I didn't like how the crupper was pulling on his tail, wearing a path in the fur along his spine where the crupper would lay. I let it go though, until one day Rocky pulled out the D-ring on the back of the saddle that the crupper was clipped onto. He had spooked, clamping down with his tail as he scooted away from the terrifying tarp laying on the ground, and when the dust settled the crupper was laying on the ground, still attached to the D-ring from his saddle. It made my saddle nearly unusable, as without the crupper his saddle slid inexorably forward until I was riding on his shoulders- not a comfortable position for either of us.
I took my saddle to a repair shop, where they replaced the rubbery strap that used to hold the D-ring in place with a leather one. It seemed like a good solution, so I went back to using my saddle the same way I had before. Except, the new leather strap stretched. And stretched. And stretched some more. I had to make a new hole on the crupper to shorten it enough to make up for the slack created by the new leather piece. I became increasingly distressed doing this, as it made me realize how much pressure the crupper had to be putting on Rocky's tail and spine. To make it worse, the crupper wasn't even mine, it was an equipment loan from my barn owner.
I finally decided that I was not going to continue to torque Rocky's spine to hold his saddle in place, especially when it wasn't working very well anyway. I arranged for my mom to drive Rocky and I two hours away from the barn to visit a tack shop that regularly boasts over 300 saddles. They have a round pen on site and saddle fitters, so they can help you find the right saddle. I spent about an hour cleaning my saddle, breast collar, and saddle pad so that I could hopefully trade them in for a good price.
Once we got to the store, it took us four hours of shopping and two rounds of saddle fitting to find two saddles (out of that 300...) that would fit both Rocky and I. While riding, one of those two saddles started to rub my calves in an uncomfortable way, so it was an easy choice to go with the one I bought. It was an expensive purchase for me, but I think owing my parents is worth it. My new saddle stays in place without any additional hardware, comfortably fits Rocky and is a pleasure to ride in. Without further ado:
|I needed to get a new saddle pad, too. My old one was too small.|
|It has a "rough" leather seat, which feels more secure to me than my smooth one did. Who knew?!|
|Gotta love all of that cushion.|
You can see a large 'tunnel' of sorts in the saddle above Rocky's spine. It's large enough to stick your arm into it, and creates air flow so he doesn't overheat. It feels good to know that, not only am I no longer pulling on his spine, he has a saddle that actually cushions and airs out his back.