With no topline and a typical Thoroughbred wither, fitting a saddle could have been tricky – but Panda was no match for a Pessoa and The Saddle Hub.
Maia Olup has been riding for seven years. She started when she was 12, and since then has mostly been interested in dressage. “I’ve never competed. It’s just been a hobby, a bit of a passion really. Mum had a friend who teaches dressage. I started lessons and I grew a love for it through the time I spent with her,” she explains.
There have been some sad and disappointing times for Maia when it comes to her horses. “Unfortunately my first horse, a beautiful grey Stock Horse, passed away two years into owning him. We were at the stage where I probably would have taken him out and maybe gone to Pony Club and competed. Then after he passed I bought another horse but she didn’t work out, so now I’m up to my third horse.”
And Maia’s third time lucky is Panda, an OTT Thoroughbred gelding who retired from racing in 2016, and spent a few years settling into his new life before Maia bought him six months ago. “He was in quite poor condition at first and he still has no real top line. He’s quite slim with the typical Thoroughbred wither, so I needed to find a saddle that fitted him really well,” she says.
We went through them all, and then I trialed the two that were the best fit – the Pessoa Dressage and one other – but I was happier with the Pessoa. It just felt right and was a better match for Panda,” she says.
Maia is particularly happy with the Pessoa’s level of fit and feel: “The saddle I rode in for years was an all-purpose saddle. It was quite nice but it never felt quite right. I think it might have been a little too big for me. The Pessoa is very comfortable, it fits us both really well. Shae was super helpful and very professional. I’m beyond happy with my purchase.”
So with her new equine partner and a super comfy saddle, will Maia consider competing in the future? “I might, I’m not quite sure yet. I’ll see how we go but yeah, it’s a possibility.”