Saddles for Trial: First Impressions of the Stubben Excalibur

Like the Amerigo monoflap, the Stubben Excalibur is an attractive saddle. The leather has a tougher feel, not nearly as soft as the calf leather on the Amerigo, but of a quality that was made to last. This saddle also has been properly maintained, and looks to be in almost new condition.

stubben

Sitting on Smitty’s naked back, the saddle seems well balanced front to back, with plenty of wither clearance. It did seem a little tight around the shoulders, but not in a conclusive way, so I hopped aboard.

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My first impression was that while still close contact, that there was more under my leg than in the Amerigo, likely to the saddle’s more solid construction- it’s built like a tank. It is comfortable though, and my leg hung in the right place. However, when we started trotting, Smitty went hollow and unwilling to more forward. I ran my hand under the front of the saddle, and sure enough, the saddle was super tight just under the knee block.

stubben_problemspot

The problem spot highlighted

Considering his grumpiness, I decided not to press the issue, and sadly put the saddle in my car to begin its trip home. Thank goodness for trials, is all I will say!

Tonight I go back to the Amerigo, and will hopefully not be a nervous nelly and actually give the thing a proper test ride. Saddle shopping… ugh!

Saddles for Trial: First Impressions of the Amerigo Vega Monoflap

Yesterday was basically Christmas at the house on a hill. The poor mailman brought not just one but two hunks of gorgeous leather to my door, and my spirits sailed as I opened each box and inhaled that beautiful leather aroma. Here, hopefully, is a saddle that will end my shopping woes.

I decided to test ride the Amerigo monoflap first because, quite frankly, it’s beautiful, and it happens to be the cheaper of the two. The calfskin leather is supple and squishy, and though it’s in an obviously used state, the saddle appears well taken care of.

Amerigo monoflap

Setting it on Smitty’s back, the saddle provides enough wither clearance, and I like the way it fits his shoulder- no pinching or tightness to my [untrained] eye. There was a slight rock to it from front to back, but not enough so as to be unrideable with a wool pad underneath.

smitty-amerigo

On the lunge a bit of this bounce was still evident, but Smitty seemed to not be bothered and so I hopped aboard.

Smitty: Does this saddle make my butt look big?

Smitty: Does this saddle make my butt look big?

It didn’t help that it was dark, hadn’t ridden in a week thanks to the fat leg (gone, by the way, thank goodness!), and was alone- so I was tense and unable to fully appreciate the saddle. But I did note how close my leg felt to him. Nothing felt immediately out of place, and I didn’t feel like I was swimming in it despite the 18″ seat size.

Tonight I’ll throw on the Stubben Excalibur, and plan to alternate between the two options for the week while I get a good feel for which is the clear winner. Buh bye, money!

 

Saddles for trial

I won’t lie, searching for a saddle that both fits Smitty and that I feel secure in has been an absolute chore. Not only does the saddle need to be wool flocked so we can adjust for any likely changes that Smitty’s topline is going to make, but it also has to accommodate his somewhat sizeable withers, and be in the narrow to medium range that is most likely to fit him. Then add in a sprinkle of my own demands, being a 17.5″ – 18″ seat, a monoflap, and hefty knee and thigh blocks.

After searching high and low for a Stubben Zaria that would fit, I’m come up completely blank. But next week I have a couple saddles coming to me for a trial period, and I have high hopes that one will work.

excalibur

Stubben Excalibur

The first is the predecessor to the Zaria, which is the Stubben Excalibur. It’s a little different looking to my eye, but hopefully shares a lot of the same qualities that I lust over in the Zaria.

vega

Amerigo Vega Monoflap

The second is an older version of the above Vega Monoflap. It checks all the boxes, and while the calf block is not as big, it’s an attractive saddle with an even more attractive price tag.

My hope would be that if one of these guys works out, then I’ll have something that would conceivably get us through the next couple years while Smitty grows (in what direction, who knows), and then I can find a more “permanent” solution.

Now I just need that hot, fat leg to fix itself so I can sit in them!

Saddle Fitting

Foster got his almost brand new saddle fit to him last night, which is always a relief to me. While it seemed to fit him pretty well when paired with my cross country saddle’s half pad, I wanted to not have to do double duty with the half pad and have the saddle balanced on its own. Considering the heat index yesterday was right about 100°, both of us were glad not to have to do much work besides jogging around and making sure the saddle fit.

Foster hamming it up

Foster hamming it up

Tonight, Foster will receive his first proper training ride, and I will happily sit on the sidelines and try not to melt. We thought we were getting off lucky with an unusually mild summer for NC, but I guess Mother Nature had to scorch us for a few days, nonetheless!