I had a great, fun day fitting saddles this week.
Honestly, that’s a sentence I never thought I would write.
I started fitting for Amerigo Saddles about ten years ago when I moved my eventing business to Ocala, FL. I had been riding for Amerigo – via Robin Moore’s World Equestrian Brands – for about a decade before that. But when I moved to Ocala, I figured I’d better shore up my income in a new location.
I loved my Amerigo saddles and appreciated the changes they made in my horses’ performance and my riding, so I asked Robin for a job. She came down to Ocala and trained me – she taught me about horses’ backs, how Amerigo saddle trees and wool panels fit horses, how to measure horses and choose the correct tree, how to watch for swing and engagement (or lack thereof) related to saddle fit, how to determine the dimensions of the saddle needed for the rider, how saddles are made, etc.
Robin was (and still is) amazing. She sparked my interest in saddle fitting and its relationship to equine comfort and performance, which in turn helped my teaching and riding. She left the sales part up to me.
For the first few years, I (fairly casually) sold saddles to my own students and the students of local Amerigo pro riders. It was a nice side gig for me, and it fit in with my busy eventing life.
Fast forward ten years to my fun day this week:
Life is different. For one, I am at our summer house in Massachusetts. Like most horse professionals, my business is diverse. I teach lessons and clinics, travel the world to find horses for people, design show jumping courses, and ride some fancy young jumpers and event horses. And I fit Amerigo Saddles because I believe in them.
On Wednesday, I did 6 hours of driving to see two horses who needed saddle help. One was a new horse for a young event rider, the other a lovely TB who already had an Amerigo and whose adult amateur rider sensed it wasn’t quite right.
The young rider’s horse is an appendix gelding who is shaped nothing like her previous horse. She and her dad were awesome! We looked carefully at the horse’s conformation, back shape, muscling, and sensitive spots. I measured his back for width, topline shape, and symmetry. She and her dad asked great questions, and we had a cool conversation about saddle fit, the development of their horse’s back over time, and how saddles influence performance. We tried a few Amerigos on him in the barn aisle and selected two shapes to try. Then we tacked him up, and she rode. We talked more – about the rider’s location and balance, her position, her reaction time, and her ability to use and then soften her aids now that she was in balance with the horse. It was FUN. Fun to meet new people and a lovely new horse. Fun to share the saddles I love. Fun to be challenged with good questions and to collaborate with an ambitious rider who wants the best for her horse.
I cranked up the radio and drove to appointment number two.
This was a stunning TB gelding who does some hunter shows and some lower-level eventing with his adult amateur owner. They had bought an Amerigo the year before (from someone else), which now seemed not quite right. We looked at the horse’s conformation and his back. We talked about his progress over the year. We measured, tried some demos on for reference, then tacked up and headed to the arena so I could watch her ride. She was right – her horse’s topline shape had developed more muscle and less fat over the year, helped in part by an Amerigo saddle that is comfortable for him. We decided to send her saddle into our trusty New England repair woman to be made narrower. The appointment was FUN. Fun to meet a new person. Fun to talk through the development of her horse over time. Fun to collaborate with someone who really cares about her horse and her riding.
I really love my job.
PS - Did you know that I also carry used saddles? Check out my inventory here.