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Saddle gurus, rally round and deliver callow crone from turmoil!

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  • Saddle gurus, rally round and deliver callow crone from turmoil!

    Oh man, I always knew this might happen, and sure enough, it did. It turns out that, in order to win a bet, I have to do a flippin' endurance ride on a nutty Arabian.

    I've never done endurance before. The idea of camping -- let alone with a loony mare -- terrifies me. Also, I am a weakling, and a moron. So this will be quite the undertaking. Of course I have a million questions, but before I do anything I gotta get some kind of saddle, so that's what I'm asking about today.

    My noble mount will be a tiny, hard-to-fit, out-of-shape, mutton-withered, pasture puff Arab who hasn't been ridden in 3 years. At the moment none of the saddles in my tack room fit her at all, including the Thornhill Germania wide dressage I had fitted for her 4 years ago. She's pretty sensitive and opinionated, so I'd like to get her the best fit possible so when she starts actin' a fool I'll at least know it isn't the saddle.

    Yet I hesitate to order a custom saddle that won't fit her in 6 months when she's fit, am I right? Especially since I can't predict what will appeal to me after I have ascertained what this endurance thing is all about. Although I do accept that this might be an unavoidable contingency.

    I'm set in my ways, so I'd like something sort of close and not too Westerny. Also, I'm 54 and creaky, so, lightweight. And if it were grippy and a little more deep and secure and cushy than my dear old PJ Delgrange, I wouldn't throw it out of bed for eating crackers. Oh, and if it weren't fugly, better still.

    Tragically, after reading a bunch of saddle threads here, and googling a bit, I'm more confused than ever. Treeless, Black Country, Stonewall, Fhoenix -- the mind reels.

    Any advice? Oh, and if anyone knows of any saddle fitters in Central Texas who would be up for the challenge, it would be my pleasure to throw a bit of custom their way.

    P.S. I need to win this bet, because at stake is a pint of Guinness. In a pub in Ireland. Loser pays all travel expenses from Texas, on top of having to buy the beer.
    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

  • #2
    Crone -

    I have 0 advice. Never ridden endurance. Tag this as a worthless post.

    But... this sounds epic. I hope you win this bet and blog about it. A lot. Because I check your blog about three times a week when I need a good laugh. (I'm laughing with you, of course).

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Oh, it's epic all righty. Yesterday, since none of my saddles work, I strapped a little bareback pad on Miss Thing for the first time since her retirement. The look of shock and disbelief on her face was priceless. Today she has emphatically declared her views on the whole scheme by refusing to be caught at all.

      Tough shit, Maresie! I have only just begun to fight!
      Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

      Comment


      • #4
        Went from H/J to dressage to endurance. Devoucoux to Albion to Bob Marshall. And I LOVE it! Both the endurance and the Bob Marshall saddle. It takes a little getting used to only because it's treeless and it somewhat resembles riding a blue 55 gallon water barrel. However, if you can get past that... It is very comfy and fits pretty much anything you put it on. Especially the fat roley poley mutton- withered Arabs. Only catch is you might need a crupper as they do have a tendency to slide forward.

        Good luck! (oh, and most of the time you can find them on eBay for around $7-800, which isn't bad compared to a new PJ!)

        Comment


        • #5
          Tucker #149 Medium

          Tucker Saddles
          PO Box 797
          Yoakum, TX 77995 US
          Phone: 361-293-3501
          Fax: 361-293-9683
          Tucker saddles.com

          #149 is the Equitation Endurance Saddle.
          Extremely comfortable for me with "repaired/replaced/still ongoing physical issues". Put me in perfect relaxed position for hours in the saddle.

          Fits my oh-so-sensitive tb/qh mare with no ugly faces.
          Fits the ADHD "I think I'm a studly guy" mutton withered, extremely shortbacked Arab gelding to a T.

          Different animal than the other Endurance saddle listed.

          My over 60 worn out body did not care for the Gen II due to lack of "feel"

          Get the Tucker saddle pad to go with for best fit.

          JMHO YMMV. PSA I do not have any affiliation with Tucker other than as a very satisfied customer.

          Good luck on your ride! When and where is the ride?
          Glory, I'd love to be in Ireland in the spring, or any time of year, actually
          Last edited by HorsesRMyTherapy; Mar. 27, 2013, 03:15 PM. Reason: Studly darn ipad

          Comment


          • #6
            Freeform treeless? I'm using one right now on a mare I'm helping to leg up. My treed saddle looks like a party hat on her!
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              Win, you must, cheat if you can, feed the mare treats, find something you both can endure for the first few weeks.

              Remember a longe line can be your friend. Just remember 5 min each way on each rein in a big, big circle is work enough to start.
              Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

              Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

              Comment


              • #8
                Crone--Did you agree to an endurance ride? (50-55 miles) or an LD ride? (25-35). May make a difference on what type of saddle you and your Arab can endure.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Crone--Did you agree to an endurance ride? (50-55 miles) or an LD ride? (25-35). May make a difference on what type of saddle you and your Arab can endure.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by sign of Grace View Post
                    Crone--Did you agree to an endurance ride? (50-55 miles) or an LD ride? (25-35). May make a difference on what type of saddle you and your Arab can endure.

                    I'm not as dumb as I look; I only agreed to an LD. I as yet have no idea which ride; the terms of the bet state that I have to have completed at minimum a 25-miler within 1 year of having begun to train for it. The flexible start date was agreed on to reflect the fact that the right tack might be troublesome to nail down for a rank newbie.

                    I've been studying the Freeforms. I know there are huge controversies re: treed vs. treeless, but I observe that a lot of the endurance ladies use treeless, and I confess the idea appeals to me. Does anyone know how they compare, seat-wise, to the Bob Marshalls? I suspect this little mare ain't gonna put up with no Crone-in-a-Barcalounger.
                    Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      1 year to do an LD? From what I've been told (I'm a newbie and just started conditioning for July5th weekend), you have won your bet.

                      Unless your horse has shark withers, I think you need to go treeless, and go name brand. My friends thus far swear by the Bob Marshall or the Freeform.

                      What area do you live? My first LD is in MI.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Crone,
                        I'm jumping over here from eventing/foxhunting land, as I've been sleuthing saddles with my endurance guru vet, Jeannie Waldron. (She is a multiple world champion in endurance) Her suggestions are to go with an adjustable saddle. Her old favorite is the Free and Easy.
                        The totally adjustable saddle tree that my very opinionated, super sensitive mare likes is made by the Thorowgood saddle company. It is in several different price ranges of saddles. ($750 -$2,700) The one that I'm getting is the Hastilow Concept. It is being fitted by Annette Gavin of Hastilow usa.
                        http://www.hastilowusa.com/saddles/concept-saddles.html
                        http://www.hastilowusa.com/saddles/t...d-saddles.html

                        The Prolite memory foam is awesome for both horse and rider. I'm recovering from a broken back and I'm about the same size as you. Hard to say who was grinning more- the mare or me. My vet wants the prolite saddle pads and girth for her own endurance arabs. It is that impressive. (She also wants to try the saddle on her horses, too..)
                        Intermediate Riding Skills

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Freeform saddle works very well on a horse with a broad back and no withers. Here's my blog post that discusses the horse I rode earlier in the week and shows my saddle on her.

                          I have tried several treeless and part-treed saddles -- Barefoot, Torsion, and Pheonix. The Pheonix (the most expensive) was the only one that made my horse sore and the Freeform was the only one I kept.

                          It's one of the few treeless saddles that has the feel of a "twist" so if you're riding a wide horse it's a bit easier on your hips. You can also interchange the seats so if you have different people riding in the saddle, you can swap them out. When I first bought the saddle my daughter was riding a bit and wanted the option of having a smaller seat size without buying her a saddle.

                          I bought mine used about 6 or 7 years ago. I think I bought it off the treeless saddle forum on Yahoo and paid about $700 for it.

                          http://equineink.com/2013/03/24/ther...der-that-hair/
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I do endurance rides in my Stubbens. Depending on my mood, I ride in either my Roxane (my foxhunting saddle) or my Aramis (dressage). My Arab is a pretty typical round, short backed, Polish Arab. They fit pretty much every Arab I've put them on.

                            Stubbens are pretty inexpensive on eBay if you want to try one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                              Oh man, I always knew this might happen, and sure enough, it did. It turns out that, in order to win a bet, I have to do a flippin' endurance ride on a nutty Arabian.

                              I've never done endurance before. The idea of camping -- let alone with a loony mare -- terrifies me. Also, I am a weakling, and a moron. So this will be quite the undertaking. Of course I have a million questions, but before I do anything I gotta get some kind of saddle, so that's what I'm asking about today.

                              My noble mount will be a tiny, hard-to-fit, out-of-shape, mutton-withered, pasture puff Arab who hasn't been ridden in 3 years. At the moment none of the saddles in my tack room fit her at all, including the Thornhill Germania wide dressage I had fitted for her 4 years ago. She's pretty sensitive and opinionated, so I'd like to get her the best fit possible so when she starts actin' a fool I'll at least know it isn't the saddle.

                              Yet I hesitate to order a custom saddle that won't fit her in 6 months when she's fit, am I right? Especially since I can't predict what will appeal to me after I have ascertained what this endurance thing is all about. Although I do accept that this might be an unavoidable contingency.

                              I'm set in my ways, so I'd like something sort of close and not too Westerny. Also, I'm 54 and creaky, so, lightweight. And if it were grippy and a little more deep and secure and cushy than my dear old PJ Delgrange, I wouldn't throw it out of bed for eating crackers. Oh, and if it weren't fugly, better still.

                              Tragically, after reading a bunch of saddle threads here, and googling a bit, I'm more confused than ever. Treeless, Black Country, Stonewall, Fhoenix -- the mind reels.

                              Any advice? Oh, and if anyone knows of any saddle fitters in Central Texas who would be up for the challenge, it would be my pleasure to throw a bit of custom their way.

                              P.S. I need to win this bet, because at stake is a pint of Guinness. In a pub in Ireland. Loser pays all travel expenses from Texas, on top of having to buy the beer.
                              Arrange to try out a Barefoot saddle. Designed for the opinionated Arab. Deep, super cushy, fits the mutton-withered like a Dior model, and will make the miles just float away under you. Your horse will love you for it.

                              Trust me. Been there, have the miles and years to prove it. The AERC ad below was taken of me and my guy at the No Frills 50. I was using the Barefoot on that ride. Notice the big grin on my face. That saddle is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo comfy!! And my guy loves it. Click image for larger version

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ID:	9135802
                              Last edited by gothedistance; Mar. 27, 2013, 10:11 PM.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by The Crone of Cottonmouth County View Post
                                I'm not as dumb as I look; I only agreed to an LD. I as yet have no idea which ride; the terms of the bet state that I have to have completed at minimum a 25-miler within 1 year of having begun to train for it. The flexible start date was agreed on to reflect the fact that the right tack might be troublesome to nail down for a rank newbie.

                                I've been studying the Freeforms. I know there are huge controversies re: treed vs. treeless, but I observe that a lot of the endurance ladies use treeless, and I confess the idea appeals to me. Does anyone know how they compare, seat-wise, to the Bob Marshalls? I suspect this little mare ain't gonna put up with no Crone-in-a-Barcalounger.
                                One year to do an LD??? Pffttttt!! Come on, girl. You could do that in 3 lousy weeks, and your horse will be looking further down the trail wondering why you stopped.

                                If the Barcolounger is soft and draps on her back like a couture fit, she won't care if you are riding sitting with your feet on her head. She's gonna be comfy in that treeless, and she's gonna show you just why the Arabian does so well at distances. You'll feel her open up and move like she's never moved before.

                                For what it's worth, I hated the FreeForm (it felt too stiff and hard to my tush) and deplored the Bob Marshall (leather was very stiff and didn't want to conform to my leg/butt). YMMV so try a number of saddles from the distributors and let your mare, and your butt, tell you which one is going to be the best.

                                Too bad you're in Texas. If you were closer, I'd take you under my very experienced wing, give you either the Barefoot or the Sensation, and have you and that mare doing two back-to-back 50's in the Massanutten Mountains of Virginia by October. That's 100 miles, in case you weren't aware. And if you decided to put some umph in your bet, I'd have you top tenning as well...as long as you weren't afraid to push down on the gas pedal in the last 5 miles of the trail.

                                Click image for larger version

Name:	2008FortValley-tailing-up-Indian-Graves-2.jpg
Views:	1
Size:	29.9 KB
ID:	9135803
                                "Tailing" up the infamous Indian Graves trail in the Fort Valley 50. Again, using the Barefoot treeless saddle. PS: I was 56 in this photo.
                                Last edited by gothedistance; Mar. 27, 2013, 10:23 PM. Reason: Photo

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  My deep, grippy, COMFY lightweight saddle is an Arabian Saddle Company, Solstice. When you ride in the Solstice you are *on* the horse, not perched. Very secure, if you need that, this saddle has it. I use a thin cotton type pad(Rambo Newmarket), and a mattes pad (no inserts) on top of it. I do ride in the plastic, cushioned EZ Ride stirrups, nunn finer 1/2" biothane lined leathers.

                                  I most always use a cotton pad, then a woolback, or mattes pad on top. At vet checks, simply change your wet cotton pad for a fresh one. Nice for the horse. So no $pecial pad$ for this saddle will you have to buy.

                                  This saddle fits my wide, wide bodied, mutton withered ones.

                                  Call Bev and get one on trial.

                                  I have had mine since 2002. Still going well in it.

                                  Have fun, you can do it.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Many Arabs that are mutton withered do best in a hoop or freedom tree, shaped in the front like an upside U. This allows the saddle to follow the contour of the wither better than the A shaped saddles, thus affording more stability of the saddle for the rider and more comfort for the horse, especially on a long ride. There are several companies that offer that type tree. Some of the ones available would be the Black Country Equinox or BC Celeste or the Lovatt & Ricketts Rubicon. The Equinox and Celeste have a bit straighter flap with a triangular high block that allows for leg comfort yet support. The seats are comfortably deep and the billets are long to avoid girth buckle discomfort. The Equinox is a monoflap. The Celeste has a K panel and full front gussets. The Rubicon has a more all purpose feel, with a very open mouth, serge panels and many other attractive options. Trumbull Mtn carries all of these and they are available for trial if you want to see how they feel,
                                    Jay McGarry
                                    sms trained saddle fitter
                                    www.trumbullmtn.com
                                    800-442-9672

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Oooo! rmh is right - the Solstice is *amazingly* comfortable. And it feels like a typical saddle - tight twist, stunning leather, classic form. About $2k new. You'd be lucky to find one used because folks hang on to theirs! But well worth the trial if you don't want to stray far from your classic English saddle type.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        My first bit of advice would be to do some serious ground work before you even think of searching for a saddle. If your horse is out of shape, and since you have a year to get ready, spend 6 or 8 of those weeks getting your horse into some semblance of shape, or it's highly likely that whatever fits your horse right now will be a "right now" saddle that may not work a few months down the road. And remember that ground work does NOT have to be limited to the ring; you can ground drive or long line a horse on the trail, and I can tell you from personal experience that after a month of doing that (especially if you live in a hilly area), you'll BOTH be in much better shape (I'm a crone too, and know whereof I speak!).

                                        Once you have a baseline of fitness, you can start thinking about a saddle. If you don't have a fitter nearby, I'd recommend working long-distance with someone who has experience in that area ... and I highly, highly recommend Nancy Okun. She worked at Trumbull Mtn. for about 15 years (and I worked with her for 14 of 'em), and not only can she fit saddles through the use of templates and photos ... she's also a competitive trail rider. She will speak your language, and can help you find the saddle that will work for both your horse AND for you. Her e-mail is nancybokun@gmail.com - give her a shout.

                                        As far as saddles for Arabs, the recommendations you've received already are all worth considering; the exact "make and model" will depend on what you and your horse need. Nancy and Ann Forrest at Equestrian Imports are also offering the new Albion K2 trail (http://equestrianimports.com/shop/ne...ddle/1167.html) - either can tell you more about it. Good luck, and have fun!
                                        Kitt Hazelton
                                        Saddle Fitter
                                        www.pantherrunsaddlery.com
                                        www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com

                                        Comment

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