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Custom Saddle Journey, II

Published: 7/21/2011
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 By Julie Kenney
I have a pair of lace-up riding boots that I fell in love with upon first trying them out. After a few days of wearing them, my left foot was beginning to feel pinched. So I changed to thinner socks. Then I loosened up the laces as much as possible.
After several months, my foot was so sore that I had to stop wearing them. It was apparent that no matter what I did to change up the fit, these boots that I spent my hard-earned money on were just not going to work.
 There must be some of you out there with a similar situation.
Now let’s equate that same scenario to your saddle. Sooner or later your horse will tell you that the saddle is uncomfortable. Soreness from your saddle may not show up for several months and then, often, you are looking at other reasons why your horse bucks, avoids the bit, is stiff, refuses to back up, or any number of other issues.
Never underestimate the need for a good saddle fit in relation to the willingness of your horse’s movement and disposition.
Saddle pads or blankets, for the most part, are not helpful in making a poorly fitting saddle any better. Think of it as your socks inside your boots. You can go with thinner socks or even thicker socks, but in the end those boots you love are just not going to fit properly.
I faced this dilemma just this past winter with my horse’s saddle fit. It was time to change my saddle. With the amount of time I was spending horseback, I decided that it was time to invest in a custom-made saddle.
 If you are looking to make an investment in your saddle, you need to honestly assess just how much time you are spending in it. Unless you have plenty of money to spend, figure out how much you can afford in relation to how much you ride.
Have someone knowledgeable in saddle fit help you out. Determine if you need a wider or narrower tree, or possibly the rock of the saddle, which follows the spine, is noticeably off from your horse’s shape.
 Horses will change their shape as they age, from season to season (think summer to winter), and also based on how conditioned and fit they are. But a well-fitting saddle can carry them through most all of their changes if they aren’t significantly different. Again, have someone knowledgeable help you make this decision. Even if it is just advice from someone who’s gone through this process before you.
Thanks to Tom Lamprey, I’ve had my new saddle about two weeks now. I have ridden in it as much as possible, including during a three-day clinic. It fits my two geldings wonderfully and I love how balanced I feel in it.
The time was right to make this investment in myself and my horses. Only you can make the same decision for yourself.

CLICK HERE for more info on Tom Lamprey, Granite Buckaroo
My journey to find the correct saddle for me and my horses is now over.
My journey in riding in it has just begun.
Happy trails!

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