Now that I had a proper fit guide for a saddle, the search was on. While we had been trying saddles, the fitter, J (I’d put her full name in the blog but I didn’t ask. If anyone wants to contact her for a fit, I’ll happily give you her information. She’s fantastic) had gone through all of the used saddles within Stubben’s database to see if there was anything that would work. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to find anything. That meant it was time to take the search to the internet.
J said she would continue to look as well and if I found something I thought might be a possibility, to send the link to her so that she could tell me if it would work or not. Armed with the specifics from the saddle fitting, I started my search. There are a lot of saddles online. There are not a lot of 18″ seats online. There are even fewer that are narrow and less of those that fit into my price range. $1500 was as much as I could go and even then I felt iffy about it. That is a lot of money for when I’m not doing anything specific with Scarlet. I can justify a jump saddle because that is what I do for fun but nothing expensive because I’m not showing or training to show.
J found a Stubben Zaria online that fit the specifications but was exactly $1500. Since she found that around day one or two of searching, I didn’t want to jump on it. There could be other options within my price range but lower that would show up someday in the search. There are a lot of old saddles being sold online. A surprising amount of old saddles. Unfortunately, those were what was most in my price range. I looked through ebay and three different fb tack groups. There were a couple but either they were too expensive or too wide.
J spoke to one of the used tack stores here in town and they had an M. Toulouse with an 18″ seat for $1250. It had an adjustable gullet so I could make it as narrow as necessary to fit Scarlet. Since it was in town, I was able to do a trail without paying a fee for it or needing to purchase it entirely before trying it. I picked it up during my lunch hour and it was gorgeous. The tack store owner showed me how to adjust the gullet. It was really simple and very sturdy hardware. I also popped over to Mary’s to get some leather stirrups. I knew matching a saddle I was only trying out was silly but I needed leather ones anyway for this trial and future ones. Having a Wintec AP saddle meant that my stirrup leathers were synthetic and that is a no-go for actual leather saddles.
I was really excited to try it out and headed out to the barn. I tried it on without the saddle pad first and adjusted the saddle down a lot to make it nice and narrow. I had no idea if I got it right or not but I think it was okay. I had asked for a lot of pointers on how to test fit myself during the fitting so I felt confident enough to say I got it okay.
Unfortunately, as soon as I hopped on it felt off. The saddle fit funky underneath my butt. I thought it might just be me not being used to having a new saddle and walked for a while in it. It still felt odd but I decided to trot. A few steps in and it was like a stop sign came out of nowhere and hit me in the face. It was rubbing at the junction of my thigh and butt. I checked my breeches to make sure they hadn’t bunched up, checked my stirrups to make sure they weren’t interfering and no good. It just fit me wrong.
To say I was sad would have been an understatement. The saddle was gorgeous and the adjustable gullet would have made it super easy to transfer to Future Horse whenever they came around. So I returned it to the tack store and resigned myself to searching more.
Next time on The Horse Dream: Saddle Search – Part 2