Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Birthday Gets Bigger

I bought my current saddle about a year and a half ago, and while there are quite a few things I do love about it, there are also a number of things I don't love. For one thing, it's a trail saddle and as much as I try to situate the fenders so they are far enough back that my foot stays under my hips, they creep forward constantly and I find myself in a "leg out front" position all the time. While this is the preferred position for a lot of Western riders, the more I work on refining my riding, the more I find this laid back pose a hindrance. I feel regularly inhibited by my saddle's inability to let me really line up while I'm riding.

Also, while the saddle is an ok fit for Steen, it is not great. Sometimes he still gets dry spots on the shoulders. On Laredo the fit is decidedly mediocre. The flared tree means it rides too low on a horse without big shoulders or high withers. It has a real tendency to shift on him if I don't really snug up the cinch.

While the things I do love about it (the way it looks, the softness of leather, the fact that it is light and easy to carry around) have been enough to make me content to stay riding in it for a while, I have to admit every time I ride in Brian's saddle I get a little jealous. The Wade style tree fits all our horses way better than my saddle fits any of them. Also, the seat is so balanced, the stirrups are pre-turned, and the tree is rawhide wrapped hardwood (mine is fiberglass coated wood). It's a noticeable step up. But Brian's saddle also weighs over forty pounds. And while I'm working on a weight program that involves repeatedly pressing a 26lb kettlbell and I can now officially do a pull-up, forty pounds is more than I want to have to heave on and off of Steen's back and in and out of our tack locker on a regular basis.

So I've been waiting. We had some plans of placing a custom order for a lightweight Wade for my birthday this year, but when the time came I realized it felt foolish to spend that kind of a money for a style of saddle I've never actually owned. So we didn't do it.

Then I was looking at ranch classifieds site the other day, and I saw a saddle for sale. It was a simple roughout Lady Wade by McCall, which meant it was built on the same tree as Brian's saddle (so we know it fits all our horses). It was a really good price, the right size, and lighter weight than Brian's model. After a fevered evening of discussions and scribbled pros and cons lists, we decided to buy it. Brian called the shop in the morning... and learned the saddle had been sold.

But they had another one. It's almost the same in that it's the same size and built on the same tree, but the skirts are even trimmer and it's half rough-out, half smooth-out.

It's on its way.

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