I posted this to my friends on the Trail Riding section but thought I should put it here, too, since it deals with tack.
Last Saturday on a trail cleanup ride Mr. Big spooked or shied or something when I was trying to mount. I was just in the process of getting ready to swing into the saddle when he bolted forward a short distance. I must have still had one foot on the ground since I don't recall that falling was an issue.
However, I must have been holding the pommel pretty tight as I got ready to launch into the air to mount. When Big bolted, the pommel came off in my hand. Well, not clear off, but it ripped the saddle covering that it was stitched to.
I ride, or was riding, a Black Forest treeless saddle that I've really enjoyed. It's comfortable for me and, more importantly, is comfortable for Mr. Big. It sits well, stays put (once I get it tight enough) and has never caused any sort of "hot spot" on Big's back.
And I had always thought that it was made fairly well. I've since learned differently!
Since there is no tree the pommel is simply sewn to the top saddle cover. I'd assumed it was sewn through the saddle for strength. Not so! The ends of the pommel cover are sewn into the top layer of saddle covering over a fairly large area and I've always been amazed at how sturdy the pommel felt.
Until I put some pressure on it. Not even a lot of pressure as I let go as soon as Big really started to move. But, alas, it was enough. The top covering of the saddle let go along the stitch lines and the pommel now hangs loose.
I bought the saddle last fall. When I contacted Black Forest Vic said it wasn't covered by warranty but that he'd talk to "the powers that be" (I suspect that's his wife and, maybe, lawyer) and get back to me today. Since he asked if anyone got hurt (after seeing the pix of the damage) I'm thinking he's checking with his lawyer to discover the extent of liability. No one got hurt, thank the Stars, but it doesn't bode well for me!
In the meantime, I'm looking for a new saddle. Can't afford something really expensive and I can't spend all summer looking for something that fits Big. I'm considering a Royal King with a auto-flex tree in the hopes that it'll fit his broad, arched back and high withers. But I've not decided, yet.
Part of my problem is that I'm planning two, or maybe three, week long trips into the Wilderness Areas of Idaho this summer. Having a saddle break 3 miles from your rig is an inconvenience. Having a saddle break 3 days out can be a disaster. And I don't much trust Black Forest saddles after this little incident. And finding out that Black Forest doesn't trust them enough to stand behind them certainly doesn't help!
Sorry for the dissertation.