The Search for a Saddle
It isn’t easy the day your trainer comes to you and tells you your saddle is no longer working for your body. It’s even tougher when you’re short and curvy and trying to find the perfect jump saddle for your Paint who has a somewhat weird back that also fits you.
I did not want to buy another “starter” saddle. I was committed to riding English and knew a $300 saddle just wasn’t going to cut it. My trainer, knowing this, began having me try different saddles at the barn. I think I went about four weeks not riding in the same saddle. I tried an Hermes, a Devoucoux, one of the lesson saddles, my husband’s saddle – anything that could possibly fit.
I dove onto Facebook. As any equestrian knows these days, the biggest used horse equipment market is on Facebook. Sometimes you can get lucky on eBay, but Facebook is where it’s at. However buying this way also leaves you open to scammers.
Scammers do exist. I had one girl who had an Antares listed that I was talking with – but she wouldn’t send additional photos. I thought it was odd, but it didn’t hit as a red flag until someone commented on the post that she had scammed them. Upon talking to the girl, I quickly forgot about that saddle and moved on. I kept searching.
It took awhile. It wasn’t a search that ended in a day. It wasn’t as simple as walking to the appliance store and picking out a new dishwasher.
Then I stumbled on a post by Christine of Bonjour Tack. Based in Arkansas, her website had a plethora of saddles and many were the higher end used English saddles I was looking for. Finally I hit gold. A 2000 Prestige Hippo Red Fox in great condition. Before Prestige changed their Red Fox saddles, they were calf leather and wool flocked. The saddle had a short flap and the gullet was right for Jim.
I can’t say enough good things about Christine. She allowed me to do a payment plan and if I paid in a few weeks, I could still have the week trial to make sure it fit Jim and I. When I paid it off, it was shipped that day and I was sent the tracking right away. And when it came, it came with a beautiful Prestige saddle cover and a little drawstring helmet bag as a free gift. The saddle was exactly as advertised and it was wonderful.
I was lucky that it came just two days before my horse show. It felt wonderful and I rode the best I had yet, winning equitation and taking two seconds in pleasure and discipline.
And with that, my search finally concluded. Although sometimes I’ll miss the online shopping, it was worth the search and I am in love with my new saddle.