddle for my youngsters!

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  6. Man what kind of saddle? That's a bummer. I'm dealing with something similar with my County. Can't sell it for the life of me. And I would take like way low for it. Hope the switch to wool works out.

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    1. It's in DK, made my Danny Kroetsch. Very disappointing and frustrating!

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  7. Sorry to hear about the saddle problems. That's frustrating. I hope the wool flocking helps!

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    1. Thank you! Fingers are definitely crossed!

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  8. I'm sorry about your saddle. I honestly hate DK with a passion because the guy was an arrogant ass and a bully.Not to mention, I don't think he was knowledgeable at all. He definitely doesn't accept anyone telling him that the saddle isn't working or doesn't fit, refuses to listen to the rider. Agh! That company makes me crazy! Anyway, I hope that it works better for you now.

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    1. He is a grade-A douche. I secretly hope he finds this post online one day. ;)

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  9. Feel the burn!!!

    Boo about the saddle tho :(

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    1. I did get a few pretty hardcore rides in my bareback pad, could barely walk for a few days haha

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  10. I don't know why it's so darn hard to get the right saddle for horse and rider, but it is. My saddle fits Paj well, fits my butt okay, but not my leg position. Ugh. I hope the re-flock does the trick.

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    1. It really shouldn't be impossible but it sure seems like it is!

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  11. There are so many stories like yours regarding custom saddles -- makes me definitely think twice about ever getting one!!

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    1. Yeah I don't know if I would do it again. It seems like a better idea to make a used saddle work if possible.

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