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.
I 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.