Saddles. God love them, they do a lot for us. They give us security. They give us strength. They make us feel like we can leap tall jumps in a single bound or do an extended trot across the diagonal of the arena or even sit a buck that could unseat you in a different saddle. We can spend enough on them to require us to eat cheap noodles or forgo our lattes or iced coffees for months!
We also pound the crap out of them, sometimes getting them drenched in downpours or mud puddles or water jumps. They can be damaged by branches, or from someone falling off and scraping their spur across the seat as they fall (ahem I may be guilty as charged there).
We slather them in conditioning lotions and oils hoping they last a lifetime and hoping that our horse doesn’t by golly outgrow it or change shape or just plain start getting sore from it.
Something that costs that much needs to be comfy first, fit the horse as well, and be secure. All the rest is just gravy (A pretty saddle is great but if it doesn’t fit or isn’t comfy, all it is good for is holding laundry, standing sentry in your bedroom )!
So to get to the point, when you find a saddle that just works for you (let’s call it your heart saddle, shall we?) you know that you have found your true love. This happened to me with my dressage saddle. (YES the900facebookpony strikes again!).
I never owned a dressage saddle before as I only used my jump saddle for all phases. Since I only do starter trials and only do lower levels (albeit pretty simple tests), no big deal! But then Amanda got a few saddles and you get the picture. Her first was the Frank Baines one which she sold and i think there may have been one or two others in the mix and then she got a spectacular Luc Childeric dressage saddle that she dyed (successfully I might add!). Then that didn’t quite fit Henry correctly or she didn’t feel great it in (see above) and she decided to look elsewhere for a unicorn! And she found it! YAY her!
The thing is though. What isn’t a unicorn for one person can be one for another. Sooo (yes smart people, you totally get where I am going!!) after a lot of back and forths (Poor Amanda was a saint), I bought the Luc Childeric and omg….it is like riding in butter (if you wanted to ride in butter that is)! Smooth, comfy, grippy, and it fits my horse like custom (my largish built wide ass Quarter Horse with no withers and wide shoulders who usually wears a wide, but it works). Like magic!
Angels wept as I tried it the first time (I took a gamble and just bought it) it was just that darn comfy!
The repercussions were few (besides wailing at lack of funds and chronically fussing at Amanda about lack of funds due to her influence over me (Though it was a steal!), but every time I sit in the damn thing I forget about the money. Remus is so much more elastic and moving forward more and just all over better in this saddle. Like I had no idea that a saddle could make that much difference!! He spooked with me the other day over some stupid wind blowing and I would have been on the ground splat if I had not been in that saddle!
SO now we get to the crux. Amanda has no more saddles for sale (THANK GOODNESS) but I do find myself needing a newer jump saddle for the jumping part of our fun times (and to keep them being fun and not all frowning faces)!
I have a Zaldi (I swear you guys are going to think I am a stalker for sure) that I bought from Amanda when I moved back to DE from TX in like 2009 or 2010 that fit me fine and did great for the time being but now that I am finally jumping bigger I need something as comfy as my dressage one.
Something that makes me feel totally secure and keeps me ON Remus when he spins at a jump judge’s umbrella, or spooks at a deer in the woods (happened, happened, but I fell off the first time LOL) or anything else that might pop up.
So after all this wordiness, I come to this. What saddles do you like for jumping? I know brand names to kind of stay away from and ones that costs the moon, and I do like the monoflap style and thinks it suits Remus’ build well. But I also don’t want to dump 3-5k on a saddle (and would like to keep my husband married to me so don’t need a divorce over all this!)
So I really am just sending this out to the cosmic universe, what do you think is a good, secure jump saddle that will grip and help me in my jumping as we move up (hopefully)?
Any suggestions would be awesome and if anyone has any saddles for sale feel free to contact me too! I need a 17.5 seat at least and not a narrow tree (of course, a wide load is coming through!)