Due to my geographical location, I came to the realization that saddle shopping was just going to have to happen online. That is if I wanted a jumping saddle ready to ride in once I start riding again, rather than just sitting around until something I could afford surfaced locally. Going online, I scoured every used saddle website and tack trader I could find, and eventually ended up finding a wide 17.5" Cardanal Capri Close Contact saddle on eBay. I was definitely nervous about buying a saddle online, simply for fitting reasons. So I got anal. I measured everything I could on the saddle, myself and Rose. I researched the Cardinal brand, since I'd never heard of them before. I was comforted by the fact that they are the manufacturers of some of the Trilogy saddles. One of the most amazing dressage saddles I've ever sat in. Also their customer service was great when I contacted them about how they manufacture their trees. Yea laminated beech wood! Figuring that I had done everything possible to make sure that the saddle would fit her and me, aside from trying it out, I took a big breath, and made my eBay offer. This afternoon the saddle finally arrived
I opened up the package and the saddle was indeed as described and everything I expected to see. It's weird to me to go to English leather after having lived in french calf skin for so long, but it's good quality leather and good workmanship, so I'm pleased. After wrapping up the work week, I headed off to the barn in anticipation that it would fit her, but for some reason doubting it. Figuring that I would need to pad out the saddle a bit, I dug through all my plastic tack storage bins and grabbed every half pad and liner I owned. I've just never had a horse that needed a wide tree before, so it is still difficult for me to really believe that she is truly wide. That is ridiculous I know, because all the measurements and facts say she is. Still, seeing is believing.
Once I arrive to the barn with my barrage of half pads, I uncovered the saddle and hoisted it up on her bare back and sure as can be it fit her like a glove. Like a glove! No padding out needed.
The next step will be to ride in it. This is not something that I can do at 9-months pregnant (officially as of today)! Well, it's the getting off of her part that I can't do anymore to be more precise. My belly just gets in the way of turning and sliding down. Instead, tomorrow morning I'm having one of my students come out and ride in it for me so that I can see how Rose moves under the saddle and get another opinion. Photos and updates to come!
By the way, if this saddle does work out, this will have been the EASIEST saddle shopping experience of my life. That my friends is even harder for me to wrap my head around than the fact that Rose needs a wide tree saddle.
Happy trails and swooshing tails!