WHAT? This is just getting ridiculous! Enough with the secrecy!
Here's how it happened ...
I decided that I wanted to try dressage. I bought a new Wintec 500 dressage saddle and used it for a year. It worked, but the seat wasn't deep enough for my endurance trained body. I sold it. I bought a used Wintec Isabell which also worked well, but it wasn't soft enough for my endurance butt. I've used it for a year, but it's now for sale. I rode Sydney at Sport Equine in the trainer's Custom Saddlery - Revolution. Uh-oh ... Anything with the word "custom" in its name can't be cheap.
Just like buying a new horse, this saddle thing isn't a new idea either. I've been looking at saddles since January. I've been asking people what they ride in, do they like it, how much does the saddle run, and so on. The Custom saddles have been on my long list for new saddles, but they were/are just way too far out of my price range. My short list of saddles did include the Custom Steffen Peters Advantage Saddle or the Bates Isabell. And even though they're cheaper, they're still pricey at $2,500 - $2,700. Ultimately, I've just been really hesitant to spend a mortgage payment on a saddle that might not fit my horse, that might fit him, but not me, or that wasn't deep enough and soft enough for my sensibilities.
As I was trotting around on Debbie Davis's nicely deep and squishy saddle, I started thinking that I was going to have to quit riding dressage and return to my super comfy endurance saddles as there was no way in the world that I could ever afford this kind of saddle. It fit the horse. It fit me. It was perfect.
Enter Cha Ching's mom - shopper extraordinaire. As soon as were we seated in the car heading home, she whipped out her phone and began a two-day search for the perfect saddle. How about this one, no, too big. This one, no too wide. We spent one entire afternoon on our phones in front of our computers searching for a used model of that saddle.
Until at last ... there it was! Still very expensive, but it was the right sized tree and had a seat measurement that I could live with. It had zero wear marks, was located less than a hundred miles away, and was priced just slightly below the other saddles on my short list. I called CWD Sellier, the seller, asked a few questions about the model, pricing, return options, etc. and by the day's end, the saddle was shipped, and I had a tracking number.
The saddle arrived the next afternoon, prettier and softer than I expected. I took a lesson on Speedy G the next morning and rode better than I ever have. I am crediting my more balanced ride to the quality of the saddle!
As a side note, I rode Speedy G for a solid hour at walk, trot, and canter until the pad was wet through. I pulled the saddle, no pressure points that I could see or feel, and then had the chiropractor work on him. He didn't see any red flags either. I've also ridden Sydney in the saddle several times and although I am too short to see the top of his back, it seems like a perfect fit for him as well.
And with that, here are some just-out-of-the-box photos (click photos for larger view):