All searches start with a need.
Champ and I were using an old, hand-me-down saddle belonging to his owner/trainer. It didn’t fit me…it didn’t fit him…and the flocking was rock hard. My nicer older brown Albion fit me wonderfully, but fit Champ terribly. It was in great shape and the flocking recently redone, but there was no adjusting it to fit Champ. I knew I needed to buy a saddle for him, but the idea of searching and picking just the right one was daunting (I’m really picky with a tiny budget).
I first started seriously considering new saddles after hearing Jochen Schleese give a mini-clinic at the Pacific Sporthorse Selection. I spoke with the local Schleese rep, got a video and plenty of information. Paying for a new Schleese was going to be an issue, but a horse with a sore back isn’t very happy, healthy or usable. After sitting on the information from Schleese for a few weeks and doing some research, I decided their saddles weren’t for me.
Time ticked by and I managed to eliminate all major saddle manufacturers based on things I read on the internet (sometimes doing so much research isn’t a good thing).
Soon after our horsey community was blessed with the opening of a new tack store…specifically Dover Saddlery…in November. A couple of times sitting in saddles at the shop and I had become smitten with a Custom Saddlery saddle. However I wasn’t thrilled with the price tag, even for the off the rack saddle, knowing that I would need to have a fitter out to work on the saddle either way…so I sucked it up and called my local Custom Saddlery rep…knowing I’d likely end up spending more than I wanted…
An appointment was set up for several weeks in the future.
To be continued…