We have a Christmas clear round jumping show next so my friend and I had the indoor school booked at Blaby Mill Stables for today to practice some jumping! This is the same ring where we had our disastrous warm-up last Sunday but today Hattie was a different horse with the grippy gel pad underneath the saddle. I had decided to school side saddle today instead of astride to see what was going on with the saddle and if the gel pad does indeed make a difference as I know for a fact that Hattie likes the ring surface at this venue.
We did some good jumping today and Hattie was happy so I think we will stick with the gel pad until I can get my saddle flocking sorted out.
Afterwards, we headed home as we were having a visitor bring their Champion & Wilton side saddle for us to try. Louise arrived mid-day with a beautiful tan C&W in tow and I was in love with it. Anyone who knows me, knows that I ABSOLUTELY ADORE tan tack- all my astride tack is tan and I wish my side saddle stuff was too. Louise also judges side saddle classes and has ridden in side saddle showing classes to a high level so I was lucky to get a few hours of her expertise!
Louise said that ideally, Hattie could do with a slightly smaller saddle but because I'm very tall, that it was a case of making do with the best fit saddle I can get. She said the length of my 17 1/2" Whippy and her C&W (which looked about 17 1/2") were ok though but I wouldn't want to go longer than them so 18" saddles are out for me.
She put her C&W saddle on Hattie's back and it seemed a good fit gullet wise and was away from her withers however riding it in, soon showed that it seemed to be the wrong tree shape and fit for Hattie. It went forward onto her shoulder bone like my old C&W did and pinched very badly. I told Louise this is what my old C&W did and that it seemed to confirm my suspicions that Hattie is not a C&W horse! I think C&W trees curve TOO inwards just below the gullet for her.
However, the short time I rode in it, it was VERY comfortable and the wide seat fit my butt perfectly. It was like sitting on a heavenly saddle and I felt very secure even though the seat and pommels were pigskin. I always wear full suede seat breeches but I felt that seat was very comfortable and secure. If it would have suited Hattie I would have bought it in an instant as Louise said that I sat well in it and it suited my height.
This is the saddle that Louise is selling and is still available if anyone is interested in it. The seat is a generous 17 1/2" (approx. 21 1/2"- 22" US measurements) and the tree width is a medium to medium/wide fit. She is asking £1200 ono and is based in Newark, Nottinghamshire. She said that I could forward her email address onto any interested parties so email me at crinolinegirl @ corsetsandcrinolines.com (remove the space before and after the @ sign) so I can forward her contact details on.
One thing Louise did say was that I sit too far back and I need two fingers clearance between the front of the fixed head and the inside of my knee so she scooted me forward..A LOT forward than I'm used to sitting and it opened up MUCH more seat for my fat butt to sit on. She did this with me on both her C&W and my Whippy. In fact, she REALLY got me forward on my Whippy due to the high placement I have the leaping head set on.
I then did walk, trot and canter riding on my Whippy with this new position and my saddle felt secure. It did not feel like it was tipping, did not feel like I was riding uphill and did not shoot right onto her shoulders. Louise said to try to work on my position with sitting more forward than I have been and see if that helps my saddle but that I should keep using my gel pad in the meantime. I knew that my butt had something to do with the saddle shifting...
Generally, she said that my Whippy seemed to fit Hattie quite well, that it sat quite nice and level on her back and that the shape of the tree followed her nicely BUT that the panels were too bloated and needed an overall "de-flocking" to bring the whole saddle down a bit more on her. So basically, my saddle needs to lose some weight!
That is good news as that means I don't have to sell my beloved Whippy and have to fork out ££££'s for a new saddle but instead probably a couple of £££'s for a complete reflock which is more doable for me.
Louise also gave me some tips on turnout and said that I don't have to do my 21 tiny North American Hunter Braids but that 9 British Showing Plaits are more correct. I'm gutted as I take pride in my even row of tiny braids as I think it looks much polished so that is going to be a MUCH harder habit to break than trying to sit more forward on my saddle!!