Monday, January 25, 2010

Gwen's new torture device

Well, it's not new and I wouldn't call it a torture device, but Gwen probably will. It's a Crosby Torino and I bought it off ebay. How could I buy a saddle off ebay you ask? I popped my Crosby Lexington on her back one day and it fit her, then I made a template of her back and took it to the tack store. The brand new $1K Crosby medium tree fit her too. So I figured that a Crosby medium tree made between now and 15 years ago when my Lexington was made would fit her. Well, more hoped.

I'm worried this doesn't fit her. It can't sit up any higher than that because it'll pinch her withers and interfere with her shoulders, but it looks like it sits really far back (of course I could be thinking that because I've gotten used to seeing my barn owner put her saddles way up on her horses' withers). I'll see if I can get some better pictures later in the week. If it doesn't fit her I'm not out much and I can just sell it, but I'm hoping that looking at it under better light will improve its prospects.

Yes, that is a kids basketball hoop in the back. There's a resident 4 year old boy where I board.

After saddle fitting I took Gwen out for more target training. This time I was really pushing the envelope. Due the rain and warm temps the outdoor has finally thawed, so I took her out there and turned her loose. She loved the footing and took off galloping all over the place. She is a vision when she's moving: agile, quick and effortless. Twice when she was cantering down the long side of the arena she started swapping leads at every stride. My jaw fell, my horse was doing one-tempis all on her own for the sheer fun of it. I tell you what, if I can get this mare under saddle she might make me one hell of a dressage horse.

After she got her gallop on, I pulled out the target and got to work with her still loose. She actually paid attention to me. Whoohoo! I'm really psyched about that. She was all alone, not another horse in sight, and she was composed enough to touch her nose to it every time I said "target." She wasn't standing still but she was listening and that's all I'm looking for right now.

Coriander also got his second dose of the bit tonight. Still doesn't quite have the hang of it yet, so I'll give him time.


  1. My first saddle was a Crosby Prix de Nations?(spelling) and I absolutely loved it. So comfy. I can't tell from the pictures how the fit looks but good luck with it.

    Isn't it amazing how they can move when not under saddle!

  2. Howdy GHM! Crosby is my favorite, my Lexington is the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat in. I was glad when it looked like Crosby was going to fit her too.

    They are absolutely lovely when they're free and I personally imagine myself up there sharing in it. Though sometimes you look at them and say "dear god, I hope I never have to ride that."

  3. It looks okay from here. . .

    The old-style Crosby saddles are easily the way to go if you are looking for a quality jumping saddle. At some point Crosby, like many other brands, outsourced and are no longer "hand-made in Walsall, England." At least, that is how it was presented to me when I ran a tack shop. Interesting, though, I've never seen a "Torino" model.

    It's funny how the Internet has democratized harness-making and changed what is acceptable. When I was a kid your options were Crosby if you were loaded, Collegiate if you weren't, and Essex (State Line Tack) if you were SOL - read: me. I still have some pieces of my $20 Essex bridle that I purchased in the early nineties. But there was no question that it was a cheap piece of crap, made in India from goatskin - again, that's what they always told us.

    Now it is nearly impossible to tell the Indian and Southeast Asia-made tack that until it arrives on your doorstep from the catalog or web site. I recently bought an exercise saddle off eBay to start my yearlings under. It was made in India and seems to be of decent quality, but who knows? With only a half-tree I figured it wasn't much of a risk, but I wouldn't buy a cheap modern saddle without worrying about their backs. Older seems to be the only reliable way to go right now!

    Natalie Keller Reinert
    Retired Racehorse Blog

  4. The ebay seller advertised it as a Torino but I haven't been able to find any others online. I'll have to do some more research and look a little closer at the saddle to see if I can find any marks.

    I've heard that since Crosby got sold the quality has dropped quite a bit, yet more reason to buy an old one.

    Interestingly, when I was at the tack shop checking my template I told the salesclerk I wanted a used (cheap) saddle to start my mare with. She said they had some new Weaver saddles for $100. Um, no thanks. If a saddle costs that little new it's not going on my horse.

  5. Sounds like your targeting with Gwen is going awesome!

    I love ebay. I bought my dressage saddle (an ancient Stubben)from ebay several years ago. It's not show quality, but it's perfect for schooling and it was a steal for what I paid.

    And good quality saddles, even if they don't work out, can usually be resold to cover most of the cost.


  6. Hi Mary- yes, clicker training is working for her. Thank goodness, I didn't have a backup plan if it didn't! It has made her a little mouthy, but she's paying attention now and it has helped her relax- I'm willing to deal with a little mouthiness for that.

    Ebay is dangerous for me, I look for one thing (bid) and then for something else (bid) and then something else (bid). Before I know it, I've got 10 different packages coming to my house. Eek.