Today was hectic. I drove up four hours from home, just to get to the saddle fitting on time. I wasn’t in the best of moods, as I hate driving long distances, and was hoping to have an awesome saddle fitting, i.e. find a saddle that finally fits Libby AND me.
For anyone thinking of looking into the Frank Baines, I’m assuming that you can go almost or fully custom on them, and in my opinion doing that is probably the best choice. The leather is nice, sticky and holds you in, yet is soft and durable. I was really happy to see that the leather was of nice quality. Now the Frank Baines Reflex CC, the one I tried, isn’t the prettiest of saddles, the cantle comes up very high in the back for some reason, but it is very comfortable in the seat. Like a couch! My problem was with the knee blocks, and the flaps. I know my horse is wide, so the tree the saddle is built on is obviously going to be wide, but this felt so wide to me, that I couldn’t even get my calves on Libbys sides. I don’t know what it was, but I felt so out of balance and I felt like I couldn’t ride. I couldn’t get her forward, when I did it was because I had to KICK, which of course she didn’t appreciate, and I struggled the whole time to get my leg in a comfortable position. Needless to say, I’m continuing my search, but this whole process has left me quite frustrated. There was a lot of build up for this saddle, and to have it just not fit was disappointing.
And Libby was not liking the whole process. The poking, and prodding, and trying the saddle in different positions on her back. Nope she wasn’t a fan. Plus it was about 100 degrees out, and heat and black horses just don’t mix well.
To make matters worse, and I don’t know if it was because the saddle was just SOO wide feeling, but I ripped my favorite old breeches down the crotch riding in the saddle. Ugh just not a fun day…
The fitter did give me the suggestion of looking into CWD’s, which I had thought she’d said wouldn’t really fit… I’m a bit confused and I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m going to do my own investigation now, and put in a call into CWD, County, and some other saddle reps to see what tree options they have available for horses with wide flat backs. Maybe I’ll be able to find some good info.