I spent several days obsessively stalking the UPS tracking information on my new sidesaddle like a small child stalking the NORAD Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve. I knew that the saddle was due for delivery on Wednesday, which meant that if I was very very lucky and had been a very good girl this year, it might get delivered in time for me to do something with it while I was out on Wednesday, or if nothing else, be safely stored by Holly overnight til I could get out to try it on Thursday. Imagine my surprise that while working on a nice serpentine through the big outdoor, I see the UPS truck come rumbling up the driveway. It took all of my self restraint not to put my spur in to the horse and gallop after the truck to get my grubby hands on the saddle ASAP. But firstly, I was in a dressage saddle, so not so comfortable for galloping, and secondly, as I occasionally have to remind myself, I am an adult, and should be capable of acting like a rational patient grownup.
So I finished up our dressage work as Holly came back up the driveway, and I yelled “I think that was my saddle!” To which she responded that she just needed to take the blankets back to the barn and then we could play with it. I think she was almost as excited as me. We were both definitely more excited than Cally, who totally thought she was done working when she came back to the barn and got her saddle taken off, only to be led over to Holly’s front lawn to watch us rip into the box like kids on Christmas.
It was surely a sign that as we were unpacking (the amazingly well padded and packed!) box, Holly pulled out a big hunk of material, exclaimed over the fact that it came with a saddle cover, and then I noted it was GREEN, surely a sign. It also looks delightfully monogrammable, as Holly pointed out, so even better. We’ll have a monogrammed green sidesaddle cover. That sounds pretty perfect.
The saddle was in pretty perfect shape, too! It needs a little conditioning, but once we got the stirrup leather and leaping head back on to it, and up on Cally, it looked good. It’s a hair tight in the flocking at the withers (the tree itself is good, the points are pretty perfect, it’s just a bit too flocked), and a smidge low in flocking at the back. Obviously, each saddle is flocked to each horse, so I figured there would be a need to get someone out to tweak the flocking around a bit, but the general shape was right for us, so we headed up to the ring to hop on. Now, we also didn’t have a balance strap, because Holly’s spare only has a buckle on one end, and it didn’t seem worth completely undoing her saddle to get the one off hers, so I figured we were mostly walking around to see how it fit, I wasn’t going to do much, we’d be fine without.
And we were!
It is a Mayhew Lissadell, and it felt very comfortable to me right from the start, with a bit longer and wider seat than the Owen I’d ridden in previously, and the fixed head was a bit more padded.
Tentatively, since we didn’t have a balance strap, I asked for a bit of trot, and lo and behold, it felt great! Cally was moving out a bit less than usual because of the tightness at the withers, I think, but was not unhappy, other than at being asked to work after she thought she was finished for the day.
I am delighted with our Christmas present, and think that with a bit of modest tweaking to the flocking, we’ll be in business and ready to go. I think tentatively, the plan is to aim to be ready for the Ladies Sidesaddle at Showplace Spring at the end of March, because we’d totally be ready for the undersaddle/appointments, and maybe maybe maybe the Hack class too, depending on how much I get to practice jumping over the winter.
Goal #1 for the 2016 show season is in place, and so exciting to be trying something new and challenging!