Your Custom Evolutionary Saddle – A Personal Experience


Purchasing a saddle that fits both your horse and you can be a long journey.  Filled with disappointing and joyous experiences sometimes together for some of the saddles.  It’ll fit your horse great but when you ride for more than an hour you are in such pain that you can hardly dismount. 

This is a common struggle I hear about when I start asking questions to learn what you are looking for in a saddle for both their horse and themselves.  

What was your favorite saddle to ride in?

For the purpose of this conversation it doesn’t matter if it fit your horse.  What matters is whether or not it fit you and what you loved and/or hated about it.  The System X panels are designed to provide fit and comfort for the horse, so I concentrate on helping the rider be as comfortable as their horse will be. 

What saddle you hated to ride in but it fit that horse?

We have a tendency to remember the irritating saddles better than the ones we just adored or had great experiences with.  One of the first questions I ask is about what a person disliked about the saddles they have ridden in.  So I have found that asking about what people loved about their saddles has never been nearly as productive.

What style saddle are you looking for? 

Something with a horn? No horn? An English style saddle? Flapless? Extra Blocking for security? 

Some of this is cosmetic and some is functional, while some is just personal preference.  For the different disciplines there are also requirements for the equipment used.  Dressage is a perfect example of specific requirements for the saddles used in competition. 

What seat size is suitable for you?

Like shoes some saddles will feel better even if they are the same size.  So when thinking about the size of seat there are thee things to consider, shape, weight and physical limitations of the rider.   Other factors include the build of the rider, their experience level when riding and the discipline that they have chosen.  These factors and others help determine for each individual rider what seat is best for them.  

How would you like the cantle finished?

In western saddles there are a variety of ways you can finish a cantle.  Although the most common are either a Cheyenne roll or a pencil roll.  There are some variations that are based off of those two styles, but most fall one way or the other.  There are ones that have no finished cantle where the seat leather just sweeps over the cantle and nestles under the seat jockey in the rear.  English and endurance saddles are often this style. 

Weight of saddle, is it a factor for you?

None of us are getting any younger, so the weight of the saddle we lift up to our horse’s backs can be a growing factor.  I know many that love their 50 lb saddles but can’t lift them anymore.  While I can’t make my saddle under 16.5lbs because of the solid wood tree and the System X panels.  I can reduce the amount of leather used as well as the weight of the other things on a saddle, such as choice of stirrups and leathers instead of fenders. 

The Experience

I strive to be an inclusive saddler, I like to be in contact with my clients as I work on their saddles.  Making sure with pictures and paper patterns that their ‘vision’ comes to life in the way they imagined.  I don’t know how all the other saddlers in the world cater to their clients.  Making sure mine are not only happy with the saddle I build for them, is what concerns me.  I also want to ensure that they are supported while they are learning to use the saddle and making all the necessary adjustments.  For those with multiple stirrup hanging spots, how they can be adjusted for each horse. 

When you choose to build your custom forever saddle with me, we will talk about more than just color of leather, style of saddle and choice of tree.  We will discuss any physical limitations you have, how you like to sit in your saddles. Where you like your legs to be when you ride and any future plans that you may have in your riding career.  

I can’t wait to start your custom saddle build!  Let’s talk about your new saddle!

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