I got my Thoroughbred a custom County Connection in the summer of 2012. I went with County mainly because there was a rep in my area and I knew of no other fitters that routinely came to my area. So, I was pretty much backed into a corner because the rep could only work on County saddles. :no:
Anyway, I ended up with a saddle that seemed to work for my horse but wasn’t exactly what I wanted. The “short” flaps on my custom County aren’t short enough for my taste and the knee blocks aren’t in exactly the right place for me (and try to pitch me backwards). But the saddle has done OK. Even sweat marks, saddle doesn’t slip, etc. Fast foreword to today…
A fellow boarder and I were able to get an independent mast saddle fitter out and for giggles I had her look at my horse to get an unbiased opinion on his saddle. Long story short, my County, which is stamped a M but is apparently more like a MW, is too narrow. OK, that just means my horse could’ve gained enough muscle to outgrow his saddle. It happens. His saddle was checked by the County rep about 6 months ago but again, OK. But then, this fitter showed me how the panels are too sloped for my horse’s flat back. Am I wrong to think that a horse with a flat back will always have a flat back, despite changes in muscle tone and topline?
What are your experiences with horses with large withers and flat backs? How do County saddles do for horses with flat backs? I’m just beginning to question whether or not this saddle ever really fit my horse.
My options are 1.) continue riding in current saddle which horse is not reacting differently to and pay County rep $300 to evaluate and reflock saddle and likely tell me I need a new saddle and then expect me to order right then and there 2.) send saddle off with master saddler and have her widen tree for ~$250 or 3.) begin the dreaded search for a new saddle with the independent master saddler.
My concern with #1 is that I’m not sure I would want to get another County! I mean, they’re nice but I ordered a custom saddle for my horse and I—and that’s not what I got. Instead, I got told that I couldn’t get flaps the length I wanted, and I was stuck with big immobile knee blocks that my trainer tells to have cut out and fitted with Velcro. :mad:
My concerns with #2 is that I hate to have my current saddle widened and possibly hurt the resale value of it (would it hurt the resale value? MW is more common than M but I don’t know…). Also, I’m not sure if it’d be worth it to make such a change if the panels really are too curved for my horse’s flatter back.
As for option #3, I am not made of money. I’ve had a lot of large expenses lately and the last thing I want to do is to have to get a new saddle. But perhaps it is the best option…I guess I’m just worried that even if I can find the funds, I may end up worse off.
Any advice will be much appreciated! TIA.