Monday, September 5, 2011

The Hoarder's Dilemma

This weekend I couldn't really decide if I wanted to try the side saddle or not. I had the time, but when I got to the barn at 10am, it was already 85 degrees and 94% humidity. Because of that, I had worn my slippery summer schooling tights. Well, what the heck. Let's see how much help those full seats actually give.


Of course it didn't help that because I hadn't bothered to either ride or longe yet, my horse had a hump in his back the size of the Rocky Mountains. I opted not to tighten the balance strap those last few holes, and headed up the slope to the arena, slipping and sliding, left, right, back... and hadn't even swung my leg over yet!

Once in the arena, we stopped to stand and breathe until Grey's back relaxed. Then we tried a couple of laps at the walk. With my balance wavering, I was pushing my horse all over the place, and because of the slippery britches, I couldn't stay centered to save my life. So we called it a day. While last time the saddle felt comfy, this time it felt horrible. There is a lot to be said for not ignoring your own preparations and flying in the face of good planning. I guess I will be ordering some full seated summer tights for those miserable hot days.

So, back to the barn, and change saddles for a ride in the cool woods. As I rode, I mulled over the saddle fit.

#1. I need some flocking out of the front. If anything, the saddle is still a bit too tight, and it definetly rides uphill. I wouldn't mind setting it back another half inch, but it won't budge.

#2. This saddle doesn't fit like a glove. There is a lot of difference in saddles even of the same size. This I learned when shopping for my Stubben. I made full use of Dover's saddle test ride program, and spent one whole summer changing out trial saddles. What a bore.

#3. A quick inventory of the saddles available on the Internet tells me I am going to need at least $3000 to play with to get something just a tad longer and just a tad wider. A 23" x 14" would be just ducky. Side Saddle Heaven has three saddles that look promising, ranging from $1995 to $3500. No sense even calling to be "wait listed" for new consignments without cash in hand, and no sense buying one with the same sizing.

#4. The best way to get a good chunk of that cash is to sell my current saddle. I actually know someone shopping for a saddle and this one fits their criteria to a tee.

#5. The saddle hoarder in my blanches at the thought of letting go of this saddle. Even in the interest of "trading up".

But, if I sold my saddle to my friend for what I paid for it, and threw in next month's "mad money", I could be the proud new owner of something like this lovely Mayhew.


  1. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush. If you can figure out how that line applies to your saddle dilemma, please let me know. I've been saving that line for something all day. Looks like you're "it", you lucky devil.

  2. I would say sell your saddle and save next month's money and buy yourself one that is a better fit. You know how many side saddles I have bought and sold until I found my Whippy!!

  3. I think we need a time machine - head back to the 1920s and kidnap a craftsman from the C&W workroom and then bring him back to the present day to make us all new sidesaddles! :)

  4. Technically, blah blah, blah, that saddle you showed us is a 22 1/2... like your current one. Will it really seat any bigger, do you think?

  5. We have TWO C&W trained side saddlers here ;) Move to the UK guys, that is where the action is!
    Brita, what seat size do you need? If you send me a wither tracing of your boy, I can see what there is over here as the really long seated saddles tend to not sell for as much as the shorter ones.

  6. @Bif: That Mayhew is a good inch wider (for my curvacious figure), much flatter, and has linen panels for easier flocking adjustments. Also, a different make, so a different tree shape for fitting the horse and solving my uphill problem. I don't think adding a half inch to my current tree would solve anything.

    When I got home last night, I had a nice email from Sue Tobin at Side Saddle Heaven offering to help sort this out for me. Side Saddle people really are the nicest, most helpful bunch.

    Leila, when I get a wither tracing, I'll make a copy to send you.


  7. You are experiencing exacly what I went through with my C&W. If the saddle does not fit.. no matter what pants you wear.. the ride is not good. The second I sat my behind in my Knoud.. I knew there was a huge difference.

    Also tried out the Owen. It sits higher than the Knoud which I don't like too much because it gives the illusion that his neck is shorter.. but still fits Oliver and rides well.