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Friday, June 12, 2009

Saddle update

Forget the big saddle hunt! My challenge always seems to be actually getting the saddle I ordered and having all the details in place to get to actually ride in it.

I got my Solstice on Wednesday. This sounds fairly simple. It isn't. UPS doesn't leave packages at my apartment. They leave me little notes to either be home the next day, or call the number to arrange for pick up....30 minutes away. Half the time their stupid service doesn't work and it won't GIVE me the OPTION of putting a hold on the package and I must sit through 3 days of notices before it will automatically go on a hold and THEN I can pick it up THREE days after the original date I should have gotten it. Obviously this was unacceptable for the saddle. After doing some creative scheduling at work that involved me working until 2am, I was able to sit at home for 4 hours waiting for my saddle to arrive. I waited impatiently and stared out the window. Finally the UPS truck turned down the street...and promptly missed the turn. Witness Mel running down the street yelling "come back!...."

Saddle safely in hand I went back to work for the second time that day for a meeting, then back to the stable to try on the fit. Problem. I didn't have a girth that fit. I needed a 44-46" and my longest was a 26"! (I also have a 22" and there was a brief thought of tying them together.....). So there I sat looking at my wonderful saddle....with no girth. I really wanted to see if it fit I hopped on her with no stirrups, no girth (and it retrospect, no bridle or helmet.....Just a halter and leadrope). If my mother is reading this: Yes Mother is was stupid, no Mother I do not want to live at your house as a vegetable, no Mother I won't do it again.

I was satisfied have how the gullet fit with my weight in the saddle so I hopped off and went to work (again). After staying at work until 2am to make up for playing hooky most of Wednesday, I dragged myself out of bed Thursday morning after significantly less than 8 hours of sleep. Apparently they mow the lawns on Thursdays at 7am at my apartment.

The farrier appointment ran late (don't they all?) and I rushed to the only "local" tack shop that sells english stuff, which is a FULL 30 minutes away. They had one polyester string girth in a 48". After doing that particular errand I was REALLY late to work. (late is relative - my job is flexible, but showing up at 1:30pm when I'm used to getting there 7-8am seems late). I managed to stay focused until 6pm, when I sped over to the stable.

I saddled up with the girth (yes, I do need a 44", but a 48" works well until I can get a mohair ordered at the right size) and mounted up.

Complete bliss! I never knew a saddle could be so comfy. The knee rolls are ever so soft. They are little pillows that support and cradle the knees. I was amazed at how balanced I felt. I was a little worried about the 17" seat being too small. I have *clears throat* a rather ample bottom and thigh, compared to my 5'1" height - in fact I'm distinctly pear shaped. I have been riding in a 17.5" and a 18" that rides like a 17.5". My other saddle that I spend a lot of time in is my McClellan that is the "standard" military seat size. Since I buy all my saddle used, I can be too picky on sizing, as long as it's close enough, I go with it. The 17" fits me like a glove! I never realized how much room there was in the other saddles I was riding, and not in a good way - it made it difficult for me to keep a good position. I rode for about 20 minutes and then forced myself to get off. I was exhausted and cranky from too little sleep and wasn't in the mood to school in the arena and if I stayed on much longer, that is what I was going to have to do.

After dismounting I noticed that the saddle had slid forward on her shoulders a bit. I think it's because I was doing a significant amount of cantering and still trying to find my balance in the new saddle and may have been pushing it forward with my seat. It's hard to tell until I get it on the trail for a significant ride. I plan to do that this weekend, and then every just sits for a week until I return from Alabama. :( One of the differences between the Duett and the Solstice is the amount of "pad" and "stuff-ness" in the panels. The Duett has comparatively flat panels, while the Solstice has more of a "over-stuff" look and feel to them. It's harder for me to evaluate the fit across Farley's shoulders - the angle looks perfect, and it seems like it's sitting in the right spot, but I really want to get a good look at a sweat pattern. Ideally I'll have the Solstice either reflocked or the flocking adjusted this fall, specific to Farley.

I'm hanging on to the Duett for now. Tentatively it's up for sale, but I probably won't advertise until late summer. Couple of reasons for that, including the "race that I'm not talking about". It still fits well enough that I can use it as a back up saddle for Farley if for some reason this one doesn't work. Without the Duett I have nada for a backup saddle for Farley. I really like the Duett and would hate to see it go, however, if I'm not using it, it would be better to sell it and buy another one when I need it. (If anyone would like to contact me privately about it, it's a 34cm, 18" Duett Companion II in all Black. I'm not advertising, but if someone came along and made an offer, I would probably let it go.)

I can't wait to get home today and go riding - sitting at my desk now, it seems impossible that the saddle was so comfortable, but it was!


  1. ha. haha. Your mower people and my leafblowers are in cahoots I am sure

  2. Glad the saddle was so comfy. Hope you have many great rides in it.

  3. Grats on the saddle working out! It's such a big leap of faith to buy a sadde, especially used and sight unseen!

  4. I knew it! I knew that dang saddle would be comfy and you would love it. My search continues.

  5. lifeshighway - it's well worth the cost. I'll keep an eye out and let you know if I see one for an especially good deal. I'll definatley be saving my penny's for a new one when this one wears out - I can never go back!


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