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Re: English saddles (long)

In a message dated 2/15/99 6:25:16 PM PST, writes:

> Some, no doubt, use cheap foam. I suspect though, that if you want to
>  pay more for something, a saddle maker would be quite willing to put
>  it in there and take your money.
>  The advantage to foam with no memory is that it will not need to be
>  reshaped once in a while. It give a lot more that most other paddings
>  and so should be (in theory) more forgiving. Hence it's use in
>  orthopedic equipment and not a few saddle pads.

No, sir, and no, sir. If a saddle has foam in it's panels it cannot be
reflocked with wool. The foam is either injected, as you said, or glued, and
the panels are not designed to allow access to the insides without tearing the
entire panel apart. Some French paneled saddles have wool felt, rather than
wool flocking, and if a reflocker is hungry enough, he or she can refelt
it..but it involves tearing the whole panel out, and the job just won't be

Foam is, by it's very nature, unforgiving. WHen a saddle is brand new, the
foam gives you the impression that it's solid and yet adapting. But after a
year or two of hard usage, many miles, absorption of sweat, moisture, etc..the
foam begins to break down. Sometimes it hardens into little balls, sometimes
it hardens into a solid brick, sometimes it just falls apart, all depending on
the quality of the foam. However, it BREAKS down. Always. And you cannot
restuff a saddle thats stuffed with foam!! 

So what do you have? A lumpy paneled saddle, with holes and lumps that can
hurt a horses back. Now, you have to buy a new isn't this
clever..instead of restuffing a wool flocked saddle every year, keeping it for
years and years and years, now you have to buy a new saddle every year!
Hmmm...I think the Big Three auto makers figured that one out years ago..make
a car that lasts only three years, and you sell more cars.

And try to convince the owner of the foam filled saddle. She's cleaned it
religiously after every use, so the leather part is like new..clean,
undamaged, prettier now that it has  that patina of use than when she bought
it.....leather can take a hell of alot of abuse if it's cared for.
 How do I convince her that this $1000 saddle, though the  topside looks brand
new, is hurting her horse with it's cheapo foam paneling????  This explains
why I have a real job, and fit saddles and  reflock them as a "hobby"
(huh...hobby...I'm a masochist)..because the exterior appearance of the saddle
does NOT reflect the condition of the padding inside. I've been kicked out of
barns after telling people that their  saddles..that cost more than I make in
a what's causing their horse's pain. They try to fix it with

Want to know how I got into this hobby? I also massage horses, and the number
one problem I see is back problems, and many many many are  due to poor saddle
fit. It definitely keeps me busy, working on sore backed horses..but I started
fitting and reflocking because I DON"T WANT to see horses hurting!!!!

Let us also consider the horse. I can take someone's wool flocked saddle,
measure their horses back, and restuff it to that one horses back. Let's say
he's built up from a lot of conditioning and his saddle no longer fits him
over the shoulders. I can restuff his saddle to reflect that.....can foam
stuffed saddles do that? NO!! Let's say he's LOST muscle over his shoulders..I
can restuff for that, too. Let's say the rider is a very much a right sided
person..I can restuff the saddle to compensate for that. Can foam stuffed
saddles do that? No! Let's say the horse has uneven shoulders..I can restuff
for that. No foam stuffed saddle can do that.

Please forgive me for jumping up and down on my soapbox, but I care very much
so for horses. I don't like to see them hurt. We all love our horses so much,
especially we endurance riders. And so often I see people do what I consider
throwing away money, when the answer is so simple. It's YOUR SADDLE!!!!! It's
not how you're riding, or how much weight he has on his's the
SADDLE, and no amount of massage, no amount of reschooling, no amount of
riding lessons, no magic pads, is going to change the way it fits him or

I'll stop shouting now. 

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