On Saturday, I loaded Madigan and four saddles in my trailer, drove forty minutes west, and met with a saddle fitter. While I like and respect my former employer’s fitter, I don’t want to ship saddles if I don’t have to. It’s expensive and inconvenient. The fitter I met is based in Texas but comes to Oklahoma often. She doesn’t sell saddles, is willing to work with whatever you’ve got, and has about twenty years of experience.
I have two dressage saddles (a King’s Sandringham and a Trilogy Amadeo Elite) and two jumping saddles (an Ainsley XC Pro National and a Sommer Platinum). I brought all four, even though I thought the Ainsley was a bad fit and suspected the King’s wasn’t much better.
The fitter started with my jumping saddles and confirmed my beloved Ainsley is the wrong shape. She liked the Sommer well enough and recommended using a half pad with shims to raise the back a little.
The fitter liked both dressage saddles but preferred the King’s. This surprised me- I thought it would be too narrow! It was fitted to Candy a couple of years ago, so maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised. She was a big-shouldered horse, too. The fitter made some adjustments to the flocking and advised me to use a half pad when I rode. She thought Madigan would eventually grow into the Trilogy.
For his part, Madigan was a superstar. Saturday was cool and windy, and he unloaded at a new place quietly despite horses zooming around in their pastures. He charmed everyone from the fitter to the farm owner. He mugged shamelessly for treats, was curious but not worried, and stood like a statue while saddles were moved around on his back.
I rode him on Sunday evening in the King’s. He went pretty well. I did not go very well and thought I would slide right off when he sprang from the trot to the canter. The combination of slippery saddle and knee patch tights was not ideal! Time to dig out the sticky spray and full seat breeches, I guess.
His trainer rode him in the dressage saddle this morning and thought he went well. He’s a real, live, almost-adult dressage horse now! I’m excited to start lessons on him and map out a show schedule. And definitely find the can of sticky spray.