Friday, May 14, 2010

Our new saddle

Cibolo's new saddle (remember?) is just fabulous. Here are a few photos from his modeling session.

Here he is at the trot. You'll notice he has his pink Cavallo boots on. I was going to dye them black, but then I fount out they are actually pink for breast cancer awareness, like the pink ribbon thing. A portion of the proceeds went to breast cancer research. Given that, Cibolo and I agreed they should stay pink.

It's funny, my friend TR was deeply concerned that the saddle wasn't going to fit. No way a gaited tree should fit a registered QH. So he let me borrow some naked trees he got from Dixieland Gaited Saddles.

The fitforms from Dixieland Gaited Saddle - this is their photo, not mine.

When you buy a saddle from them, you can get naked trees to actually try on your horse - you can learn about it here. He was convinced when I tried the fitforms on my horse I'd find that the QH trees would fit better.

I was glad to try them, because I really wanted to see how Lily would do. I was already convinced about gaited tree on Cibolo - after all, I had a trainer, saddle fitter, and a rancher with 40 years of horsemanship under his belt all check it out. I certainly wasn't making my decision based on my 60 minutes of saddle fitting training. But I figure if I was right, this would just confirm it.

The forms are coded just with letters. TR wouldn't tell me which was which, so I wouldn't be predisposed. He had done the same with his horses.

The results - Lily is a standard QH, and doesn't even need a wide QH tree. Cibolo, while one of the QH trees fit a little, you could really see the bridging when he lifted his head. The gaited tree was much better, but not as good as the saddle from National Bridle. They don't use the same exact tree as Dixieland (which uses Steele trees). They have their own exclusive tree. You can learn more about National Bridle here - I'm one happy customer. Cibolo is in their Tennessean tree.

Check it out: the saddle doesn't shift on him at all.

Even at the canter.

That's Lily the background, fretting over her Cavallo boots which she HATES. She'll walk over anything with her feet, and hasn't shown any tender footedness, but if we go to Bandera (as I'm dying to do with Mandy), boots are really needed. I wonder if they might be too small - it's pretty tough to get them on. But once they're on, they look okay. You can see her trying to kick them off here:

Hopefully she'll come around.

Anyway, back to the saddle, you'll see the nice endurance stirrups. Someday I'll ride long enough to give those a work out.

Look mom! No hooves!

Look at his face. He is so much more comfortable.

I think it actually looks better with my red pad, so Cibolo will model that in our next shoot.

How does it ride?

OMG why in the world did I wait this long for a good saddle? Granted, I didn't even know the old ones didn't fit my horse, but now when I think of how it slide around on his back - ack, what a mess. How could I miss it?

This saddle has great cushioning for me too, is light to throw on (although those endurance stirrups are dangerous when you toss them up. I need to learn how to handle those things or I'm going to give my horse a bruise in his side), and makes me feel like I'm a better rider. It's easier to keep my seat.

My only problem is the fenders - they aren't broken in and the stirrups are always out of position. I find myself having to adjust my feet and re-twist them - I imagine on a long ride this will be tough on my knees.I'm storing it with my muck boots set up so they twist them (actually it was a darn clever set up, I should have took a photo. lol), but I need to definitely find a way to speed the process of "turning".

Any suggestions?


Fantastyk Voyager said...

That's a lovely saddle. He does look more comfortable.
Lily will get used to them. I don't think you want to go any larger if you can get those on.

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Nice saddle and so good it fits both you and your horse...that is harder to do than people think

Wolfie said...

Yay! The saddle looks great and Cibolo will be so much more comfortable. You must be soooo relieved.

Susan said...

You may have written this before, but was a poor saddle fit the reason Cibolo was having problems? I'm glad you found a saddle you both like. I ride in a saddle that Tom made years ago, keep coming back to it. It's really heavy, but me and the horses like it.

Anonymous said...

He looks very happy with his new saddle - both the pictures in motion and at rest - that's great and even better than you find it extra comfortable as well.

AareneX said...

To "turn" the fenders, get them damp with water (some people use oil, especially if the leather is quite dry) and store the saddle with an old broomstick stuck between the stirrups.

A properly-fitted saddle is a joy forever!

Shirley said...

To turn the stirrups, you can also give them an "Oregon Twist", or do the broomstick thing. Here's a link:

Anonymous said...

Cibolo looks great! And how cool are the naked trees? I'm learning a lot from your blog - thank you!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

The saddle is beautiful! And Cibolo looks great!

For my stirrup leathers I always store them twisted out with a broom handle (you can also use a pice of 1x2 wood) slid between them. Works perfectly and quickly.