Friday, December 19, 2008

It Fits!

I laid a clean beach towel across Lostine's back when trying on my new Tucker High Plains Trail saddle for the first time. You can't get any horse hair on the saddle in case you need to return it, and I'm sure all of my saddle pads had plenty or horse hair on them. I left the bubble wrap on the stirrups. Lostine was very interested in that crinkling noise they made. She thought they were bags of treats.

This saddle comes in three colors: Black, brown, and golden. Interestingly enough, mine shines red like mahogany in the sun, but it is brown. I chose brass over chrome hardware. I really like the way it shines gold, and with that burgundy tint to the saddle, the overall look is very classy. This is the first saddle I've ever had that came with tooling. I love it.

The saddle looked level and I could get three fingers between Lostine's spine and inside of the pommel. I could slide a hand down between her side and the saddle, yet the leather is such good quality that it just molds to her body. One concern that I had in buying a non-Arabian saddle was that the bars on the tree would be too long, so I selected a saddle with a very short skirt. It clears her hips with no problem. I tried rocking the saddle front to back and side to side, but it was solid as a rock. I felt confident enough at that point to remove the bubble wrap from the stirrups and place it on a variety of saddle pads. It worked well even with my rounded barrel pads despite the square skirt. When I rode her, I chose to ride with a fairly thin woven blanket. Lostine seemed pleased with the saddle. No complaints.

My ideal seat size is a 17, but this Tucker saddle only came in half-sizes. I opted to go with the more snug, more secure 16.5 than to sit in a 17.5 boat. You can't tell by the picture, but the seat does fit me well. It was a cold day so I had to bundle up in my father's warm jacket. The cantle is higher than any saddle I've ridden in before, so I wasn't sure if it would interfere with my posting, but I didn't even know it was there. The fenders were pliable enough that I didn't have any problem getting my heels to line up with my hips (when I thought about positioning myself correctly.)

Good girl, Lostine!

Lostine takes a bow...

Actually, she was just scratching her face.

The saddle came with a Tucker River Plantation Trail Bridle that has really pretty brass conchos and tooling. I opted not to put it on her with this first ride in a new saddle, because I wanted to make sure that any changes in her behavior would be a reaction to the saddle only, and not a new bridle too.

The ultimate test with this saddle was to make sure that upon completion of a lot of trotting and loping, the saddle did not ride up over her withers and onto her neck. It didn't! It stayed put and passed the test. How did I know whether to get a normal, wide, very wide or draft tree? I used the template provided at horsesaddleshop.com. Very wide is typical for Arabs, but since my Arabian saddle slides up over her withers, I figured she'd be a step narrower. Sure enough, the wide template fit her the best.

At 25 pounds, the saddle is a breeze to lift. I appreciate that the fenders slide up and down easily while shortening and lengthening the stirrups, so that I can get the hobble strap reattached. I've worked with many saddles that have fixed fender lengths, so I can't reattach the hobble strap once I've shortened the stirrups all the way up to the widest part of the fender.

Also, I don't know if this saddle was shipped from horsesaddleshop.com or straight from Tucker, but it arrived absolutely flawless. Not a scratch. That's pretty amazing when you consider how brutal some of these shippers can be with boxes. It seems the more you mark a box with the word "fragile", the more they throw the box around. I once had a saddle arrive with its horn hanging to the side. Because I didn't want to scratch the leather on this new saddle I was careful to wear gloves. My fingernails are the worst culprits when it comes to carving out scratches in leather.

Next fitting victims: Bombay and Gabbrielle.

11 comments:

ranchette said...

woot! woot! Merry christmas to you. New saddle looks pretty swank. Glad to hear it fits Lostine well.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Nice looking saddle. Glad to hear it fits so well. Merry Christmas to you and the horses. Fingers crossed that you get a good fit with the others too.

allira said...

wow that saddle is fancy! It looks really good on her as well. An congrats on your 20th wedding anniversary :)

Mrs Mom said...

That looks like a DREAM to ride. Merry Christmas to YOU!!!! This is pretty exciting for you!!!!

Cant wait to read all of your new adventures with it! ;)

dp said...

Woot indeed! How lovely to be so spoiled (but I really hope that you don't lose your job).

Reddunappy said...

Beautiful saddle, I have sat in a few at a show, like a comfy chair.

Nice camera to I am hoping Santa brings me one too.

Train Wreck said...

Looks great! and comfy. Cold, but comfy.

Pony Tales Blog said...

What a beautiful saddle. My saddle (an English saddle) is a reddish brown color too, and I just love it!

You've visited and commented on my blog before, so I wanted to let you know that I am giving away a few horse books for the holidays. You can get the full story here:

http://www.ponytalesblog.com/2008/12/happy-holidays-from-pony-tales-blog.html

Would you be willing to publish a post about it? It won't be much of a drawing if no one reads about it. :o)

Lulu said...

I sure think you got the seat size correct...it appears to fit you both very well!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Your saddle is gorgeous. The color reminds me of a a rich mahoghany wood. Exquisite!
And it's great that's it's so light weight, too. Heavy saddles are such a chore.
My saddle is just 24 lbs. That was very important to me, as I can't lift heavy things over my head because of a previous ruptured disc/surgery.

You're so funny, too, with how protective you are about keeping it perfect and pristine. I was the same way (still am to an extent) when my saddle arrived new.

I'm really happy for you, NM.
I hope your job (and hubby's job, too) are safe and that you get to do lots of trail riding in that gorgeous saddle next summer :)

~Lisa
New Mexico

Andrea said...

Hooray!! I am so excited for you!! It's so great that you finally found a saddle that fits you and your horse. It looks like it has your leg in a great position!! And it looks like it fits her beautifully!! Awesome!!