Posted by: shannonc | January 31, 2010

I am not a fitter

There’s one career change, eliminated, no problem.

So I go to Pelham Saddlery yesterday as part of my dedicated, freezing cold, joyless march toward dressage saddle land.  Here is what I know about my pony:

– I should probably learn to do tracings, but need to go shopping for the raw materials.

– Anything longer than a 17″ will sit on his loins.

– He’s wide-ish.  MW?  But not mutton-withered.

– He’s scoopy.  He has a high wither and a high croup, and his back dishes in between.  Behold my professional likeness:

Really, he's not artwork just stinks!


Maybe a real photo would be more helpful:

So, I need a saddle with a scoopy type tree/panel.  If it’s not scoopy enough, it bridges.  If it’s too scoopy, it rocks.  How nice.  In between not scoopy enough and too scoopy – not to mention tree width and point angles – I’m confunded. 

Here is what I have tried so far:

– Borne Sankey Barracuda.  Gorgeous saddle, nice short flap, very comfortable.  Monoflap gave great feel.  Bridged on the pony, and may have been a little flattish for him (pressure points under cantle).  Potentially fixable, but was sold before I could have a fitter check it.

– An old Passier of some kind, which was like cuddling up to a slab of concrete.

– A custom Equation saddle (more detail in previous post) which is lovely workmanship, short flapped, and rocks on the pony.

– A Schleese Link monoflap – the monoflap really gives good feel on the pony, since he is slight – that I think is too wide (brought this one home from Pelham, so trying to judge it on my own).  It has a hugely wide channel, although I don’t know whether this is good, or means it was made for a much bigger horse than the one in my barn.

– A Roosli of some sort which I liked.  In the cross ties, it seemed to fit width-wise.  I could not find any bridging, and I was only able to walk in it thanks to the ice and impending darkness, but it seemed comfy.  I got a few pix:

Roosli front

Parallel angles….right?  Maybe a little more flocking needed?

Roosli side

Fwiw, the balance point seems about right.

Roosli back


You can kind of see where the old sweat marks are and how they aren’t in contact with his back.

I have a funky suede seat Hennig on its way.  Looking at it I have visions of nice sticky security.  Amazing how much these cost new.  I’m glad I’m sticking to used for this search…hopefully it will enable me to get something a little nicer, or something I can afford to refit right away. 

I guess the next step is start riding in them.  The truck is just getting its brakes redone.  This week I have to start putting the pony on the road to an indoor if I have any designs on Aiken in March.  I sent in my Full Gallop entry last week…gulp!

Here’s hoping the negative-teens weather we saw this week is done!



  1. Ugh, I think I’m going to be starting my dressage saddle shopping in April or May. I really am not looking forward to it. I’m sure a trip to Pelham is in my future at some point.

  2. I feel for you! I plan to make a post of resources that were useful…maybe give you a few jumping-off points.

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