Scrolling through the classifieds came up with a lot of saddles I had already once looked at. I was starting to think maybe I had looked under every stone possible. But then I came across a brand I didn't recognize: Advantage Saddles.
Hmmm...it looked like a typical endurance saddle, but the ad said to contact the maker with any questions and that she was amazing to work with, so I took a few minutes to google it.
If you have a spare minute I would encourage you to look them up: Advantage Saddles.
Well, it looks like a saddle...whats the big deal? A lot really.
Where do I begin??? I read through the entire website, clicking on every link and expanding every picture to read the captions. After I did that and was satisfied that I wanted to go a step farther with it, I googled looking for reviews. Unfortunately, I really didn't find much. Most of what I found was positive though. I read a blog entry from some lady who had a hard to fit horse where no other saddle would fit and she had great success with the Advantage she tried and eventually bought. I don't know if she is still using it or not, but that was promising.
Next step was looking for used ones. This is a catch 22 with me. I like the idea of finding a used one in good shape and at a good price and using that. I don't need a brand spanking new saddle. But I also get a little nervous when I see a ton of cheap used saddles from one company. It makes me think the saddles really don't work for horses or riders. I found 3 - all of which were on the Advantage website plus the original one on the classifieds. Not wanting to get fooled I filed this information under "neutral" - either nobody uses them in the first place or once they do they never give them up.
Next step was to email the maker and ask her some questions. This occured Friday night at 9 pm (she is in CA so it was 6 pm her time) and boy was it lengthy! As youc na tell, I can be somewhat wordy in the first place, but when it comes to talking fit I tend to go on and on and on. Why? Because I don't want any surprises. I want the person to know exactly where I've come from, where I am an dwhere I want to be. I want them to know my fitting issues, what has worked and what hasn't. I'm also upfront about price. These saddles are not cheap. I would need to sell mine before I coudl purchase a new one and I wanted her to know that up front so she wasn't upset if I tried the demo and didn't purchase for a month or so.
My email was very long and I went back to my weekend thinking I wouldn't hear back from her until Monday. I checked my email before bed and she responded at 10 pm (7 pm her time) on a Friday night with an equally lengthy email that not only told me she had read mine in its entirety but that she was passionate about her sadddles. I was in love.
We have been emailing through the weekend with additional information and questions and I have made the leap to get a demo. I am not sure when it will arrive as I just sen ther my money information to pay for it, so hopefully she gets back to me soon and I can get my hands on this thing.
Tomorrow I will explain why I am excited that this just may work and what makes this saddle so different from all the others.