~*News Update* The SD fires are no where near where Scarlet is Stables (as of 8:30 on the 7th). They are about 40 miles north of where I live but are moving toward the coast with minimal southward progress. I don’t think I will personally be in danger but there are a lot of people who are evacuated and a lot of horses who need to be moved. Please keep everyone in your thoughts while this happens. And hope that the winds die down. ~
I have to admit, I was quite disappointed that the M. Toulouse wasn’t going to work. I had looked at all the websites everywhere (slight exaggeration) and even my larger budget wasn’t giving me much of a window to wiggle within. There was still the one 1500$ Stubben hovering at the edge of my mind but… I still couldn’t do it. I guess I’m more miserly at heart than even I realized. I want a house someday (WHY OH WHY DO CA HOUSE PRICES SUCK SO MUCH!? Who has 100k+ sitting in a bank account for a downpayment) cause I want a yard and a dog and no people stomping around above us. So saving where I can is always in my mind. And honestly, a new saddle is not a necessity. It matters to me but if push came to shove, it was something I was willing to let go.
I did ask the 1500 saddle owner if they would be willing to do a trail. I had only sat in two versions of the Portos by Stubben when doing a fit and I wasn’t sure if the Zaria was the same. And I really didn’t want to purchase a saddle unless a) it was exactly what I’ve already sat in or b) I could try it before being committed. But they said they had the saddle priced to sell and weren’t interested. Fair enough. It was worth asking.
J and I talked about various options on the internet. Mostly ones I had sent her. She had a more discerning eye from the start. Nothing was really popping up. Then J sent me a link to a fb group. It was for a Crosby Centennial for $750. The owner was willing to do a trial. The only issue was that it was a medium tree. J said that we could probably make it work with some shims depending on how “medium” it was. With my budget, I was most likely going to have to sacrifice something in the way of saddle fit and shimming would be the easiest to make work.
So, I spoke with the saddle owner and we agreed that I’d pay her via Paypal and she’d ship it to me. If it didn’t work within 7 days, I’d pay to ship it back and she’d return my purchase money. So, I had a trial to kinda cover my butt a little if this saddle didn’t work.
It arrived and the box was huge! She had wrapped it in two fleece blankets and put a pillow on either end. Perfect packaging for shipping. It arrived in great condition and I was pleased with it. The leather was in good condition and the saddle was clean. There was one cosmetic scratch on the cantle but I wasn’t concerned about that. After all, not showing. Appearances are less important.
J told me how to use a pair of hand towels to make temporary shims for fitting purposes and how to lay them on the saddle. The saddle fitting fee covered her coming out again to check whatever saddles I might find but if I hopped on and it was terrible like the M. Toulouse, what was the point of her coming out again?
The saddle was definitely wide on Scarlet when I plopped it on before putting anything under it but it wasn’t as wide as I had initially expected. That’s good, right? Next, I pulled out the girth. J wanted me to try girthing the saddle and then running my hand underneath the tree to make sure that it wasn’t pinching weird. I did that and there was a lot of room. Pretty much what I expected due to the saddle being wide. I then added the pad and the towels. I girthed him up again and had to keep nudging my girth up holes. The billets on this saddle were really long! Once all suited up, I swung up right next to the tack room. I had walked over to the arena with the previous saddle and had to go all the way back to change saddles so I could have a full ride. (I’m not being lazy guys, the way the barn is laid out, the walk to the jump arena is really long.)
I walked and trotted in the small arena near my tack room quickly to see if the saddle rubbed like the last one. Nope, good there. It didn’t seem to pinch or irritate Scarlet right off the bat so that was also good. I headed up to the jump arena as it’s the only arena with lights to try a full ride.
The ride went well. I could tell that the saddle needed a smidge more padding up front to level it out but I didn’t feel stuck in any position. The blocks on the front felt nice and kept my leg in place well. The seat wasn’t the most comfortable in the world in terms of softness. It was a harder seat without the cushion that the Stubbens I tried during the fitting had but I figured that was more of a luxury type thing and I probably wasn’t going to get that. I told J that it seemed to work and we set up a time for her to come out and verify.
Next up: Does it fit?