I was immediately impressed with it.
|The parts don't quite match colour-wise, but that wasn't the important bit about trying it.|
It seems very well made. The panels, which have Flair air bags in them, were super soft and squishy. The only other time I've ridden in a saddle with air bags was many years ago when I tried a Bates saddle. It felt like I was posting off a trampoline and I hated it. This Wow saddle felt totally different - it felt like a normal saddle.
|Normally there would be a leather covering all the hardware that joins the pieces together, so it wouldn't look so bionic.|
How wide is the 5U headplate that Cisco needs?
|I could probably get two hands side-by-side in there if you don't count my thumbs. Mind you, I have child-sized hands.|
How did it ride?
Cisco has never been ridden in a treed saddle, so I did the smart thing and lunged him for a few minutes first. He's worn a treed saddle before (a couple of years ago), just hasn't had anyone sit on him in one. On the lunge, it was no big deal.
|Set up with a point billet.|
Cisco definitely noticed that this wasn't his normal saddle when we picked up the trot. Insta-giraffe. But he got over it pretty quickly.
|Nice and wide. Definitely doesn't sit on his spine.|
The flap was set up so that it is tilted up at the back, which brings the front part back and makes it straighter. The shape of the flap is right for me and my super-short legs (it could still be shorter though), but the knee block isn't quite right. My knee wants to sit a bit on it instead of just behind it. So this flap, which the the Fixed Jumping flap, isn't quite right. I could probably make do with it, but it probably isn't the one I will end up with.
|The panels hugged his shoulders beautifully. Also note the 2 D-rings - one for a saddle pad, one for a breastplate. Eventers can get a ring for an air vest added at the front of the pommel.|
After he got over the initial WTF? when I picked up the trot, Cisco was pretty good in the saddle. I mean, for a giraffe. I rode in the saddle 4 times - on two of those rides I had some canter where he felt like he relaxed and took longer, slower strides. The ride in between those rides was terrible, however, and the canter felt horrible. Since he was doing the idiot dance in the barn before riding, I'm pretty sure there were extenuating circumstances, and it wasn't saddle related.
|Also super even contact along the bottom of the panels.|
I know, it's not ideal. But I'm pretty sure anything I put on Mr. Round is going to slide.
|The flap was half way down my calf. It could definitely lose two inches.|
Overall, I really liked the saddle, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to go this way when I'm ready to spend some money. The panels were the right shape for Cisco, so then it will come down to getting the right parts for me. I know I want a shallower seat, and probably a different flap. I'm hoping to find a used seat and panels, and then will order short flaps. But I've been watching a Facebook page from the UK where people sell parts and the parts I need aren't too common. I'm going to give myself a few months to find them before I panic and order all new.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.