Bah humbug, the new saddle isn’t fitting all that well

So, I got the new saddle a few months ago. Blogged in December. I was a bit worried it was almost too narrow, but it seemed to settle down a bit, as new saddles do.

It is comfortable for me, I’d placed a jumping version of the actual tree in the wide width on Bali’s back before ordering it, and it truly is a lovely match for her back.

But…I was starting to have problems keeping my leg back, under me.

Some of the recent show pictures, it just isn’t right.

I am human, and human nature does not seem to override the years of saddle fitting when it is my own money that was just spent, and the saddle is not even 6 months old….so, when Alison asked if I loved my saddle yesterday in the Fix a Test, I said “no, but it fits her decently, and doesn’t hurt me”. She then said “it moves forward onto her shoulders”. Human nature kicks in (IOW, I don’t have cash laying around to get yet another saddle) and I said was pretty sure it was the illusion that the stupid too-forward flaps have (what I don’t like so much, I can almost use jumping/AP pads with this, the dressage pads are too straight). So, we were wrapping up, and I pondered it.

So, tonight, I go to ride and decide to actually LOOK at the saddle. Because I don’t evaluate saddle fit every time I ride. No…unless the horse complains, I’m hugely off balance, or someone says something (cough, cough, Thanks Alison!) I tack up, and get on.

Hmm, the balance point is not as nice as it was. So, I tuck a fleece under the rear, to lift it, and while I ride, I ponder if I can possibly reflock the rear enough to correct the balance. I ride, Bali gives a couple of objections at one canter, I figure she isn’t a fan of the slight ridge the sheepskin has, and finish up our ride.

The saddle has slid forward…dammit. So, untack, strip pads, put saddle on horse without the pad.

That stupid saddle has 4 fingers clearance. What do too narrow saddles do? They shift forward. I look at it, study the panels, these serge panels are beautifully flocked, and not full enough to pull out wool in the front. There will be no wool-removal to get some room.

But, wait, let’s walk over to the saddles and grab Sparkle’s saddle (used it for years!) and pop it up there. Voila. The XW looks great again.

The upside, even too far forward, the Detente is wide enough to be more like a western saddle, that does sit over the shoulder. Nothing pokes or bothers Bali, it just puts me into a bit of a chair seat…or makes me work harder to sit tall and keep my leg back. So, for trail rides where we are taking both girls out, I’ll still be using the nice new saddle, but until Bali’s muscling changes (again!) I probably won’t really be using this saddle.

It was better in March –

But still was working forward during a ride…and since Bali doesn’t mind, I was chalking it up to a sliding pad, as my bad habit of leaving girths sorta loose, often means my pads slide out the back. On all saddles.

But, I don’t need to part with any thousands on another. The XW saddle fits again.

Back to this…less the half pad

I just need to decide if I am just going to sell this one, eat the loss, or keep the wide tree dressage saddle, since it is a quality saddle, and Bali might change shape more again.


About Mel

Random musings in a riding journal
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