After the Sharon White clinic and my lesson with Tim it became apparent my saddle was not going to quite cut it. It was fine, but my stirrups really needed to be another hole or two shorter (be quiet, knees) which meant my flap was going to be too straight and too long. It had already become evident my quarantine-butt needed an 18″ vs the 17.5″ I was riding in and so the hunt was on for an ever-elusive 18″ 1AA Devoucoux Chiberta. In my price range.
Fun fact: there are lots of 18″ ones out there. With 2A, 3A, and the sort flaps. There are a solid number of 1AAs out there. With 16.5″ seats. Combine shrimp legs with jumbo shrimp butt and suddenly things are more… difficult.
I was browsing eBay a few weeks ago when I opened a listing – it just said 2010 Chiberta monoflap. No details, so I assumed it’d be an 18 3AA or something, but… it wasn’t. An 18″. With a 1AA flap. And the panels to fit Iggy.
IN MY PRICE RANGE.
I immediately freaked the hell out and messaged Emily who found the same listing on eBay.
The problem was my saddle was not sold. Or really, had any interest at all. I fretted for days, checking if it was still available. Then, right before our HT last weekend, someone asked to take it on trial. I said okay, because I just wanted the thing SOLD okay? And then hoped and prayed and crossed all the crossables that it would, in fact, sell.
Well, it did. And within minutes of that, I’d paid for that unicorn of a saddle in my size.
For some amusement, I was showing photos to a friend and she noticed it was coming in the original Devoucoux barrel. I explained a lot of the French saddles ship in barrels like those. Later that day, we were at the barn watching some other rides and I was showing her a really fancy gelding at our barn who is a Selle Francais imported from France. Without missing a beat, she glances at me and casually asks, “Oh, did he come in a barrel too?”
Anyways, the seller very graciously shipped this thing next day air INTERNATIONAL, without being asked which is… insane. And I don’t want to think about what it cost her. Only for it to get pulled for a customs inspection and sit in Memphis for three days.
Welcome to ‘this is where I finally crack from 2020’! I fretted and paced and called FedEx about 37 times who were USELESS. I texted Emily and brainstormed ways to jailbreak it with Michele (I’m sure stealing from US CBP isn’t like a SERIOUS federal crime) and just generally drove EVERYONE insane. Finally, Friday morning I straight up called Memphis CBP and prayed I’d get someone who was in a good mood cause it was Friday.
My prayers were answered when one of those thick southern accents answered the phone. “Oh, I’ve got this.” Cue up that former southern sorority girl and before you knew it, I had this sweet agent making calls and sending emails until we discovered it had, in fact, been selected – but FedEx just… hadn’t bothered to deliver/transfer it to customs. COOL THATS YOUR JOB FEDEX. He told me he’d figure it out and even walk over after lunch and see if he couldn’t get it through that night. We hung up with him giving me his direct line and name, just in case I still had issues on Monday. (No, this is not the start of a rom com, although perhaps it should be… Officer K, you single?)
Well he worked his magic and it cleared customs at 3am Saturday morning and was back on track for delivery. I borrowed a friend’s Amerigo so I could finally have a jump lesson Sunday and then first thing Monday morning…
It’s gorgeous and perfect and buttery soft and grippy. And it was beautiful all day… and just as I finished work, it poured rain for the rest of the night. Which I think was Iggy’s way of reminding me, “hey lady today is my day off!”
Luckily, the next night was clear and I just can’t get over how perfect it is. Actually having a short enough, but forward flap?! Room in the seat?! Miracles, I tell you.
Unexpectedly, because it has the same panel configuration as my old one, this one even seems to fit Iggy better. The only difference is a couple years newer and it has “B” density foam, which absolutely nobody seems to know what means (or they work for Devoucoux and refuse to tell me…) Nonetheless, I’m not complaining about it fitting him better.
So here’s to hoping that concludes 2020’s episode of “Saddle Shopping Hell: Customs Edition”