Growing Pains

Henry is the one growing, and it’s causing my wallet a lot of pain.

As many of you might recall, Henry lost quite a bit of weight last year at our previous barn, which is what prompted the move to our current place.

so narrow

Since the move he’s really blossomed, putting on a ton of weight and muscle. His girth is 5 holes tighter and he’s rounded out so much that’s he’s starting to look like an applebooty. I’m pretty thrilled, because he looks and feels amazing and at this point I think his condition is perfect. Of course, there are other things impacted by the massive change in condition. It started a couple weeks ago when I went to put on his fancy PS of Sweden breastplate and had to basically crush his windpipe to clip it across his chest. A month prior I had to let it out several holes but this time there were no more holes left. Crap, he’s outgrown his cob. I guess that makes sense, since his chest has pretty much doubled in size from when I bought it. So I ordered a full, pulled out the backup breastplate to use in the mean time, grumbled a little, and got over it.

Backup breastplate and derrrrpppp

Then we had a couple of dressage rides in a row where he really tensed up any time I sat the trot and had some icky canter work. After the second bad ride I tossed my beloved Devoucoux up on him to check the fit and wow… there’s no denying it doesn’t fit at all anymore. The hollows that he used to have on either side of his wither are gone, and he’s significantly flatter from side to side across his back. My jumping saddle, which I was having to pad up six ways to Sunday before, is a pretty perfect fit now. So… at least there’s that. Because CWD = ❤ Unfortunately there is no denying that the Devoucoux is definitely pinching and sitting funny, and I can’t ride him in it anymore. Cue me feeling really really stupid for not thinking to check that before now.

Here we are a month before AEC and I’m basically dressage saddle-less. So now what? I can have the Dev repaneled, but it’s $900 and I don’t particularly trust them to get it done right or in a timely manner. The only viable option for me is to sell it and then try to find something else. That pains me greatly because I love the hell out of that saddle for me, but Henry has filled out in such a way that there’s just no making it work for him. I took pictures of it and officially listed it for sale last weekend. I’m hoping that it sells before AEC and that several vendors show up there with used saddles for me to try. But for now… it looks like we’re doing all our dressage work in my super forward CWD.

which looks like this

Henry is not allowed to change shape ever again after this, and every horse after him must be built the same. Saddle shopping is the worst. I have no idea what I want, no idea what will work for him, no idea what will work for me, and nowhere closeby that has lots of consignment saddles I can happily trial my way through. Ugh.

26 thoughts on “Growing Pains

  1. Misery loves company 😦 I’m playing the saddle game, too. And my new guy is pretty unfit, so what fits now may not fit later. Sigh…


  2. Feeling your pain! I’m having a hard time parting with saddles that don’t work for me or for my horses, but it’s time. It helps that the Stubben summer sale had my favorite super weird flex tree saddles (the flex tree is magic) for 440$ with shipping. All hail the magical flex tree that fits both my OTTB and my TBxHolsteiner! If you like Stubbens they do have some great deals…


      1. The saddles are marketed as Philippe Fontaine and they make a static tree and a flex tree. I have the Royan dressage saddle (and LOVE it, plus it passed muster with my devoucoux-using trainer) and a Deauville AP on the way. They also make a flex tree jump saddle. Honestly, I’m about 99.9% sure that the PF saddles are Courbette saddles with fancy soft calf skin wrappers, but are much more comfortable than my original Courbette flex tree thus far. The tree flexes slightly under my weight and the saddle fits both my OTTB with withers and my 3/4 TB 1/4 WB mare with a much narrower build, giant shoulder blades and a more typical warmblood wither. I’m happy to talk your ear off/send pics if you want to email me – foxrivereventing(at)


  3. Your loss is my gain re: PS sweden anyway! I can’t afford the dressage saddle 🙂 sorry he is changing but he does look great!! and that is a good thing.


  4. Saddle shopping is rough. I’ve heard good things about Borne Saddlery from dressage peeps, but no idea what they go for used …


  5. Ugh been there. I’ve had good luck with County’s fusion and perfection models on TBs. The other models typically don’t clear the withers. I’m currently in a Cliff Barnsby that is, okay. I’m still evaluating whether it’s fitting poorly or if Pig’s slight unsoundness is causing his new back issues.



  6. At least those are well known and well liked brands that have a good resale value. In my experiance there are a lot more saddles out there for the curvy TB types than the flat backed types, so hopefully your search goes quickly!


  7. Call Tess Wheat in Austin. She is a God-send with saddle fit and can tell you which brands/models will work with your horse and you can go from there. She also reps for Dresch, but is an independent fitter and worked well with my budget constraints.


  8. what a bummer!! 😦 saddle shopping really is the worst and i’m pretty much sticking my head in the sand denying that i need to go there again… ugh. hope you get something figured out before the AECs!!!


  9. Henry is looking sexy! Love that booty!

    I am also getting to deal with saddle fit…again Saddle purchased 6 months ago and deemed to fit via long distance fitter is actually not a good fit. I *think* I am just going to give up and get a local fitter to come out as soon as we move and get the mare measured for a Loxley Jump.

    I like ramen, I guess I can eat that for a year, right?


  10. I’m in the same boat. Just realized yesterday that my guy’s top-line has changed so much that my Prestige no longer fits. I love my saddle so I’m really sad but I guess i should be happy that my 19 year old has built up so much muscle. He looks and feels great so I should be happy right? Right? My wallet is not happy. I’m trying to get my Prestige adjusted so we will see what happens. I feel your pain.


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