Enter the saddle fitter

If you’ve never utilized the services of a certified saddle fitter, let me be the first (or the hundredth) to recommend you do so at some point in your horse-owning life. It’s a luxury expense, sure, but I can assure you that you will get your money’s worth.
We’ve been addressing Johnny’s issues one at a time. Teeth: totally fine. Hocks & stifles: injected, check. Chiropractic alignment: one rib adjusted, check. Muscular soreness: massage & acupressure work, check. Saddle fit: …enter Dena Owens from On Impulse Equine and Cindy Adcock, County Saddlery Representative.
Although Johnny has made tremendous improvement following his joint injections, I knew deep in my soul that my saddles weren’t fitting him right. My Stubben dressage saddle promised some hope, but the Pessoa Gen X was going to have to go, I knew. Almost immediately, Dena confirmed my suspicions. She took the Stubben to her truck to reflock it, only to discover she would have to remove the panels to get access. Major $$. Instead, we made the decision to shim fit it for now until I can purchase a new saddle. Thank goodness for my Fleeceworks pad with inserts pockets… The Pessoa, however, just wasn’t made for the high-withered OTTB. The narrow tree was too narrow at the base of the withers and too wide at the top. So, we turned to Cindy for help. The very first saddle we tried was the Innovation.

My sole reason for earning income at this point.

My sole reason for earning income at this point.

Cue Angelic choir music. I knew immediately when I swung into the saddle that I was in love, and Johnny? I asked for a canter transition, and he gave it without panicking. There was a small cavalletti jump set up in the arena, and he jumped it without once rushing–knees up and all. I knew I was in trouble. I admit that I did, in fact, call Cindy ‘the Devil,’ because I knew I was willing to spend whatever the price was to acquire this saddle.

Our next step was finding the right dressage saddle. Because I was so used to Johnny’s “antics,” when he threw his head in the air and resisted contact, I didn’t realize at first, that the saddle was the issue. A couple of saddles appeared to fit perfectly, but his reaction told the real story. When we finally got to the Fusion, I couldn’t believe the transformation.

County Fusion

County Fusion

He melted. Just dissolved into a puddle of relaxed, happy horseflesh. Everyone who had eyes on commented how happy he looked immediately. Like that. A voila transformation. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same angelic choir music moment I’d had in the Innovation. My friend K kept trying to get me to open my hip angles, but I was perpetually in a chair position. Two other ladies there absolutely loved it and ordered one each on the spot, but for my short legs, it just wasn’t the right fit. At any rate, it’s one saddle at a time, so we’re focusing on replacing the Pessoa at this point.
As a side note, I sat in one of the Borne saddles that Dena brought and had my angelic choir moment. We sat it on Johnny’s back, but she didn’t have on hand the model she thought would be the best fit for Johnny. So, when it comes time to replace the dressage saddle, we will revisit with Dena (and may revisit the County saddles as well).
Now I’ve found the saddle…but how to pay for it?? Somebody mentioned selling eggs (as in my own–not poultry). Turns out this pays quite well…but I’m just over the age limit at 33. Thankfully, I am employed with an actual wage-paying job as of today. Woo-hoo, right?? What, pray tell, job market did I enter? Telemarketing. I know. I hate myself, too, but at $10/hour, it pays an awful lot of horsey bills, and I’m not cold-calling anyone. Shall we do the math? Let’s assume I get $1100 for my Pessoa. Well, that’s 40 hours of work to pay the remaining $400 deposit balance. Then, I have 10-12 weeks while my saddle is being semi-custom manufactured to my specs to come up with the remaining $2875….287.5 hours. Divided by 20 hours per week: 14.4 weeks. So, I’m going to have to work a couple of months before I can even place the order. And that’s not even taking into account that I need to use some of my wages to pay for lessons, competing, and the extra feed costs. Conundrum to say the least. But you know what’s really crazy? I don’t think it’s crazy. I think it’s perfectly normal to save up nearly five grand to purchase a leather product that goes on an $800 horse. After all, if it makes my horse happy, it’s worth every penny.

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One comment

  1. Aoife @ Pampered-Ponies · April 15, 2014

    Saddle woes, have to save the pennies myself as I’m hoping to buy a GP for each girl…with flat almost ready & every spare penny currently being syphoned into a furniture fund I shan’t be splurging any time soon 😦
    But I am delighted to hear about the job & choir moments in saddles…deff all bodes well!
    Happy shopping when time comes 😀

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