Well, I’m back on the saddle hunt. That sentence fills me with a weird mixture of frustration, dread, and excitement—and I feel better about the whole thing if I just don’t look at my bank account. 😅
I’ve owned six saddles in my life—my very first crappy western hand me down, the synthetic saddle I bought with my birthday money when I was a kid, the Wintec (my first English saddle!), the County dressage saddle I got on eBay, the western show saddle, and finally my pride and joy: the Devoucoux.
The good news is that I’ve already got a buyer for the Devoucoux. TrainerM’s been toying with the idea of finding a new saddle for a while now, so it must be fate that mine fell right into her lap! Not going to lie, I was SO MAD that the Devoucoux fit her perfectly, but I’m happy to see it go to someone that I know will love it. She needs to sell her Crosby, then she’ll officially own my hunk of fine French leather.
In the mean time, I’ve been browsing through pages and pages of ads on Facebook’s high end English tack groups. CWD, Butet, Beval, Voltaire, Antares, Bruno Delgrange… so many options! 😍
The most important part of searching for a saddle (imo) is setting a budget. Unfortunately, I’m #terrible at setting budgets. One moment I’m telling myself that I shouldn’t spend more than ~$1800 and then the next day I’m letting the saddle specialist at Olson’s convince me that I could probably scrounge up $3500 for a custom Prestige saddle (BECAUSE PINK TRIM, OKAY?).
I knew close to nothing about saddles when I bought the Devoucoux. I could tell that it was miles above any saddle I’d owned before, but that was it—and that’s how I ended up with a 5″ dot to dot measurement (not a good fit for my narrow OTTB) and a size 3 flap (not a good fit for my short legs). As sticky and beautiful as the Devoucoux is, pulling my leg in front of my girth is a cardinal sin. 😭
Since then, I’ve read articles (Schleese’s article about optimal saddle design for short riders is 👌), browsed forums (CHRON OF THE HORSE 💕), and messaged with a few saddle fitters. All of those sources have helped me piece together that I need a 17/17.5″ seat, a narrow twist with a wide waist and wide seat, a super short flap (13.5″ MAX with NO FORWARD FLAPS), and a medium tree (4″ to 4.5″ dot to dot). Ideally I want to spend under $2000, which should be completely doable since I don’t mind saddles that are 10+ years old (the Devoucoux is a 2007 and I’m in love with how broken in it is).
The bad news is that finding a used saddle with my combo of requirements can be… challenging. The good news is that since I’m back at the SEC I can borrow from the lesson program while I’m on the search!
Hopefully I’ll find something that will fit within the next month or so. 😊