In mid-December I began my search for a new saddle. I wasn’t excited to embark on this adventure, and my experiences over the last two weeks have only solidified my distaste for saddle shopping. Mostly, my frustration stems from the fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing and the fact that no one will return my phone calls or emails.
Plus the last time I did this, I got ridiculously lucky and basically picked out a saddle in an hour. Which is not happening this time around. Sad panda.
At this point in the game, I’ve got so many thoughts popping around my head, I might honestly go crazy if I don’t write them down. So here’s my brain dump of all things Epic Saddle Search 2014.
- CW Saddlery – This is the company I used to help fit Visa, and I actually purchased my current saddle from them. I emailed and called in early December with no response.
- Panther Run Saddlery – I emailed Kitt back and forth around Dec. 5. She requested a wither tracing and conformation photos, which I sent on Dec. 15. No response since then, despite follow-up emails and phone calls.
- Saddles 101 – I email Heather at Saddles101, but she will be out of the country for a while and not in my area until the end of January. I set up an appointment anyway, and hope I find a suitable saddle before then.
- I visit two local tack shops who are almost no help at all and I vow to not buy anything from one of them for long, long time after they are rude to me.
- Trumball Mountain Tack Shop – I emailed back and forth with Sara at Trumball Mountain at the end of December. After looking at the wither tracing, she says Miles is between a M and MW tree, and possibly special panels (wither gussets, K panel, Trapezious panel or Skid Row panel) at the front of the saddle for support. She recommends 3 Black Country saddles they have in stock… but I don’t love the look or higher price, so I put this option on hold.
- Farm House Tack – I email back and forth with Melissa at the end of December. She recommends the Prestige Roma Jump. They offer a five day trial with full refund less $50 shipping.
- I Sell Tack – I speak briefly with Rachel, who recommends the PJ Premier. She offers a trial similar to Farm House Tack.
- I order a PJ Premier from SmartPak using their Test Ride Program. I am still waiting for it to arrive.
- I speak with Hilary (Equestrian at Hart) about her County Sensation. She is very patient and understanding of all my questions.
- My mom finds a County Innovation on consignment in Cleveland. We drive up to look at the saddle, bring it back to Columbus and I fall in love. But it doesn’t fit Miles, so it’s back to the drawing board.
- I call County and find out that they do not have a rep in Ohio. But I speak with a rep in Indiana who says she’d be willing to help me over the phone/email and to send her some pictures.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
- Seat size: 17″ or 17.5″
- Forward Flap
- Larger knee blocks, thigh blocks a plus
- Grippy leather
- Don’t like: M. Toulouse
- M or MW tree
- Maybe special panels
- Miles doesn’t fit: County Innovation (N with SR Panels)
- Saddles to try: County Innovation (M with SR Panels, N), PJ Premier, Prestige Roma Jump