Hattie looking less impressed with it today however...
I rode in it Sunday to try it out and could believe how well it fit Hattie AND my huge arse. Kept thinking about how comfy it was to ride all day yesterday but couldn't ride as it was raining too much so decided to school today in an attempt to get ready for our show on Sunday and used it instead of my Whippy!
Unfortunately, the nearside balance billet ripped off in my hand as it looked to be the original one from 1913 but the normal billets look to be modern replacements. The off-side balance billet looks like it's about to go at any moment so have to be careful but can't help but riding in this saddle as it's probably the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden in.
We did walk, trot, canter on Sunday to try it at the paces and Hattie did not buck. She seems to like this saddle so today we worked on stretching, transitions, 20 meter circles. Because it does not have a point strap on either side of the tree, the saddle did slide forward but once I get Roger to add point straps, that will sort that problem out.
It's in really good condition but will need the nearside tree point building up at the tip, all new girth straps, a slightly longer overgirth strap, flocking sorted out to lift the back (maybe a new linen cover as this one is rust stained so will get marked down in showing). These are the major things I want to get sorted out first to make it safe and ridable. The leather at the tips of the pommels has worn away but that can be patched any time and I can just Vetrap them any ways.
I love the mildly sweepy seat as it gives my right thigh something to press against and the wide pommels feel so secure. Whoever had this saddle before me, must have been the same size as the sweet spot fits me perfectly and makes me feel "locked in".
On an interesting note, I had a strange revelation today while riding in this saddle. When I asked for a trot and started trotting, I felt my right side tense up and my right hip kind of "cringe" for lack of a better word. I was pleasantly surprised that in this saddle, the seat is so soft- almost like I am riding on memory foam or something shock absorbing, that after I started trotting, I realized my hip wasn't in pain due to the comfy shock absorbing seat! I think subconsciously, my body was bracing itself for pain at my right hip as my Whippy has such a hard, flat seat that it jars and jolts my hip whereas, the seat on my Mayhew is like riding on a comfy couch. I did not even have to painfully "unclick" my hip when I got off today either. Hattie seemed happier on the right rein today as well and after realizing that I was tensing up on my right side, it was strange "letting go" of the tenseness and enjoying the ride.
I also like how the actual tree is built to lift up under the left thigh whereas on other saddles (my Whippy included), the seat is flat, comes out horizontally and needs to be flocked up to support the left side instead of the actual tree lifting upwards. Despite the flat, packed down panels which need lifting a bit at the back, the saddle did not tip to the left and I felt centered and secure. With the exception if it sliding forward a bit die to lack of point straps, the saddle actually stayed central on Hattie.
The tree is a good fit for Hattie and seems to fit like a glove. It has a rather open spread at the head without too much of an acute curve inwards like most Champion & Wiltons have so no pinching at the sides of the withers but then tapers inwards for the narrow shoulders of a Thoroughbred. This is the problem I have with saddles for Hattie, if they are wide enough at the withers, they are too wide at the shoulders and vice versa but so far over the past year, I have managed to find saddles that have an open spread at the head and then taper down at the shoulders.
Nice glove like fit...
After riding and you can see how the flocking has moulded itself to Hattie's shape. The above pictures were taken on Sunday, today when I put it on, it was better fit.
A nice fit, needs a little bit more of flocking on the serge part of the panel for a closer fit.
I think this is going to be a good one for us!
I also dropped the panels today to vacuum any junk out which had been hiding in it over the years and found the Mayhew label. It was made March 6, 1913 (the day after my grandfather's 10 birthday and the birth year of my grandmother, she would have only been about 1 month and 1week old when this was made) and the seat dimensions of 19 1/2" x 12 1/2", which as usual do not correspond to the actual seat which is 18" x 13 1/2"!