Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Oh Crap, Not This Again


Saddle shopping. It is the absolute worst thing ever. I’d rather buy jeans. Ugh. 


Enjoyed another wonderful trail ride this weekend and didn’t get lost this time. Yay!

Unfortunately my two beloved Black Country Wexford saddles will be listed for sale as soon as I get pictures around and posts made. I hope they sell quickly and with minimal drama. I bought them both used at really good prices, so I should be able to move them along without taking a hit. 

I’m super sad though. Even when Eeyore decided that he can’t possibly cross the exact same creek he crossed one week prior and heaven forbid he get his hooves wet so he launched over it like a complete moron, my butt stayed firmly and safely in my Wexford with no fear of being dislodged. Those saddles are so so awesome. 

I decided to take the red trail this time which also had a lot of re routing due t recent logging. It included this climb that I had never done before

The saddle fits Eeyore perfectly too. It is an exact match for his back no kidding. I doubt I could order a custom made one to fit this well. Hamilton’s medium version is a darn good fit for him as well. 

But....

After being completely crippled all day Monday from my trail ride Sunday the light bulb went off. This saddle is KILLING my back. 

Now...I don’t expect any jump saddle to be comfortable after 3 tough hours of climbing and twisting terrain. It’s not what it is meant for. The very idea of a jump saddle is to make getting up off the horses back easy and comfortable. So after last week’s 2 hour trail ride I wasn’t thinking much about how awful my back felt the rest of that day or the next. So what? I’m out of practice of long rides. 

The climb was worth the effort as it ended with a gorgeous view of Lake Hartwell and mountains

Then I went out again this past weekend and could barely slide off his back due to a stabbing radiating pain from my lumbar spine and sacrum. As I drove home hoping the spasms would stop it dawned on me. Last summer when I was riding Eeyore 4 days a week for rehab, my back pain started. By the time September rolled around I was so debilitated in the saddle that I had to two point even in the walk and he dumped my butt in the dirt at my last lesson, September 2020. I did not however have any pain while riding the lovely Fenix during lessons with MD.

After that I stopped riding while I got my crap together and had surgery. I actually didn’t ride at all from beginning of September through January. Lo and behold I had no back spasm pain that entire time but I chalked it up to the surgery. 

It is a tough loop with a lot of single track climbs and twisting trails. This is my favorite type of trail and I did miss all the trotting I used to do here on Gem. Eeyore will get there eventually too. 

In January I returned to riding but only snuck in 2 rides a week both generally 30 minutes or so. At first everything was fine but then I started having the same back pain: mostly muscle spasms along both sides of my lumbar and into my sacral spine. The more time went by the more pronounced it became and finally started to linger the day after my lesson. 

I quit lessons a month or so ago for other reasons and started to ride less as well as I figure out some things and my back has felt amazing. Then the two trail rides and it finally hit me: this saddle is killing my lower back. I don’t know why because in all other regards it is super comfy but it has got to go. 

Eeyore was mostly good. Well, from mile 3-7 he was amazing. Before mile 3 he forgot to turn his brain on and was a turd and after mile 7 he was tired and bored and trying to figure out what the heck we were still in the woods for. But those 4 miles in the middle were so so much fun. I had a grin plastered on my face the entire time. 

So I’m on the hunt now for another saddle for Eeyore. Hamilton is going to wait as he is off to the trainers in two weeks (a story I’ll share on its own once he has left for KY) for the summer so won’t need a saddle at home until late August when he returns. regardless of the jump saddle situation I will be getting a western based saddle of some sort for trails. I'm hoping to find another one of Gem's type endurance saddles. 

The picture did not capture it very well, but off in the distance is a super steep uphill. Eeyore stopped at the bottom and looked at it then back a me a few times as if to ask if I was crazy. I debated hopping off and hiking it with him but he had been a big ass about crossing creeks and bridges that he had crossed easily the week before and I didn't want to teach him that I will get off when thins look tough. 

I still want a jump saddle though so I’ll be hunting something. I’m absolutely clueless as to what to look for at this point. I know what doesn’t work for me from past attempts, so at least I can rule Stubben, Custom, Bates and Prestige out. I really, really, really want a CWD but that’s not in my budget unless I can sell these for a high enough price. We shall see. 

Anyone have any good suggestions on where to begin? It has to fit a very wide, flat backed horse with big shoulders. I’m open for any and all suggestions. Dusty has suggested that it isn't the saddle and is instead the horse and that I would make a lot more money selling the horse versus the saddle, but I'm pretty partial to the Big Orange Butthead even when he is being Super Butthead.

12 comments:

  1. I have no idea if the saddle I prefer would be an option for you and your horse, of course! But for your research purposes, I like my
    Fabtron Lady Trail Flex-Tree Western Saddle that I bought about 10 years ago. Somewhere along the way, I think Fabtron stopped using the flex-tree, but they still sell similar saddles with a solid tree. The saddle is light weight, comfortable for me and several of my horses over the years. My two things I don't like about it are the plastic stirrups (which can easily be swapped out) and how the fenders put me in a bit of a chair seat. Otherwise, I am happy with it.

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    1. I think I saw a Fabtron Lady Trail for sale online and it looked like a really nice saddle. I will search for it again and see if they would let a trial. Thanks for the rec!

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  2. If you have a Bliss rep in your area, they may be worth talking to. Kate Wooten (she's in TN but covers KY) was amazing to work with, and I would've bought one from her if I hadn't found my county. The Loxley by bliss saddles are wool flocked and can be made in an adjustable tree, so lots of customization options there at a reasonable price.

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    1. I will look into those. I thought I remembered that you had looked at those for May. I tried a County Stabilizer before I bought the BC Wexford and it didn't work for me.

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  3. Speaking as someone with experience with those QH stocky types, CWD is going to be really, really hard (if not impossible) to fit. All the French brands are unfortunately kind of like that - made for a curvy not-super-wide horse with withers. It sucks because they're so comfortable.

    I second Emily's idea of Bliss, my best friend here has two and they're awesome. Other ideas would be Fairfax, County, Equipe (might feel similar enough to the CWD for you!), Smith Worthington, Albion... really, lots of the English brands are probably going to be a good option.

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    1. Oh man - way to burst my already fragile bubble. Maybe I can get a CWD for Hamilton someday. I'll check into the Bliss for sure.

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  4. I've had lots of luck with the British brands...County, Jeffries, Albion for the xw, flat backed pony in my life. That being said, none of them have been soft and comfy for me like a french saddle is. I third the idea of Bliss to try and will throw out maybe trying a County monoflap. Being able to let my legs hang that little bit more really helped out my hips and lower back on my wide pony.

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    1. It may very well be his big wide back coupled with a shorter stirrup that is causing the issue. I tried a County Stabilizer and did not like it but will throw the monolap on my list to look out for.

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  5. You may want to consider a different type of English saddle, instead of a different brand. Instead of a jump saddle, you might consider an eventing or all-purpose saddle. I really liked the County Eventer, made in a variety of widths and plenty of wool flocking to customize the fit.

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    1. That is a good point too. I don't jump very high or often so an AP may not be a bad bet. I'll keep those on my list too.

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  6. Ugh, saddle shopping. Sorry you have to go through with it again but I hope its drama free and I'm glad you figured out what was messing with your back.

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    1. There are worse things but saddle shopping really is the pits. I'm in no rush as I don't have any plans for the moment so at least time is on my side for this.

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