I’ve been planning to buy a nicer quality saddle and one that fits us BOTH since I got Charlie as a 3 YO; but wanted to wait until a got through most of his growing. We mainly have been riding in a Wintec AP Wide, and while that fits him it’s not the most comfortable for me. Mostly noticeable on longer trail rides. I also picked up a Wintec close contact western saddle this year and like my body position in it better, but the seat kills my butt even with a sheepskin seat cover worse than the AP does.
Not a dilemma per say, but I’m a bit back and forth and I’m not going to spend $$$ on two saddles at the same time. Here’s our deal:
I do a little bit of everything! Working equitation, trail riding, we train dressage, did some local ranch classes this year. Next year we will have at least one working equitation show, have the option for more ranch riding, and there is a place nearby that does mountain trail challenges each month that sounds like fun. Charlie is a 6YO fjord and that Wintec Wide AP saddle has the largest of the gullet options. Goes without saying he’s stout and short backed.
After mulling this for a while, I think a nice, custom, western saddle may be the best way to go for us. We can compete in everything I listed, plus western dressage. I like that the weight is better distributed, I’ve seen now a lot of western saddles that have more of a cutback skirt that seems like a good place to start for our body type
On the other hand, I do like that a dressage saddle can be re-flocked/fitted as needed. Completely on the superficial side, I love the matchy matchy and bling with the pads and browbands and all that. With that said, I do have one that fits that I would plan to keep if I go the western route…so it’s not like that completely goes away.
I am dreading starting this snowball of fitting and testing saddles though. I have talked with a couple folks that ride fjords western so I have a couple places to start but a lot seem to want measurements and then will go from there. I would prefer to be able to see it on Charlie and to sit in the saddle myself before spending what will be easily several grand and lord knows how long to make.
Am I thinking about this sensibly going the western route? Any brand recommendations? Any guidance on navigating a custom saddle?
He wears both styles well!