Yes, Milton you look very sporty in a saddle that costs more than you did.
First saddle: 17 1/2. Open tree. 00 (zero zero). S. Straight flaps. Too low over withers. Don’t remember which leather. Buffalo maybe?
Response. As we walked to the ring, Milton seemed happy. A bystander even commented on same. I found the seat uncomfortable but I was able to get my entire leg on the horse. Apparently my upper leg has been MIA due to a wide saddle. Who knew. The walk and trot were moderately uncomfortable. The canter was divine. Coach Molly liked my position. I agreed.
Second saddle: Regular tree. Forward flaps. Gullet clearance much better. Back half of saddle too wide for Milton. Warmblood style. Did not ride in.
Third saddle: 17 1/2. Regular tree. 00. O (letter). Wider, deeper seat. Classic grain. Don’t remember saddle & knee roll leather.
Response. Fit Milton. Super comfy. I can see why people like to sit in them. I hated it. From the moment I sat down. Rode in anyway to be sure. Made it hard to ride well. Felt the saddle rather than the horse. Made me lean forward at canter, something I have also been doing in the saddle I have now. I’m buying a piece of athletic equipment, not a place to rest my butt.
Hunt seat: if I ever go to a regular dressage show, I will do so in a hunt seat saddle. It will be so obvious that I am an escapee from another ring that the style of saddle will be the least of it.
Panels: 00. Ms. Fitts says Milton is neither uphill not downhill. Balanced. Makes him easy to fit? Does this mean it would be easier to find a used saddle and to resell it later?
Tree: regular. Milton is wide. We tried an “open tree” which has been slighted widened. Sat too low.
Twist: S. narrow twist. Love this. The O (letter) is a wider and deeper in the seat. Super comfy. Tough. If I want comfy I’ll buy a couch. Give me what fits the horse. Give me a saddle that maximizes my feel. Much like the the skinny, finicky, racing bikes in the Tour De France, give me what works. I’ll learn to ride it.
Flaps: Straight. Would run out of flap if the stirrups went way up. That’s okay. The forward flap saddle (#2) look like something one find at a show in the tack stall of a Grand Prix jumper rider. If I am ever jumping high enough to need the forward flaps, I will happily trade up. This will do me for now and for a long while to come. Coach Molly felt I could go through Novice and Training in this style saddle. Yes, please.
Flaps: 2. Short flaps, Was able to put leg on horse rather than on leather.
Leather, flaps, three choices: Grade – classic, lasts forever. Buffalo – cowhide that has been tanned (? treated?) differently, grippy but wears out. Calfskin – super soft, immediate break-in, also wears out, good for the professional who is showing twelve horses at a big show next weekend and doesn’t have time to break-in a saddle. I did not ask if the calfskin was actual calf or a name for the tanning method. The full buffalo has stitching on flap. Bleh. Yeah, I’m old school. What’s your point?
Leather, knee roll & seat, two choices: Calfskin or buffalo.
In both saddles, Milton went more freely forward. Has saddle fit been holding us back? Maybe a little. We all go better in well-fitted clothing/equipment. Not really. He shows many of the same behaviors on the long lines & while driving.
What are we going to do? Milton needs a saddle. Right now we are borrowing one (Thank you!). However, the Devoucoux saddles, even used, are insanely expensive. But I’m in for sticker shock no matter what. The last leather saddle I bought was for $300 in 1980. I still have it, although I retired it when it didn’t fit Rodney or Milton.
Right now the are two used options. One saddle is 18″ instead of 17 1/2, the other is a 2a (slightly forward) flap in full calf. Unless the saddle fairies are feeling generous, used saddles aren’t going to give you every detail you would order off the menu.
Now that we have more data, I have gone back to
dithering pondering [Saddle Shopping].
Thank you for reading,