Friday, October 21, 2011

New Saddle!! (and a beloved memory of Ireland)

It finally happened, after months of hemming and hawing (and thinking about it since this time last year) I ordered a Specialized saddle! Earlier this week I put a deposit on a Eurolight model so I can do a trial and make sure its just what I want. I rode in them in Utah last November but haven't since and since its such a big price tag I figured I better be darn sure it was just the thing for me and my horse herd first! If it works out and I buy the Eurolight model I am totally getting all the little perks, an extra seat, some woolly fenders for riding in shorts...hey, if I'm going to do it I might as well DO IT right? I've never owned a new saddle before, in fact I've only owned and used two saddles regularly in my whole life. The first was a beautiful little handmade leather English saddle that was given to me by a friend of the family when I was a freshman in high school (prior to that I was either riding lesson horses as a kid in Maine or riding the neighbor's fat Arab bareback when I arrived in CA at 10). When I got the saddle my mom, granny, and I had just flown back from spending two amazing weeks in Ireland. My granny, who went to college in Ireland and had been traveling there regularly for years, set up this amazing trip from Dublin around to Connemara and then all the way back to Dublin. And what did we do along the way on this drive? RIDE RIDE RIDE. Well I did, my granny and my mom mostly went off sight seeing and tea drinking. Though my mom did join me for one memorable group ride when we were all mounted on Connemara ponies and there was a galloping incident:

<"Remember mom, if shit goes down, grab the mane not the saddle, the mane doesn't come off as easily!" Insert more experienced riders, including me, cantering off, leaving the beginners alone (as a former trail guide, my instincts when recalling and typing this say Like DUH, not a good plan there). We had a good canter and then pulled up and turned to watch the beginners come "slowly" over to join us. And by slowly I mean the little bay mare my mom was riding cranked her ears back to her head and ran as fast as her little Connemara legs would carry her over to rejoin the herd. I had a view clear as day and a heart full of delight and horror as that pony flew across the turf towards us with my mom hanging on to that mane for dear life as said life no doubt flashed before her eyes. She arrived in one piece and more importantly, still on board the pony!  Upon arrival she gave credit to my sage advice on grabbing mane but I'm sure pure unadulterated survival instinct didn't hurt either. A great memory>

Anyhoo. It was the trip of a lifetime. And I'm scheming on when it can happen again. Returning to my main storyline, lost somewhere back before Ireland, on our way home from the airport we stopped to see family friends and the lady of the household offered me her father's handmade English saddle. Apparently he had been an old time rancher and for some inexplicable reason rode English! Or had an English saddle, anyway. It was a really light, beautiful saddle and I took it home and used it on the gorgeous buckskin Appendix mare I somehow talked my parent's into buying for me a few months later (credit to the step-dad there, mom didn't want to spoil me! Huzzah for spoiling, re: horses anyway). Speaking of that buckskin, she was the most gorgeous creature. Phew. Miss her nutty self. I should write about her on here someday. I have trouble sticking to the point, don't I? After selling the Appendix mare senior year to head off to college in Oregon I next used the little English saddle on the awesome little QH/Welsh pony mare I bought off my best friend for $100. 2 or 3 more years of use after that and then I bought my big panel saddle used from a friend and used that on MANY horses up until my issues with it and Blaze's back this summer. So now I am embarking on the new saddle journey. I've always preferred used, broken-in things but its pretty thrilling to be expecting a shiny new saddle in the mail. I really hope it works out! There are a couple of different Specialized models I like so it'll happen one way or the other.

My mom is *hopefully* coming to visit this weekend and if she does there will be some wine and memories of Ireland aired.


  1. ooh, new saddle! I know some folks who really like their Specialized, just seems to take some tweaking to get the padding correct. I tried one and it didn't fit me (fit the horse great).

    Love your distracted side stories, it's like a random conversation. I'd love to go to Ireland, my family is from County Kerry. I hope to do one of those week-long rides (I'll hold on to mane! Your poor mother.)

  2. Oooh I hope you love it! Aarene loves hers, but EG, not so much. Do you have somebody local to fit it for you? Or maybe meet up with Christoph somewhere?

  3. Yeah I'm really curious to get my hands on it and work on fitting it to Blaze etc. I rode in one saddle on 12 different horses at Dian and Christoph's, just changing the padding when necessary and things went smoothly but we'll see. I don't have anybody to fit it for me but I'll do my best to figure it all out. What really attracted me to it initially was how much the fitting system made sense and was easy to use! No big screws and bolts poking directly downward like panel saddles, and add or subtract padding as necessary to fit the horse's shape. At the time it seemed like great sense so hopefully that still translates since there are no experts to rely on around here! That I know of anyway. Fingers crossed an expert won't be needed! Lol.

    Ireland is AMAZING. We went to the Dublin International Horse Show and saw the crazy 8 foot brick wall obstacle stadium jumping etc. All you saw were ears coming towards you then POP the horse came over the top of the huge jump. Then we made our way around Ireland and went to the Connemara Pony Show in Connemara itself--Connemara ponies are such gorgeous little animals and tough as nails, I had a BLAST jumping them over stone walls and galloping on the beach etc