March 24, 2020

Quarantine Saddle Shopping

Last week, my local tack shop (which is run by a college classmate of mine) put up a picture of a consignment Dressage saddle on their Facebook page that looked like it might work for me and Connor.  What else am I going to do with my quarantine time?  May as well try a saddle!

This little fella is a 17" 2008 CWD SE05 with a short/forward flap, listed for 25% of what they go for new.  Before I went to pick it up, I sent a picture of the stamp to Connor's Aunt Mary to see if she thought it might work for us.  She thought it would, but she didn't recognize the third panel number at all, even after referencing her former CWD saddle fitter books.  Turns out that may be because...

Yeah I know worst picture in the world

It's wool flocked!  I was shocked, but also happy, since that opens up fitting options immensely if I do like it.  Mary thinks there's a chance it came from the factory this way, given the weird panel number and the fact that CWD has been known to do a one-off in wool from time to time.

No bridging

What do we think so far?  I find myself liking it more and more with each ride.  Any smaller in the seat or any bigger in the blocks and it would be too small, but as it is, I find it supportive without being in my way, especially in the canter.  It doesn't have a knee pad, and I love the way my leg nestles into Connor without effort in it.

I don't notice it beyond the fact that riding seems easier in it.  I'm forcing myself to think about that logically though: is riding really easier in it, or am I just excited to be doing Dressage in a Dressage saddle again, because that is DEFINITELY easier in general.

Would Mary raise my stirrups a hole here?  Probably, and that would be a dealbreaker for this saddle.

As for fit on Connor, it's definitely too narrow in front, but I've had two saddle fitters look at it and tell me it appears that the tree shape is right, it's just the flocking that needs adjusted.  Tara in particular told me this saddle was likely flocked for something more uphill than Connor. 

The net result is that it pops up in the back as soon as it's girthed, but there are no pressure points anywhere.

My big question is, if we do fix this with a flocking change, am I still going to like the balance?  I'm inclined to say yes, because the change we'd make would be similar to what we did with my Adam Ellis a couple of years ago in which we lowered the front of the saddle, which had the net effect of giving me the sensation of more space in the seat, which I think would be a good thing here.  I know it would be worse for him fit-wise, but I might do one ride in it with the back shimmed to see if I still like the balance when it's level.

 I was supposed to have it for a week, buuuuuuuuuuuut then the governor shut down our state four days into my trial.  I texted my college classmate to ask what she wanted me to do and she said "Just keep it, if the seller wants it back sooner we'll figure something out."  So, it's now with me for an extended trial.

At least it's something exciting!


  1. An extended trial ain't too shabby at all!

  2. That's exciting! I love CWD dressage saddles (although they are few and far between). Sounds like a very interesting new option for you.

  3. I'm like stupidly excited for you that you *may* have found the unicorn saddle!

  4. Oh that is exciting! Maybe after all this hunting and researching, the right one will have just found its way to you... Fingers crossed!