I can't even begin to tell you how proud I was of my horse yesterday. I wasn't sure he'd behave well, he's been known to get stressed out and get a little mouthy, practically sucking on my shirt and being pushy, when people fuss over him at the vet. But after an hour and a half in the trailer, he unloaded and was pretty good. A little jumpy at first. But I had no qualms about riding him in the parking lot of Indiana Harness near a very busy highway and a live (and fast) railroad track. The saddle maker commented on how quiet Tonka was.
We tried a Tenessean endurance saddle. It was pretty comfortable for me. A little strange without a horn, but I actually kind of liked that. I thought the shoulder was just a bit tight. Then we plopped on a couple others - an ugly Crates with an orange seat and a fancy barrel saddle (not my style). When I asked if any of the nice custom wades would fit, he brought one out. It was gorgeous. It was comfortable. It had matching hobbles hanging from it. I loved it. It was a tad too expensive, and I thought the shoulder was tight. It was also heavy like the saddle I just sold, but I might be willing to deal with that for such a nice saddle. But I thanked him, thinking I might come back later, and left for the next place.
At the Tack Trunk I went into the saddle area and the first thing she mentioned was a Crates, and I was tired of looking at Crates. The Reinsman looked too tight in the shoulder. I sat on an Arab tree saddle, but I think it was a Crates too. Then I noticed they had the saddle I thought I wanted, the Cashel Trail saddle. It was comfy. I pulled my trailer around back and tried it on. It seemed to fit. I didn't ride in it. The shopkeeper didn't have any help and she had to watch for people coming in the front door. I was convinced I'd come back and get it for a trial, but I had to return the Crates I had in my truck that I had trialled. On my way to the next place I realized I really didn't like how the back cinch was set up on the Cashel. It was just a slot in the leather. I do use my back cinch, and I like it snug. I was even thinking of rigging it center-fire. So that leather slot was no good, it would wear out. I really liked that saddle, I wish it didn't have that one little problem...
So I went up to Will Rogers intending to return the Crates. But, in short, they talked me into keeping it. I still feel like I fell for a high-pressure sale, but they did show me that putting it just an inch back from where I'm accustomed to putting it gave him all the room he needed.
Tonka was a gentleman and a wonder to ride, after getting used to being in the indoor arena. I think he told me his opinion. :) And he didn't jerk his head up in the air when I shifted my weight forward onto his shoulder and dismounted. The people up there seemed to like him a lot, and commented on his sturdiness. I love when I get compliments on my horse.
When I got home and saddled him up one last time and rode, I found that the seat was very uncomfortable. I'm hoping there will just be an adjustment period. I'm not sure why it was uncomfortable at home but not at the saddle shop.
Later, John hinted that he might have been willing to pay the extra for the custom wade. That really got me thinking, in a kind of sad way, since I committed to this Crates and the trial period was over. So I made a comment in my last post that was kind of ungrateful-sounding. I do love the look and feel of a custom saddle, with a comfortable hard seat. But what it comes down to is that I don't think that saddle fit him. And I can't afford a custom saddle made just for us.
This morning my horse is coated in mud. Hopefully later it will be dry enough to get him cleaned up and go for a ride.