Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Finding that Perfect Harmony (in your horse and your tack)

Have you ever noticed that all of us horse people seem to recycle our tack, clothes and even horses amongst each other? I was thinking today how small a world it really is and how many things I've acquired from people that no longer had need of the item.

Last week I hauled Jayden over to trail ride with my friend Beth at her barn in North Phoenix. That trip I rode in a friend's barrel saddle (I know zilch about those saddles) and happily gave my synthetic dura-leather western training saddle to Beth to ride and try. She recently sold her show saddle and was looking for something comfortable to ride that was also affordable - my training saddle is both (well, at least I think it is).

That training saddle marked my first western saddle purchase in 2007. I had $1,000 to spend and it had to provide for both a training and show saddle with some silver. Yikes! I think about that now and I don't know how I managed to get both saddles for that amount of money, but somehow I did.

Well, 3 years later that same synthetic dura-leather saddle is in fantastic condition and was with me every step of the way as I helped me learn to ride Western after 15 solid years or riding hunt seat in an english saddle. I remember that I liked that I could feel the motion or the horse underneath me (thanks to the close contact skirts) - much the way I could in an english saddle. If I'm lucky, Beth will decide to keep the saddle and I now have the task of finding a new partner to ride in.

So here's where I need your help (and opinions) but sick with me because this might be a tad long winded.

At the Pinto World show last year I was lucky enough to come across a Blue Ribbon show saddle owned by a nice guy who didn't need the money for it. That saddle was purhased for me as a gift for my birthday (thank you Mom & Dad!). I'm not at all embarassed to say my parents chipped in together and purchased this saddle. Each time I ride in it, I'll remember them and how they've always supported my horse activities either pitching in to help me afford things, or standing by the rail taking pictures and providing support.

I would like to find a saddle that rides similarly and makes the transition from training to showing very easy for me and not such a big jump. I have had friends recommend both the Royal King and Royal Silver saddles with positive comments on each. I've also heard some comments on the Royal Kings that they are wider in through the seat and can be difficult for people with short inseams (that's me) to ride in and that the Silver Royal is narrower.

Do any of you ride either of these saddles? If so, what can you tell me about them? What do you like/not like? What makes one any better than the other?

Both saddles are relatively affordable to buy and I'm looking to purchase in the next month. Your feedback is greatly appreciated!

I am test riding a Royal Silver tomorrow and hoping that I like it and that it fits Jayden well too. Harmony within your tack creates harmony with your horse and there's no substitute for great tack.

We're prepping for the Prescott show in September, and getting down to the minutia in our corrections. I'm finding that my aids have to be even lighter than ever - Jayden is usually a left brain introvert but under saddle when aids become too strong he can turn into an extrovert pretty quickly and can get rattled. I've seen such HUGE changes in him within the last 4 weeks that I'm hopeful we will be well prepared for whatever we encounter. I'm also excited as heck to put on that new Western Show outfit I purchased form Show Me Again and go down the rail in it. There's nothing like a great outfit to help you look and feel the part.

Until next time, keep it natural!