We got to the fitter at 1 pm, filled out the paperwork, showed our Coggins, and got to work. Doesn't she look happy to be getting a new saddle?
|All this for me?!|
She said there were indeed a few challenges to fitting a saddle to Lilly. She said she has a really short back, is a bit croup high, and while she has decent withers, she said she's pretty thick on each side of them. We put Lilly's Collegiate saddle on her bare back and she said she didn't see anything glaringly wrong. It fit nicely on her back, didn't rock, was pretty straight, and overall didn't look bad at all.
After much pondering and more discussion, we decided the issue must be with the wider areas around her withers. The way my saddle is padded, it looks like it might sit on them just so, causing her to become uncomfortable after a period of riding. Short rides don't seem to be an issue most of the time, it's when we're showing and I've been riding and sitting on her for a longer period of time.
The way she acts, you'd swear she was in awful pain and the fitter commented that perhaps Lilly isn't very stoic... that perhaps she's a bit of a princess instead. That's my girl!!
It's good to know the saddle didn't fit her as poorly as I was afraid it did, but I was worried that would make finding a saddle that put less pressure on those areas difficult. We tried 6 different saddles and I rode in 4 of them.
The first was a Collegiate Convertible Diploma ($1,000) with a medium-wide tree that seemed to fit her okay, but I hated the way I felt in the saddle. It felt like it was pushing me forward and the seat wasn't comfortable at all.
The next one I tried was a Black Country Ricochet ($2425) with a medium-wide tree and it was amazing. For the first time ever I felt like I was sitting IN the saddle instead of ON the saddle. There was a lot of it, though, and I didn't feel like I had good contact with Lilly. It has a padded flap, knee blocks, and a calf blocks so I had a difficult time asking her for things. Apparently, those saddles are custom made to order.
The next saddle was a Pessoa Gen X XCH (meaning it has an adjustable tree) ($1395), with a medium tree. The fitter felt that this saddle fit her the best of all the saddles and it was okay as far as comfort, but after having sat my behind in the Black Country, it felt a bit stiff. It also had foam flocking instead of wool, which she said wasn't as easy to adjust as wool should we run into an issue later on down the road.
The final saddle was a Pessoa A/O AMS XCH ($2395) with a wide tree. We started out with the medium tree in this one, and then decided to try it with the wide. It was SO comfortable, and while it has molded knee pads (I don't usually like those) and a calf block, I didn't feel as disconnected as I did in the Black Country. This saddle got thumbs up from the saddle fitter, Lilly, and me, so it's the one I brought home.
|Sent from angels!|
The fitter said they normally let the saddles stay out on trial for 5 days, but she's going to be sneaky and give me a few more days to try it out. We couldn't get Lilly to show off her "get this saddle off my back" dance so I have no idea if it's because this saddle fits her or if she was just having a good day. The real test will be when we go to a show and I use my beloved number pad.
Not sure what everyone thinks about Pessoa... I know a few people who think they're awful (at least the new ones), but the leather is really soft, the seat is comfortable, and it looks like a quality saddle to me. Most importantly, it seems to fit my mare. I do find it amazing that one style of Pessoa fits Lilly with a medium tree and another style requires a wide tree. How in the heck is anyone supposed to find a saddle that fits without trying them all on first? I guess if you have a "normal" horse there's less issue, but I couldn't believe how many different tree sizes we tried on her.
She offered to take a look at my western saddle as well, although she said she doesn't know much about western saddles. The general principles should be the same on all saddles, so she gave me her educated guess. She thinks the saddle fits Lilly fine... there wasn't the tightness around her withers like there was with my english saddle, so she wasn't sure why Lilly wasn't happy with this one. She thinks that since Lilly acts the same way in all the saddles that it's most likely because of the same reason (wide around the withers) so we talked about different pads I could use to gently lift the saddle off her back a little bit without creating too much padding. She said she wouldn't give up on that saddle just yet.
I still think I want to sell that one and the Circle Y so I can get a new western saddle that I can use for work and show, but I'll ponder it some more. In either case, my western shims must go, along with the wither relief pad I've been using for my english saddle... my new western felt pad needs to go too, not to mention my Collegiate Lynn Palm CC saddle. Any takers? :)
So let's hope I've found a saddle Lilly and I both love!!