The saddle fitter came out today and agreed that it fits just right. There is room to grow but it's not too tight. I am so relieved. Now I don't have an excuse for riding like crud or not riding at all.
I ended up with the Cardanel Olympic. It is great for both of us. The only "problem" is he feels way springier and his back moves more so he is harder to ride. The other issue with a saddle that actually fits, without locking you in, is how apparent riding flaws become. When you have a saddle that puts you in a funky position you are so focused on dealing with that you don't notice the problems you have all on your own. Also, if the saddle fits poorly enough the shooting pains from hip to leg and the ensuing fetal position pretty much covers up root problems. Your legs can't swing like gummy worms when you have them on lockdown to minimize muscle spasms. I have ridden two days in a row in the new saddle and I was like a jellyfish up there. Dickie is being a saint but still has the lovely baby penchant for quick tempo changes and often wouldn't pass a field sobriety test. I am happy to say though that I am sore in all the right places. My abs feel like I had a gut punch, my inner thighs are on fire, and my back is oh so tired. All the places you should be sore if you are making an effort to ride correctly. It's go time now Dickie-Trish team. We have to get our shiz together!!
Now for a local business plug. I purchased the saddle on consignment from a young horse woman at Diamond in the Rough Saddlery. She grew up in the area competing in Pony Club and recently started her own tack business. She has a small shop at her parents barn. I remember the days when the only saddle fitter in the area was so far away and you had to ship the saddle off hoping you could describe what you needed. The saddle fitter at that time was a true artist named Hans Biglajzer (click on the link for more info on him). We have a few fitters in the area but they are also reps for particular brands. The one person I email asking about her fees wanted tracings so we could talk about a new saddle right off. I was thrilled for the referral to Diamond in the Rough. Lo and behold this young woman has taken the time to learn from Hans and is carrying on the tradition. She will reflock a saddle, replace billets, repair your seat, add knee rolls, remove knee blocks, convert air panels to flocking, you name it she can do it. I started talking to her when I was considering the Black Country from England. I didn't pay her a dime for her advice but she freely gave it. She even encourages me to buy the saddle even though she had no monetary stake in it. I am sorry that saddle didn't fit but thrilled I was able to give her business. Over and above all her technical knowledge her passion for horses shines through. It is glaringly obvious how much she wants both horse and rider to be comfortable. She has been a working student for well respected trainers in the area and has started giving lessons at her family's stable.
It is refreshing to see young horse people with a passion for everything horse. All too often the young people who want the quick fix or are in it for the ribbons overshadow people like her. I was excited to give my business to the next generation. The horse business is cruel and no one gets rich. We need these young people to bring their passion to teaching and the art of tack repair. So if you are in the area please check her out!! Chances are your beloved saddle could use new flocking. I am sure you know someone you would love custom ribbon trimmed polo wraps. And we could ALL use a new bling saddle pad. A little bling helps blind spectators to your riding faults. She ships so head to her website and get yourself something pretty.
This is her website: http://www.diamondintheroughsaddlery.com/
She keeps her stock a little more updated on her Facbook Page