I think I'm about to take the plunge. I think it's time to buy a saddle for Rose and my husband.
A couple of years ago, I bought a big ol' used hybrid Australian/English saddle for my husband. It was comfortable for him once he was settled in it, but he found it difficult to navigate around the horn while mounting and dismounting. The weight is also a problem. My husband is quite heavy, and Rose doesn't need the additional burden of a hefty saddle.
Seems like whenever I do something, there isn't necessarily a very logical progression as to when and in what manner the thing occurs. An outcome crystallizes around the seed of an idea, and the result happens by some mysterious process of its own.
This applies to the mundane, but nonetheless important, matter of saddle purchasing. I've decided to try a treeless saddle. To be honest, I think the idea of it appeals to me more than any particular justification I can think of. I like that the saddle (allegedly) fits multiple horses (or the same horse at different weights). I like that it's light, that it doesn't bridge, that there's no point of tree interfering with the shoulders. Mostly I just like the idea.
There are many treeless saddle choices out there these days. For some forgotten reason, I have lighted on Black Forest Treeless Saddles. They may have been recommended by someone, or then again maybe I just happened upon them. I've looked at other websites, but having lit upon Black Forest, I believe I'm going to give them a try.
The saddle they recommended is the Oak Town & Country. I would get it without the horn.
On the other hand, I'd rather have English billets, so maybe the Aspen would be better:
Looks like a rider would feel pretty secure in one of these saddles. The saddles come in sizes up to 18" English/19" Western - a good size for my husband, although not for anyone else. I hate riding in the big hybrid saddle, as I feel I'm sloshing about all over the place - and in fact that's the reason its previous owner got rid of it.
There's another motive precipitating the saddle purchase. My husband is feeling wistful about his only child left at home. Three and a half more years, and then off she goes too. He wants to spend time with her in activities that they both enjoy. They're thinking: Sailing. And of course if he and Rose become an item, the foursome can go on trail rides together. Also, when it's just us two left at home, it will be nice for us to have a shared activity. And there's that mountain sitting on the horizon, just waiting to be climbed.
My husband has always said that he would enjoy riding more if he had a groom bring him a ready-to-mount horse. I hope he comes to enjoy building a relationship as much as being taken for a ride. Rose would love to have her "own" person, and it's time for me to start facilitating their friendship. A first step is getting a saddle that they both are comfortable with, as my husband still sees horses more for their value in recreation than for companionship. However, he loves dogs, and I hope that he will gradually come to recognize horses too. Horses are a little like "Magic Eye" pictures. You don't necessarily "see" them at first - you have to let your focus become diffuse, and allow the image to come in. I will try this metaphor on my husband and see if it persuades him! He did sound quite keen when I told him I was planning to get him a saddle.
I've also ordered a bitless bridle. I may put off ordering the saddle until we have slightly warmer weather. Will update.