Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Saddle choices- Martin & Martin? Knoud?

The back lady, Kate, came out today to Hattie and all went well. Hattie had a few tight spots at the back of her poll and along the top of her neck, at the base of her withers and on her back towards her loins mostly on the off-side. She said that Hattie wasn't too bad and that it was a good call to get her out before anything got too serious. Kate also recommended me giving Hattie another week off and then start riding her in straight lines (so hacking out) at a walk on a loose rein for a few days for about 20 minutes at a time just to get her stretching out and using her muscles correctly again, then start adding in the trot.

Since I don't have any usable side saddles at the moment, she said I could use my normal saddle while I do this and that way it shouldn't cause too much problems with my hip (she also trained as a human physiotherapist!).

Hattie loved her massage and started to fall asleep at the end although she wasn't so sure about it at the beginning!!

I've been browsing side saddles for sale and the ones that always seem to catch my eye tend to be Martin & Martins or Knouds. I remember reading somewhere (can't remember where for the life of me), that sometimes saddlers from Martin & Martin used to work at Knoud which is why both brands of saddles tend to resemble each other. Knouds are rare in the UK and Martin & Martins not so common so I've never ridden in one but from what I've seen of them, they seem to tick all the boxes of what I want in a side saddle.

The billet straps on these two brands of saddles is one that Hattie needs as well as they tend to be forward placed and have off-side point straps and the seats tend to have a bit of a dip to them which suits my conformation as well.

I always admire Brita's Martin & Martin as that saddle would suit me and Hattie to a T. Even the pommel shape is one that I like too. Brita, if you ever consider selling it, please let me know! ;)

Another thing that I like about M&M's and Knouds is the spring loaded flap. I HATE overgirths as they are a pain in the butt to do up and they always rub Hattie so I have to end up putting a fleece girth cover on which is another hassle.

Does anyone have any comments on M&M's or Knouds and/or how they ride?

This is another antique photo from my collection that I scanned for your viewing pleasure. I bought it 11 years ago from the Leicester Market for £1 and is one of my favorites as you can see the saddle. I love this grey hunter and how perky he looks and the saddle looks to be a comfy close contact one, I would have loved to have ridden this horse in that saddle!


  1. You bet! I found your saddle on ebay. Looks like you are getting a lot of interest. I love the look of the M&M saddles too. I'm drawn to any of the flatter, sleaker makes that resemble the old park saddle.

    What a handsome grey. I can't imagine the mounting block I'd have to own to get on him!

  2. I've had several M&Ms, and they were not all close contact. I bought them for jumping, and I think the thickness of panel is dependant on what the saddle was intended for. Linda has one for sale on the Sidesaddlery site that has flatter panels suitable for park riding. She also has a Turk with a fairly dipped seat that you might like as well as a Wilkinson and Kidd that was built for park riding.

    As it turned out, I wasn't happy with the garage door fitting; you do see that in Knouds as well. They either tended to slam shut or never fit Chummie's barrel well. My favorite set up so far is just the outside billets, though Equxtra's is pretty functional.

    I still have my "Martin & Owen" saddle and it rides beautifully. It's got thick panels for hunting, but it rides like a close contact saddle and I don't feel like I'm sitting up too high. Plus, it has no padding at all under the safe, just a single thickness of leather.

    However, I've found that when you start moving up the levels and have to sit the medium and extended trots you need those thick panels rather than thin ones. (And I fully expect you to get there!)

  3. I prefer a close contact saddle but I'm not fussed if it isn't just as long as it's not too over stuffed like some saddles you see. I like padding under the safe too as with my bad knee, I need the support under my calf.

    I did look at the Turk and Wilkinson & Kidd but both look like they would be a bit too narrow for Hattie and the W&K has one of those annoying overgirths that you need a groom to do up which isn't handy as I often ride alone. The Turk is a bit too dipped for my tastes too but I do like the straight fixed head on the W&K though.

    I want to see what that park Knoud is like on the Side Saddlery but it won't be ready till the spring and I want a saddle NOW, lol. I also emailed Devon about her Knoud on her website and sent her Hattie's tracing over a week ago but I don't think it's arrived yet.

  4. So, you're working on the revolving door sidesaddle policy? ;)

    Sounds like an illness to me!

  5. LOL! Better saddles than drugs! Gary and I had "words" the other night about this saddle thing. We kind of have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy now when it comes to tack...