After a few weeks, I received a call from Lesley, at Stackhouse Saddles that my saddle tree was in the shop, and they were headed up to Middleburg, and wanted to bring it by and see how it looked, before building the saddle, as Bali is wide, and I am apparently not very big. I had also mentioned I’d love to see how it looked on Neuf, so this worked well.
They came to my farm with my tree, and I had Neuf there and Lesley was surprised at how wide my baby horse was…the tree was the right shape for Neuf, but it would probably need a Mattes pad, and I’m ok with that. Then we put it on Bali, and the shape was still right. It was going to sit a bit higher than I was used to in the Albion, but I knew that Albion was a touch too wide, but Bali was ok with minimal clearance.
Then David asked me to tack up Bali as he wanted to double check my measurements. It seems that my saddle tree looked small to him.
I was feeling much less nervous, because I saw my saddle tree, on my horse. It was the right shape, bonus, it was the right shape for Neuf too! So, off they went to start building my saddle, but Rolex was that week, so I needed to be patient.
Meanwhile, Neuf got too wide for the MW dressage saddle, and I started riding him in the XW with a Mattes pad. It is amazing how fast horses in early training change shape. The first time I tacked him up, he was in a Medium tree. That lasted about 3 weeks, then he’d stayed in the MW for a few months.
I finally couldn’t wait and called, and my saddle was finished!!!! And they asked to take it with them to a dressage show they were at that weekend, I agreed, it was only a few extra days, and I knew how hard it is to decide without sitting in something!
The next Wednesday, my saddle arrived. I had just tacked up Neuf for a lesson when the UPS truck came in, I had it dropped at the barn door, then James arrived, and I had him hold Neuf so I could peek at it. It was beautiful…and a monoflap. My other decision that I was nervous about. But, it was a peek. I had an instructor holding my horse waiting on me to get to riding!
I finished my lesson on Neuf, turned out the horses, except Bali, and checked it out. It looked good. Stiff, as brand new saddles are, but it appeared to sit well.
Oh the irony, I didn’t grab a plain pad, I grabbed one with the old Albion logo…This is not an Albion! This beautiful saddle is a DG Stackhouse :-).
It does look tiny, and I got a shorter set of stirrup leathers, since those pictured are ridiculously long! I later measured it, as a tack store would. 16.5″ seat…I may as well use short leathers, I don’t think anybody else will want to ride in it!
I rode in it, it did not move, it did not rock forward, even when Bali bucked in protest of being tickled by the whip for half steps, slide back, and Bali felt even wider under my calf…I looked down and realized, my leg was where it was supposed to be, and I didn’t need to think about it! Lucky for me I did not want a narrow twist, because that wouldn’t be possible on my wide pony. This saddle is comfortable!!!
But, the bonus? It fits Neuf, without a Mattes pad…baby horse is wide too! Leslie said that I have a “type”. It also fits Sparkle.
A couple of days later, David Stackhouse called to see how the saddle felt and how it fit. I am pleased. I’ve had it 8 days and have over a dozen rides in it so far. The fact that it fits 3 of my horses is super!
My only two “complaints” are first, I still don’t have perfect hands, surely the saddle should have fixed this! And second, now I notice how much I’m fighting to keep my leg under me in the other saddles on the not XW horses.