|I have a love-hate relationship with this saddle.|
She has such a short back that I've decided I don't want a saddle with a skirt length longer than 26". Both of my western saddles are 28" and they are way too long for her. I think that might be part of our problem because I can't really place the saddle where I want on her back because there's only so much room. That wouldn't explain my english saddle issues, of course, but it drives me crazy having a skirt that long. I'm not sure I can get shorter than 26" unless I get a barrel type saddle, which I'm not interested in getting, so I'd like to start out at 26" and see how it fits.
I also want something that can be a work saddle and a show saddle. We're far from western pleasure, but if I'm buying a pricey, custom saddle, it would be nice to be able to use it in the future for showing as well. So a little silver would be good, but I don't need a bunch of tooling that requires me to get out the toothbrush to clean it up every Sunday.
Not too many requirements, I know. I just want something that fits Lilly, fits me, and looks nice enough to show in. Shouldn't be hard, right?
Most of the equitation style saddles I've found are done up to be show saddles. Roping saddles usually have wrapped horns, cutting saddles have a pretty high horn height, and barrel saddles have a high horn and a high cantle. The all around saddles tend to look like trail saddles, so that really only leaves reining style saddles...
So in my search for a new reining saddle for my non-reining horse, I was pointed in the direction of Rocking R saddles as a good place to start (along with all of your suggestions as well). What really caught my eye and fit the bill was the Rocking R 852 reining saddle.
I've had it in the back of my mind that I also need to get a new english saddle. Because I'm selling my western show saddle I've been focused on replacing that, but I started giving it a bit more thought today. I should probably get a new english saddle before I replace my western one, you know, since we show english and not western. :)
There's a saddle fitter not far from me, but she only does english saddles. I can haul Lilly up there and they'll find one that fits her, then let me ride in those, and determine which one of those I like best. Too bad they don't sell western saddles!
I mentioned my saddle problems to a friend of mine today and told her I was thinking about replacing my Collegiate with a Pessoa. I saw one for sale at the tack place where I'll take Lilly to be fitted, but she wrinkled her nose at me. She said the new ones aren't made like they used to be and I should look at getting a Tad Coffin or a Hermes.
"Okay," I said. "I'll check those out."
HOLY GEEZE! I can tell she's not spending her money because the Tad Coffin is $4,500 and the Hermes is $6,100! I think I'll look for a nice, used Stubben instead. Even used those saddles are probably out of my price range.
In any case, the search for a nice western saddle is on hold because right now the english saddle takes priority. My first show is March 5th, so I need someone to buy my Circle Y saddle! :)