Saddle Fitting is Fun

Said no one ever.

Can I annoy everyone and complain for a minute about how frustrating it is to have a horse that fits perfectly into the most basic panel that Devoucoux makes? Mostly because I’m shopping used, and it seems like pretty much no one else has a horse shaped like mine. If he had giant withers with hollows on each side, we’d be in business. That panel configuration is EVERYWHERE. Alas, he does not. Although I guess I should take a minute to seriously thank Henry for being shaped like a French tree at all, because I’d be infinitely more sad if he wasn’t.

I knew as soon as I sat the Chiberta on Henry last week that it didn’t really fit. It has a 4P panel, the most popular modification I’ve found, which means there’s extra padding in the front part to accommodate a high shark fin wither. Henry doesn’t have a shark fin, but he has a decent wither on him, so I figured it was worth a try.

spot the problem

I could tell as soon as I put it on him that the panel wasn’t right. Sticking it on top of the Ogilvy seemed to improve the balance enough to where I at least felt ok doing a quick ride in it, to at least see how it felt. And as soon as my butt hit the saddle, it was everything I remembered about Trainer’s saddle. Absolute grippy French perfection. For me it was a perfect fit; love at first sit. Deeper love at first gallop. Henry offered up no objections, either. But… that panel…

So when I saw that our Devoucoux rep, Janine, was going to be in my area on Friday anyway, I asked if she would come out and check the fit. I knew it wasn’t going to work as-is, but… maybe she was a miracle worker? Maybe she could offer me an option to make it work? Or, hey, maybe she had something perfect in her inventory. I dunno. I was desperately clinging to some delusional dreams here. This is the price you pay for loving a delightfully molded memory foam panel.

made for wither hollows that Henry doesn’t have

But of course, as soon as I tossed the saddle up there, the rep saw the exact same issue I did and said it was a no-go. I could technically have it re-paneled for $650, but at this point that’s just not in the budget considering the saddle itself was already near the very top of what I could spend. Shout out to Janine here: I am a super annoying person with approximately 9000 questions, and she was super nice as she thoroughly answered each one, both in person on Friday and the ones I’ve sent via email in the past few days.

Since she was already out there I asked if she would check his dressage saddle. To my eye that thing has always been a near perfect fit on him, and he’s always gone REALLY well in it. It has just a plain D3D panel, no modifications, so basically it’s as “off the rack” as a Devoucoux gets.

Pretty much the second she settled that thing onto his back she was like “Wow… yeah… this is the perfect panel for him.”. Ok, so that’s one half of the equation down, we know exactly what Henry needs. But what about me? The 18″ 2AA had felt pretty perfect but, since she was there, I figured I should have her see me sit in it, and figure out if maybe I could fit into a different configuration to open up my options.

Yeah no. I’m 100% perfect in the 18″ 2AA. I know I can do an 18.5″ just fine, but probably not any smaller than an 18″ since the Dev’s run small. And I’m long from hip to knee, so I definitely need the extra forward 2AA flap.

She looked through their used inventory but didn’t see anything that met both our specs. Apparently it’s not a very common one, and when it does pop up, it gets snatched pretty quick. If we needed a 4P panel or if I could fit into an A flap, we’d be in business, but alas neither of those things work. I spent most of the weekend scouring every corner of the internet and came up with nada. But now I’m on “the list” with the rep, so to speak, so hopefully something in our specs will come up soon. Like… really soon… because I don’t have a jump saddle at all at the moment.

It sure was sad when I had to put that saddle in it’s box and send it back, though. Our relationship was brief, but our love was real.

23 thoughts on “Saddle Fitting is Fun

  1. Saddle shopping is the worst. My mare is insanely hard to fit…gotta love those short back Arabs with massive rib cages. Almost every saddle shifts forward on her and rides up her neck. I hope you find your unicorn soon.


  2. It is SO frustrating to have the money burning a hole in your pocket and know exactly what you want, but not be able to get your hands on it! I hope it materializes for you very soon!


  3. Aw womp. But at least this means there’s still the possibility of finding one with that perfect blue detailing instead of trying to figure out how to make that green less… Green?


  4. Ugh, that sucks. Good luck! Well, if there’s anything I’ve learned from reading all of your posts: just sit tight and be patient. (which I know is uber hard because I’d be tearing my hair out too) I used to hate shopping used because it took me so long to find something but I’ve started shopping used a little more, waiting for sales, and it’s been good. Sooo, uh….horrible advice but….happy dressaging?


  5. The title is total click bait- I was thinking there might really be someone out there delusional enough to actually enjoy saddle shopping 😉 Here’s hoping one with your specs pops up quickly.


    1. That first one is the exact same configuration I had… 4P panel (4+ is the same thing). 😉 The second one, the Chiberta Lab, would be perfect if it was half price.


  6. So only thing worse than saddle shopping may be horse shopping. So here I am horse shopping and then mostly likely saddle shopping. I require the biggest flaps so saddle shopping is always fun – my last used saddle previously belonged to a 6’4″ guy, lol. I hope you find your saddle unicorn soon!


      1. I don’t know how Devoucoux flaps work but I had a 5AB Antares and currently have CWD 4C and could probably use a little more forward. Don’t know if that exists though on the CWD, lol. Either way it makes saddle shopping tough!


  7. That’s so frustrating. I just started leasing a horse and my saddle (of course) doesn’t fit him, so I’m stuck in his owner’s saddle. Which would be fine… but she’s 5’10” and I’m 5’1″. As in, I ride in kid’s leathers and need like, pony flaps. Hope something magically appears soon! Are you still looking at any CWDs?


  8. Reading this made me so grateful I had it easy when I was saddle shopping a few months ago! Horse fitted the exact saddle I wanted in the most basic panel configuration and I was perfectly fine in the standard flap size. The sizes we both needed were the most common ones around and I actually had 3 used saddles lined up all within like 20 miles of me, the hardest part was scrapping money together before they sold! Best of luck, I know how soul crushing it is


    1. A few people have sent me that one, but no sadly it doesn’t have the right panel. The one I’m looking for will say D3D on the serial number and not have all those PXblahblah numbers.


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