Friday, November 19, 2010

My New ENGLISH saddle...

I bought an English saddle today! Can you believe it! I told the lady at the store that it was my very first ever English saddle but then on the drive home I remembered that I actually did own one when I was fourteen or fifteen... Have you ever had this happen.... You can distinctly remember owning a specific item and yet you have no recollection of ever having parted with that item....but yet you also have absolutely noooo idea where or when you lost that item along the way? Nor have you ever even recognized that item was gone until years later? Well, I dont ever recall selling or giving away that saddle, or leaving it behind at some barn... And I dont recall having even wondered what happened to it in the past. But I know I dont have it now and havent in ten years or more. Weird.

Anyways, I bought a Wintec 500 all purpose saddle with easy change gullet and CAIR panels. I also went out and purchased a different size (wide) gullet because the (average) size that the saddle came with was much to narrow for my hardy mare. It was really cool how quickly (less than five minutes) it took to change out the gullet. The store had provided me with a measuring tool to help assess what size she would be needing and I have to say that it appears (at this point *knock on wood*) to be a good fit. The CAIR panels are neat too... rather than traditional flocking the panels have some kind of air pocket system that allows for a better fit and good distribution of the riders weight. While the saddle is synthetic and "cheaper" than I would EVER consider buying in a western saddle I have to say I've heard nothing but good things and have high hopes that it will work out well.

As for "Why English?" (as I've been asked a dozen times now). The answer is simple. My Bob's Custom Bob Avila Cow horse saddle does not fit Lil'P. I L.O.V.E. my saddle, it is soooo comfortable, so pretty and finely made. It is the fourth (?) Bob's I've owned and to be frank (at the risk of sounding like a snob) once you've gotten used to a certain quality of saddle it is hard to go back. For me to go out and replace my saddle would be no easy task... I'd have to fit her, fit me, my taste and my budget. I also would have to figure out what type of Western saddle to buy based on what direction I plan on heading with her (barrel, roping, reining, cutting etc.). So there are a whole lot of question marks involved in buying a new Western saddle and I just didnt have the heart for the task.

But I still needed a new saddle. That is when I discovered that, as particular as I am when it comes to Western saddles, I am totally oblivious and not at all particular when it comes to English saddles. While fitting my horse is still important I dont have to worry about type, make, style. etc. I could buy a synthetic and be blissfully ignorant and unaware of my folly (if any). So I did. And I am. *guileless stare*

The other HUGE factor (pardon the pun) is an issue of weight. My Bob's weighs 37 pounds. My heavy western pad weighs a few pounds too. This English saddle (I believe) weighs about 12 pounds. The pad weighs a few ounces. So, as best as I can figure I've cut around 25 pounds off my horses back. Twenty-five pounds is no small amount of weight. I would have prefer to have cut that poundage directly off my ass but I cant afford the sugery... or maybe I could have if I hadnt spent it all on horses:)

Which brings me to my next point. I would like to loose that 25 (or more) pounds through the help of diet and exercise... exercise such as riding.... such as posting a working trot in an English saddle for a half hour or so. Trust me, I nearly died during my lessons earlier in the year... I believe I even called my very lovely instructor a very bad word. I appolgized once I was recovered enough breath to speak. I also could barely walk the next day. This English saddle is going to work my ass out better than Jane Fonda in a neon blue belted jumper thong ..

Or so I hope.


  1. Looks like a good choice.

    If you ever decide to get a Western saddle for her, think about the Black Rhino - they aren't cheap, although the company sometimes has links to resales, but they're made to fit the horse and many hard to fit horses are comfortable in them. I'm hoping to get one for Pie once he finishes growing. They also have lots of different models, and also make some saddles in synthetics for less weight.

  2. Cool! We need to see some pics of Lil' P in her English tack!

    The wintecs aren't the prettiest English saddles out there, but they are extremely durable. I have a 500 as well that I use occasionally and it looks brand new. Love how easy it is to change the gullet as well.

    Happy posting!!! :-)

  3. LOL and the best part Chelsi? You wont have to wear an electric blue thong to "work out" in! ;)

    Have fun riding girl, and I'll be pulling for you.

    Hey-- what about a post on CLFC??? Hmmmmm?????? *wink wink hint hint*

  4. A friend uses that saddle & loves it. Good choice.

    I am aiming for at least 10 off my ass, too...

  5. I know exactly what you mean about things you had and you don't know what happened to them. A great deal of my old tack falls into that category.

    I've actually been craving an English saddle lately. Sometimes I just flat out don't feel like hauling my heavy western saddle out of the tack room, and really don't feel like trying to get it on her back! That, and since I really started out riding hunters, I think it's still my comfort zone.

    BTW, your Bob's saddle looks gorgeous! Major envy!

  6. Oohh I have that EXACT Wintec and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it! I put a grab strap on the front and now TRAIL RIDE in it!!! It fits both Bonnie (small but wide paint) and Rosie (Percheron).

    One small issue I've been having is one of the screws that secure the gullet loosened and fell out somewhere.

    Some advice to loosen the billets for easier girth tightening... rub a dry bar of soap on them till they are slippery.

    As for horse back riding being a work out.. let me tell ya... 35 pounds lost later. My BO when she was watching me do a training ride said "I need to learn English so I can get the same work out you are! I was BREATHLESS !!!

  7. I LOVE your western saddle, beautiful! I had a very nice Billy Cook barrel saddle that I finally parted with a few years ago in order to pay tuition. Oh how I miss that saddle. I bought my horse in May and have gone through 2 saddles just trying to find one that I like. So far no luck. One day I'll own a saddle again. Congrats on the english saddle and I like your thoughts on getting a good work out in while riding!

  8. haha that picture made me laugh!! The Jane Fonda one!
    I was thinking just last week I should get out my english saddle for winter and get riding in it agian to get more fit, I love my western saddle as well and it does fit my pony, but it seems it gets heavier in winter with all them clothes on... and the losing weight would ba a bonus!

  9. LMAO! The English side of things is definitely good for the rear regions. Too funny, I bought a saddle this afternoon - English - Bates - it was ON SALE and just too much for me to resist in my weakened state. lol

    Happy riding!

  10. OK, I can speak about this saddle because I have the EXACT one. I've had it for about 7 years and it's still in great shape and I love it!!!

  11. OMG! I remember doing that workout! Ha I am old!

  12. I hate to burst your bubble about riding being suitable exercise BUT having learned this the hard way thought I might share my thoughts.

    Since I've now learned, of course too darn late, that after we hit thirty we lose 1% of our muscle mass each year unless we're doing the "proper" exercise and believe me that 1% stacks up faster than any of us want to admit. Regular riding is not enough to sustain core strength. It will do fine with leg muscles and some arm strength depending on type of use and even bone density in the hips and lower back bone if done often enough and long enough)lots of loping) but not so on the core.

    After having cracked my head, figuritively speaking, and really getting my confidence stomped on, I can attest to the fact this loss of core strength is true and a real pain in the ass, not to mentnion other parts that might come into contact with the ground if one's pretty pony should jump out from underneath, if you get my drift.

    I now find myself in the situation where I must try to rebuild my core strength so I can even deal with my pretty pony, which I must say really sucks AND it's harder to rebuild it that maintain it in the first place. As much as I hate exercise I find myself in the position where I am actually doing it every day hoping that someday I will regain the seat that I lost. What a pain in the *** that is and if I could do it over, I think I'd do what it took to keep my core strength. It would certainly have saved me a lot of heart ache not to mention physical pain because my horse could jump out from underneath me like he did.

  13. My motto about riding is ' If you ain't tired after you finish riding, you aint' doin' it right"

    Enjoy your english saddle- I'm sure your legs will thank you!

    BTW- about having no memory of losing or selling things- this happend to me with horses! I have pictures and memories of a lot of horses that I know I owned, but I can't emember selling them ( but I must have, cuz I ain't got 'em any more!)

  14. I love my Wintec..I have the Pro. i tried about 30 saddles...and nothing beat that dang synthetic Wintec. I had about a $ Wintec was under $400 used at the tack store. It has been one of the best purchases. Good luck on the western front...I gave up. Can't find one that works on Maddy and is comfortable for me. At this point, I am so happy with my saddle, i really don't have an desire for a western one anymore. Maybe you will feel the same!