When the awesome deal YOLO Treat Yo Self saddle failed miserably I was ready to buckle down for what would inevitably be a real bitch: finding a saddle that fit Aria and fit me.
Honestly that baroque saddle was lovely but not only did it leave the most horrific looking saddle marks it was also pretty uncomfortable in the leg department. I was already kicking my current saddle to the curb for that exact reason and no matter how good of a deal it was, for that price I wasn’t going to accept an ‘okay’ fit.
My butt demands a beautiful leather glove type fit dang it!
I was pretty bummed but I shipped the saddle back to the owner and then immediately searched for my next saddle. This time while I wanted a baroque or alta escuela I decided to be a bit more practical and look at only dressage saddles.
I found one that was in the same price range AND brand new. I’m not the biggest fan of brand new but I’ve also never shopped for a saddle over $300 before, so I figured a quality saddle brand new wouldn’t be difficult to break in.
I hemmed and hawed over it, reached out to the rep and asked several questions. Ultimately the answers came back pretty clear that this would not be the saddle for Aria. It would have the same issues of being much too big and wide as the first saddle.
It’s surprisingly hard to find Iberian tack that fits a tiny Iberian potato like Aria! Everything is built so big and so wide, though we have wide pretty covered because she takes a 7.5 gullet. Not bad for a 14.3h tater tot.
Keeping in mind that she will fill out again with more riding and with her much broader in the shoulders I stuck to flex tree saddles. The next saddle I found was one I had been eyeballing for a long time. It was a little more expensive but I inquired anyway.
They did have one in stock in 7.5. The rep asked me to take several measurements of my current saddle that fit Aria perfectly (go figure). All measurements seemed to check out perfectly. I thought about pulling the trigger. After all, if it didn’t fit I could return it and only be out the shipping cost.
But it was new, so that meant if it didn’t work out I was stuck with an exchange or store credit. I have terrible luck so I prayed this one would be a match because otherwise I might be stuck with store credit for a manufacturer my horse simply can’t wear.
I sat on the idea for a couple days. I rode in my current shitty saddle a few more times. I finally gave in and confirmed I wanted to try the saddle for a Treat Yo Self Redux.
Now begins the nightmare of acquiring this saddle. I had a 7 day trial policy on the saddle. I tried to coordinate the saddle arriving on a Thursday or Friday so that I could drive down to San Diego and have the whole weekend to test it.
That SO didn’t happen.
The saddle was scheduled to arrive on a Thursday. I was cool with that. Then there was a delay due to snow storms that postponed it to Friday. I was okay with that too because at least it was actually in California Thursday evening. Then 8pm on Friday rolled around and I checked the tracking number.
Strange, it returned to the shipping facility at 7:30pm. UPS delivers until 8pm. I called up customer support right away. I couldn’t get a person on the phone. I set out a tweet and an email to customer support inquiring about my shipment and went to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I saw that the saddle was on the truck again. By 11:30am on Saturday it was flagged as undeliverable due to a bad address.
Now, I knew this wasn’t true because I had a copy of the receipt. I literally blew up UPS’s twitter account. I also blew up their support page. I called them a few times but due to it being a weekend no one was there to answer calls. Someone on twitter got back to me and said they would let the facility know the address was good and would try to deliver it Sunday morning.
A second twitter rep replied that they don’t ship on Sundays or Mondays so the saddle wouldn’t arrive until Tuesday. Cue me blowing up their twitter DM (they had asked me to follow them by this point). The saddle rep also blew up their phone lines from her side of the country.
I was resigned to wasting my weekend on a saddle that never showed up and would have to drive back down again the following weekend to try it. The saddle did eventually show up on Monday morning. Woo! That first rep must have pulled some strings because it was originally due by end of day Tuesday.
I had to wait a whole week and actually cut out of work early just to drive all the way to San Diego the night before for an early morning ride on Saturday. That night I opened the box the saddle was in just so I could smell the leather all night while I slept. Lol
The next morning I was saddling Aria before she finished breakfast. I took her on a nice hack to build up a solid sweat but I didn’t want to work her too hard if it wasn’t a good fit. Surprisingly the markings came out pretty decent.
But you know, there was still that dry spot on the right side. I personally felt it was my crap seat but I still consulted all my blogger friends for their opinion.
I should also mention (for anyone paying attention to the spoilers in the first picture) that this was also Valeria’s first hack off property! But more about that in another post.
I let the saddle rep know that the saddle had a weird spot that all friends suggested I could just shim. But I was planning to give it one more ride the next day and really pay attention to my seat.
The next day rolled around and I hauled out for a long, serious business kind of ride. I added a little more padding just to give some extra cushion if that spot on the right because problematic again. I really shouldn’t have worried because 1.5 hours later I pulled off the saddle to the most beautiful and even sweat marks I had ever seen.
Before I even unbridled Aria I messaged the saddle rep and told her to consider the saddle sold. Aria didn’t appear sore or in a foul mood (she’s a mare, her mood is already surly due to being in season, so I guess…she wasn’t even more surly?) the next day. Which was great because the saddle fit me great and was very comfortable, making me feel really good about my posture and leg position.
I really thought I would be trying saddles for a while. I guess the shipping nightmare absorbed all that bad juju and the saddle gods took pity on me. #blessed, am I right?! Lol!
I’m now the proud owner of this beautiful saddle that truly feels like a Treat Yo Self purchase.
In case you don’t know me well enough, take that #blessed with a humorous and sarcastic grain of salt. 😉