Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Came Early!!

To jump to the end of the story first: I HAVE A NEW SADDLE!!!


Now, the back story:

If you've followed the blog for a while now, you may have gathered that I do not own a fancy dressage saddle. In fact, other than a brief stint with an nightmarishly-fitting Devoucoux that came with Ringo but had been designed with his SIGNIFICANTLY shorter previous owner in mind, I've ridden my entire life with but one dressage saddle: a swiftly aging Roosli that was my Christmas present 11 years ago. I still remember vividly finding the Roosli under the tree all those years ago--it was shiny black, a total surprise, and one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen.

Over the years, the Roosli turned from pristine black to faded and sunkissed brownish-grey, and I grew from a fat 5'3" preteen to an average-sized 5'9.5" adult. Needless to say, by 2012 the Roosli wasn't quite the perfect fitting saddle for me, but I'm a somewhat tough fit (being tall and approximately 80% thigh but also having a penchant for riding smaller, short-backed horses that make big seats and flaps difficult) and buying custom (or even new) wasn't really in the cards. So we made do. I'd occasionally make a tour of local used saddle listings, but never found anything that seemed like it was going to be remotely right.

But then, this fall, I got some exciting news over the Interwebz: Stubben was having a massive one-day sale in late November, and would be selling new and very used lightly models of many of of their different saddles for up to 60% off. My heart leapt. I love Stubbens, and had been lusting over some different Stubben models for several years now. I despise saddles with too much blocking, especially in the knee, and so the minimalist design of many of the Stubben dressage saddles appealed to me right away. I made a list of models that I thought would be good for my body type based on Internet reviews, figured out what width Ringo and Ky were in Stubben measurements... and waited.

The morning of the sale, I eagerly waited on my computer for the second it opened. As soon as the list came up, I dove in, eagerly looking for the model and size I was hoping for... and struck out. None to be had. After briefly panicking, I went through the list again, and came across a model name I hadn't seen in my original research: the Parzival. A quick google search revealed that the Parzival was a Tristan-esque model sold only in Europe.

Hmm. Reviews were pretty spartan, but from the few pictures I could dig up, it seemed like something I would like: minimal knee/thigh blocks, moderately deep seat, and an ever-so-slightly forward flap to accommodate my supah long thighs (and the fact that I still ride pretty short in dressage terms, and so usually have a little more bend in my leg than other folks). It came in a size and width I wanted, and even though the only available color was "Mud Brown" (seriously, worst color descriptor ever??), I was getting a super good vibe. And at less than 1/2 retail price, even including shipping from Europe, I thought it could be worth the gamble. With my parents' blessing (thank you thank you thank you), the purchase was done.

And then today, it arrived!!!!

(not pictured: the huge can of darkening oil I just ordered to try to reduce the heinous coloring)

I don't love the color, but I had prepared myself for it and it's not as bad as it could be (my treasured pumpkin orange Stubben jump saddle I had as a kid pretty much desensitized me to ugly coloring for the rest of my life). And, after one ride, I think I'm in love!! The flap is actually long enough to fit my leg, and isn't so bulky that I feel constantly jammed into it. The seat feels great, and isn't even as hard and uncomfortable as I had prepared for it to be (being, you know... a Stubben, after all).

YAYAYAYAYAY

Thank you so much, Mom and Dad. This is an amazing gift and I feel very, very lucky. I can't wait to start breaking it in! Though I might need some advice to figure out how to coordinate a "mud brown" saddle with my black and white horse and all my black, white, and grey stuff...

7 comments:

Heidi said...

Congrats! A saddle that fits is huge. I know from experience how going from a bad fit to a perfect one makes a big difference! Can't wait to see pics of you riding in it.

Kate said...

I have to say, I think I like the colour. May look different ON a horse, but it looks damn flashy on the fence ;)
Then again, I tend to like things that are unique, but understated.

Me said...

I'm with Kate - I like the color and I think it will be even prettier once you break it in. However, mud brown was the best they could come up with? Oh well, congrats!!!

Katherine Erickson said...

Yeah you're right, it's not THAT bad. I'm just having a hard time envisioning it with my black bridle... and black girth... and (mostly) black horse... and black boots... and black jacket, haha. And I'm NOT about to do a complete wardrobe change, so clashing it is. Sigh. And I was so matchy matchy, too!!

My Horses Love Eventing said...

hey clashing is cool, when I ride in my moms wintec dressage saddle, we have brown stirrup leathers with black saddle. Now my saddle is a wintec all purpose with black leathers and a brown fuzzy girth with brown breast plate and brown bridle.

Me said...

Haha! I so feel your pain - I won't use my black ecogold half pad with my brown jumping saddle. Sad, I know...

BeBe said...

oh congrats on your new saddle!! I'm heading to the saddle search soon and I hope I can be as successful!

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