Monday, March 9, 2015

Dress Up Day

There has been an influx of new saddles at my place...well I mean that is an ongoing situation, but I am referring to new saddles that I want for myself.   While I sometimes want to keep lots of saddles for myself....

Like this one
15.5" Dale Martin rope saddle
Or this one

15.5" Salt Creek Saddlery Association Style rope
Or even this one
15' Ammerman/ Saddlesmith Roper
I find that these are usually really good money makers and to be honest, I'm kind of over the whole "My saddle has to weigh 500 lbs and be strong enough to drag a full sized bull" thing. 

Lets face it.  If I want to drag a bull I'll call one of the ropers down the street.   Roping and me mix like oil and water.  

However, I did keep the Crates cutting saddle I posted about last week, and have really been looking for a Fallis Balanced ride (at my trainers request).   Just for the record, those puppies ain't cheap! 

Then last week I found this.

On FB I posted that it was an original Slim Fallis
But it isn't.  It is a 1984 John Fallis, but still very cool

Ever since TC purchased the 7-D hard seat Wade style roper for Killian, (which is by far one of the best saddles we have owned) I have started becoming obsessed with the hard seat ranch style saddles.  I cannot get over how comfortable they are.  Most balance ride saddles I see are padded, so when I saw this one for half the price of what I have ever seen one go for, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it.  Yes I admit to putting myself into debt for this one.  

I had a big pro rodeo to work this weekend and pruchased the saddle just 3 days before it, so riding in it just wasn't an option. There was just no time.  But I grabbed an old saddle pad, threw it up on Melody and put the saddle on her.  

My heart sank.  No matter what I did, I could not get anything to sit straight.  It was tight on her shoulders, yet sticking up in the back and the pad kept sitting cockeyed.  I tried Trax, and it was the same thing.  I figured I would have to sell it.  

I did ride Melody in it for just a minute, and I love the way it sits, I love where it puts you in relation to the horse.  I understand why it is called a "balance ride".

So I thought I'd try Trax instead.  I put it on him with the same old pad and it was just as bad.  I called my boarder, who is looking for a saddle for her little Spotted Walker, and told her to come and try it.  

She tried it yesterday and called me while I was working and said it was way too wide for her horse.


Okay, maybe I needed to revist that saddle fit.

So today we played dress up day. 

I started with no pad so I could see what was really going on.   Here is Trax with no pad

When I rub my hand under it is a tiny bit tight on the shoulder, but seems to be good everywhere else. 

Here is Melody

The leather of the right front of the saddle curls out more than the other side.  I think I can shape it back in to place, but I actually quite like the way it sits on her with out a pad.  

Then I pulled out the good pads, rather than the one that is 5 years old. 

First Trax

That is a 1" felt pad, with just a few rides on it.  I think it is just a little bit too tight on his shoulders.  However, I'm not unhappy with how it is sitting over all.   The first time I put it on him it was sticking straight up in the back it seemed.    I have that issue with him and saddles quite often because he is hollow behind the shoulder (well he was....then he went to training and wasn't....then he got sick and now he is again) but never as bad as this was the other day.  Not even sure what was going on that day.  

Perhaps I had it on backwards.  

With Melody I tried something different.  

This is a thin pad.  I think it is an Equifit Tacky 2.  I really like this fit on her except for one thing.  She is VERY hollow behind the shoulders and for some reason it is accentuated once I put the pad on.  I took the inserts out of my Sharon Camarillo pad and put them in those spots, and this saddle lifted up off of her shoulders and had a nice even fit all the way down.  

With that in mind, I will try that with Trax as well, and see what it does for his shoulders.  

Since we were playing dress up I decided to pull out the Crates and see who it fit the best.   The crates is very wide, so I had a pretty good idea how it was going to go. 

Just as I suspect it, it falls right down on top of their withers.   However, when I added the saddle pads....

It fits much better.  However, even with that super thick pad of Melody's (1" felt with a fleece lining) I can see the skirt popping up just a bit in the back. She did not have the inserts on under this one.  It fits Trax about perfect.  I have never ridden in that extra thick pad so perhaps it can go back on the for sale shelf.  I think a 1" is plenty.  

So I am pretty excited that my new saddles can fit with decent pads, or the right pads. The old pad that I used for my original fit test, obviously needs to go in the trash, or become a dog bed or something.  Of course it isn't like I didn't get good use out of it.  It was the same pad I have used on Trax since I bought him, which was in 2012.  I used it for everything, all the time, so it has a lot of miles on it.  

Once we played dress up I let everyone out to the pasture.  They have been locked up for four days and I am sure they were happy to get out.  

The vet was here Friday and drew more blood on Trax.  His white blood cell count is normal, and his liver enzymes are half of what they were the last time we checked, which is fabulous! However they are still not in the normal range.  We will draw blood one more time and if the liver enzymes have dropped even more then it will be safe to say we are out of the woods. 

Tonight WE RIDE!!!!

ps.  I can actually lift both of these saddles up easily onto my horses.  So they weigh at least 15 lbs less than any saddle I have personally owned! 


  1. So glad you found a fit for that Fallis saddle. You are gonna love it! They also made a balanced ride saddle for Pat Wyse.
    Yay for lighter saddles! That's why I sold that Roy McCaughey, it was so heavy! But it was a delight to ride and fit my horses well.

  2. Super cool that the saddles seem to be working out! I want to get a nice, lightweight one for Luc one of these days.

    I'm so glad Trax is doing better.

  3. I love a balanced ride saddle Vic Bennet used to make them as well,and they are great! Are you keeping it now?

  4. i just came across your it! great look and good pictures. i just resurrected my own blog, and am looking for more to follow and other horse bloggers to connect with. give me a look when you can.

  5. Have you ever tried hooked wool saddle pads? Made with raw wool they are a bot thick to begin with but conform to the horse on the bottom and saddle on top. The natural wool is easy on the horse and years back when I range rode I had very good luck with them as I rode a ranch string with a wide variety of back shapes. The following link has some decent informaton

  6. I had no idea fallis saddles were so expensive or hard to find. I grew up riding those saddles. I have 2 that my dad bought back in the late 70s. I live in town now and no longer have horses. It may be time to pass these on to someone who can make use of them

    1. If you ever decide you want to sell those saddles, let me know. I may be interested.