Thursday, July 22, 2021

We Finally Have A Saddle Again

While I did really really like the Pandora, mostly due to how easy it is to adjust and the fact it was 9lbs, I just can’t see dropping that kind of money on a fancy endurance saddle when I don’t do endurance at the moment and my reality is that getting to even trail ride happens maybe once a month. I’m crossing all my crossables that when Hamilton returns we can start doing some short family trail rides this fall with Hubby on Eeyore in the front, Wyatt in the middle on Gem and me bringing up the rear on Hamilton. If we start going out multiple times a month, maybe it would make sense. I’m keeping my eyes out for a used one, but they are few and far between and seemingly always obnoxiously purple which is the one color I can’t get myself to like or even grit my teeth and deal with. 

A super cool signature spider made a home in the tack room. It’s a bit early for them to be out. Usually the trees get covered in various orb weavers and signature spiders come September. It was neat seeing this one and I left him undisturbed. 

In the meantime I need something to ride as both Eeyore and I are going insane with this prolonged rest period. When I dropped my Wexford at the consignment shop in Aiken I spent some time looking at what they had to offer. The Synergist and Tucker came from there but both were pretty pricey and neither were a good fit. I happened to wander into the back room and saw an Australian saddle. Having never seen one in person I was curious about it so I pulled it onto the stand and sat in it. 

Wow…that thing was comfy! A bit heavier than I’d like but still lighter than either of the other two. Unfortunately that one had a pretty narrow gullet, so I didn’t even bother to trial it. It did give me something to look for. Shortly after I found a wide gullet saddle for a great price.  In fact, the shipping was almost the same price as the actual saddle. 

Eeyore likes to check everything out before it goes on him. He started licking the saddle and then tried to take a chunk out of it. He is my Doofus…you’ll have to find your own. 

There were some issues…I bought it on July 3rd with estimated delivery the 12-15th. When the 15th came and no saddle arrived I messaged the seller that I needed the tracking info and/or the saddle within 24 hours or I’d be reporting them to both eBay and PayPal. That was around 7 pm my time (they were shipping from mountain time). Wouldn’t you know it but a shipping label was created at 950pm that same night and the saddle arrived Monday? Sheesh people. I did my end, you do yours. 

Anyway. 

I’ve been having a string of bad luck where it seems like everything I do or touch goes sideways, so I waited until life seemed to settle and finally took it out of the box Wednesday night. I was surprised to find a shaped felt pad and a girth in the box. Good thing too because I didn’t realize the girth is totally different than anything I’ve seen or currently own. 

An overgirth. The one end has regular English buckles. The other has one standard English buckle and one longe leather strap. This piece goes up through a ring high on the saddle flap then back down to the buckle. They tend to come in small, medium and large from my brief research. This is the small, 32”. 

The saddle is pretty well used and needs some good leather TLC, but for $250 I’m actually pretty pleased with the condition. Nothing is ripped or broken, just very dry and a little worn. From my research Aussie saddles tend to be a bit narrow so I was worried but it ended up fitting him pretty darn well. 

I had also read some reviews that the stirrups put you in a chair seat but my legs ended up sitting right under me very nicely. 

The panels sat nicely right behind his shoulders

We did some walk, trot and canter work and beyond his pissyness at being asked to work in super hot weather, he seemed to move freely and without complaint. The saddle is insanely comfortable and super secure. I probably could go up a seat size for more room but for what I’m using it for I think the extra security will be a plus. 

My thighs rest against the poley but not in an irritating way. I can still post easily…well actually better because it prevents me pinching and posting incorrectly. I even got up in half seat to canter and it was fine. Doubt I could jump anything other than a small log on trail but that isn’t the point of the saddle. 

The only thing I need to do is to get some Aussie style leathers. The English ones put the buckle right under my thigh and it was already irritating with a short 20 minutes ride on fly ground. Any longer and I’d bruise. Most endurance stirrup leathers put the buckle at the iron instead so I’ll look for some of those. 

Don’t let him fool you. It was 20 minutes of easy work. With the long flaps I’m curious to see if adding a full fleece cover would allow me to ride without chaps. At the very least I’m going to switch to my caged endurance stirrups and fleece leather covers so I can ride in my tennis shoes. 

For now the felt pad seems great if a boring grey. I may do some research in the future for something similarly shaped but more fun. The girth is old but functional enough at the moment. 

I really didn’t want a chair seat. I was pleasantly surprised that it felt like riding in a dressage saddle instead. 

The boys have a fishing trip planned for most of the day Saturday which means I will have a completely guilt free day out on the trail and a serviceable saddle to use. I can’t freaking wait!!!! 

3 comments:

  1. I also made the jump to am australian saddle for trail riding and love it! After being used to a lightweight jumping saddle I feel invincible in the Aussie.

    For pads, Riding Warehouse carries Toklat cool back pads in fun colors specifically shaped for Aussie saddles.

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    1. Thanks for the heads up - I will check into the Riding Warehouse option.

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  2. I'm so glad you found a solution that works for both of you. I HATE Aussie saddles and have had nothing but bad luck with them. But you make it sound lovely :) I know many other people love them and won't ride in anything else. Here's hoping you get lots of family adventures out on trail this fall.

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