Thursday, June 11, 2015

Oops! I Did It Again!

I bought another saddle.

I didn't really *need* to, but I needed to.  My lovely County Conquest (which was actually up here for a little while) is just far too wide for the horses I've been riding - so much that I was beginning to doubt that I even liked my saddle!  I just felt like I could not get my leg on the horse.  It turns out that I'm okay with a wide twist only if it is on a wide horse.

There was a Butet I was riding in, and it was okay for a while.  It certainly worked better on the narrower creatures than my County.  Over time, however, it became less okay, and I really felt like I was fighting to keep my leg under me.  The flap was not a good fit at all, either.  But I made do.
Eventually, I was looking one day at the used saddle selection at Beval.  They didn't have what I thought I wanted (a narrower County), but the lady working there had me sit in some different things.  One was and18" Premium Butet with a 2.25 flap (compared to the 17" 2 flap I'd been riding in) for the bargain price of $5700.  Not happening.  She then asked me if I'd ever sat in a CWD, and I replied that I hadn't.

So she sat me in a CWD.  Let me tell you, that saddle was the most comfortable, cloud-like thing I've ever had the privilege of planting my butt in.  It wasn't what I "wanted," though, so I wasn't willing to pull the trigger.

Three days later, I couldn't get the darn thing out of my head.  So I went back to Beval, sat in a few more things, and ended up taking a different CWD (we'll call this on CWD #2) on trial.  I will admit, the original CWD did not feel quite as cloud-like when I sat in it that time, but I still felt I had to just "get it out of my system," so to speak.

I've been anti-French-saddle for so long that I had zero intention of actually liking the saddle or thinking the saddle fit the horses I ride.  But dammit, when I was riding in it, my leg (my right leg in particular) just went where it was supposed to go.  And I don't mean just in the right place, but also turned correctly from the hip down.  I've always had a problem with my toes wanting to super-point out, but riding in that saddle, the problem just disappeared.  It was in no way that the saddle was forcing my leg into any particular position; my leg just "fell" into place.

Well, crap.  All that was basically the opposite of my planning to hate it.

So I rode in it a few days more.  And then Trainer L said she much preferred that saddle for me than the Butet I'd been using.

Well, crap.

And THEN Husband pointed out that I was complaining much less about back pain riding in that saddle - even compared to when I've ridden in a County.

Well, crap again.

So then the only question was whether I wanted a more forward flap.  If I was seriously considering spending that much money on a saddle, I owed it to myself to try a more forward flap.  I returned CWD #2 to find something else to try.  As luck would have it, I did find the same model and seat size in a different flap immediately.

So I took it on trial (let's call this one CWD #3).  Between the more forward flap and a different panel configuration, CWD #3 rode a bit differently than CWD #2, but it also fit the horses better.  After talking with a rep from CWD, I learned that the panel configuration of CWD #3 is considered their "Pro Panel" - a configuration which works relatively well for many horses.  (CWD #2 was more built up in the rear of the panel - probably to accommodate for a very uphill build or some similar conformation).  The more forward flap was a better fit for my leg.  And Trainer L said she much preferred CWD #3 over CWD #2.

So I made an offer on CWD #3 and the seller met me near the middle (I was willing to pay the asking price, so any amount less was just a bonus).

And I have a new (to me) saddle sitting on the saddle rack.

POSTSCRIPT - I had my (serious) doubts about how well this saddle would work for a wider horse, especially when I saw the perfect sweat pattern on the one the TBs.  Amazingly, however, CWD #3 was not nearly as much too narrow for one the horses I sometimes ride (an Appendix QH who is nearly as wide as Sparky) as I expected it to be.  It looks as though a simple change of panel configuration would result in a saddle which would fit the Appendix.  The same has held true for the other wider horses I ride - the saddle fits them much better than I was prepared for it to fit.  So much for my preconceived notions about French saddles (well, CWD, anyway).

1 comment:

  1. any chance you can tell me what the panel numbers were for the "pro panels" I have pro in my current saddle but they were modified for my gelding. Looking to get another but can't remember which part was modified! TIA!