I’m sorry for the long story, but I feel that background in the issue would be good. I appreciate thougthful and constructive comments!
A few months ago I purchased a new saddle, and at first I loved it, i still really like it, but a comment from a trainer has made me feel very self conscious about it and have made me dought my descision.
I have been a hunter jumper my whole riding career, including being a paid working student as my first and only job between junior high and college, untill the last 2 years when I started college. Since there were no good jumper trainers in the area, I contacted a great dressage trainer that i had met in the town over and have been riding her horses and learning dressage basics ever since. I have been riding her horses in my CC saddle unless it won’t fit a particular horse, and I occasionally jump horses for her to mix up their routine or for clients looking for jumping horses and I try to ride at the hunter/jumper barn when I am home.
I had a very old, very flat Hermes saddle that I had been riding in when I was working at the hunter jumper barn and it was just given to me when I left. I hadn’t really had issues with it before, besides my trainer had once commented on getting my lower leg under me, but in my more recent riding I was finding that I was often enough feeling insecure and struggling with a chair seat. For this reason, and the fact that the saddle was showing its age, I wanted to find a new CC saddle. I had never bought a saddle before, so I did my best to research saddles and saddle fit for a few months, but never really thought of flap forwardness.
After a while of looking and researching and asking sellers about their saddles I saw a used one for sale on the Internet that I really liked and was in my limited budget. It was NOT a high end brand, but for a college student I had accepted it just wasn’t going to be. I quizzed the seller and got a thousand pictures and bought it. When it got to me I tried it out and LOVED it. I had a cushier, deeper seat and I felt 100% more secure. I felt more confident when I sat deep on those dressage horses, my leg felt better, I just felt better. The dressage trainer liked it too when she sat in it once for a demonstration.
But then a couple months later I went and rode at the hunter barn over Christmas break and the trainer, my former boss, said something about my saddle being huge and that I wasn’t that big. She nit picked at a couple other things about it that doesn’t need to be mentioned because it was a mistake I made in shiming my half pad and the horse’s conformation, not the saddle. Her barn is sponsored by CWD so EVERY rider there has a beautiful CWD saddle and those that haven’t switched yet have Butets. My new saddle is pervious model HDR Rivella, so I felt a little self concious of my less-than-par purchase, even though it felt better to ride in then the Hermes.
I am 5’3", 130 lbs and I bought a 17". The flat Hermes was an 18". I never felt I had issues with the the size but I knew 18 was way too big, so I measured myself, went with my gut and looked for a 17. I comfortably fit my whole hand behind me in my HDR, and the flap, when I think about it, is probably more forward then I need on a regular basis. I might have made a few mistakes in purchasing but I have never experienced having to fight it reguardless of whether my stirrups where shorter for jumping or lengthened 2 holes for dressage flat work.
So I guess the whole point of this post is… should I be concerned? Am I letting a comment from one person eat at me too much or could I actually be making myself look silly as well as hurting my position and effectiveness as a rider by having a saddle that actually fits me terribly? I have no photos or videos of myself riding in it right now, but I could get one tomorrow. For now, I have a picture of the saddle and a video of it on one of the dressage horses when I was lunging him. I’ll post those right now so you know what it looks like.
Thank you for taking time to read!