My early Christmas present

My most important Christmas present this year was coming home from the hospital in time to spend the holiday with my family instead of the hospital staff . I was delighted to get sent home yesterday after my colic episode, having recovered without the dreaded surgery. Okay, so my holiday dinner will most likely be clear fluids, but they taste much better when you are at home.

Stackhouse jumping saddleI did have one more gift at home.  Most equestrians know this kind of gift. It’s the one you buy for yourself because either no one would think of buying it for you or, as in my case, no one could believe that I needed another saddle. Even I didn’t know I needed one. I try to stay off of eBay but occasionally I scroll through the saddles looking for one that is just such a good deal that I can’t, in good conscience, resist.

I haven’t found one of those for a long time. But a few weeks ago a David Stackhouse jumping saddle caught my eye. I’ve always read good things about his saddles. That they are well balanced, comfortable, durable, kind to the horse’s back, etc. The only thing I couldn’t get my mind around was the price. The custom saddles start, I believe, around the 4K mark and go up. Not for me.

But maybe this one was. How often do you see a Stackhouse saddle the right size (17.5″ with an extra forward, extra long flap in a MW tree) in a no reserve auction that starts at $.99? I have such a long femur that in most forward flap saddles my knee still goes up over the edge when I shorten my stirrups to jump. Mostly, I just live with it.

In cases such as these I resist the urge to get into a bidding war. Using a sniping service I put in my best price (one where I thought I could resell the saddle for a tidy profit if it didn’t work for me) and forgot about it.

So it was like an early xmas present when I discovered it was mine for a mere $715 plus shipping. I felt like I’d won the lottery.

Even better, when it arrived it was, well, perfect. It is exactly how I’ve heard them described. It fits Freedom. It fits me. And the balance on it is amazing. I felt like my riding had improved exponentially! Okay, I only got to ride in it twice, for a total of about half an hour before I coliced, but it felt great. I hopped over a few small fences and it felt even better. I looked down and realized that my knee was right where it should be — in the center of the knee roll, nowhere near the edge! I can’t wait until I’m well enough, and the ground is soft enough, to take it for a real spin.



3 thoughts on “My early Christmas present

  1. Thanks for writing on the topic – timely for me, because I’m trying to find quality budget minded a/p saddle for the first time.
    How did you know if ebay seller was legit and honorable ?
    Any suggestions from your experience about saddles that provide a good amount of shock absorption through the seat – would it be the CAIR or wool? (I ride light trail-dressage to preserve affected spinal discs, so that’s a priority)
    Thank you, Liz. Happy Horse New Year!


    Andrea Reynes
    Animal Journalist

  2. Hi Andrea,
    I’ve bought several saddles on eBay and all but one experience has turned out well. In general I buy only from sellers who have a history of selling horse stuff (preferably saddles), I only buy from people with perfect feedback, and I always pay using a credit card through Paypal so I have some recourse.

    As for shock absorption — I’d recommend using a Thinline pad under your saddle. They seem to work really well (they are on my list of topics to write about). I use one under all my saddles. Usually you can get them in the clearance section at SmartPak for a good price. If you get the ultra thinline it doesn’t adversely impact saddle fit.

    I prefer wool flocked saddles because they are more adjustable but I’ve used CAIR panels on my horses without any problems.

    Happy New Year!


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