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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, as most people know I am a new rider with some friends and acquaintances that work in the horse industry/train horses/are good riders. One of my friend bought 2 new (top) horses and I will be allowed to ride them. Because we will not have enough saddles to ride all the horses at the same time the idea was to revive my old Kieffer saddle. It's 70 years old, it's family heritage and it will need to be checked by a saddle maker (to refill the cushions and make sure it is still safe.) We will also have the saddle made so it fits a particular horse.

Besides that I will need to buy:

  • -stirrups.What do you think about jointed stirrups???
  • -girth (leather with wool?? What kind should I buy??)
  • -stirrpup leathers (what do you guys think about stability stirrup leathers?)
  • -saddle deck (should I buy a thick one? One with wool? One that's suitable to ride in the rain?)
I don't want cheap materials, I want to invest and buy good durable things that will last me long. I have done some research and I will listen to the advice of my equestrian shop, BUT since a lot of people on this forum have years of expierence and know alot about tack I was wondering if you would want to give me some advice.

My needs:


  • -Durable material
  • -Safety (safety stirrups)
  • -Makes riding more easy (All the help I can get I will take, I am a recreational rider)
  • -Comfortable for the horse (very important!)
  • -I would like if it fits the style of the saddle but ease of use trumps these needs (!)
  • -Quality
  • -Versatile (multi functional)
  • -Suitable for women (stirrups and other gear)

Thanks in advance!!
 

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You did not say, but I assume this Keiffer is a dressage saddle?



I do not like stirrups that are not made of heavy metal . So, if those are not made of solid metal, do not buy them.


I have a pair of jointed stirrups, and they seem to help a bit with calf and knee issues, but you are young and I assume will not be in the saddle for hours on end. Don't spend hundreds of $'s on the brand name ones.


Leathers? some really like the Cashel ones, because they are easier to shorten/lengthen from the saddle. I find any ones of good quality leather are fine. Thick ones can feel bunhced up under the thigh, tho. The thinner ones that are stitched are nice but very pricey.


Girth? I really like the mohair dressage girths. really.


What is a 'saddle deck'? Do you mean the pad that goes under the saddle?
 

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So...my real feelings on what you propose with your saddle...
Your saddle is a family heirloom.
The horses do not belong to you, you will just be allowed to ride them if, if your saddle can be used. :|
Your friends want to customize that heirloom to fit one of these horses at I bet a pretty good price...sounds like you are expected to pay for.
You are referring to a large amount of money to spend to correct some issues the saddle has do to age and the leather is old and been sitting, it has not been in continuous use...
So, no to using that heirloom on a horse that is not yours.
No to investing all that $$$ cause it is going to be considerable.

I would instead purchase a used saddle in your size that is comfortable for you, in good condition and will fit the horses well with maybe a modest saddle pad needed and leave the family heirloom alone.
If this was "your" horse it would be different, but you don't own and you never know what tomorrow could bring in friendship. For that reason I would not allow the use of that special family heirloom irreplaceable.
When you purchase this saddle it remains your property and make sure it is marked permanently with your name/initials so you can identify it...again, friendships can & do change.

As for stirrups...
Lately I've seen pictures of and read articles on those composite things breaking and the rider being injured, sometimes badly.
If you feel you need to ride with peacock stirrups then buy them and a extra set of rubber-bands.
If you just want a "English" stirrup them buy fillis pad stirrup with a white pad.
If you want a stirrup that has a wider footbed for more comfort if you trailride for hours over varied terrain, then look at stirrups that endurance riders use or trail riders use.
I would not mix true western stirrups though on the English saddle as the safety bars may not release you properly if you fell and got hung up.
I'm also not into spending oodles of money when the standard riding saddle accompaniments work well and are safe to use.
If you bought a used saddle, often it comes with leathers and stirrups on it..
If you bought a new saddle then those items are extra but you can buy affordable not need to spend top-dollar unneeded spent.

I thought you had had the saddle evaluated already for bringing back into safe daily use condition and it was very costly.... :confused_color:
Remember too it probably will not be just you using said saddle, and although you may take really good care of others tack...not everyone reciprocates that way and this is your heirloom you refer to being put out there.
Honestly, I would look for a used saddle local or a entry level new...
For what I imagine a leatherworker will charge for the work needing done, plus someone to re-flock for saddle fit you could buy a Wintec with adjustable gullet that would fit many a horse. :|
https://www.statelinetack.com/item/wintec-250-all-purpose-saddle-flocked/E006280/
https://www.statelinetack.com/search.aspx?path=cSTATELINETACKp1005&page=1&hits=96&sort=bestselling
https://www.statelinetack.com/item/stainless-steel-peacock-irons-pair/SLT733293/
https://www.statelinetack.com/item/tough-1-stainless-steel-fillis-stirrup-irons/E022781/
https://www.statelinetack.com/item/tough-1-aluminum-endurance-trail-stirrups/E028761/


There are so many variations, choices and prices for any of these I quickly gave links to...
Other places I would do some searching if wanting "new" is www.doversaddlery.com , www.chicksaddlery.com , www.jeffersequine.com and then of course are the hundreds of places you can find with a computer search.
The places I listed are all trusted tack shops with good reputations and customer service to assist you.
Look local in trade-papers, local tack shop, feed stores and put up flyers of what you are seeking and see what you find if you will buy used .
Facebook has thousands of tack groups all over the world...
There are local/regional groups everywhere.
I just would not do what you comment about with a treasured heirloom on a animal that is not mine and I will not have total control over who is using it, just would not happen to my treasured saddle.
:runninghorse2:...
jmo..
 

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What @horselovinguy said! Nobody will take care of your stuff like you do. I have a saddle with a lot of silver on it. Let a neighbor girl use it for a horse show. Came back missing conchos and how they accomplished that I don't know. I trail ride in that saddle, used it hard and never lost a bit of silver off of it. They did buy some new to replace the lost ones but of course they didn't match.

Step-daughter, son-in-law and grandson decided they were going to ride one day when they were here. Used my old saddle that has leather rosettes on it and they managed to pull some of those off and they were just riding in the corral. Plus I was none too happy that they just tossed everything back in the tack room instead of taking the time to put everything back in it's place.

Point is people just don't care when they are not the one that paid for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I read all of your replies and I will answer more extensively later. But yes, the idea was that I would pay for everything... My friend lets me ride and handle her (very) expensive horses and I am a horse n00b. She will also let me ride the top horses for free so it seemed logical that I would pay for the saddle. On the other hand I don't have the money (now) so I will have to save up for it and I am still hesitating about what to do. In a year or two I might be able to lease a horse from her... Maybe I should wait and make the saddle fit that horse... Or maybe I should indeed wait until I have my own horse but essentially that will for sure not happen in the next 5 or more (maybe 10) years.

Btw I also use my friend her tack... hmmm I will overthink everything for a month or more before I decide what to do. I am not going to impulsively buy all of those things.
 

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Since you didn't specify your discipline, I'm going to assume dressage. To me, Kieffer=dressage LOL! If it were me personally, I'd head over to the Kieffer website and purchase the leathers, girth and stirrups from there. That way you get both quality and a complete package. In the States, LeMieux is a popular fancy saddle pad brand. I'm also absolutely drooling over the Equestrian Stockholm pad/fly veil/boot combinations--too awesome! These are two stores in EU that you could check out. I think Ooteman is free shipping too. So, if you are not dressage-y sorry.



www.ooteman.nl
www.equestrianstockholm.com
 

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For stirrups, I prefer the regular Fillis irons, myself. Jointed can be good for those with joint issues, but I found that for some reason it was harder for me to ride correctly in them. It may have been that mine had too much give. They seem to be the kind of stirrups people either love or they hate. I did find that they were comfortable for trail riding, however.

One thing I will suggest is to forego peacock irons (the kind with the rubber band). They're really only meant for kids and can break under the weight of an adult, plus the hook that holds the rubber band can be dangerous in the event of a fall if the rider gets caught on it somehow.

For girths, I prefer a good quality leather girth. They are much easier to clean than anything with fleece/sheepskin, last forever, and I've never had issues with galling. I also like triple elastic that isn't too stretchy for the ends.

I've never tried the stability stirrup leathers, but I've liked my Dover Saddlery brand leathers, as well as my Ovation lined leathers. Lined leathers tend to not stretch as much as non-lined, but some have the safety concern of them not breaking in an emergency. I always like to leave the stirrup bar lock down so that they can be pulled off in such an event.


If by saddle deck, you mean saddle pad, I just use all purpose square pads. My favorites are PRI, Roma, Waldhausen, and Wilker's brand. I've been caught in the rain in them and they've held up great. PRI also makes a great trail pad with pockets in it. I have 4 that I absolutely love!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Since you didn't specify your discipline, I'm going to assume dressage. To me, Kieffer=dressage LOL! If it were me personally, I'd head over to the Kieffer website and purchase the leathers, girth and stirrups from there. That way you get both quality and a complete package. In the States, LeMieux is a popular fancy saddle pad brand. I'm also absolutely drooling over the Equestrian Stockholm pad/fly veil/boot combinations--too awesome! These are two stores in EU that you could check out. I think Ooteman is free shipping too. So, if you are not dressage-y sorry.



www.ooteman.nl
www.equestrianstockholm.com



ironically I ride western and I don't like riding in an english saddle but I really don't have 2000 or more dollars to spend on a saddle so I will indeed have to look into fixing the one I got for free or go second hand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@horselovinguy As usual your advice is really good. I will look into the wintec saddles.



I asked a saddle maker if they would take a look and they said they would do so for free but off course they expect me to let them handle and restitch my saddle after that so I was kinda ashamed to just ask without any concrete plans of what to do with the saddle... For now I only did what I could do myself (clean, oil, remove insects, kill insects that, check straps, attach some new straps here and there...) Now I think the next step is to indeed let them look at my saddle and give me a price. If they name a number that will buy me a second hand saddle... I might as well buy second hand. I don't know much about saddles but my grandpa was kinda tall and I am too (1m82), so it would be nice if I could ride in a good fit... :) I just thought that because it was really expensive it would automatically be a good saddle to sit in...
 

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I've never tried the stability stirrup leathers, but I've liked my Dover Saddlery brand leathers, as well as my Ovation lined leathers. Lined leathers tend to not stretch as much as non-lined, but some have the safety concern of them not breaking in an emergency. I always like to leave the stirrup bar lock down so that they can be pulled off in such an event.
I have a set of the Millbrook Stirrup Leathers that are the original version of the Total Saddle Fit stability stirrup leathers. I would encourage you to consider buying from the original maker of these stirrup leathers, as they were a brilliant idea, and are made very well. I have them on my Collegiate Senior Event Saddle, and have been using them for over a year. I like them, and they definitely do help with leg stability. They will not fix your leg if it is not in the right place to begin with though.

You should be able to find discount codes relatively easily from YouTube and Instagram "influencers" as, I believe, in the beginning of the company they sponsored a lot of riders and sent sets out to be tried. The Millbrook Stirrup Leathers are $169 compared to the Total Saddle Fit Leathers at $140, but I'd rather support the original producer than the follow-up of a large company.
 
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Saddle needs to fit horse and rider. Changes made will change the way it feels though not necessarily the way it fits you. Then you have to judge whether it fits the horse. You want to fit the widest horse you ride and then pad for the rest if their shape is similar enough that there are no other issues.



Cost to put new billets (completely including the attachment) for an eventing saddle was over $300. That repair was local - no shipping costs. To adjust a new to us saddle to fit our horses will be over $300 but that includes shipping to the manufacturer. For what you need done it will depend on what they find as they take the saddle apart to make repairs. The billets on the saddle we had repaired were 30 years old. They are weight bearing and at 70 years I would suggest not chancing that and ask for replacement.



Stirrups - all depends on you and what type of riding you will be doing and your comfort level (safety and actual comfort). I prefer a jointed stirrup but one that has some angle to the foot bed works just as well. This is for my comfort. My son loves his Korsteel Flex 11 (I am pretty sure). He also has the Ophena magnetic but they are not legal for showing and since he made the purchase as a novelty item he rides in them here for now though I suspect he'll take them to the barn eventually. Many of the safety stirrups have edges or foot beds that have "bite" to keep your boot placed but I have seen some ugly injuries from catching those on various body parts plus they can tear up a saddle. You want to fit the stirrup to your boot as well so they are not so large as to allow your foot to slip through them. If it is getting caught in a fall that concerns you then there are plenty of reasonably priced choices in the safety stirrup market that would be suitable. Though there is one with a magnetic close and swivel that has piqued my interest. I'd have to ask about the brand. The Korsteels I paid probably $70 for. The Ophena I really don't want to know but I suspect close to $400. Weight of the stirrup counts. I like a heavier stirrup. They don't bang around and they hang well.



Stability leathers. I don't necessarily find them more stable but I have ridden for getting close to 40 years now. I do find them more comfortable, And that for me now is a priority. My son stole mine so I am on a second set. He is all about comfort as well but does say in jumping they make enough difference he won't go back to regular leathers. My first set the stirrups could not be run up the leathers. Second set they can thinking I would trade with him. Now both are on his saddles. The second set has a thin portion that is behind the wider so it is a full loop. It is a draw whether the convenience of running the stirrups up is offset by the slight notice of the thinner portion that runs behind. I don't mind socking my stirrups and flipping them over the saddle. He does.



Girth will depend on the horse as well. Some horses gall easier than others and some gall only with certain types of material. You also have to consider size and fit. They are not one size fits all though there is a range of adjustment because of the billet length which needs to be considered as well when sizing. There are anatomic girths for those that need more room behind the elbow but again your billet placement and rigging can influence that. While several of the girths we have will fit different horses they pretty much each have their own girth that is optimized to their comfort and fit. I have an older leather girth from Germany that was a custom job for a warmblood that belonged to a friend around 50 years ago. It is still in use. It was never allowed to sit though. It stayed in use and has been cared for consistently. It is one we use on our drafts and a Zweibrucker. I have had to use a sleeve for a couple of horses but most have had no problems with it.


Pads are also going to be something you need to look at the type of riding and how the saddle fits. Do you bounce? Are you heavy in the saddle? Is it to help fit the saddle? Is it something just to keep the saddle clean? You want to look for a comfortable fabric that is sewn well together. Cotton with a quilted diamond pattern works well for a pad that just keeps the sweat and dirt off the saddle. Washable and lasts if well constructed. Thinline pads are great to stabilize the saddle and absorb concussion. My son uses one for stadium jumping and eventing. Before that he used a sheepskin half pad with a baby pad beneath. I have the same brand seat saver for my saddle and ride with a thin pad under the saddle. He has a sheepskin seat saver for trails and rides with a thin pad under the saddle. If the horse needed extra the Thinline can be shimmed or we can add a thicker square pad. I do have a few that have wither relief. They are made to fit the curve of the back and rise over the wither. Some have cut outs some just extra space. Nice but not necessary if you place the pad appropriately and your saddle fits correctly. Cost can be very reasonable to quite high.



Thinline isn't cheap. I think starting price for a combined pad is $100. Thin line alone starts around $90 plus a square pad and you are over $100. Get into a specific pad for a specific purpose and it goes up from there. Stability leathers aren't cheap. Close to the $150 mark. A really nice well made and built to last girth and again $100 easy though there are some that are good for less. Stirrups anywhere from $25 for peacock to $400 for the latest and greatest.



You need to know the biggest horse (saddle fit wise for width) and whether the smallest has the same shape and a barrel that can take up girth or you may need more than one. You need to know if any have skin sensitivity (galls) and choose material based on that. Pads will depend on what horse you are riding and having several shouldn't break the bank but give you fitting options and ease of care (cleaning wise). Leathers and stirrups - just know that some of the stirrups need/have leathers that go with them or they don't work properly, hang wrong or can be a safety issue in and of itself. Look at the tread on any stirrup as that can mean injury to you and destruction to your saddle if you don't take care with them. Size does count as well as length so be sure they are fitted to you and there is a range of adjustment that covers your needs. My son's have to be able to be lengthened enough for the dressage ring and shortened enough for jumping. That is the drawback to the stability leather that has one piece flat against the horse.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@QtrBel Oh man, I feel like I am way in over my head for a beginner. I just don't know where to start... I will need to thoroughly look into all the comments and advice everyone gave. I will also wait until my friend has her new horses. She decided to breed them as they are from a top line so they would be pregnant too...very soon... I suppose a saddle fit also changes when the horse is pregnant...



The discipline... erm... I ride reining western and the horses are western reining trained. I would just use the saddle to ride them in ''dressage'' muscle exercises. I would not be using it to do crazy stuff. I don't bounce in the saddle when I ride western and canter but I don't really know how this dressage saddle will work for me. I will need to have someone experienced take a look at it and if it is okay to use I will need to ask someone's opinion on how well it fits for me as a rider. About the stirrups: I ride western and in the western saddle the leather strap holding the stirrup is so thick it cannot bounce up and down that much. I noticed riding in a dressage saddle makes me prone to losing the stirrups. This is probably a training issue (I need to train my muscles to work differently) They slip off my feet. (I will take lessons to fix that though) I also sometimes fall off because I am a beginner and I would rather not be dragged around. :D So yes, that's why I would like safety stirrups.



Sounds like it is gonna cost alot of money anyways... hmmm



Your answers are great and made me alot wiser! I am still considering what I will do and for now I am going to wait until the horses arrive and I can see them in the flesh. I will also wait for my friend to decide if she will breed immediately.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
wait, I realized my answer isn't very clear. I will ride the horses because they will need to be ridden on a regular basis and my friend needs help with that so I offered and she told me I can do the basic stuff with the horses just to give them some exercise. It's not like I was going to do difficult exercises or jumping or any advanced things... Essentially I would just be tagging along, grateful for every opportunity I get to learn more about horses and ride them. (I will also take the chanche to watch her train these horses.) So the saddle will be used for that and maybe trailrides (the horses need to be trained for trailrides so we will take them with us in a little group)
 

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I haven't noticed much difference in girth size when riding my pregnant mares.

There is always something to think about with horses and equipment.

If you have questions about something specific or want to know my reasoning behind using something just ask. Happy to answer.

Just to make clear about saddle fit and feel. Once the billets were changed on the old saddle there was enough change to the saddle it felt different. The seat still fit. He possibly would have gotten used to it, but he needed something different. We bought a new (used) saddle as his legs had gotten too long and the flap need to be more forward and longer to accomodate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Okay I thoroughly read everything and made a list in word with your tips. I am looking into it! :)



@QtrBel The prices you list are reasonable. I don't expect a 10 dollar stirrup to be top of the bill. 100 dollars is okay with me, 400 is too much for a recreational rider. I think I'd better buy good stuff immediately instead of being cheap and regretting it later. I did that with my jackets and over the years I ended up with 4 waterproof jackets that are all not very comfortable and too cold. I should've saved and bought 1 expensive jacket immediately. Lesson learned.



The Wintec saddle would also be a good option. Next monday I am going to the saddle maker and letting them take a look at my saddle so they can give me an indication of the prize. :) I will need to add up the rest of the tack and I will know an estimation of the total costs. I'll keep you guys posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@QtrBel I think I found the magnetic safety stirrups you were talking about...




You need a magnetic insole for your riding boots to be able to ride with them. I am sorry but this doesn't look very safe to me. :|:|:|
 

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Jolien before you even get to taking the saddle to the saddle-shop...


Have you sat in this saddle at all?
Put it on a saddle stand and get on...
Is it comfortable for you...really comfortable?
Because it fit your grandfather doesn't mean it will fit you even if you are both tall...
I would hate to see you do all this to sit on/in and find this is not comfortable for your anatomy and be miserable and poor spending oodles of money on something you can't, won't use..


If you've sat on/in and love the "feel" then proceed...
If you do not like or have reservations on how comfortable the fit...think long and carefully about what you are considering..

:runninghorse2:...jmo..
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Jolien before you even get to taking the saddle to the saddle-shop...


Have you sat in this saddle at all?
Put it on a saddle stand and get on...
Is it comfortable for you...really comfortable?
Because it fit your grandfather doesn't mean it will fit you even if you are both tall...
I would hate to see you do all this to sit on/in and find this is not comfortable for your anatomy and be miserable and poor spending oodles of money on something you can't, won't use..


If you've sat on/in and love the "feel" then proceed...
If you do not like or have reservations on how comfortable the fit...think long and carefully about what you are considering..

:runninghorse2:...jmo..
Yeah you are right I really don't know what I am doing. I am considering carefully and I do hear the tips about buying a new or second hand one instead of fixing the old one... I am still not buying anything untill I get more information. :)



I tried but I only have a cheap saddle stand made out of small iron bars so I can't really sit on it... How would I know if it feels good to me??? (any tips?) I must admit that when I am on a horse I immediately feel if the saddle works for me... I feel if it is too tiny or when I am out of balance. I can also see if a saddle fits the horse because I notice that the point of gravity is off (where the deepest point in the saddle is, if it is not in the middel of the seat it looks wrong to me) But on the ground and not moving? My grandpa is close to 2 metres. I am too. He is a man so I estimate he weighs around 90 kgs. I weigh 67 or less.
 

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It is more about bone structure...he is a man and you are a woman and that means differences.
I'm thinking he also probably ride horses larger and finer bone frames years ago than that of the typical stock horse build used in reining horse competitions.

As for not being able to easily sit in it with what you have for a stand...
Take it to the barn...
Place it on the horse you ride most often...
Now have someone hold the horse and get on... a short easy ride the saddle should hold up to, daily rides in the present condition I would not chance..
A few minutes of ride and sit is going to tell you a lot about the saddle your wanting to invest near I would guess is going to be $1,000 USD by the time the saddle is disassembled, new pieces put in, a new seat constructed of padding and then making a seat from cowhide, now figure the under panels need to be removed and new stuffing put in...
I'm not referring to having it "fit" either, just stuffing the under-panels for a balanced seat made.
You are probably looking at having to need the knee rolls/blocks re-stuffed to as they flatten over time, with use and age and lose their support of you...
That price you get is also a estimate since unknown damages are hidden till exposed when a disassembled product is before you.
What I don't get honestly is...if these are western trained reining horses, top-notch competition horses why is your friend even thinking about them heading off without a western saddle on?
Why is your friend not investing in a saddle that she can compete on them with?
I get she is going to breed...but the horse also needs to have a show record under her riding that confirms the horses genes carry the winning abilities its parent had...and she has or if she looked to sell it...
If the mare nor produce show results I wouldn't breed to her because the stallion of her had...she could be a athletic dud and done nothing, then what.
Bottom line is...the horse need tack that fits them to be ridden in by their owner....reining saddle so she can go in the arena and do the pattern if that is what she makes a living doing...she needs to showcase and present her...she needs proper fitting tack to do that...
Its not a put-down to you, but all this remaking, fitting and tweaking is for one horse...what happens when you ride a different horse and the saddle not fit perfectly?
You have much to think about with spending oodles of $$ for animals that are not yours and you only just basically passenger around is how you wrote and I interpreted...that is not a put-down!!
It is a honest outsider looking in on what this "friend" is expecting you to do financially to still ride horses of hers..
The other part of this is...has she suddenly got more individuals riding at the same time as you that she ha run out of saddles to ride in? Otherwise, if you and friend are the only riders at the same time you still can only ride a horse each at the same time = 2 saddles..
As a "trainer" I would expect she has several saddles with different trees and gullet widths to fit a variety of horses who come to her to train...for what you do, a thick/thinner pad under a saddle would not create havoc for a occasional ride of w/j/l exercise...
I'm just not seeing the pressure she is applying to you about the saddle...
:runninghorse2:...
 
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