Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Goldie-Haffie and the three eight saddles

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful golden Haffie named Paddington. He was out in barn one day when he came across eight dressage saddles that he decided to try on. Previously, he’d had to use hand-me-down saddles that either pinched his shoulders because they were too narrow, or bridged because the panels were too long.

The first saddle he tried on was too narrow. He thought that the panels were too long and that’s why it bridged, but actually the bridging was caused by the narrowness. Three more saddles were too narrow, even though they were all marked “wide”. Paddy was starting to feel self-conscious about being a big Haffie, since nothing fit him.

This one is too narrow.

The fourth saddle was too long and the cantle rode over his loins.

See how it goes past his last rib?

He knew that one would be uncomfortable, so he tried a fifth saddle. This one fit ok over his withers and shoulder, but the billets were in the wrong place. Still, the saddle fitter said that could be fixed, so he decided to try it for a ride. It felt OK, but not great. [Note from me: It rode OK, but as I told the fitter, it was “nothing to write home about”.]

See how far back the billets are compared to his "sweet spot"? This can be fixed by adding an extra billet where the thigh roll is, so we tried it out. No bueno. 

The sixth saddle was too short in the flaps, and the seventh saddle was too expensive [Note from me: It also was too narrow, which was good, because that was a muckin’ expensive saddle]. But the eighth saddle… it wasn’t too narrow, wasn’t too long in the panels, and the flap was the right length.

Oooh, looks promising...

Needs some slight adjustment (we used a shim pad for trial), but otherwise good!

Paddington decided to try it on, and it made him feel like a Grand Prix Haffie! His trot had more loft, his canter was rounder and more collected, and it even made his gorgeous hair look better than ever.  [Note from me: Seriously, this was a miracle saddle. Suddenly Paddy had so much suspension in his normally flat trot, it was like riding a different horse.] Paddington decided right then and there that he simply HAD to have the saddle. However, since the trial saddle required a shim pad, and it didn’t quite fit his mum’s butt, a new custom-for-Paddy version had to be ordered directly from England.

Because all gorgeous Paddington-Fabio-Haffies require custom Adam Ellis saddles, right?

24 comments:

  1. Dreaming of the day I can get a new saddle! :)

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    1. Well, I am having to sell both my Reactor Panel dressage saddle AND my Ellis jumping saddle to afford this one, so I know how it is. But neither of them fit any of our current horses, so not much point in keeping them around. Hopefully you'll be able to get a new saddle soon!

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    1. Saddle fitting is one of my least-favorite activities, honestly. I'm glad I have someone I can call to tell me what works and what doesn't... even if it often ends up with me spending lots of $. Ah, horses!

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  3. Don't you just love trying the fit of saddles?

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    1. I would love it significantly more if saddles weren't so damn expensive, AND if they could be made and shipped in a week. I know, I don't ask for much...

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    2. Waiting 60 days for the one I ordered from Spain, so I feel your pain.

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    3. Oh man, that's tough. And in the meantime you're "making do" with saddles you KNOW don't fit... so frustrating. I hope yours magically arrives much sooner!

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  4. Argh! Saddle shopping... I dread it! I'm so happy you found one that works for you and Paddy, though! How long will it take to get here?

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    1. Saddle shopping is the WORST. I've basically given up entirely on the "shopping" part and just call my saddle fitter and say "show me what will fit him." We go with whatever works, I cringe and hand over my credit card. Luckily, we were able to shim my old Wintec AP so that it mostly works for jumping - not the best fit ever, but not the worst. It'll do for now, and the dressage saddle was more important anyway.

      HOPEFULLY the saddle will be here in about a month. My fitter knows the saddler personally, so my saddle is up there in the queue. Did you know it only takes a day to a day and a half to make a saddle? Pretty cool!

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  5. Hate saddle shopping! Shy's saddle is a tad too long, but it doesn't seem to bother her and she goes so well in it. And it is so comfortable!
    Haffies are notoriously hard to fit.

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    1. Between the xxwide and the short back, and me needing a decent seat size so the flap's long enough to fit my leg... too many criteria to cram together into a "standard" saddle, so we went custom. All our other saddles are for long-backed, high-withered horses, and they didn't even come close to fitting Mr. Haffie. But Haffies need custom things, don't you think? It makes their hair look better. ;)

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  6. I think it's only right that a Paddington-Fabio-Haffie has a custom saddle. Good horse mommy you are for understanding this :)

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    1. He better appreciate it, that's for sure! And he can start showing his appreciation by doing amazing canter work, better laterals, and working on lengthening. Just sayin'!

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  7. Hooray for having a local saddle fitter! Think how much worse this would be without her.

    Or don't, it's kind of terrifying.

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    1. This is why I'd rather just pay her to come out and get a saddle I know will fit. So much easier than playing the guessing game with my limited knowledge of saddle fit!

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    1. Yes, and I can't wait for it to arrive!

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    1. I will lurve it even more when it arrives and I get to sit my butt in it. HURRY UP SADDLE!

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  10. Oh Paddy, how lucky you are to have a mother like yours! We'll have to start calling you Prancing Paddy when your new fancy saddle arrives!

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    1. Hopefully he'll be Piaffing Paddy someday!

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  11. Those are definitely some tough fitting criteria!
    I'll take one with a short flap, please. ;)

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    1. My leg totally fell off the bottom of the saddle with the short flap. But I'll send it to you if you'd like!

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