I thought I found the perfect saddle in my friend’s Custom Wolfgang Solo. I loved riding in it. It was a great price. Buying it would help out my friend. I thought PJ liked it because he went a little better in it than in my Hennig.
That was all before I had the local tack shop owner come out to the barn with a bunch of saddles for me to try. She had about 10 but 5 were crossed off the list before I even sat in them because they didn’t fit PJ well. Instead of having a regular lesson, I asked Barbara to watch me ride in all of these and provide her opinion.
My comparison was the Hennig at the I-hate-it end and the Solo at the I-love-it end. I was looking for a saddle that felt better to me than the Solo. The first one that I sat in was a French saddle that was very sticky but I felt perched in it. The second one was German saddle but I felt too loose in it. The third was another French saddle that was just okay. That left two Schleeses. One had an external thigh block (Link II) and the other had adjustable (velcro) covered thigh blocks (Triumph). I tried the Link II first and it was… okay. I then tried the Triumph, which felt the best out of everything I had ridden in but was not as good feeling as the Solo. However, PJ went amazing in it. His back came up, he was bouncy, and I didn’t need to push him to go forward. Everyone watching noticed the huge difference in the way he went.
I had really thought I was just trying all of these other saddles to convince me that the Solo was to be my new saddle. But here was PJ going so much freer in this other saddle. To make sure it wasn’t just that it was chilly out and PJ was feeling good, we put on the Solo. Nope, PJ was back to being sluggish. Just to make really sure, we put back on the Schleese Triumph. Yup, PJ didn’t need much pushing to get him to move out.
Okay. So that crossed the Solo off of my list. The saddle fitter pointed out where it was pinching him and didn’t think adjusting the tree or the stuffing would help it. Barbara and the saddle fitter had a side discussion. Watching me ride in all of these saddles helped Barbara pinpoint my issues. We all agreed that the thigh blocks on the Solo helped me to open my hip angle and use my core. A benefit of the Triumph is that the thigh blocks have velcro, so you can move them or remove them. We tried moving them around a little but I didn’t get the same feeling as the Solo. The saddle fitter suggested that I try thinner thigh blocks that I could put on more of an angle to mimic the Solo’s thigh blocks. She had them back at the store, so I drove over there after putting PJ away and will have to wait until tomorrow to try them out. She left the Triumph with me to try for the week.
So, I know that I can’t put PJ back in the Solo. I have the Triumph to play around with for a week and I’m pretty confident that I’m going to buy it because of how much PJ liked it. I just wish I had sat in it and said, “ahhhh,” like I did in the Solo. Is there any saddle out there that I would like as much as the Solo and PJ would like as much as the Schleese? I hate having doubts. Complicating matters is the price – the Solo was used and a good price but this Triumph is new and literally double the price. Argh.