Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Saddle Fitting

Feel free to roast me for this, but it's been two years since I last got my saddle fit adjusted for Gwyn. Given that I'm now about a year out from my cross country move, it's somewhat understandable, but regardless, it was time for a recheck. 

With my new job I do have some cash and the ability to save up quickly, for larger purchases like a better fitting saddle. Right now I have an all purpose Thorowgood which has been serving me well for all purposes. I know there are some different schools of thought with those style of saddles and I've been mulling over adding a dressage or specific endurance style saddle or going in another direction. 

Snuggles while we wait for the saddle fitter to finish up on the previous horse

One of my barn mates was having a fitter out a week ago and I hopped on that train SO fast. Though I didn't know it, she used to work for the lady that originally sold me my saddle and was very familiar with the Hastilow/Thorowgood line. Perfect.

First things... the lines on the saddle rack are digging into the leather on my panels. I need to make sure to pad this if my saddle is going to sit on it for any length of time. It would be better to be smooth.

She was pretty knowledgeable though she isn't fitting full time anymore. Now it's just a hobby for her and she's only taking new clients if they're friends of friends. So yay I got in, haha.

Mark up the pony's back in purple livestock crayon

She pulled out the wool flocking from my last fitting, which was a completely different wool and had packed down all wrong. The width is still good, she seems to think Gwyn doesn't need a hoop tree (again, like the last fitter from Michigan advised) Either way, we tossed it on, there was no bridging or pinching and I tacked up and took her for a test ride.

I kind of liked that the fitter also has some knowledge as a riding instructor because she made sure that I was riding effectively to then also judge how the saddle was working. She answered all of my questions. Additionally, she doesn't think I'm going to need a specialized kind of saddle. For my goals, even taking my lofty AEC goal into account, this saddle should serve me well. At most she'd recommend a jump saddle but not dressage or trail unless I really want to get further there. And while I would love to get my bronze one day, I don't need the saddle for that now. 

So what I did have her do was add trail rings to my current saddle. You can see them in the above picture from this past weekend. That should give me a little more utility for endurance. And also if I wanted a little more comfort for endurance, to get a seat saver. All very much economical options compared to getting a completely new saddle.

She also switched up my billet attachments so they're in a slightly different configuration (and she was VERY pleased with how nicely I've taken care of this saddle *preen*  and advised that I get a girth with no elastics (ahhhhh). Since I needed a new girth anyway, I ordered a Pro-Lite one on her recommendation. I'm lucky in that Gwyn has not ever been super picky about her tack. She'll eventually let me know that her saddle fit isn't quite right, but it's always subtle. And she's not a delicate flower about other pieces of tack, bits included. 

The ProLite is all synthetic, always a bonus, and it's anatomical to allow for shoulder room. Plus this one has a center attachment for martingales, which my previous girth did not, so that's an upgrade! Since it's not elastic, I'm slowly tightening up both sides in an alternating pattern, like a good pony clubber. And since it's not elastic, I ordered the same size for her and it's perfect and not up on the last billet holes on both sides.
Despite all that, when I finally rode in my new and improved same saddle, I still had to get off about 20 minutes in and tighten the girth AGAIN when a barn mate told me she could see daylight.  LOL.

Gwyn was a spicy mare too. She was feeling really good and offering lots of canter transitions when all I wanted was an on the bit trot. I had to use a LOT of half halt to keep her focused and eventually just made her canter around the arena twice to get it out of her system. I can still remember when just getting a long side of canter was a challenge!  Kind of regret not lunging... hahaha.
I also opted to torture myself with a posture corrector and ended up pulling a muscle in my back after doing a mostly walk ride. Good going, Amy.

It was a warm day on Sunday so I gave Gwyn a bath too. She promptly rolled.

Waiting for lunch

Monday looking bedraggled and confused that I was picking up the trailer and not her

"Oh! Tiny human!"

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