Heart over Head with Saddle Fitting?

Lots of saddle fitting over the past few weeks some with David Dyer and quite a bit on my own.

I have had a few saddle fits that I have done alone where I have really struggled over heart and head stuff! Being so passionate about seeing horses improve in there way of going and in there attitude I have found myself in some really tricky situations.

Last week I went out to fit a saddle on a young girl's horse. A sensitive horse who was not happy to have a saddle any where near, let alone on its back. Anyway I took a template and had a car full of saddles within budget or just above that we could try. After putting them on and analysing the balance, fit etc. we whittled it down to three. The one I thought fitted best we put on the horse first and we proceeded into the school for a ride and assessment. The horse looked good and happy. Having not seen the horse before I asked the rider what she thought and she said explained that the horse was green around schooling but there was a definite good feeling in this saddle. The rider looked in really good balance in the saddle and her leg sat nicely in the size of the saddle flaps.

After a walk, trot and canter on both reins we decided to try the next saddle. It fitted nicely but once the rider was on and the horse was moving it was 95% good where as the first saddle was 100%. The rider preferred the first one to ride in also. The horse was not quite as free in the shoulder with this saddle and the transitions were not quite as soft over the back as with the first one. We both agreed the first saddle was the better one.

For our interest we tried the third saddle but as soon as the rider sat in it she said she really didn't like it. It was a lot flatter than the others so gave a lot less support. She rode a walk, trot and canter but the horse was not liking the saddle either and the way of going was significantly different to the first saddle.

To finalise we put the first saddle back on. The change in the horse was instant a clearly happier horse, moving better with good freedom in the shoulder, swinging through the back with good rhythm.

So the decision was made - Or so we thought!! A quick call was made to the young girls mum, explaining that this saddle was £50 over budget. Her mum firmly said to her daughter that the £50 extra was to much. The second saddle she tried was £75.00 less and so within budget. After talking with her mum it was decided between them that they would have the cheaper saddle.

So here is my predicament - £50 in the great scheme of things is not a lot to swallow BUT when it is all of the profit that is in the saddle because I don't own it, and I am selling this particular saddle for a friend what do you do??

I knew in my heart that the first saddle was right for that horse, and I wanted more than anything to do the right thing. I was in such torment over this I actually went off and rang my husband who was on holiday (who by the way knows nothing about horses, other than the fact we are all bonkers!) - I could give her the 100% saddle and earn nothing or sell her the 95% saddle and make quite a bit more!

So after much discussion and thinking about the fact I am a new business and can't afford to make nothing, I followed my head and not my heart. The deal was done and I drove away feeling a bit sad really.

I drove away thinking you know what as soon as I can I want to be in a position where I have enough profit to give her the £50 off. A few days past and life carried on - BUT I couldn't help feeling I had done the wrong thing. Two days later I was local to the girl so against all my financial needs I went and swapped the saddle over.

OK so I made no money and OK I am a new business that can't really afford to do that, but you know what it feels good to have helped that horse and to know that it will be more comfortable, move better and feel happier.

Bonkers maybe but my heart is much happier!