Last week I finally connected with the CWD rep (who was lovely by the way) and had potentially the most productive, and most fun saddle fitting to date.
The fact that I have been blessed (or is it cursed? not sure which) with so many frigging saddle fittings in the last three years has given me more perspective on what I consider to be satisfying in the process...
Things that make me happy:
Thoroughly explaining the philosophy (and technology) of a brand.
Things that don't:
Bad mouthing other saddles (including ones that the same fitter had "sold" me a year prior)
Enthusiastically considering consignment options and going through the inventory
Telling me that waiting for the right used saddle is a waste of time
Actively commenting on the impact of different saddles as I'm testing them
Only praising expensive (read: custom) options.
The whole time I spent with my CWD rep was fabulous. She was very genuine about her process, very straightforward about costs and very mindful of my budget. I also enjoyed that she unabashedly campaigned for her brand. I have decided that while I enjoy "objective" fitters who really just work on any saddle and have their favorites but no allegiance - I am thoroughly irritated by supposedly objective fitters are tied to a brand and end up pushing homogenous solutions. I guess maybe I just appreciate transparency. If you rep a brand, own it and love it. If you don't, that's cool too. Just don't pretend to be objective or unbiased when you aren't. (rant done).
So the fitting was good. I was confident that she was mapping my horse's back well, attending to how the saddle fit my body and affected my position as well as making the whole thing moderately enjoyable. I feel like when you are considering a large purchase, the process should be fun (this is why I also like personal shoppers when the occasion warrants it). Even more important than fun is that I feel informed and confident - both of which I did. I'm not sure I would have been so confident if I haven't had the good fortune of riding in S's Mom's Saddle (SMS) consistently and having the opportunity to switch between it and my current jump tack as well as S's own CWD... I really hate trying to decide how a saddle impacts my horse in 5 minutes of hacking.
When it came down to decision time we had basically agreed that SMS was an almost perfect fit. Ideally I needed a bit more flap and Prair needed a bit more gusset if we were ordering new. I also firmly decided that that the SE02 (half deep) put me in a better balance than the flatter SE01. I also decided that (for the first time in my life) I preferred the wider twist (weird). And I also enjoyed the slightly rounder, more forward "C" flap over the decidedly more Huntery "L" flap which sadly did compliment the line of my leg more than the C. Finally, I also decided that while sticky calfskin is nice, I hate how quickly it stains and wears. I also dislike the extra panel stitching which inevitably needs repair. Full Grain leather is a-ok by me. Also - cheaper. (woo! score one for the budget..)
We looked over the used inventory, chatted about the likelihood of my necessary specs surfacing in a consignment saddle anytime soon (seat size, tree, gusset. I'd compromise on leather, color, flap) and in the end we drew up the paperwork for a new saddle.
|8-10 weeks... My egg timer is set....|
So today I'm heading to the barn armed with my huge tack cleaning kit, my Prestige and the Pessoa. They are getting a thorough cleaning and then listed on eBay ASAP.
$2,400 for the Prestige, and $1,700 for the Pessoa. Both have less than 6 months of ride time on them so hopefully they will sell fairly easily. I love them both dearly but I just don't need a full tack shop in my garage. The Pessoa will be redundant once the CWD arrives and the Prestige sadly just doesn't fit Prairie like I want it to, and sitting in my nice dressage saddle on the arm of my sofa only offers so much value... it's got to go.
I hate waiting.