Friday, March 4, 2011

Saddle Search - Part IIII - The Trial

I went to Rod's yesterday to pick up their Rocking R Border Reining Saddle to take home and try. When I got there I noticed that they had a 2736 at the store!!!! Sadly it's a 17" and not the shortened skirt I need, but I was able to get a good look at the tooling and color and I took them both home. I wanted to take advantage of our brief stint of sunlight in this bleak and dreary Ohio Valley springtime. Tip for color matching show clothing/tack: sunlight is the best test. Mostly since most shows are outdoors, but also because fluorescent light makes things look funny so sunlight gives you full spectrum or "true" color. You can see in the photos later how different the outdoor vs. indoor flash vs. indoor no flash photos show the color.

The saddle seemed to fit as well (or better) than anything I've ever had on him and he was calm and stretching/licking/chewing during the brief walk/trot ride. I was thrilled to find that I could hold my rein hand where it's supposed to be. In my other saddles I always felt that the horn was in my way. I guess it truly was! The saddle did not bounce when I posted the trot. Overall I approve the fit for me and for him. And he didn't seem lame at all, as we all expected. Tomorrow he gets back into work so I'll be keeping an eye on it.

So I'm pretty solid on tree(FQHB)/size(15" - Yes,You-Know-Who-You-Are, You were right)/shape(27" skirt), but for color I'm still on the fence. I don't like the color of the darker one in real life, but I know it can darken up with some oiling and after feeling how stiff the leather is on a brand new saddle I will HAVE to condition/soften whatever I get. On the other hand, the light will darken with time/light/conditioning. I kind of feel like the light isn't light enough and the dark isn't dark enough. I guess it's a hue issue.

It seems that the folks who don't show like the dark, and the folks who do show say to get the light. The nice Ginger Cowboy that helped me today thought I'd look less out of place with the light at a trail ride/cowboy challenge than I would trying to do western pleasure in the dark one.

In my mind I don't want the "light" oil because it ends up looking like THIS. But is that just me wanting the color of my hunt saddle? Am I the only one who doesn't like this look? My attraction to dark could also be from my history with Arabs. We liked dark. But is using a darker colored saddle going to be as bad a faux pas as when I had a black hunt saddle? THAT was a poor choice in soooo many ways. Have I not yet learned from that mistake? That being a little "different" just makes you look stupid?

Anyone know if THIS works? Or what advice do you have for keeping light leathers soft but not darkened?

Border Reining Saddle in ??? Chestnut???
See the color of his headstall? I thought this saddle would be that color. I believe it's Circle Y's "Walnut". The reins are Rod's show reins that have been oiled with neatsfoot.
2736 in Light:
Close-up of hand tooling:

My plan is to order on Monday..... gulp!


  1. Colours in tack are so tough... Based on the pictures you posted, I think the 2736's colour would be better for showing...right??

    Good luck choosing your colour and good to hear that you like the Rocking R - I'm happy with mine.

  2. I still much like the darker one better..I also like the tooling better. I think the color compliments Junior far better then the lighter one. Theres my two cents. :)