August 24, 2021

CWD Diagnosis

So the lesson where everything went sideways was last Wednesday, and I booked a lesson with CGP for last Sunday. Last Saturday, Mary came out and looked at my jump saddle. And she brought company!

Annie making friends with new boarder Leah's saint of a mare

She confirmed my gut feeling that something is very wrong. We think the tree is compromised, specifically on the right under where the rider sits. Maybe not totally cracked through, but it ain't right.


While it will seem to all of you like this came out of nowhere, I'm not surprised, for a few reasons.

  1. I used to be VERY crooked to the right in this saddle, for a long time.
  2. Other people that have ridden in that saddle have commented that they feel tipped to the right in it, but I always thought it was more Connor and me than the saddle.
  3. Amazing saddle fitter Kate pointed out an invisible spot of atrophy on the right side of his long back muscle right underneath what we now know is the trouble spot in November of 2019 that, at the time, I chalked up to my saddle fitting adventures.
  4. Even just from a still photo, blogland's favorite saddle fitter and Connor's former owner Tara saw it tipping and had me shim it there last winter.
  5. That spot of atrophy is now very visible, beginning about 3 weeks ago.

Our working theory is that me sitting crooked for so long weakened and maybe twisted it, and then CGP riding in it for two weeks in June/July was the final straw, and that's what's made Connor finally rebel against it. 

To be clear, CGP didn't do anything wrong, and I'm not blaming this on her at all, but given that she's taller and therefore heavier than me and would have been sitting in a spot that put her against the saddle's natural balance point, it might have been the push it needed to finally fail. Plus I've been using it in a way it wasn't meant to be used myself for quite a while.

Once Mary started really cranking on it, you could see there was way too much play, especially laterally, for a wooden tree. It was moving like a 2GS carbon fiber tree, and that's not a good thing.

So that explains why Connor has been going like crap since Pony Cup. And left me without a saddle with a show coming up this week, since my only functional saddles at the moment are my western saddle and Annie's new baby saddle I bought her, both of which I fit in but neither of which are legal to show in!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaadorable, but I have to buy a girth for it! Every girth in our barn is either too short or too long, go figure. Anyone selling a 34ish girth on the cheap?

After talking it through with Mary, we aren't going to try to repair the CWD. It likely would require a full tree replacement and a repanel, which would be probably ~$2300, and even as much as I love that saddle and could make the money work, it's just not worth it on something 7 years old that I won't be using much after I get my Dressage saddle. If I knew it would fit Disco, I might try it, but we won't know that for years.

So.

I think Mary and I are going to get drunk (well, I'm going to get drunk at least) and tear it apart on video sometime. It's going to be terrifying, cathartic and hopefully will make for some good blog content. A fitting send-off for my most beloved piece of tack.

Best jump-dressage saddle ever <3 PC: Leah

(But that said if anyone comes across a CWD deep seat model (SE02 or the carbon fiber equivalent model) in a 16.5" with a 1C flap and a 705 305 RT pro panel configuration for under $3k, I definitely won't be able to help myself so...keep your eyes out, lol)

13 comments:

  1. Ughhhhhhh that sucks so bad 😭😭😭 but at least your dressage saddle was already ordered!

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  2. It is so satisfying when you can identify the cause of a behaviour. Even if it means an outlay of money. I'm so glad that you had the saddle checked out before things got worse. And I'm looking forward to the video dissection.....

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    1. I'm one part dreading and one part looking forward to the dissection...lol.

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  3. For the price of saddles these days, they need to live longer than 7 years ��

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    1. I understand where you're coming from, but I can't say I agree. My extremely asymmetric body could not be have been accounted for by CWD when they designed this saddle, and no saddle is "for life" just because of the nature of how often people and horses change, in addition to them being made of parts that just wear over time, like a vehicle. It's hard to stomach when they cost as much as they do, but it's true.

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  4. When I thought my Antares tree was cracked they quoted me $1500 for tree replacement and that included 'all the leather that touches the tree' and I was absolutely surprised about how cheap that was compared to buying something new. It's different for me I suppose because I am always just going to ride in a jump saddle but it might be worth calling CWD to get an exact number.

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    1. OMG I could hug you, I reached out to my rep and it's definitely doable to replace it!

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  5. Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm glad it was "just the saddle" and not a big training problem popping up for you. But it still totally sucks because I know how much you love that saddle.

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    1. Honestly, same. It was like oh thank god, there's a reason for this that isn't me and doesn't require a vet! Well...I did cause this, but you know what I mean.

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  6. SO WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO USE FOR THE SHOW???

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    1. I have a post queued on this later in the week, but I won't leave you hanging! I'm borrowing a teammate's saddle from CGP's barn that's working surprisingly well.

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  7. Bummer, such a pretty saddle!!

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