Well this past Saturday, Gail and Sue made the trip north to try to help find a side saddle to fit one of my horses. After roughly 5 hours, we came close, but there were no carrots to be had. Sigh...these saddles are extremely hard to fit.
We tried a Wayne Steele on Normandie. It was fitted and Gail mounted up for an inaugural ride. Normandie walked off alright, but then got half way down the side of the ring and did a little cow kick, almost like he was swatting a fly. It might have been, but then he did it again...this time in protest. Apparently the saddle rolled a little and it started digging his withers. Normandie is stoic when it comes to a lot of things; however, he is quite expressive when something isn’t right.
Gail dismounted and we headed back for the aisle to try the second saddle, a nice Mayhew. Normandie was learning patience as he stood in the aisle and waited while the balance girth was set and then it was out to the ring for a second test.
This one fit him a little better especially in the withers. Bob helped with a “pony” ride; Normandie followed him allowing Gail to concentrate on fit and feel instead of worrying about what Normandie was thinking. The saddle had new flocking and the packing down caused the cantle to dip low creating an uphill slope on the saddle; back to the aisle.
We took the saddle off and bridle again and Norm stood on the cross ties while Sue, super saddler that she is, took the saddle to her car and opened up the padding and began adding more wool. She stitched it up, and we were off to the ring again for another test ride.
Another swing and a miss; it rode better, but the saddle would still roll to the left as you rode. So, the consensus was to wait and try it out on other horses to see if it was a fundamental issue with saddle or something else.
So, Jenn still has no saddle, but we’re still working on it. Sue is cogitating on the problem and we’ll see what happens.
Since they were up my way and I had heard that there was a side saddle at a local saddle shop, we took a quick road trip and it was quite educational. The side saddle is an example of caveat emptor (buyer beware). I will address this in my next post.