_

_

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Custom Saddle Angst


I had my appointment with the custom saddler last night for Henry.  She could see why we’d had trouble finding something for his long wither and my long body. 


She suggested the Equipe Grand Prix for us (it has the longest pommel) and said we were very lucky that I fit well into a 17.5 because there wouldn’t be a ton of room if I needed an 18 because of his short-ish back.  She thought the standard flap wasn’t horrible on me, but definitely agreed that I needed a long flap. 


Pretty <3




I had a quick ride in it.  Being back in a saddle again was weird.  But I really liked this one.  I didn’t hear angels singing or have earth-shattering moments of “OH MY GOD IT’S SO WONDERFUL” but mostly I felt secure but didn’t really notice it was there… which I liked.  I could focus on trying to steer Henry, the baby noodle horse, who randomly forgot how to steer/horse for part of this ride.  He seemed to move nicely in it, didn’t get quite as giraffey at his trot transitions as he did in the amerigo. 


Bareback hobo no more?




I like the style and look of the saddle as well.  Sort of had an understated classy vibe.  The saddle's turnaround time is currently 5 weeks (although they do have a reputation for being very slow).  The estimated arrival time would likely be towards the end of October.


I was feeling pretty keen to order one but decided to sleep on it. 


Driving home from the barn I started to freak out a bit.  My freak out was about two main factors.  You can tell me if I’m being a nut or not about this….


  1. Money.  Omg that is so much money.  My husband agreed to let me use some of the money from my car accident to get a saddle (and when the Amerigo sells those funds will go back towards a car).  But the amount I’m taking out of the car fund is only the down payment for a custom saddle.  Which leaves me two months to come up with the remaining balance.  I thought it would take a lot longer for the saddle to arrive (and it still might) so I figured I would have three to four months to scrape that much cash together.  Which is apparently not the case.

     
    It’s just a lot of money.  I haven’t even got a haircut in over a year, my roots are so long my hair is ombre.  I’m not a very spendy person and a purchase like this gives me huge anxiety.  Recent vet bills have made me extra nervous about spending.
     
  2. Is the saddle the solution? So a big part of the reason for a custom saddle is that I believe that H’s Amerigo caused him to buck.  Other sources (saddle fitters, bodyworker and my coach ST) have supported this idea but it’s impossible to know for sure.  It would be nice to know that he has something that fits him perfectly.
     
    I am trying to attack this problem from all sides (working on my own fitness/riding skills and also have quit my part-time job for more saddle time).  But what I get him a perfect custom saddle and he launches me again?  How devastating would that be?  And then what? 

 

I really wanted to have fun trying out new fancy saddles but the part of me that’s trying to be a grown-up just isn’t having it.  I don’t think my previous custom saddle nightmare (the DK) helped matters either.




My current plan is to see how much money I can save up on my own before I fully commit to a custom saddle.  I will see how things are going in October and go from there. 


I am planning to get that treeless saddle soon (still waiting for my refund on the ADT saddle) and that might be an OK interim solution for Henry as we build his fitness back up again. 


Hey anyone want to buy one of my kidneys? :P

24 comments:

  1. Having bought and returned a custom saddle and bought another one my recommendation would be to not buy unless you are totally in love. It is a shit ton of money to drop on something that is meh.

    That being said I feel you on the long large withers. Fingers crossed that you find something that will work for you guys without breaking the bank. As a random aside, Albion dressage saddles cleared Stinker's withers. I don't know about the fit of their jump but it might be worth looking into if you haven't.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the struggle of our combined conformation will likely force us to go custom. I liked this saddle a lot, I think that's about the best I'm going to do haha. I have never ridden in an albion, sounds like they are worth a look :)

      Delete
  2. Custom saddles are always expensive, any way you slice it. IMO, the only 'disadvantage' (if you can even call it that) of a custom saddle is the price tag. Did the fitter not give you an idea of the cost before she came out to fit the saddle? I know you haven't had any luck finding used saddles, so at this point custom sounds like your only option. I totally understand not wanting to drop a ton of money on a piece of leather, but maybe bite the bullet and end your saddle search saga, at least for Henry?

    Not trying to sound rude, just something to think about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes for sure, they are very expensive! I knew what the cost would be so I wasn't shocked, but the reality of that chunk of money hadn't quite hit me. Yeah I think the bullet is about to be bitten :) I want bareback hobo life to end haha!

      Delete
  3. Not that unsolicited advice is what anyone wants on their blog, but I've got some for you anyways. I recommend Jen at The Saddle Geek to my clients ALL THE TIME. She's a miracle worker and you'll learn so so so much from her. Yes, it's a digital consultation. But she's been a slam dunk for everything from my short-backed high withered pinto mare to a gelding with quarter horse width and thoroughbred withers, to ponies etc. And she works well with your budget and knows of saddles I've never even heard of.

    Saddles are tough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind unsolicited advice at all! And I love Jen, I have used her a few times and she has been fantastic. She gave me some good leads on dressage saddles for Henry about a year ago. If I don't go ahead with a custom saddle I will be reaching out to her again for sure for jump saddle help :)

      Delete
  4. As a frugal person myself (my husband likes to call me a cheapo, but frugal is much nicer haha), I would see if you can find a used one first? Since you already know what exact flap/width/etc will work in the Equipe Grand Prix, are there cheaper used ones out there? I have a DK dressage saddle (sorry - I know how you feel about them lol) but would have NEVER paid for a custom, so I bought a used one at a very good price.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The used market in my area is horrible. :( There just isn't any inventory and if there is it's either the wrong size or it's like $500 less than going custom. I forgive you for having a DK saddle hahaha mine was very nice actually, just didn't fit me or the horse - but the leather and detailing were quite beautiful!

      Delete
  5. I may have missed something, but it sounded to me like it wasn't totally custom? Just a long flap on the normal saddle? If that's the case, maybe you could find one used?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't really super custom! You're totally right :) It's a slightly modified option on a panel and a long flap. Nothing too unusual. Unfortunately the used market here doesn't really exist (I have seen a few in the UK on ebay), and if there is one for sale it's the wrong size or $500 less than going custom. There is another local saddle fitter who does custom (and more brands and types) but she never returns my calls, so I don't feel she deserves my business.

      Delete
  6. Can you find the exact saddle used? I was in the same boat, had the fitter out, came up with a couple of options, then had a panic attack over spending the money. I bought used versions of what she recommended new and had some minor work (changed the knee roll locations and restuffed them for bridget) , zero regrets because I'm actually falling out of love with one of them even tho techicially it checks all the boxes and fits well. I would have regretted paying for new, for sure. I like your idea of thinking on it a month or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't :( I've tried so hard. I've found a few that are close but they are not usually a whole lot cheaper than going custom, either someone in Canada is charging $500 less than the custom price or I have to fight with the horrible US dollar right now. I wish I was a more normal size because there have been a few that would have worked for Henry.

      Delete
  7. I've never personally bought a custom saddle, but I don't know of many success stories. I'd be hesitant as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it certainly makes me nervous!

      Delete
  8. Good luck! Saddle shopping is no fun! My husband thought it was just me who had issues, until my BM cleared it up for him!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahah thank goodness your BM cleared it up! I think my husband wants me to buy something so I shut up about it haha

      Delete
  9. Custom saddles really take a huge bite out of the budget. And it's true you don't know if one will fix Henry's previous antics. I'd hold off for now until you have enough money saved to get exactly what you want. That said I can attest to how great Albion saddles are. They are well made and comfortable. I have five, two dressage,one all purpose and two hunter jumpers. They often have used ones for sale or a saddle fitter can fit one to your needs. In the meantime, have you looked into bareback pads with stirrups? My daughter has one and it's a good solution for bareback riding with a little more stability.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to try an albion! I like the bareback pad with stirrups idea :)

      Delete
  10. Gahhhh this would make me SO stressed. I hate spending money on myself, and honestly if you don't feel it's right - then it probably isn't. I think you'd be less stressed if it had "sung" when you sat in it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right? Spending money is not actually very fun (except maybe for billionaires!). I think it would stress me out more if I loved it a lot, because my financial angst would zap my fun. But you might be right! I do hope to order one as I feel like it's a really good fit for him...just not quite yet :P

      Delete
  11. I don't think you're being a nut. Custom saddles are SO MUCH MONEY and there is no guarantee (or, probably, return policy). It's tough when your horse is hard to fit because you can't really borrow saddles to see if they offer a solution before committing to one of your own. Whatever you decide, I hope you find a solution to the bucking issue. It *is* a *pretty* saddle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So much money! Arg! I wish I could ride in a normal flap (that would make life easier) but sadly my length has compromised our search majorly. I think I will have to bite the bullet on this soon! Would like some stirrups!

      Delete
  12. Ugh, so tough! Spending (TONS) of money on horses makes me anxious too <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally! Not fun at all. Until you get a nice new saddle I guess (but the to eat KD for a year...sooo yeah... :( )

      Delete