Apr. 7th, 2009

ornerie: (noble raj)
so with a new pony and new interests open to us (mounted orienteering!!!) I'm shopping around for a new saddle.

I love my Stubbin close contact dressage saddle,

dont get me wrong. I love that its older than me and is soft as butter and fits pretty much any horse. I can totally feel whats going on and there's nothing to catch on me or my clothes.

that said, there's nothing that keeps me or the saddle in place when going up or down any kind of hill. if i was more balanced, etc maybe I could fake it but this saddle was not meant for anything other than doing nice dressage stuff in a flat sand arena.

last Sunday, I borrowed Cs old orthoflex. a bit of structure fore and aft meant I didnt go ANYWHERE in that saddle even when we were doing our best man from snowy river impersonation (hows that for dating myself?). it also meant the saddle didnt slip much at all, a HUGE improvement over the stubben, even with a breast collar (which only really works on going UP the hill...not so much for the DOWN, which usually follows the up, eventually....)

thing is, they're now on version 10 of the orthoflex system (uses panels that move independantly to maximize flexion and fit), and I'm thinking the saddle I used was a version 2 or so. and they're EXPENSIVE. a new one runs about $4000. even used, when you can find them they're about $1800. oof!

there's other flexible panel systems out tehre for a bit less but there's also endurance riders who swear by OTHER saddle systems. and so I am overwhelmed with options...one could spend a fortune on dvds and books just on saddle fitting and choice before even starting to decide which saddle to get!

now is the time to find a used saddle, though. folks are cleaning out their tack rooms and letting stuff go for good prices. I guess I just need to decide what I want (hah! isnt that ALWAYS the case??) and how much I'm willing to pay for it? (hah again!)

fortunately Raji is pretty easy to fit. he doesnt have any back wierdnesses, and in fact seems to have inherited a non arab back from somewhere in his genetic past (yay! arabs are notoriously hard to fit).

so if anyone has any advice on saddles, I'd love to hear it. also if you happen to find a pre-2002 Orthoflex Patriot (http://www.ortho-flex.com/Saddles/PatriotOfficers.htm) or Cutback (http://www.ortho-flex.com/Saddles/EnduranceCutback.htm) or Stitchdown (http://www.ortho-flex.com/Saddles/Stitchdown.htm) , seat size 18 or so, lemme know :)

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