Some of you may remember the hard time I had fitting my arab mare. She had been ridden in a ill fitting saddle for years, has a dip in her back and at first no top line muscle at all. I do lots of mountain riding, don't feel comfortable in english don't like western and could not find one that fits her anyways. To recap:
I tried 10 westerns, 2 english, 2 endurance saddles and an aussie and none fit. I finaly ordered an aussie from a shop in BC that custom adjusts the tree, and of all of them the fit was the best. The quality wasnt spectacular, but Nice even sweat patterns, only real issue is some sliding backwards and forwards going up and down hills, so a crupper and breast collar were used. I finally found a cinch my mare could tolerate and thought we would be alright.
I noticed it seemed to be wearing faster than my other aussie. Then I noticed one of the d-rings at the front was pulling out. I contacted the company and they said the finishing was just cosmetic, but the d-ring should not be pulling out. My option was to keep it or send it back and they would refund part of my purchase price, discounting that I had used it for a month. I thought it was silly to have to return it for less than I paid, so I kept it, the issue was cosmetic after all. I took it in to a local saddlery shop to build a girth converter and he told me to keep an eye on the billet straps because the leather wasnt very good quality. Yikes. I took it appart to clean it this weekend and the stirrup leathers are tearing/severe cracking where they fit over the stirrup bars EEEEK i've emailed the store I bought it from and apparently it is not covered under any sort of a warranty. I'm really not happy. The first saddle I had from this brand I bought 5+ years ago and put probably a 1000+ miles on it and it looks great. This one I got AT THE END OF APRIL 2012. I wont be buying another one.
I'm looking at replacing it with an endurance saddle. I recently tried on an all leather Big Horn endurance saddle and it was AMAZING. No sliding of any sort incredible fit for me and the horse, perfect sweat pattern, and that was on a 12 mile, fairly challenging trail into and back out of the reddeer river valley. But where do you get one? The shop my friend got hers from 5 years ago no longer sells them
Also any other recomendations on great endurance saddles? No aussies, nothing with a horn, all leather prefered. I have to be really careful with anything center fire rigged, most saddles sit farther back on her and the center fire rigging puts the cinch on her stomach.