Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Magic Saddle

I frequently participate in situations that serve to verify my insanity.

I have been fretting about saddle fit for weeks, months.  I finally headed to Trumbull Mountain’s web site (  I have been there before, as it is highly recommended by folks on forums such as COTH.  Kitt Hazelton, at Trumbull Mountain, will look at your horse’s back tracings and photos and recommend saddles that might fit.  She’ll loan you trial saddles to try and has both new and used saddles for sale.

Starlight, patient in the rain, with red chalk marks on her back.
One night in the pouring rain, I drew chalk lines on my mare, Starlight, as recommended by Trumbull Mountain’s tracing instructions.   Then I bent a supple artist’s curve along the chalk lines, carefully transferring the shapes to a large piece of paper.  I mailed them off to Trumbull Mountain and at the same time emailed photos of Starlight’s conformation to Kitt, as recommended on the web page.

After a few days, I received this note: 

Hi Amy –Your tracings arrived in the mail today, thanks for sending them.  I can see what you mean about the saddle moving forward; Starlight has an upslope to her croup and she’s quite wide – the combination (pretty common in horses of her breed) can make it tough to keep the saddle off the shoulders.  If you can let me know your price range, and if you’re looking for new or used, I’d be happy to make some recommendations.
Thanks –

What followed was a volley of emails, ending up with her recommending and offering a loan of a Duett Sonata, 36 cm.  

Well, it so happens that I had tried a 36 cm Duett on Starlight, an Allegro, and determined it was too wide.  Of course, it had to be too wide.  I had purchased it for my half-draft, Hudson.  How could it be the right size for an APHA pony?  Sure, sure, she moved well under it and all, but it did slide forward a bit, and it must be too big, right (even though it was definitely too small for Hudson)?

When I talked to Kitt about this by phone, she said simply that it seemed that it should fit, based on my tracings, and suggested maybe a saddle maker in Connecticut could narrow it for me if I sent measurements and photos.

Satisfied with this idea, I started using the Duett on Starlight.  Guess what?  It fits much better now that a saddle fitting expert said it should fit.  

What do you say about that?!  

I say, insanity verified.  And now, onto the next calamity.

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