My name is Erika, and I'll admit that I've never cared about how a saddle fit me. It's true. I've ridden for 22 years now, and I've never cared where I plunk my ass down, so long as that ass is sitting on top of a horse.
I'll also admit that when people start talking about stirrup bar placement, and twist width my eyes tend to glaze over. I think part of the issue is that I am so bad at visual thinking that my brain just shuts off when it's asked to visualize. So doing saddle physics in my head... not gonna happen.
I also grew up po' as hell, so when I was lucky enough to ride horses, I certainly wasn't doing it in my custom made saddle. And once I owned my own horse, you better believe I just rode in whatever saddle came with the horse. Even when that saddle was an 18" Stubben from the 19th century (or maybe it just looked that way compared to all of the new saddles with their fancy gadgetry).
So you can see why when I grew up and got a pony of my own the last thing on my mind was saddlery. The fact is... I just don't care that much.
One thing that has always been important to me is that the saddle fits the horse. I'm no expert on saddle fit, so I've always gladly checked with people who know more than me (trainers, saddle fitters, etc.) what they think of my saddle in relation to my horse. So don't worry that Gavin is riding around in a narrow tree, long as hell saddle that bridges because that's just not the case.
Right - so where am I going with this? Well - a saddle fitter came out about a year ago and said "your Black Country fits Gavin okay, but it's a hair long for his back and a little tight in the front". She pulled some of the flocking to give him some room to breathe up in the tight spot (right behind his withers). Then she came out again about six months later and repeated the exact same thing. Kind of a "no big deal, but this isn't an ideal saddle". Because I'm a bit apathetic to saddles in general, I just kept plunking my ass down in the, what I like to describe as, meh saddle. When I started working with my new trainer, she was examining the saddle fit and said the exact same thing. Just mentioned it might be hard for him to really lift his back and swing his shoulder with the length and the tightness.
Difficult to lift his back and swing his shoulder? But these are things I've been wanting and working on! It was like a fog had lifted and I suddenly realized the importance of saddle fit. I said, okay fuck it! I need to get real about saddles!
So - I took some pics of Gavin's back and brought them in to what I'd call Denver's #1 saddle fitter. She had me sit in a ton of saddles and picked nine (that's right NINE) to bring out and try on Gav. Ashamedly, I told her about my "If I fits, I sits" attitude towards saddles. She smiled *shock number 1* and told me that was the best way I could feel, because it keeps my mind open to all saddle possibilities *shock number 2* and that the hardest people to get a good fit for are the people who already have it in their mind exactly what they need before they even try the saddle on the horse *shock number 3*.
So, in a little less than two weeks, Gavin and I will likely be getting a saddle that not only fits him properly (no more meh fit saddle!), but also fits me properly!
Saddles above (Selleria Equipe Synergy, Jeffries Flyover, Prestige Bellagio, Prestige X-Meredith)
Saddles I'm excited about trying: Selleria Equipe Synergy, Prestige Bellagio (the saddle fitter said this was her favorite fit for ME), Prestige X-Meredith (this saddle is beautiful and as a former dressage queen, I love the deeper seat), Prestige Versailles
Saddles I'm terrified about trying: Prestige Boston (*throws all of my money in a garbage can and sets it on fire*)
Saddles that we nixed: Prestige Roma (my tight ass hips were like - uhhh no...), Adam Ellis Jupia (I can't remember if we fully nixed this one, or if she's bringing it just to try to see how his back likes a wooden tree, but she hated it for me and my short legs)
Saddles that look funny to me: Jeffries Flyover monoflap (the thing looks like a stingray), Prestige X-Breath (I hate the holes in the saddle... I know they're meant for the horses back and air flow and not some sort of weird place holder for my business, but it feels funky to me and I had to weirdly tell the saddle fitter and her apprentice "I'm not sitting on the holes right...")