Sunday, 31 October 2010

Presenting...The Equxtra Manorgrove Side Saddle!

I got it today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The saddler called me on Friday evening to let me know that it was finished but I had to arrange for him to come today as we had a Halloween Eve hack and Halloween party in my tack room yesterday.

It BEAUTIFUL!!!! And it fits!!!!

The saddler spent a few hours tweaking the fit of it for Hattie as at the beginning it was still sliding forwards on her. He used a medium/wide tree as Hattie is a bit tricky to fit as she has wide chunky shoulders which would suit a wide width saddle but her high withers suit a medium tree which ends up being too narrow in the shoulders for her. A heavily flocked up medium/wide fitting is the best of both worlds for her. He put loads of flocking at the off-side shoulder which helps to keep the saddle put and not slide forward onto her shoulders.

It's got a REALLY COMFY, lovely flat and wide 14 1/2" seat. I got the 17" seat (it measures 20 1/2" from cantle to front of the fixed head) as my thighs are stupidly short for someone of 5'9" so if anyone out there who is tall, and decides to order one, just check your thigh measurement as you may need the longer seat than what I got. The saddle also made me a lovely 7" wide fixed head to support my poor arthritic knee too, my knee thanks the saddler for this consideration!

I just have serge lining instead of linen and serge as the serge provides a bit more grip and Hattie needs all the grip she can get to keep saddles put. The saddler also made me a Mayhew stirrup leather, three buckle girth (like my antique Owen one!), balance girth and even gave me a new side saddle stirrup iron too! That is handy as I can keep my collapsible one on my off-side sidesaddle as it only has a roller bar fitting and saves me having to swap stirrups around all the time.

I wanted to make sure the saddle was perfect for Hattie and the saddler needed to see what needed tweaking so we did some walking, trotting and cantering on both reins and I popped a little 1' jump. She did it perfectly the first and third time but refused the second time, LOL! I think I was starting to get a bit tired as I am SO out of shape which then affects your position and balance and Hattie felt that from me. She's a good mare as if she feels me start to waiver, she will just refuse to do anything or do it VERY begrudgingly so that I don't get hurt. I think she felt bad when I fell off and broke my rib as she just stood there over me and didn't move, not even to graze on the grass. The two times we did jump today, felt really secure and comfortable. I even felt secure at the refusal!

I don't think I'm going to be ready for the Prelim dressage tests this month as I need to build up my fitness again and Hattie won't work properly if I'm all off balance and uneven. We might do an Intro A or B test at the end of the month just to ease us back into things and to test out our new saddle.

After the saddle left, we went on a short hack down the lane, had a little canter on the grass verge and walked through the ford river. I'm giving her the day off tomorrow as she was good today!


  1. Yippee!! I know how exciting it is to get a new sidesaddle. I am in New Zealand and had mine made in Australia (it is nearly impossible to find sidesaddles in NZ) I practically mugged the post man when he arrived with mine! lol

  2. Glad its arrived and it fits! Sounds like you have had much more luck than my friend. Happy riding!

  3. So glad that it arrived and fits. That is so cool!!!!!

  4. I really am pleased with it but have to get to grips with the Mayhew fitting as when I mount from the mounting block, it unlocks and the stirrup comes off. I'm used to my C&W fitting, I find the Mayhew too sensitive. I may get it swapped over to an Owen in the future when my finances recover a bit but for now it's all good!

  5. Funny about the fitting - my C&W is too sensitive and my Mayhews are fine!! :)

    Be sure to watch the flocking level. New flocking can keep compacting for months, and will need topping off.

  6. Yup, I told the saddler that I would probably have to have him back as now that we are going to be schooling regularly, I betcha it packs down quick. The saddle kept sucking in the flocking in the 2 hours that he was here so I can see him having to come back soon.

  7. Check your flocking religiously with a Manorgrove. I had one made a while back and it packed down all too quickly...turns out it was flocked with some synthetic fluff, NOT real wool; had to have it replaced.
    OTW a fairly nice saddle; wish they didn't use an Owen fitting, tho'.

  8. Yup, rode in it today and noticed that it needs building up on the off side underneath my right thigh as I kept feeling like I was rolling to the right. It's surprising how quick it packs down!

    The saddler did show me the flocking he was using and it was wool so maybe he changed over to wool.

    I've had that synthetic stuff before on my old side saddle with a not-so-good side saddler, before I had the Wykham pad put on and it's terrible.

    I'm going to have my local saddler do the flocking this time as he knows about side saddles and worked on my last one with good results (plus he's only 5 minutes away so won't get a huge travel call out charge!).

    I got the Mayhew fitting on my saddle but it's too darn sensitive!! It look me 3 attempts to get on with a mounting block as the stupid thing kept opening! I'm going to see if my saddler can do something with it.