Before I even attempt to recap the awesomeness that was Fair Hill Starter Trials, I figured I would write this saddle fitting recap blog post first. Saturday was a crazy day and I am not sure how many blog posts will come out of it but here is the first one!
After a long ass day at Fair Hill with some amazing peeps and their horses/ponies/unicorns (Alli, Emma, Kim, and Janelle) and then my local friends Jess, Tanya, Mary Beth and Kate who were so nice and came to support me (and brought Gatorade, friends for life!), I drove white-knuckled home in the rain/storm from hell. LUCKILY, our rides stayed dry so we didn’t get rained on for once at FH!
I had had a call from the saddle fitter at around 3:30 (about the time I was probably jumping the ditch or going through the water at FH) and she had left a message that she was going to be closer to 6. Lucky thing because by the time she pulled in, the sun was back out, and we could do our thing. From 5-6 pm, it was a DELUGE and thunder and lightning from all directions! YIKES
First off, I have to say Emily at Hastilow was so great to work. It was fascinating to watch and learn and find out things about your horse you may not have known before. I am not mathematically or scientifically inclined (another shocker HA) and probably if I hadn’t been exhausted from the day at FH, I would have retained more LOL!
The best thing is when the saddle fitter falls in love with your horse. She did. She just was so awed by him. he was perfect for her letting her line up his feet and pretty much measure him each way but Sunday and then try numerous saddles on him, etc. She loved his attitude and when I actually got on him to try a couple saddles she was like even more impressed. He was not as impressed…he was tired AF after his day at FH. But he was a good sport. She did say she was amazed how level he was on both sides (as you can see in the diagram below he is only slightly uneven on his left side.She says he is pretty darn symmetrical which is pretty cool).
SO first things first. The Intrepid I have been trying, hoping it would work. Won’t work. Cue the awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwws now. 😦
Even Emily, the fitter, said it was a nice saddle and a great price, and if she could make it work, she would have! But she couldn’t. And she definitely tried. It was a med-wide tree but even with the wide tree the stirrup points would be too narrow. Remus needs a wide tree ,we figured out but he also needs a wider point underneath the saddle with flatter back panels. AND we need to be very cautious about the lumbar spine area as his back area is definitely his weak spot. (He has a longish back for a QH). The saddle I was trying was just on the line and she was worried. And when I rode in it for her there was definite movement. So she got even more worried. And she thought even if we put the wide tree it would only increase the movement. SIGH….there goes the deal of the century.
She then brought out a few that she had brought to try on him. Unfortunately, most she had brought were med/wide trees and didn’t fit right in the tree area, but we at least found the kind of panels (flatter back panels and wider under the stirrup bars) and shape we need.
The photo to the left is the Ideal (which I liked the look of, a lot) but we tried an Ideal Impala, a Kent & Masters (see below), a Albion Jump, and a Hastilow Jumpmaster. And a Jaguar which did not work at all, it fit like the Intrepid on Remus (and would cause back soreness in the long run, no bueno!). The four above could work with the right tree and right size and right style. I actually rode in the Kent and Masters S Jump, as she swapped a wide tree in it. That was the most reasonable one as in 1500 new. It was not that bad but I honestly didn’t love the seat at all (Caveat: I told her I had been in my breeches for hours and my butt was sore from riding LOL). The leg position and the movable blocks were nice. But I did not have that security I yearn for. And need (Let’s be real, people, it is an effort getting that buckskin over fences, I need to be in a sticky secure seat!)
I thought the Albion and Ideal looked interesting. And the Hastilow was a bit more all purpose than I want but she says they have others that could work. She knows now I want a more forward jump after seeing the Intrepid so she said they could search as well.
My knee to hip measurements are 17.5. So I am supposed to take all this info and Remus’ info and commence the saddle search! I am returning the Intrepid to my friend Mary Beth, who was so nice to let me try it so long (anyone with a bigger type (it is a med wide tree but she has the wide tree to swap out if needed) horse in this area, it is a steal and so comfy if you are looking, message me!)….and back to the drawing board I go! UGH.
Since I am traveling the next few weeks for work, she said for me to set up a time in August for her to come back and they can bring five-ten more saddles to try (they get used in too). With my budget right now she says I am a bit limited on what I can find, but if I sell my Zaldi for a few hundred and my Luc Childeric for a decent price then I would have even more in the piggy bank. All the ones above we tried, were not too expensive (from 1500-to about 2700) so doable for sure. Just need to figure out the one that will work and be comfy for me AND Remus.
She did say that with his build and needs, the French saddles will not work on him very well. Boo hoo. In fact, she said don’t even show me the Luc Childeric on him cause I don’t want you to know what is wrong with it on him as I may still have to ride in it for now! Ha. I really can’t ride well in it so am consolidating to one saddle (a nicer one) and then using just the one for all three phases. If I could find a monoflap, even better! Pigs can fly right??
I may have to hire Amanda to search for me. I hate saddle shopping worse than she does. I will keep an eye on the Hastilow site as they have a lot of turnover and do a 10- day trial. She also said to feel free to e-mail them anything I see or if i get one on trial from somewhere else, they could come out to see what it looks like. I feel like the money spent with her yesterday was SO worth it for the knowledge I gained. She was there at least 2 hours. Now to go count pennies….and find that unicorn saddle!!