Well, it's been a long time since I last blogged. Almost eight months. I'll bet you thought I had lost heart!
Last September, after a particularly awkward and discouraging ride, I realised that I was wasting my time with my Martin and Martin as it just simply didn't fit my horse or me very well. I mulled it over for awhile, and in the end of October, I sent it on it's way to the Side Saddlery on consignment. Linda Flemmer gave me an honest appraisal of it and even after her consignment commission, I would be getting more back on the saddle than I was prepared to take.
Sending it to an expert on consignment proved to be the correct decision and by February it was sold. In fact, I ended up with almost all of my initial investment back, and the price of the experience was only the freight in purchasing the saddle and then sending it to her on consignment. Furthermore, I am confident that the purchaser was well guided in selecting and fitting the saddle and that it will have good care. That is always a consideration when dealing with these lovely old maker saddles.
Months wore on and I saved my pennies. Well, I spent most of my money on horses and wine... the rest of it I just wasted. I remained in touch with the other passionate side saddle lovers through our fabulous Facebook group, but not having a saddle to work with was very disheartening. Now and then I would check the classifieds, but I did not muster the determination to start again. I did not scour the countryside, nor did I actively send out inquiries. I watched as others posted news of exciting purchases and their hopes and dreams and I waited.
Then, I saw a nice Mayhew Lissadell come up for consignment. http://sidesaddle.com/store/saddles/saddle_page/mayhew_9.html I went ahead and inquired, took a brand new Wither Tracing and sent it to Linda. There was not a great deal of difference between the one from last fall, and the current one. Just a little more dip in the pocket right behind his shoulder blades. Linda confirmed that this saddle tree appears to be a good basic size and shape for Grey, and the 23" length, and generous 14" width sound promising for me.
Keep your fingers crossed. Taking the plunge purchasing a side saddle is a little easier this time, because I know a little more, and I know that quality old name saddles, especially larger ones, hold their value and that I am spending mostly freight and consignment fees each time I purchase another one. That reduces the risk as long as you work with ethical and experienced people, which I am confident Linda is.
But at the same time, there is trepidation... will it fit? Will we all three be compatible? Will everybody be happy? What new, unconquered challenges will this one pose? I am not eager to have another "not quite right" saddle sitting in my living room staring at me accusingly saying "This whole idea of yours is nothing but folly". "Your thighs and your horse are far too unique a combination to ever hope of finding just the right match". "These old saddles were custom made for upper class women with a larger disposable income than you have." ....And on and on and on... and they never shut up.
So, this saddle is coming on trial. Linda's policy allows a test ride with a full refund of the saddle price upon its return in the same condition within 7 days. Yes, you do have to pay for the shipping and insurance each way. And no, it is not easy to get a box the size of a side saddle into the car to take it to the UPS to return it. But this is the price we pay for passion. Send good thoughts our way!