This is a story about the absolute best customer service in all the land. Seriously folks. It does not get any better than Farm House Tack. I’m fortunate to live about an hour away, but they also help over the phone and online. I can’t say enough about how wonderful they have been to me.
Monday night Nicest Fitter On The Planet drove all the way to my house after work to help fit the Bates with an anatomic girth. The girth was pricey at $300 (imagine cheapskate me pretty much dying inside with that price tag) and I likely could have found a cheaper one online, but her offering to bring it to me when the store is an hour away was pretty amazing and worth paying a little extra for. Shopping local and independent is important to me and while it can be a bit extra, you can’t get service like that from an online store. I’ll buy from them again and again just based on that.
Plus you know. My new horse is the most expensive gelding on the planet when it comes to tack preferences. Gem was a cheap date. This guy? Just assume the most expensive option is the only one that will work. Every darn time.
So anyway, she came out and met my orange beast. He was on his goofiest behavior but she had an Appy in the past and laughed at his ways. It helps that she didn’t have to take him home with her though he is slowly teaching me to get the stick out of my own butt and lighten up. He has a long way to go. I was born this way.
She brought two options in his wide load size (50″), one pure leather with elastic ends and another leather with a memory foam liner. I chose the one with the liner becasue I knew his princess self would probably like that even better. And you know what? Angels sang when I tightened that thing. I already knew he preferred leather (see above regarding his tastes) and apparently his delicate nature approved of the memory foam liner because this was the first time since I brought him home that he didn’t try to eat me while I girthed up a saddle. He didn’t even flinch an ear when I tightened it all the way. With his fleece girth I had to dodge pawing legs and gnashing teeth while I did it up regardless of the saddle I was using at the time. It’s the reason the Stubben rep thought maybe his sternum was out he reacted so violently to being girthed. Except with this memory foam lined leather princess girth. You wouldn’t have known I was girthing him up at all.
I was leaning towards being sold at that point. He obviously approved but it still felt tight on his shoulder. Being the Nicest Fitter On The Planet, she put up with my insistence that it was pinching even though she knew better and eventually had me hold my hand in the spot I worried about while she walked him forward so I could feel. And I’ll be darned. No pinching at all. His shoulder moved freely.
I told her she could head home if she wanted to at that point. I wanted to ride in it but felt bad keeping her out at my place in the dark. Being the Nicest Fitter On The Planet she asked to stay and watch me ride in it and see my reaction. Seriously folks. Nicest Ever.
From the moment I sat in it I really liked it. It was cushy enough to be comfortable yet didn’t feel like I was in a couch. The knee blocks were large enough to be secure but out of my way to make me actually learn to ride on my own and not rely on them. I think I need to move them up and back a little but that is the glory of velcro blocks. The only thing I didn’t like was how slippery the leather was. Now it wasn’t synthetic seat slippery like my saddles in the past and maybe I was spoiling myself with all the other lines I tried, but it felt a bit more slick than my wimpy butt would hope for.
We walked and he was free and moving really well without expressing any negative opinions about life so I asked for a trot. Or tried to. He had opinions on that and did more flailing and then slamming on the brakes because “oh crap this feels like work” but it wasn’t saddle fit related. That’s just him at the moment.
All was pretty great even through some tantrums. He moved super well, the saddle didn’t budge with the new anatomic girth and it fit me pretty well too. Of all the saddles I had tired to this point (14 not including the Bates), it was the absolute best fit for us both.
But I had one hang up. The girth cost some big money and the saddle was in great condition but still used and not that much cheaper than a new one. I asked Nicest Fitter On The Planet if we could negotiate the price down. Using my ever famous wife math, if the saddle could be reduced by the cost of the girth then the girth would basically be free. She wasn’t sure the owner would go for it, but said she would ask.
Well, Tuesday she got back to me that the consigner wasn’t up for reducing it. I thought on it. The new version of this exact saddle with the upgraded super sticky luxe leather was only $400 more. I loved that sticky leather. That isn’t a whole lot more money. I loved this saddle other than the fact it was slick. If new was the exact same I would not hesitate to save the money and go used but I wanted that sticky leather.
The more I thought on it the more I convinced myself to return the used one and buy new. I never treat myself. I own two saddle pads. Two. And I still feel that is excessive. Pretty much everything I have is second hand and well darnit I want that luxe leather. I work 50 hours a week in a very much thankless job and well…merry Christmas to me. (I told Hubby he isn’t permitted to buy me anything for Christmas this year since I’m spending so much in tack and boot camp. Treating myself comes with a heaping dose of guilt)
So I texted the now Ever Patient Nicest Fitter Ever and asked if I could ship this one back and have her order one in the sticky leather. Of course she said sure. I mean you don’t get that title for no reason and she definitely earned it after I changed my mind three times on which saddle I wanted. Maybe I should stalk her online and see if she likes wine?
She then went even farther. I’m telling you all. Shop at Farm House Tack. You won’t regret the experience. Anyway…since I live an hour away and work to the point where I can’t get there except on a weekend, she said the store owner was fine with me holding on to the consignment until the weekend when the new saddle should be ready to pick up and save the money on shipping it back. If I had had any doubts about spending that extra money they were all gone now. I’ll spend that much to support them any day. What an amazing experience this has been.
Of course I couldn’t help myself from being annoying still (maybe I’m like Doofus after all. That’s a scary thought) and triple checked that it would be the exact same saddle. I was assured it would be. But what about the blocks? They would be that same big size, right? Yup. And the panels would fit the same? Yup. And the seat…not only the same size, but with the same amount of cushion and everything? Yup.
Maybe I need to send her two bottles of wine.