If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know that I’ve gone on a lot of saddle searches and dealt with lots of fit issues. The main factor that makes the saddle hunt so hard for me is that I have insanely long legs. Asking someone with a 36″ inseam and long thigh to find a saddle for under $2,500 is a joke. When I added Stampede into the mix it was pretty laughable. Hard to fit human meet hard to fit horse, proceed to try a billion saddles…
I learned pretty quickly that no one in the area had a clue about saddle fit, not even the tack shop nearby (who eventually told me they had nothing that would fit me anyways). So I read and I read and I watched videos and I read some more. Finally I tried a Butet on Stampede by borrowing one from a friend at the barn. Stampede really liked it, but the flaps were not set to fit me. I ended up on Beval’s used saddle site and spotted a used Butet with a 3 (extra long) flap. I spoke to someone about it, and while we weren’t sure it would work without a forward option, I decided to try it for fit anyways.
It wasn’t perfect, but after sending the rep pictures of me in the saddle and the saddle on the horse, I ordered my brand new Butet with the longest and most forward flap they make. While it worked great for me, we had to do the Great re-paneling of 2012 after I rode P in it and he stretched things out (oops). After that I still couldn’t figure out why Stampede was becoming back sore earlier this year. In the end that was a combination of uneven back musculature and kissing spines.
Stampede saddle drama fixed! Other than my dream for a slightly smaller seat size, but I will just deal!
After P had stretched out Stampede’s Butet I then had to have a second saddle. There was nothing used available to fit me even though P is a pretty easy fit. Eventually I decided to get a Pessoa with a long/forward flap based on measurements provided to me by the company. Well it fit P well and I thought I could deal with it since I don’t do a lot of jumping on P or anything.
Looking back that was probably a silly decision. I ended up hating the saddle and riding bareback most of the time. While P doesn’t mind, I think it’s important that he uses himself correctly and extends out his stride at the trot, something that’s harder to ask for bareback. So since then I’ve kept my eye out for other saddles that might work for us. I had ridden P in a test Antares a couple of years ago when my friend D was trying it and wanted to sit in my Butet again afterwards. Even back then the Antares felt better on P than my Butet did (Butet had a tendency to sit low in back on him). Consequently my friend D and her mare fell in love with the Butet and recently she ordered a brand new one (after having an okay fitting used one for a while) that she is dying to get!
So when a 17 1/2″ Antares with a huge flap (4AAA) showed up on the Beval used site I made some phone calls for measurements and information on the panel configuration. Earlier this week I bit the bullet and ordered it on trial. It does have this strange widened back panel thing going on, but after one ride it seems to fit P pretty well. I will get more opinions on the flap fit for me, but I feel like it’s pretty good.
P got a full bath including face scrubbing after we tried the saddle on Friday. I’m so thankful to the person who told me that Dawn works better on whitening than the expensive whitener does!