When the saddle isn't quite what you bought

When Eloise Stevenson rode in a friend's Albion SLK she knew she had found the dressage saddle she wanted for her lovely horse Rua. 

Well known on Instagram and the hunt field for their jumping exploits, Eloise rides in an Albion Kontact jump saddle, but was now on the lookout for a new dressage saddle. After a long search she found and bought a second hand Albion SLK saddle in lovely condition, with a wide gullet. She called in Balanced Saddle Fitting, expecting that Rua would need the gullet changed from wide to medium-wide.

Eloise documented the saddle fitting in her Instagram Stories - and shared these photos with us so we can give you the highlights here. Thanks so much Eloise!

Saddle fitting an Albion SLK dressage saddle for @artisanbaby.nz

Eloise says "Chris has looked after me with my Albion jump saddle for the last five years. He always gets reacquainted with Rua's body, assesses him gently and notes any changes or worries." 


Chris soon found that the saddle was wider than expected, and sitting hard in the back of the channel, laterally running a bit flat and squashed - while the panels were not working how he wanted, with too much free space under them. "We can ease that off" says Chris, showing how the packing can be reshaped. 

The front of the saddle was sitting too low, and Chris said "We'll pop it open and have a look, but I think it's just too wide." On opening up the saddle and measuring the width, Chris confirmed that the saddle was an extra-wide rather than wide. Eloise had been told that the saddle had been 'slightly adjusted'. Chris explained that although a centimetre doesn't sound like a lot, it's a big area in terms of gullet size. 

The story has a happy ending though - Chris showed how he can change the saddle to fit Rua, and confirmed that the saddle was in great nick. 

And, the faithful Albion jump saddle still fits Rua beautifully. "It's certainly not tight, the holes line up beautifully, everything indicates it is sitting ok, I wouldn't change it."