When I got the Mustang, his trainer asked me what I planned to do with him. “Ride him” seemed like a cop-out, so I mumbled some words about dressage and trail and maybe packing elk out of the woods. Honestly, in this part of the country most people cowboy on their horses, but I have no cows, and my rope skills are still as poor as they were before I got him.
But I do ride him. I scoured eBay and Craigslist and online tack shops, wondering what saddle would be versatile enough for everything from lessons to mountain trail, but also appropriate for a girl who grew up in Connecticut doing English pleasure and the hunter/jumpers. I first went with a Wintec Australian stock saddle, which fit the Old Horse well but slid side to side on the Mustang no matter how tight the girth. Plus it didn’t have any knee rolls to speak of and left me feeling insecure and exposed. Then, a used western trail saddle, which felt a little more secure, but still foreign to my mostly English saddle-acquainted buns. I still dealt with slippage, and convinced myself it wasn’t just me and my rusty skills. I emailed his trainer and she said she had no fitting issues with him. She used a roping saddle and a Total Saddle Fit cinch.
I got all heart-eyed for Total Saddle Fit after that. But I didn’t even know if I wanted to continue riding in that saddle, so I wasn’t going to invest in a $150 western cinch.
Finally, last week I received a well-used Slatter dressage saddle in the mail. It came with a girth, a red fleece pad, and beautiful leathers with fun matching red composite stirrups. My buns haven’t been this happy since I last got out of my old Collegiate eventer (I still miss you, friend) probably nearly 20 years ago.
This is all by way of saying I think I have the right saddle now. The locals may scoff at me (cowgirl my a**), but I feel comfortable and secure and like the saddle is a help instead of a hindrance. I hope to put many miles on it, from the ring to the trail.
But! I still need that perfect girth. Which is why I’m here, linking to DIY Horse Ownership’s Total Saddle Fit giveaway post. I love Olivia’s blog (mules and mustangs! there is no better combination! doing everything from eventing to endurance!) and appreciate the chance to win what I hope to be the optimum saddle-keeper-on-device for Mr. Mustang.