I know I posted about my show clothes just recently, but we all know how that can change. And mine has. Not for my jump or western saddle though – keeping those without a doubt. But I had originally mentioned that I wanted to get a Bates Isabell saddle used.

Not a bad looking saddle right? And I loved the fact it had an adjustable gullet – it was my main reason for looking at it. You know, in case Amber ends up loathing eventing or we can only do it a few years so I buy another horse….. That way it’ll fit both. The CAIR concept was interesting, and I really liked the aspects that the stirrup bar rolled back so you can more easily get your leathers on the saddle, and the thigh blocks were velcroed – so if you have hip issues like I do and dressage is difficult, you could move the blocks to better accommodate your leg.

Also, the second main reason – it came in brown.

It’s a wee bit lighter than I’d prefer in brown, but with a bit of oil or conditioning, I’m sure it’d darken nicely. The Isabell is the more expensive model (go figure) but as I was browsing the used ones I liked, they were still a bit higher than I was expecting. So I puttered around, found some absolutely GORGEOUS Devoucoux saddles like this one

and this one (my personal fav)

and it got me thinking. Even used these Devoucoux saddles were not doable, but I was surprised that there were more than a few brown ones. So just as a curiosity I looked up some Prestige saddles. Because I love my jump saddle, it fits Amber so well and I actually know her size – no need to get saddle fitters and tons of demo saddles, and we both love the latex panels. There were a few in brown, but the majority were black. The strange thing? Most were cheaper than the Bates! About half of them were in my price point, and at least 3/4 of those I really liked.

Then, I stumbled upon this beauty: it was used and had absolutely everything I was looking for. Except it was black.

Just the right width!

And it tickled a memory in the back of my mind – both Bates dressage and a Prestige dressage saddle had been at Rolex. And I sat in both. I remember sitting in the Bates, feeling not too impressed and my hips feeling strained. Then I saw the Prestige – maybe even this model – and I knew I shouldn’t sit in it, but I did. It was bliss. My ass had spoken. Plus, it didn’t seem to hurt my hips. And the super less stressful part – I already know all the specs I need to make a used Prestige saddle work for Amber. As much as I love love love that chocolate Devoucoux, thinking about figuring out just how wide I’d need it, and if their wide was similar to Prestige’s wide, or what seat size I am, and needing a trial for it since I’ve never even sat in a Devoucoux just made my head hurt. I’ve resigned myself that when it comes to saddles I’ll probably have to order new – for the brown factor as well as that Amber doesn’t have a difficult back in terms of odd fit – she’s just wide as hell.

Exhibit A – because is it just me or does her butt look like a hippopotamus’ here?!

Yeah, she wears a 36 cm tree in Prestige. If I am correct the widest they make saddles is 37. That is one wide horse. But that used saddle gave me hope since everything was perfect on it except that it was black. Maybe I could find a used one even though I have such a tall order.

So, I reached out to a good friend of mine who not only works at a tack shop that carries Prestige but has a Prestige jump and dressage saddle for her OTTB. She was super generous to offer to reach out to her contacts to see if they had anything in my specs. I’ll still be obsessively perusing sale sites, but I’m kind of excited. I’ll probably have to settle for black, but at this point, I’m finding myself not really minding. I mean, it means more tack and other matchy-matchy things, right? And honestly, that Prestige is a hell of a lot prettier than the Bates. Just sayin.

So, the Great Saddle Hunt has officially begun.

6 Comments on “The GSH

  1. If it makes you feel any better, if she’s SUPER wide then probably nothing Devoucoux makes will fit her anyway.


  2. good luck in your shopping! saddle shopping is the friggin worst, and i am so relieved all my tack fits the new guy well!


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