About 1 month ago, I purchased a used Prestige from a reputable saddle shop. I have a very difficult to fit horse and this saddle was the first of over 300 that actually fit him. I've ridden in it about 20 times (but it was used), and tonight as we were doing a trot half-pass, I felt a "pop" under my seat, and then the entire saddle shifted about 2 inches right. I dismounted and found that the screw that holds the panel to the pommel on the left side had snapped off, leaving that entire panel hanging off, with no stability to the saddle. It appears that the screw has been ripped out of that spot multiple times, but this wasn't evident unless I had unscrewed it and looked. I placed a new screw, but the saddle continues to sit crooked, even with the panel secured, and that screw quickly pulled out. However, the tree feels pretty intact when I pull up on the cantle.
Does this sound like a broken tree? And what should I do? I bought the saddle used, but rode in it less than a month, and pampered it tenderly. Should I contact the tack shop where I purchased it, or Prestige directly? And lastly, can anyone recommend a place where I can rent a comparable saddle while I get this one straightened out or save my pennies to replace it? My horse has been going super and I really can't stomach the thought of giving him more than a few days off before we will lose the progress that we have made.
Thanks so much! Planning to spend some time on the phone tomorrow. If I can't get anywhere with the tack shop where I purchased, I will call VTO and see if they can help or rent me a saddle until I can come up with a plan. This just plain stinks.
Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
No matter what happens with getting a new saddle, stop riding in the current one even if it means your horse has a long time off. It's better than causing back problems (for both of you) with a saddle that has a bad tree!
It doesn't sound like a broken tree, but rather a stripped screw hole as you described. But impossible to know without a thorough evaluation by a reputable saddler. Unfortunately, buying a used saddle is risky, even from a reputable shop. Prestige does not warrant the saddle after the original owner has sold it, since it is impossible to determine what happened to the saddle with the previous owner. Most tack shops will sell used saddles "as is" for the same reason. Best bet is to send it to a saddler familiar with Prestige saddles for an evaluation and estimate for repair. Either Prestige or a Prestige dealer can give you the name and number for a few.
Since you bought it so recently, the tack shop *might* be able to take it back and return it to the original owner, but if the owner has already been paid, its probably a done deal. Good luck!