I hate saddle shopping.  When I got my first horse I was sooooo excited about buying my first saddle but it was a bitter experience.

I did everything by the book – I went to an accredited fitter who recommended me a well known (expensive) brand. I spend what me to was ALOT of money on it and within a month it was slipping to the back and to the side.

Called saddle fitter, she said I should do it up on different girth straps, it didn’t work.  So see came out (for another fitting fee, of course), did this and that to it and told me to call her if it still slipped.  It still slipped.

To cut a very long story short I ended up having to report her to the accreditation body, in order to get my money back for a saddle that didn’t and never would have fitted (that required two independent fitters to verify, with associated call out fees!).

When I took Abbey on, my aunt lent me her working hunter saddle.  It was great and I used it for 3 months but it was a little too long which meant that it wasn’t helping Abbey. And the lack of knee roll and shallow seat meant it wasn’t helping me, especially with our jump work.

I didn’t want to spend too much money as Abbey was going to change shape so I ended up getting a 2nd hand Saddle Company Saddle.  It’s reasonable comfortable, fits Abbey quite well and has done the job nicely for the past year. But it’s time to move onto something better.

But what to choose?! I mainly do dressage and showjumping, in the summer I will do more hacking and a little bit of cross country.

Even though I am only 5’2″ I struggle to find GP saddles where my knees don’t go over the front of the saddle/sit on top of the knee rolls so even though a GP would best suit what I do, I think I’m going to need two saddles – one for flat work and one for jumping.

I’ve had a local fitter come out to look at jump saddles and of her collection the one that fitted best was the Ideal Impala.

A friend who’s also got a Connie (but is having trouble finding saddles to fit) recently had Steph from Andrea Hicks come out.  Her knowledge and expertise was really impressive and I liked the way she looked at the whole horse, not just the area where the saddle goes.

This company also specialises in natives and cobs so she understood the challenges us pony-riding adults often have with saddles.

Abbey, for example, would ideally fit a 16 – 16.5″ saddle. Unfortunately my derriere would not fit in a 16″ and most 16.5″ are made for horses. This means they tend to have horse-sized saddle flaps that cover most of her side and prevent my leg aids being 100% effective. Those that have pony-sized flaps only allow room for child-length legs.

The Andrea Hick‘s saddles have a nice petite build. Steph popped two on her back and they’d looked lovely.  She explained that they’re designed to fit ponies and adults and certainly, my long-legged friend has been very pleased with hers!

Here are the two that she recommended for Abbey and I: