After 4 years of riding in her Lime Green Ostrich Seat Billy Cook, both Bree and Tess have outgrown it. Bree was 8 and Tess was 5. It started to pinch Tess at the shoulder blades causing 'dry' spots underneath the saddle pad.
For those non-horsey, you put a saddle pad underneath the saddle, then the saddle. When you take the tack off, the sweat marks under should basically be the outline of the saddle pad. Well, with Tess filling out and her body type changing (going from 5 to 8) and Bree's body changing, this summer when we would take off the saddle pad there were circles about the size of dishplates that were dry near where her shoulder blades meet her spine. The dry spots are caused by pinching or too much pressure in those areas to the point where that area cannot even 'sweat'.
Plus, you could see when Bree would run to a barrel that Tess would start pulling up before the barrel because the shift in weight to turn the barrel would put even more pressure on those particular spots - think if you were running and had 30 pounds of pressure pulling your shoulder blades back and then stopping suddenly - the force of the stop would throw even more pressure on your shoulder blades.
Once we realized this, we ordered Bree a new Original Bob Marshall treeless saddle like our trainer uses and several folks from the barn have ordered too! It is lighter, doesn't have a 'hard' (think a wood form that sits on the back of the horse and does not conform to the back of the horse) and it is kind of like a formed leather seat. It's about as close to riding bareback that a saddle can provide. The rider can feel the horse more (since there isn't a hard board - so to speak - between rider and horse) and the horse can feel the rider better - shifts in weight, etc..
The saddles are custom made to your specs and you can pick the type of leather tooling, conchos, style of horn, seat type and color, etc...
Well, Bree selected a chocolate colored seat, with a basketweave and barbwire border with Texas star conchos. It's pretty sweet looking. She also is getting a matching breast collar (which didn't arrive with the saddle - and I will have to call on that on Monday) -
We waited ALL day Friday for UPS to deliver - they give you a time window - uh-huh- between 8am and 7pm... Of course, it couldn't have arrived before noon so we could go out to the barn to try it out since she was was off school yesterday. No, couldn't arrive by 3pm. It finally showed up at 5:25 last night. Too late to head out to the barn. And we HAD to wait for it since it required a signature and she wanted it for the show on Sunday and since they do not deliver on Saturday - we had no choice but to wait...
Here's the pictures of the new saddle: