There are a few big-ticket items that I’m in need of.
Thankfully, a new bridle isn’t one of them anymore!
I got a ton of great suggestions for a new bridle for P, then saw that Lund Saddlery was asking for backers on Kickstarter. If you pledged $127, you received the monocrown bridle (with free shipping) that I was already leaning towards. I saved about $15, which is a new bottle of fly spray, so…winning. I can’t wait for it get here!
But I do need a new helmet, new stirrups and a new jump saddle. Let’s start with the helmet.
Right now I have a Charles Owen AYR8, which has served me faithfully for the last 3 years. But despite it’s name and the claim that it has vents to keep your head cool in the summer, it’s so hot. And the liner isn’t removable, so I spray it with the CO helmet deodorizer, but it’s to the point where that’s no longer masking the “jock strap smell” (my husband’s words). The padding has also broken down to the point where it’s slightly too big for me, which is a common complaint. I’m also not convinced it does any favors for my face. I have a loooong, oval face and feel very mushroom-headish in this.
I saw this at Rolex:
And it’s so pretty, but my dislikes about the helmet remain, so I resisted.
The Samshield has a removable liner, but the lowest-priced one (and the look I like the most), the Shadow Matte, I’ve heard scratches easily.
BO has a GPA, which she likes ok, but is looking to trade in for a Miss Shield after a fall she had last week. I’m not a fan of the look, but the ventilation looks like it would suffice for summer in NC. It says it has removable foam lining, but from some of the reviews, it sounds like the lining isn’t all that easy to actually wash. The Easy 2x is the design I like the most of the GPA.
I’ve heard good things about One Ks, though as with the GPAs, they’re not really customizable. That’s certainly not the most important thing, but is an extra bonus.
A local-ish tack store has a lot of the models I’d like to try, so I’m going to get up there hopefully sometime this week to see what will work with my noggin. If anyone has any input, I’d love to hear it!
On to stirrups:
For both my jump and dressage saddles, I use plain old fillis irons with Super Comfort Stirrup Pads wrapped around them.
Truly I don’t actually NEED new stirrups, but my left ankle that I broke last year still doesn’t have full range of motion, and not only do I tend to lose my left stirrup, but riding for too long causes that ankle to ache. So if there’s something out there that can alleviate that, I’ll try it.
Plus they’re getting slightly rusty. So bye-bye.
I love how the Lorenzinis look and almost bought a blue pair at Rolex, but then remembered a lady I was in a clinic with who had them, and they were SO BEAT UP. And she said they were fairly new and had no idea why the paint was just falling off of them. A quick Google search confirms hers weren’t just a fluke. So for $265? Negative.
The MDC stirrups have great reviews, but there are so many options. Do I need flex? What exactly are “intelligent” stirrups? Maybe the Super Sport ones would be best, since there are options. But so do the Ultimate ones, so what’s the difference? It’s almost overwhelming.
Literally all I know about stirrups are that I rode in a pair of those blue and black Herm Sprenger ones once (someone else’s horse) and will NEVER ride in those again. They were terrible- for me.
Again, input is always appreciated 🙂
Last, not least, but certainly the most dreaded….a new jump saddle. I’ve moaned and ranted about this before, but it’s truly time to get a new one.
My CWD fits P, but it does nothing for my position, especially with jumping. My leg always slips back. I kept thinking it was just me and have tried everything short of tying my leg to the girth (which I’ve actually considered except…P. ‘Nuff said). Then a trainer said, “I think it’s your saddle.”
And my world collapsed.
Because I hate saddle shopping. A custom saddle was just not in the budget for my still growing, still filling out OTTB, who is super hard to fit. Because not only does he have large withers with dips behind them, he also has very large, yet slightly asymmetrical shoulders. And I am fairly tall with stupid long legs. Finding a used saddle to fit both of us has proved to be an impossible task. So when a CWD came in that fit P and I could handle, here, just take my money.
Now P is 7 and in good shape, so it’s time to get our “forever saddle.” Ha, I’m not that optimistic. But really, it’s time I got a saddle that fit me as well as P. When I was at Rolex, I found this beauty:
And after sitting in a few of their models and sizes and talking to their reps, I was intrigued. They can customize just about everything. So I got the contact info for a rep local to me. We’ve emailed back and forth a couple of times, and I’m not so sure it’s going to work out. She doesn’t seem to have anything in stock and kept saying she’ll have to order, then sent me a picture of one saddle she can get from someone in KY. I’d like to ride in a few models, not just one. I thought that was pretty typical. But I’ve been talking to her since May 5, and she’s not very communicative, and now I’m kind of over it.
So I’m keeping my options open because the last thing I want is to wait and wait for this to pan out, and then hate the saddle when it’s on my horse.
Stackhouse and Voltaire saddles are other ones I’ve heard really good things about. My dressage saddle is a Stackhouse and I love it, but I’ve never sat in one of their jump saddles. A pro is that they’re right here in NC and Trainer J is one of their sponsored riders so there’s that connection. A con is definitely the price. Dressage saddles are around $6,000, no idea what they run for their jump/event saddles. And I almost don’t want to know.
I’ve ridden in a Voltaire Palm Beach and loved it. But I can’t find any info on a local rep (I have an email out that I’m hoping they’ll answer), and their saddles are made overseas.
I’m still a little uneasy buying a custom saddle- it’s so expensive and there are so many horror stories out there. Not to mention the time between the test ride and actually getting the saddle can be lengthy and I’m all about instant gratification. But I’ve also pretty much had it with the used market. With all the money I’ve spent on shipping back and forth trial saddles, I probably could’ve already had a custom saddle.
Maybe I’ll just give up and ride bareback.
No, wait. P’s withers. Ouch.
Do any of you have any good or bad custom saddle stories to share? Any insight on the brands I mentioned (or didn’t)?