Hi all - first time poster, long time reader. Hoping that the board can offer some suggestions of makes and models to look at for a particular horse.
Some background: our victim is a 7 year old friesian/wb mare. Green but progressing, with some not inconsiderable baggage from past training. She is as big bodied as they come, but certainly level, if not a touch uphill. Quite flat/broad backed, not much of a wither. She’s pretty large through the shoulder area and requires a fair bit of freedom there. Under saddle, her tendency will always be to revert to the carriage horse trot when stressed or tense - neck up and kind of jammed, back dropped and completely shut off, and hind legs a million miles out behind her.
Was previously ridden in a DK which was fine, but not great. The owner recently bought a brand new Childeric for her, in a wide. Now folks, it’s a LOVELY saddle. Truly, it is. But neither of us can ride effectively in the dang thing. As in, it causes me so much frustration every single time I use it, because I have to fight the darn thing every single stride. It’s so freaking wide that I get off feeling as though I’ve just given birth to 8 children. I also don’t love where the balance of the seat lies, relative to the stirrup bar placement - I feel as though it puts my leg too far forward, and I’m constantly tipping my upper body forward to try to ‘catch up.’ Additionally, it slips to the left like nobody’s business - and yes, we’ve tried different girths, tried a half pad, tried different padding configurations (and I will be the first to acknowledge, this is absolutely me as well - appointment with my chiropractor is already booked!). Basically, it’s a gorgeous, beautifully made saddle that just doesn’t quite work.
SO. We’ve now come to the realization that perhaps we should consider other options. I need to preface the next part by saying, we live in a barren wasteland, horse/dressage/saddle wise, which is to say that finding different locally available options to try is TOUGH.
At this point we’re just trying to figure out what makes and models to be looking at. We managed to get our hands on a Custom Everest to try, knowing that the tree would be a touch narrow. It was better than the Childeric in terms of balance and not slipping, but I felt quite far away from her in it. We then had the opportunity to try a couple of Equipe Viktorias on her. We tried a wide which fit HER quite nicely, but was a long flap and a long block and we’re both (the owner and I) pretty short legged, plus a bit big for us in the seat at 18+". The other one was a 17.5" MW regular flap which was by far both of our favourite to ride her in - the balance was super, alignment was great, very comfortable. Unfortunately, the tree points were digging into her scapula a bit and she was noticeably less swinging through the back in it, so not quite the right fit for her.
I suppose based on the above, the obvious solution would just be to look for the Viktoria in a wide, but neither of us is married to this idea. I’m a bit more old-school in that I prefer the adjustability of the flocked saddles as opposed to foam (especially with a developing horse!), and I also don’t know that we’ve really tried enough saddles to know that the Viktoria is THE ONE, or if it was just better than what we’ve had.
So I guess, if you’ve made it through the novel, my very broad question is this - based on the above, what make/model might you recommend? Keeping in mind that, as much as we’d love to bring in a fitter with a bunch of saddles to try, that just isn’t an option here. My hope is that we can at least narrow down the list and get a better idea of what saddles we should consider attempting to ship in for a trial.
Thanks in advance for any guidance you helpful folks can provide!