First off: I am pretty sure that all of my current saddles fit the pony reasonably well, with the possible exception of the treeless that I have not tweaked enough to figure out yet. Which, by the time of this posting, has been determined to 1. fit her just fine, 2. not fit me, and 3. already sold and shipped out. Woohoo!
There is a lot to be said about saddles fitting the horse. I have always been of the belief that I can ride well enough in just about anything. There was that one HDR that I really didn’t like – too narrow – but other than that? Eh, whatever. It shouldn’t matter, I should be able to ride well enough that the saddle is irrelevant. Either my position has gotten worse, I’ve gotten pickier about how the saddle feels, or the quality of riding I’m expecting of myself has gotten higher. I’m no longer comfortable in just anything.
I never did get my position quite right in the 15″ Eurolight, and I eventually knew it, which is why I upgraded to the 16″ Eurolight. The aim was that it would fix a lot of my problems. Instead, moving the knee rolls in the Thorowgood dressage fixed a lot of my problems. If I’m being totally honest, I should cut my losses and just ride in the Thorowgood full-time.
I’m really, really sad that I haven’t fallen in love with the Eurolight. My seat isn’t secure. Yes, part of that is on me. But not all. It feels like I’m fighting the saddle. This was my dream saddle, the saddle I was so thrilled to have found used the first time, and so happy to have been gifted the money to purchase the second one when I needed the larger size. I’ve spent hundreds on fitters and dozens of hours prior to that fitting them myself. Yet my expensive custom saddle doesn’t feel right.
Moving the stirrups on the Eurolight improved things, but did not resolve my concerns. I’ve exhausted my options without putting more money into it. The fitters might be able to get it to fit me better, but it does end up being an expensive experiment if I’m wrong. I had them out recently and we thought this setup was satisfactory. Maybe I’m quitting too easily? I’ve thrown a lot of money into my Eurolights and I’m not riding any better now than I was two years ago.
I swore for months that I didn’t want to ride a 50 in my dressage saddle because it wasn’t comfortable enough and I didn’t ride well enough in it. We survived the 50 and while a thing or two could be tweaked, I did just fine. It was my only option. Riding a 50 trumped riding a 50 in an endurance saddle. I think I am hitting the point where riding correctly trumps riding in an endurance saddle.
I am going to try to be adult and rational about this. I’m currently reserving final judgment until I have my trainer out to compare, but my feeling at the moment is that I am better off cutting my losses and looking elsewhere.. or cutting my losses and spending a little bit of the money on fixing the Thorowgood for full-time rides, while the rest goes into a “Truck and Trailer” fund for that time when I can afford to buy pony transportation.
“I have three saddles that fit my horse. One of them fits me really well and we trail ride and canter really nicely in it, but it wasn’t expensive and doesn’t look like my dream saddle.” Even I can hear how unreasonable I sound. I want a “real” endurance saddle: why?
– for security? I can ride spooks, bolts, bucks, and spins as well in this saddle as I can in something with more bulk to it, and the more secure my seat, the better I’ll sit any antics.
– for comfort? add a sheepskin (heck, I’d even buy a Real English Sheepskin if I thought that would make a significant difference, but my endurance one works just fine if not better)
– for comfort for my feet? buy better endurance stirrups, which I can afford to do if this is a Real Endurance Dressage Saddle and not just a ‘making it work on a budget til the new one shows up’ saddle. Actually, I can probably just swap out the top bar on my current caged stirrups and call it good.
– to look like I fit in? I already ride a Haflinger. Not happening! Saddles are really not my problem here.
– because my pink saddlebags won’t fit on an English saddle? 🙁 This is a real problem and one I may not be able to resolve. Possible solution: acquire pink saddlepad instead.
– because she likes the longer girth better? Find a similar one in smaller size, such as this one
Extra bonus point: I can’t break the crupper ring because I’m using a metal T bar instead. Silver linings!
So, short-term at least, I’ll be sticking with the Thorowgood. The Eurolight may make an appearance for a show (I’m happier with how it looks) where cantering is of zero relevance, but beyond that, its days may be numbered.