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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

Oh, the Saddle Saga is neverending....

So, earlier this year in June, I finally found a decent fitting dressage saddle for Snappy.  The joke is on me as I ended up having to put her down just two and a half months later.  *crying* I figured the saddle would easily work for Ellie, as that was one of the selling points of purchasing this super expensive saddle.  I bought it used, not brand new at $6000+, but still it was not cheap.

I know many folks have opinions on this brand of saddle (see original post for brand - I am trying to be kind here), but honestly, I didn't mind it.  It wasn't my most favorite dressage saddle I have ever sat in, but I didn't hate it.  And mostly importantly, it fit Snappy quite well and she seemed to like it.  

I was finally able to arrange to get the fitter out last Friday.  I figured this would be a fairly easy procedure to adjust the gullet width and air panels.  Ellie is a completely different horse than Snappy, so I assumed there would be changes.

I was admittedly sort of shocked when I was told the saddle would work as is.  Uhhhhh, OK?  It just seems odd to me that Ellie, who fits perfectly in my wide jump saddle with a round barrel and short back, would use the same exact configuration as Snappy who was built downhill and narrow but with big shoulders/withers, a much longer back, and who really didn't fit well in the same wide jump saddle.  *confusion*

Next, the fitter girthed the saddle.  It was on hole three on the off side, and she gently put it up to two on the near side.  I was standing at Ellie's head on the same side as the fitter, and Ellie was on the crossties.  No sooner had she tightened the girth (in a very easy, subtle manner), then Ellie reared and bucked and bronced, hitting her head on the florescent light fixture above the crossties.  I have a very high barn ceiling and I cannot believe she hit it.  Thankfully, the bulbs are encased in a protective plastic so they did not shatter, but holy moly, the plastic casing and bulbs breaking made a super scary noise.  Ellie was completely freaked out, flailing around, and she ended up releasing one of the safety snaps on the crossties, thank god.  We were able to catch and calm her within 15-20 seconds of her episode, but I will tell you, that was the scariest few seconds of my life!  For some reason, all I could imagine was her maiming herself and me having to put her down.  Crazy, I know, but it's only been a month since I lost Snappy, and I am still pretty raw from the entire thing.  

It was honestly the strangest thing I have ever seen.  There was no obvious reason WHY Ellie reacted the way she did.  I have never had any problems girthing her with my Stubben jump saddle, she has never had any previous girthing problems before I bought her (I asked the BM at her old farm via text that night), and there was no reason why she spooked.  The only thing I could think of was she was stung, but I checked her over thoroughly and couldn't find anything.  

I have no media for this post, so here's a picture of Ellie "enjoying" her first bath and first time being tied to the hitching post.  Look how thrilled she was LOL!  She was very good and is much cleaner now!
The fitter was apologetic and stated she has seen horses react this way.  I was pretty stunned and there was no way I was riding in the saddle.  I just sort of went into that weird mode of smiling and saying "everything is fine!" when in reality you are like WTAF JUST HAPPENED.  The fitter recommended I do lots of desensitizing, which I totally agree with, as Ellie is an overreactive mare and needs to learn a lot about life.  But all that was running through my head was SHIT NOW I HAVE TO SELL THIS SADDLE THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DESENSITIZING.

The fitter checked the Stubben jump saddle for me, which she agreed looked perfect.  Ellie was fine about that saddle being girthed, but I held her on a lead this time just to be sure.  I tried to just pretend it was a one time incident and everything was normal.  The fitter left, I cleaned up the mess of plastic on the floor, and Ellie seemed to be completely over her incident.


The next day, I prepared to tack her up, calmly removing the crossties when it was time to girth the Stubben.  She stood there just fine, and I swallowed my nervousness at the idea that the last time she was girthed she transformed into a bronc horse.  She was also calm on Sunday and had Monday off.  

Now, there are plenty of reasons to believe her reaction had nothing to do with the dressage saddle, but my gut tells me differently.  The dressage saddle is made with air and conformed totally differently than the Stubben which has wool flocking, so there is something to be said about her disliking the feeling of the saddle.  It just seems too weird to me that she had such a STRONG reaction as well as that the saddle was fit to her while still on Snappy's settings.  I am a pretty brave person, but there was just no way in hell I was putting that thing on her again, much less getting into the saddle.  I am not even going to speculate here further than that.  ;-)  Just keepin' it classy and not bad mouthing anyone or any brand.  What works for one horse doesn't necessarily mean it works for all horses.  And that is OK!  That's my story and I'm sticking to it!
Again, no media, so enjoy the sweet little sunflowers in part of my garden!  LOL
I knew I might as well just go back to my tried and true Stubben Juventus dressage to match the jump saddle in wide.  The funny thing is that I sold my medium wide Stubben dressage this spring, so at least I am not completely bummed because a MW wouldn't work for Ellie anyway.  I did a little Googling on Friday night and lo and behold, there on the Stubben website was exactly what I need: Stubben Juventus dressage, 17" seat, 32 cm wide.  It is a demo saddle that a Stubben rep used, so it is in near perfect new shape, and it was three times less than what I spent on Snappy's dressage saddle.  I ordered it yesterday and it should arrive no later than Friday.  The fact I found exactly what I need so easily is interesting to me, too.  Saddle shopping usually sucks.

I have had some interest on Snappy's dressage saddle, so I am praying it sells soon.  And of course, let's hope the new Stubben that arrives will be as perfect for Ellie as the jump saddle! I feel oddly calm about the entire thing, like it is meant to be and will all work out.  Crossing fingers!


emma said…
yikes.... i don't blame you for not wanting to sit in that saddle! good luck with the newly ordered one, hopefully Ellie is much happier in it!
TheFoxRider said…
Eeeek! This rings so familiar to me, with the incident I had with Arya a few months ago. It's so eerie when they randomly act out 100% differently than they ever have before, and then you wait and wait and it gets weirder and creepier every time they don't do it.

Here's to hoping that Snappy's saddle sells quickly and without hassle, and new saddles fitting well. I finally defaulted to buying the dressage version of my jump saddle, as well, and honestly... best decision of my life. I hope you experience similar awesomeness in fit for you and Ellie!
Seriously, I was like ya know, I have a velcro bum, but eff that!! LOL!
It was such a super strange reaction that I can only imagine it was the saddle. Who knows, but I am not trying again to find out! ;-) And yes, I love the Stubben Juventus saddles, both the jumping and dressage version! I feel like I might as well go with what I know and love. Ellie is definitely an easy fit for now and I doubt she will be anything but a wide in the future (though I may eat my words on that statement haha!)
Good luck with the new saddle. I really hate saddle shopping and would prefer to just never do it again, which is obviously not something I can do. I am really not a fan of the air panels on saddles. I have yet to find a saddle I like that has them.
Thank you! I am with you on the hating to saddle shop. Ugggg the worst! I tried a Bates Caprilli years ago and didn't like it. I should have known better, but it did work well for Snappy. Ah well. Live and learn! :-)
TeresaA said…
I have sat in a few air panelled saddles and the only ones I've ever like have been the Wows. Mostly I prefer wool flocking. I would have been freaking out too. I'm glad that you found one that works for her. Sometimes I start to think that there are really only a few saddles in existence and we just keep trading them around......
Martidoll said…
ugh i can feel your pain. I can't seem to find a wide tree in a style that i can ride (most the wide trees i find are French (wont work on Remus shoulder/breadth) or Chair Seats. SIGH...I am even looking at used saddles up to and over 3k. AND I AM NOT PAYING THAT LOL But just trying to find SOMETHING. UGH Saddle shopping is the pits. And i am not even trying to find a dressage saddle. Just a jumping saddle. I am intrigued by the Stubbens. havent ridden in one in years....need to look closer i think thier wide trees would work on Remus possibly but would need to make sure the stirrup bars are not too tight on him,

I am glad Ellie is okay. Whew. How scary. i too think she just reacted to something (maybe she was half asleep when the fitter started tightening it?) Glad you found something else to try and i am sure you will sell the other saddle (But what a pain since it fit her!!). Always something am I right :) Good luck!
Hahahaha I think you are right! Saddle shopping is the worst. I have never heard of a Wow saddle, but I think I am done with air panels.....! ;-)
Oh yes, always something for sure! Hopefully the new saddle will be here on Thursday and all will be well. At least it appears to be an easy fix, as long as my old saddle sells quickly!! Definitely give the Stubbens a try. There is a rep in New England named Andrea Manley who could probably bring a bunch to you to try. They do make an extra wide tree! I know some folks don't like Stubbens, but I have always loved them!
Martidoll said…
i just emailed Stubben to find out the closest rep to me. I saw Andrea but not sure when she gets down this far. So will see what they say...
KateRose said…
DKs are super nice quality saddles (I am mostly hater because of Danny Kroetsch himself, who is a legit douche bag). I did have more interest in mine once it was flocked with wool (just a thought if you have any trouble selling it!). Not all horses are into air panels. Maybe consider yourself lucky you figured it out before you were in the saddle! I love a good stubben. The stubbenNA facebook page has had lots of sales posted lately! Best of luck on your hunt :)
I would definitely trust your gut about the saddle fit. Hopefully the new saddle works well! I was quite suspicious about the air panels in my wow but my horse had a strong preference for them so I got over it.
Definitely ask her! That girl goes everywhere (at least that what it looks like on her FB page)! There has got to be someone close to you if she cannot come to you.
I agree, it is a lovely quality saddle, but it's got to go! Gotta listen to my girl! ;-) Definitely glad I didn't have to ride out that buck/rear/leap because I would've hit the dirt! I lucked out on an $800 nearly new demo Stubben Juventus dressage that is supposed to be arriving tomorrow!!! YAY!
Exactly! And some horses like it, as Snappy did, and others hate it, like Ellie! Just have to listen to the horse! :-)
Martidoll said…
Win on Stubben part i already have a fitter from Annapolis reach out to me from Stubben I just emailed them yesterday. i still havent heard from my fitter (An email I sent a month ago and Pelham Saddlery hasnt responded to me on my email about saddles either. So i think i will give Stubben a whirl!! She sounds very keen to help me out (What I really want is the Optiumum S Zaria that probably WONT Happen LOL). Good luck with new saddle!
YAY!! That is great news!! Definitely keep us all posted! :-D

I am definitely stalking the UPS tracking number I have; the saddle has to be signed for, so it is arriving here at the school where I teach. Someone in the office will sign for it and I will get my grubby paws on it today hahaha!!!