So it’s no secret that one of the pros of horse shopping that besides sitting on nice horses, you also have the chance to sit in different saddles. Nice saddles. Voltaire, Amerigo, Pessoa, Antares… you get the deal.
I also had a mini lesson from a friend on her OTTB who is a lead change maestro, so that I could finally get to sit on a horse that had this skillset and learn the cues to ask for the change. She has her guy in a Stubben saddle, and I was prepared to loathe it as I have every other Stubben I have ever sat in, including the other Stubben she had on her pony cross. But you know what? I loved this saddle. More than loved it, in fact. I actually came to realize why exactly she describes the sensation as having one’s ass sing. It’s amazing. My leg fell exactly where it should. I felt more balanced in the 2 point than ever before. The feeling of security I had in that saddle was incredible. The con? The saddle, a Zaria Optimum with the Biomex seat, retails between $4,000 and $4,500.
This of course compared with the lovely Voltaire saddles I’ve also sat in recently, which supposedly (because my 30 second google search didn’t find anything new) retail for around $5,000.
Of course the major trouble with all this is that I have opened Pandora’s box- I now know what it is like to sit in a saddle that puts you in the right place, and conversely I now feel how much I am constantly fighting my Toulouse monoflap. It’s become a definite thing for me, even though searching for saddles before having the new horse is a thoroughly moot activity. But I’m taking the opportunity to sit in anything and everything in hopes that I can find a cheaper alternative to the buttery leather options that command such high price tags.
So far, no dice. I have a long thigh bone that requires a more forward/long flap than some of the close contact options I’ve tried. Plus, there is something really really nice about that calf block.I’ve now mentally started budgeting for a used option of a higher quality brand, in addition to the new pony costs. Because nothing says “I’m an equestrian” like being money poor but rich in pony breath and leather goods.. right?