Friday, August 22, 2014

Saddle woes

I may or may not have written about the first time my crupper ring detached from the saddle.  I did some research, found that it was a known issue with a year or two of Specializeds, found the correct way to fix it, and passed on those instructions to our local leather repair shop.  It's worth noting that their first language is not English and I don't think they quite understood: the fix was not done in the way I had hoped, but it appeared to be fixed well enough and I let it be.  That fix was made late last year, if I remember correctly.

Also of note: I need a crupper on Confetti on our home trails.  It is entirely non-negotiable.  I could probably fiddle with the saddle fit and get it slightly better, but her sweat patterns are good and she moves out well as-is.  It seems silly to mess with that too much.  Everything slides forwards on her on some of our hills, with or without my weight in the saddle.  Someday I'll get a decent Specialized rep out and show them the hills.  Maybe they can shim it, maybe not.  She has no withers and big shoulders.  I'm probably fighting a losing battle.

We did a particularly steep trail this past weekend. I tightened the crupper up a hole before starting the downhill.  I know the saddle ends up on her shoulders, and I know that tightening that one hole is beneficial to keep it slightly further back.  Is it slightly snugger than some would ride with?  Absolutely.  This trail has probably 15 minutes of constant downhill walking, ranging from slightly downhill to moderately downhill, with a few large downhill steps for good measure.

I reached back a few times during that long downhill, verifying that the crupper is indeed *very tight*, as per usual through here.  I don't know when I checked it last.  We headed up away from the river, then back down to the next river crossing, then finally up and away again.  I reached back again midway up the hill and felt.. nothing.  Shit.  There was a dog and hikers behind us, a few particular bits of trail I try really hard not to ride in the opposite direction, and time constraints on my part.. not to mention if we turned around, I'd be riding some fairly steep sections going downhill with no crupper.

We carried on towards home.  All the downhills were walked, and the particularly steep ones had me off and walking her, then sliding the saddle back at the bottom.  I know what sections of trail cause problems and I can get away with that.

The next day, I saddled up with the dressage saddle and my other crupper.  Tack hoarding tendencies: totally justified here.  We rode out on the same trail, and lo!  A crupper hanging from a tree!

Speck of pink - you may need to embiggen to see it.
That was good.  What was not so good is that the D-ring was not attached.  If you take the time to hang a crupper from a tree, it's reasonable to assume that you would include all the pieces, correct?  Back at the barn my suspicions were confirmed.. the leather that held the D-ring on was still intact.  The fix held.  The only reasonable explanation is that the D-ring itself broke.  (Which, admittedly, doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  The crupper was found after that looooong downhill - and midway through a flat section, right after a river crossing.  I don't understand when it would have broken and why it came off where it did.  Thoughts, anyone?)

The saddle will head off to Specialized's headquarters for a second, hopefully more permanent fix.  While I'm at it, might as well get the billets replaced, too! If I'm going to be without my favorite saddle for 3-4 weeks, it seems prudent to do all the needed work this time around.

I am grateful for my tack hoarding tendencies.  The Specialized is not my only saddle, and my Thorowgood dressage saddle has a crupper ring and pretty sweat patterns after long rides. I also have that older endurance saddle that can come back out to play if needed.

It can't end there, though.  That would be too easy.  The ride on the Thorowgood was uncomfortable for me, and it seems likely that the gullet plate needs to be changed out for a wider one.  Not a problem, I have at least one wider one, and the tools to change it out.  Except the tools I found are NOT the ones I need, and the necessary tool and spare screws... are nowhere to be found, and quite possibly hiding with the Renegade tools that are still nowhere to be found.  I would not be surprised if they're all in the same bag.  Unfortunately, I have no distinct memory of seeing them after they were packed for Mount Diablo back in May, and I have not the slightest clue where they would have ended up.

Hex keys were purchased, and there will be an update if the stupid tools ever show up.

Bright side: scenic photos while crupper-hunting!

The tree actually does lean over the trail, and now requires ducking onto Fetti's neck to fit underneath.



It's a 15-foot drop (or so) nearly straight down on the right.


  1. ...when I saw the found-crupper pic on Facebook, it did not occur to me that someone must have found it and hung it. I just assumed it had gotten caught on the tree. Your theory makes more sense!

    1. I needed that laugh! If it had been caught on a tree, we would have broken tree before crupper, especially on that wimpy little tree that was holding the crupper :)