Monday, 13 February 2017

Ugghhh

The saddle struggles continue. XW saddles don't seem to be a thing you buy used, especially in jumping land. I've scoured the Internet for suitable prospects and come up with...1 dressage saddle. And the person is not willing to do a trial or returns. I think that might be a deal breaker...what if it's not as advertised or damaged or something?  My coach wants me to send them tracings and have photos taken with them and the saddle. Is that something that's reasonable to ask from your average private seller?



I went to the barn this morning for my lesson, vowing to put a positive spin on things. The saddle I'm using was just fitted, weve happily used it for years, so it shouldn't be THAT bad. I have a shock absorbing half pad, we're "only" jumping so it's not like I'm sitting on her back and asking her to be round. In other words, we can make due until the magical unicorn saddles we need spontaneously appear. Right?

A ha ha ha ha. Yeah, right. Bridget was like "Stupid human. I am DONE with you and this stupid saddle. DONE." I don't blame her. So, I vowed to never, ever put the offending saddle back on her. We used my coach's widest spare saddle instead, which is lovely but at 18.5" and a super forward xc flap, a wee bit big for 5'2" me and short backed B. It's also slightly narrow on Bridget, and eventually crawled up her shoulder and made her sad. (But not as sad as mine because at least it's soft and cushy and mainly just the big forward XC flap bugging her, not the actual tree points like on mine)

Current saddle all cleaned up for ebay

So, we had our lesson and I didn't die. I didn't ride well, but also I didn't ride super badly given the saddle is about as effective for me over fences as a big piece of foam strapped to B's back.

B was jumping poorly to start, inverted and up over her shoulder. EC says again, likely saddle related due to her feeling blocked in the shoulder. We finished on some nicer fences with the change in saddles, but she's recommending some time off from jumping until we solve things. We haven't properly jumped in about a month due to part of the arena being frozen, so at least this was a one off, and not a new normal. We don't want to get her in the habit of jumping with poor form when really she should be so good in her shoulders.

We tried a few more barn saddles on B, and none worked. Custom Wolfgang Solo was somewhat Bridget approved, but it was terrible for me. Antares jump saddle was heaven for me, much too narrow for B. Stubbens just don't come wide enough and are mostly too curvy. Pessoa, ditto, but the tree shape is also too much ^ vs the rounder arch we need. So, the elusive XW County is still the best option we've seen in person.

On the plus side, we have a new, independent fitter coming this weekend to do some measurements of B and hopefully come up with some suggestions. She mainly does custom saddles and alterations, though, so Im not sure how helpful she can be as far as recommending existing saddles. The original fitter is also coming back and willing to take a second look at B's saddle, but I think at this point I've lost the faith there. The timing of "hey, maybe B is unhappy with her saddle, let's get it checked" to "there's no way we can use this thing" seems suspicious,  given the excessive "No Way" reaction started the day after the fitting. Not blaming anyone, I knew the saddle was getting marginal, but also not willing to potentially spend more $ there either.

Cat picture so at least Emma will keep reading. BK loves this old beer flat so much we've given up and let him keep it as his bed. It's HIS though, and you are not allowed to touch him while he's in there, and especially not any of the papers or other treasures he's put in there.

My coach is willing to lend me her xc saddle indefinitely, and while its not ideal, at least I can keep on keeping on with the flat work. Also, it's a beautiful saddle worth twice what I paid for B, so there's that. Eye candy and super soft leather is always nice :)

Im trying not to get too panicky about time frames. Our big eventing camp is 6 weeks away, so a jump saddle before then would be super. In the long run, though, more flatwork is always good, and if I end up with a dressage saddle first, there are a few dressage shows we can go to this summer. Worst case there's always next year and my bareback skills get super strong - B is still quite young and obviously I'd rather she's happy and comfortable in her work than take any risk of making her sour or frustrated.

If nothing else, by next week I'm going to have some professionally done tracings and a good knowledge of what doesn't work of us. Look out, Jen the Saddle Geek, you're next.

20 comments:

  1. Now that's a cat after my own heart!!! Such a bummer about the saddle issues too. At least the change of saddles helped a little bit (tho I'm always suspicious that it's just bc it fits poorly in new and interesting ways and therefore won't immediately illicit the same soreness responses... But that might be my inner cynic showing haha).

    Also, re: asking the seller to compare tracings, I think you have nothing to lose in asking. The worst she will say is no! Wishing you luck with the upcoming appts!!

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    1. I'm cynical too. We know the one I'm borrowing is a smidge too narrow, so I suspect it would only be a matter of time before problems if I went all out with it. I'm just hoping it can tide us over on the flat if I'm very careful. I'm going to email you if that's OK? I have some questions about the kent and masters saddles :)

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  2. Oh how frustrating! I hope that you find a solution but even a saddle the 'fits' needs adjustment. I hope that the new person works out.

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    1. Supposedly it fit well enough and got adjusted to fit better....yet B says it's now the worst thing ever :( Fingers crossed :)

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  3. Omg saddle problems are the absolute worst. I feel for you! :(

    I'm friends with the former county rep in AB, she has some good contacts (and has a very wide 17.5 jump saddle for sale... she wanted me to try it on Mystic but I am legit broke haha). If there is a model that she should keep an eye for let me know!

    I have asked people to send me conformation photos of the horse they used the saddle on, so I don't think tracings are too weird! Good luck!!

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    1. Ohhh, I might get in touch once we have some professionally done tracings and opinions...XW saddles are proving very rare :)

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  4. Ugh how frustrating! Your cat is hilarious though, I love that he stores treasures in his beer box bed! As another option you maybe might want to try, Sully wears a Beval jump saddle and a Devocoux dressage, and he is built a lot like B, just 2 hands taller! Very wide/big barrel/flat table-shaped back. Good luck though - saddle shopping is not fun!

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    1. Our cat is....interesting :) I think he needs his own post. Thanks for the tip re: Devocoux and Bevan. I'll add them to the list to try!

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  5. I'm going through a saddle shopping issue with my BO right now and she finally had one shipped out today. Fingers crossed it work. She was also looking for a jumping/xc saddle with a non-forward flap and fell in love with my Bates Caprilli (not the new plastic looking one). I LOVE it. It's super sticky and they're all over eBay for super awesome prices and they all have an interchangeable gullet. Plus, I recently found out you can have the CAIR paneling removed and wool flocked for minimal pricing. Pretty friggin cool. I love my Bates and it's fit a ton of different horses from narrow to extra wide ^.^

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    1. I really like the Bates! Bridget is very anti cair, but if we could find a wool flocked one to try I'd be very happy if it worked

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  6. Saddle searching is one of the most frustrating things in the world.

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    1. I couldn't sleep last night. Which is ridiculous, this shouldn't be so stressful. There has to be a huge market out there for independent fitters with a giant variety of used saddles....I know I'd be in if there was one near me!

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  7. I feel your frustration!!! Finding the right saddle is so hard!!! Good luck and keep updating.
    Jessi

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  8. Keep looking! I sold my XW saddle through Equus Now, and a gal from Maine ended up with it!!

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    1. "XW saddle" is pretty much 99% of my Google searching these past few months :)

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  9. Saddle fitting is so frustrating!! Me and Katai are sending you lots of good saddle fitting thoughts :)

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  10. Ugh, saddle shopping is the worst. There is a 17" XW Stubben Roxanne on the High End Used tack for Sale - Canada FB group that may be worth a shot.

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    1. Oh my, you're amazing! Thanks for the tip. It looks like a definite candidate!

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