Sunday, April 25, 2010

Saddle Fitting, March 5

I had my saddle fitting yesterday. Not a total success, but not bad. The fitter is a Society of Master Saddle Fitters (UK) Master Saddle Fitter. SHe has a very impressive background and sells WOW and Albion saddles. My husband had great luck with his draft cross mare - the first saddle she fitted them with worked great for both Doug and Savannah (his mare). She had been trying to head into the center too much for quite a while, and with this saddle that issue disappeared. Must have been something about his position in the old saddle. Both of them were very happy with the Albion saddle they initially tried and he ended up buying it. At my insistence they tried a WOW and didn't like it. The fitter loved Savannah.
I LOVED the WOW. It was the most comfortable saddle I ever sat in. Unfortunately Rogo seemed to hate it, even though it appeared by all tests to fit him perfectly. He pinned his ears, braced, resisted moving forward and even seemed on the verge of bucking at one point which isn't something he does. I got off and longed, then tried him in the schooling saddle we've been using and went back to the WOW. He was a little better but not great. I tried him in another WOW and he seemed a little better but still not in top form. He did seem to get in the spirit of things and started to stretch his back ad feel the different saddles. He stopped pinning his ears and was relaxed and feeling what was happening, but I can't say he seemed totally confident in any of them. This is new to me so I'm wondering if, as a young horse, changing saddles is a bigger deal to him. He still doesn't have great balance and switching from a general purpose to a dressage may have put me in a different enough position that he had to really focus on balance. He started in a dressage saddle, but as he grew and I learned more about fitting I knew I had to switch saddles and put him in the general purpose as a filler while I shopped, because it fit him and was handy.
One thing I was pleased about - he seemed to figure out that we were trying saddles. I thought that taking him in and out of the ring and changing saddles four times, in addition to longing, might make him cranky. He's never experienced anything except coming in, longing / riding and leaving again. He didn't get cranky at all. If anything he got happier and more relaxed as it proceeded and he realized I wouldn't force anything on him. He didn't mind at all that we kept asking him to go back in and go to work. After the initial bad start he got more relaxed, stretched his back a lot and got progressively more energized. We were at for close to 2 hours and he was still cheerful at the end, so that was good.
To the fitters credit she said that she couldn't in all good conscious sell me a saddle that the horse didn't seem happy with, so she is going to put together a demo for me and leave it with me for a week to 10 days. That should be enough time to see if it will work for him.
Rogo had a great canter in the middle of the fitting when I put his old every day saddle on him. Maybe he was so relieved to be in a familiar saddle. Anyway, I sensed he wanted to go so I put my outside leg back and on and away he went with no voice aid in a beautiful forward canter. He was very energetic, would have galloped in a heart beat, but came back instantly when I asked. Very nice.
So, we'll see what happens. I hope we get a great saddle that works for us.

No comments: