Just want to share my 'second child'. I'm completely over the moon with my latest purchase - something I was sure I would have to wait years before affording. We live in a pretty creatively stagnant region of Canada, when it comes to quality creations. There's a major assembly line saddle manufacture that I wanted nothing to do with (my hubby has one of their saddles and is happy with it but it hurts me and my horse).
This past weekend I was at a fabulous expo called The Mane Event in Red Deer, AB. I sat in so many saddles of the calibre I've only been able to drool over online for years. After three days of mulling it over and discussing what would fit my needs best, I finally took the plunge. How could I not, given this kind of opportunity?
I'm an avid trail rider, often riding in some pretty extreme terrain. I've been using my beater dressage saddle (very comfy) while my boy has finished growing but sustained a broken rib this past fall when I was left groping for purchase during a bad spook. I've always just coped with the sliding of the saddle on the hills we've traversed, either getting off and adjusting or waiting for the opposite pitch to wriggle it back into position, lol.
I've always admired the quality and integrity of a good working ranch saddle but due to a damaged shoulder, cannot muscle one around anymore. Someone mentioned a barrel saddle and I recalled that sitting in one is very much like sitting in a dressage saddle. So began my hunt for a QUALITY barrel saddle at this event. So many of them are built on bling for a dime, you just know the construction has to be suspect. I wanted something that would withstand my riding life.
The folks at K & K Saddlery tuned me into some custom saddles that they have made in their name by a mom & pop operation. All their western models are built on the same quality Bowden tree and let me tell you, the time and love was put into this creation!
FQHB, real sheeps wool underlay, hand-tooled. So comfortable I did not want to get off it at the expo, sat there grinning like an idiot. The fenders are so soft there's almost no torque on my knees (but I'm oiling it anyway for that truly gravy feel). Roughed-out seat for added security, nice high cantle.
I've always thought I wanted a dark finish and I may yet oil the roughed-out part to bring it closer to the tooling and hide some wear, but I'm so gone on this thing, it's ridiculous.
As far as fitting my horse, he seems very happy with it, somehow quicker to step (he's a SLOW walker) and when asked for the canter in the arena, in two strides he slowed down and came up right underneath me like never before. We scaled the steepest sand dunes without a hitch or twitch. The only thing left is to really dissect his sweat patterns after some good sweat work, which recent rains haven't provided the best footing for. Crossing my fingers for sun tomorrow...
Anyhow, enough blathering. I'm thinking a maroon pad (the black one is borrowed to discern the thickness we might prefer).