Oh hey there. No apologies for the blog absence other than to apologize for the lack of blog reading I’ve been doing. One day I’ll get caught up. Hope everyone has been having an amazing summer.
The new barn continues to be amazing. Since my last post the property was sold and the ownership changed. But that’s no big deal as I know the people that bought it. Yay! for awesome barns with really good management and care and super happy horses. Oh and trails. We’ve been out on the trails a bunch of times now (I still need to make some pictures) including a few times by our lonesome. Get this, he’s better by himself than with other horses. Two out of four times with other horses he’s gone on mad bucking sprees. Not cool Tuck! Not cool!
I do understand where he’s coming from though. Both times he freaked was with horses with huge strides… read he thought he was being left behind. Poor boy! This has definitely put my hunter pace dream/goal on hold. Dude needs to get a little more chill outside the ring.
We continue to be grand prix dressage hopefuls. Just kidding! We’re still working at staying round at all gaits and through transitions. The problems are mostly through the trot to canter transition. So much flailing. Ugh the boy can be so stubborn!
And that brings me to the title of this post. Shopping for a dressage saddle was the worst! Alright so we didn’t actually hit 3 million saddles. Actually nowhere close to it. And probably tried less saddles than most people go through when saddle shopping. But it was still awful. So awful I increased my budget quite substantially just to make it end. The saddles in the $1500 range just weren’t cutting it.
We tried Passier, Prestige, Paramount, M Toulouse, Seventeen, Schleese, Bates and at least a dozen more that I sat in but didn’t take on a trial. The prices were good. But none were quite right. I’m sure I could have learned to live with the seat of any of them (except the Seventeen which was supposedly a 19″ but felt like a 17″). But there’s no way I could make them work for Tucker.
Who knew he’d be so hard to fit. Turns out he’s got these obnoxiously wide vertebrate. Combine that with me in the saddle and panels that compressed way to much and the saddles were 9 times out of 10 sitting on his withers. Not good.
Enter the $3000 18.5″ Albion. I think this was the second saddle I took out on trial. I sat in it at the store and didn’t want to get out. So much comfort! So couchy! So much more than my budget. I didn’t care (ok a small part of me cared…the part that holds the wallet). The precious. Must have the precious! It fit Tuck pretty good. I rode in it. Loved it. Had my coach look at it. And promptly let her talk me out of it because it was $3000 and would still need a bit of adjustment to be perfect for Tuck. I never stopped thinking about this saddle through all of our other trials. I was still convinced that this would be the perfect saddle.
Did I mention I HATE shopping? When I returned the Toulouse I decided to take the Albion out again, just to make sure I was remembering right and not blowing things out of proportion in my brain. Also because I was sick of shopping and ready to blow the budget. While the sales girl was looking for the precious I browsed the other used saddles and found an 18″ Albion that wasn’t as nice (a bit scuffed and sun bleached) but was a bit cheaper. I took them both out fully expecting to be going back with an offer on the 18.5″.
And then I learnt how to ride properly and realized that the 18.5″, although comfy, was a little too roomy in the seat. I had to fight to stay in the front of the tack. So I had a saddle fitter come out and give the thumbs up on the saddle. And that’s how I ended up giving up the precious and making an offer on the 18″ which was just as comfy and fit Tuck just as well. And so I became the owner of the 18″ Albion and started wishing I had Amanda’s DIY’ing skills.
I’ve since had Jessica Stringer, whom I can’t say enough good things about, back out to make the needed adjustments. Which turned out to just be a little re-flocking. If you’re in need of a saddle fitter/adjustment and live in and around the GTA give Jess a call. Tuck and I, although poorer than I wanted to be, are happy with our new saddle.