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View Full Version : Spinoff: Pancake saddles-those who went without



JustABay
Mar. 29, 2009, 02:57 AM
At the barn the other day I was regaling some of the younger girls with the "horror stories" of old-ie: no knee rolls, old school hunt caps, full cheeks, shows packed with only TB's and more, when one of them asked me what it was like to ride in the super flat saddles. It led me to wonder, for these kids who never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard would it be for them to make the switch from big squishy couch saddle to postage stamp?? I remember eventing in one!!! I have been toying with picking up an old Crosby PDN or something equally flat (Don't tell my Childeric!) just for a bit of a tune up for me. I am kind of wondering if I'll even be able to sit in it at all it's been so long!!! So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??

SarahandSam
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:04 AM
I like switching back and forth. My first saddle was an old PDN and I loved it--it made me work, but it was such a great saddle. Unfortunately my wide QH did not love it. Now I have a Stubben, which is quite comfortable, almost too comfortable for me... I do ride in an old Lancers though at lessons sometimes, and that one is a complete pancake, and I don't find the adjustment too difficult... but again, I kind of like the flatness. (:

Trixie's mom
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:13 AM
i also prefer the flatish saddle...fortunately for me my centennial is quite flat...:)

camohn
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:18 AM
At the barn the other day I was regaling some of the younger girls with the "horror stories" of old-ie: no knee rolls, old school hunt caps, full cheeks, shows packed with only TB's and more, when one of them asked me what it was like to ride in the super flat saddles. It led me to wonder, for these kids who never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard would it be for them to make the switch from big squishy couch saddle to postage stamp?? I remember eventing in one!!! I have been toying with picking up an old Crosby PDN or something equally flat (Don't tell my Childeric!) just for a bit of a tune up for me. I am kind of wondering if I'll even be able to sit in it at all it's been so long!!! So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??

I don't know.....the saddle I had for ages was a used Pariani that was ancient when *I* got it and I got many more years out of it too........flat as a pancake and seat as hard as a rock but it fit just right......me and any number of horses that it was used on. When the day finally came that it was irrepairable I was very sad. Trying to find another old Pariani like it proved to be fruitless. I still buy used saddles though. What I could not get used to was the deep seat with big of knee rolls. The 2 saddles I currently own are an elderly COunty and and elderly Passier. Even if I could afford 3k for a new one I don't want one. I *like* the older flatter ones!
We recentlytook my daughter shopping for her second saddle. The wittle kiddie one that was her first is outgrown. She was too young to have a choice picking that one and there is not much choice in wittle saddles anyway. She was running around hopping in 15" saddles. I had mostly pulled out all purpose saddles for her to try thinking the added rolls and deeper seats would keep her butt in the saddle better: she is a good walk trot rider and working on the canter thing yet. She tried one over in close contact land and said that one was comfy for her/she wanted that one. I had her try all my "AP"s and she insisted she wanted that CC. I shrugged and said fine. It will probably teach her to ride better with the flat saddle!

mvp
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:29 AM
I don't think switching from a bucket to a pancake will be hard if two things are in line. First, if your modern saddle is well balanced and fits you, the position you ultimately achieve should be the same. Second, if you are riding in balance because you have taught your body where it belongs, the switch won't be hard either.

People think the saddle is a bigger deal than it is if their are either very sensitive to its input on the rider's position or truly use the deep seat, knee rolls or those little rolls behind your leg to stay in place.

Most of us who learned to ride in PdNs and their brethren may have an advantage in that those saddles made our position largely independent of the saddle's help.

I'd say switch back and forth! I regularly ride in a fairly deep, padded modern saddle, and old crosby and a western equitation saddle. I'd like to add a dressage saddle to the list. But my saddles keep me tuned and honest.

Queen Latisha
Mar. 29, 2009, 10:20 AM
I still ride in an older PDN, no knee rolls and no blocks. I want to ride the horse, not the saddle.:D

Little Valkyrie
Mar. 29, 2009, 10:30 AM
Someone I worked for had a plain, flat, hard as a rock PDN (I think it was a crosby) and I rode in it a few times without much complaint. At the time I had an old(er) school Devoucoux, sans lots of frills and padding, and I would say that it wasn't a terribly far stretch to switch back and forth. The thing that scared me about that saddle was the rotting billet straps, so I tended to stick to my own saddle.

pony4me
Mar. 29, 2009, 10:35 AM
The riding school tack room at my barn is loaded with these saddles, including my old Blue Ribbon Avanti. The kids there learn to ride quite well.

lynz
Mar. 29, 2009, 11:37 AM
My current saddle is not flat as a pancake (it has what I would consider to be a mid-depth seat) but has no knee rolls, blocks, etc. and I love it (it's only got a padded flap)! I've ridden in an older Ian Miller Vision close contact with knee rolls and HATED it (granted the saddle was small for me and was like sitting on rocks but I am not a fan of knee rolls). I have also ridden in saddles with blocks and didn't like them either because I felt that I didn't have the close contact feel...although it was amazing to ride in over bigger jumps/unpredictable horses.

BeastieSlave
Mar. 29, 2009, 12:27 PM
You know, my #2 daughter seems to really like the old 'pancakes' :yes:
She started out on the ponies in a tiny little PDN, but then she went to a Stubbben Rex and now has a Collegiate Diploma. She tried a Hampton Classic for a little while and she loved it. I think she'd be perfectly happy in an older flat cc saddle.....

I go back and forth between my old Crosby Mark VI and my Bates Caprilli CC all the time. It's no problem for me.

PNWjumper
Mar. 29, 2009, 12:46 PM
If the saddle fits both the horse and rider I don't think most riders would have a hard time switching back and forth. The first five minutes in the saddle are the only time you notice the "bells and whistles" (IF the saddle fits correctly). I still have my old Clinton Northrup and a bunch of my old Courbettes and other FLAT saddles from back in the day where we thought even knee pads were "cheating." Now I ride in my Counties and my Devoucoux with all sorts of pads and blocks and I wouldn't trade them for anything. But when I switch back to my old saddles for whatever reason, I only notice the hard, slippery, lack-of-pad-age for a few minutes. Same as I think pretty much anyone.

These saddle threads seriously crack me up. It's like the equivalent of, "when I was your age I had to walk through 2 feet of snow to get to school....uphill BOTH ways!"

WorthTheWait95
Mar. 29, 2009, 12:56 PM
I can see how some kids would have a tough time swapping.

I know I have the opposite problem. I've always had flat type saddles. My first saddle was a Devon 2000 (no knee blocks but did have a knee pad) then I've had butet's which I think are borderline flat (I had flat seat model with no blocks) then an antares (which I hated) and now a Tad Coffin (back to the flat, no blocks, etc).

I have a really hard time riding in friends Devoucouxs, Antares (even the one I owned for a year), etc. I just can't get out of them! I feel like I fell into a super big bean bag chair that is sucking me down. They also force my leg out in front of me a little. I have no clue if this is just a conformation thing on my end but I'll take the flat, no frills saddle any day. I like to actually feel my horse under me!

theoldgreymare
Mar. 29, 2009, 02:00 PM
So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??

I saved my old school Steinkraus for my kids when my butt no longer fit into a 16.5". When each outgrew their pony saddles (cushy Pessoas), I tried them in the Hermes. The whinning and complaining that went on was unbelievable. Without the pencil rolls and padded flaps, both rode with an open knee which resulted in a very inffective leg and they did not do well with the shallower seat. I tend to agree with MVP's statement: "Most of us who learned to ride in PdNs and their brethren may have an advantage in that those saddles made our position largely independent of the saddle's help". If I had it to do over again, both would have learned to ride in a truly close contact saddle.

indygirl2560
Mar. 29, 2009, 02:00 PM
I used to have a Hunterdon, which was super flat, and then I switched to a Delgrange when I outgrew it. My friend, who has an Antares, rode in my Hunterdon a couple times and said she hated how flat the saddle was but liked the rest of it. I felt the same way! I prefer a cushy deep seat to a pancake, but the Hunterdon was a great saddle for me to start out in at the time. I did really like how the Hunterdon made me sit though; it was a great eq saddle.

lcw579
Mar. 29, 2009, 03:34 PM
My daughter has an old flat Crump saddle and she loves it. She switches saddles depending on which horse she is riding all the time though and doesn't have a problem with it. Sometimes she is in a flat saddle and sometimes she is in one with more padding. She rarely makes any comment. In fact, the only time she did was when riding in a Nona the other day - that was the first saddle that she liked compared to her Crump.

Me? I still love my ancient Crosby PDN - I think I may just be grateful that I've had it since high school and it still fits! :lol::lol:

terasa
Mar. 29, 2009, 03:57 PM
I just switched from my old falling apart pancake saddle to a newer cushy-er model..and was a bit of an adjustment. I dont have any issues with my position in the new saddle, and I love how its so soft and grippy, but I'm finding it more difficult to really 'feel' what's under me. I'm sure I'll get used to it though, and my lower back thanks me already :)
When I first started riding a million billion years ago the lady who ran the barn gave me 'my' pony and sent me out with everyone on the trail. Bareback. With a bosal type thing. She said when I could stay on the whole ride without falling, then I could take some lessons in the ring. When I had independent hands, I could have a bridle. Then after that, I could have a saddle. The older girls were always proud to have their 'own' saddle. She was an old school cowgirl type lady and sending greenies out on the trails bareback was probably dangerous as heck. But it worked. I wish I had half the balance I had then :)

akor
Mar. 29, 2009, 09:42 PM
My favorite saddle, and the one I felt safest in, was an old Prix De Nations, used, NOTHING much left to it, you could carry it with 2 fingers. Smoothed out, slick as glass, no knee rolls, nothing. Basically just a stirrup holder. ANd this was only 8 years ago, when I was an older adult rider after 18 years off.

I just loved that saddle.

justblu
Mar. 29, 2009, 11:33 PM
I rode my first CCI* in my flat, hard as a rock 30 year old Pessoa until I could afford a Devoucoux for my guy. I used to switch back and forth between the two (babys in the Pessoa and the broke ones in the Devoucoux) when I was riding alot. But after a few years I realized that the rock hard Pessoa makes my seat bones hurt and the
Devoucoux is just way to comfy. The Pessoa now lives in the corner of shame in my guest bedroom. I can't say that I miss it at all. It was great when I was learning to ride, and I'm sure I ended up better because of it, but life is too short to ride in a less comfy saddle.

saitou_amaya
Mar. 30, 2009, 01:08 AM
I used to ride in a cushiony saddle and switched to a flat crosby and LOVE it! As strange as this sounds, I feel more secure in a flatter saddle. I'm part of the "younger generation" and I know that when I have kids they won't even get a saddle to ride their ponies in until they master the bareback. That's somewhat how I learned to ride.

JustABay
Mar. 30, 2009, 02:28 AM
It's a funny experiment though, to put kids in a pancake saddle and see how well they can ride-I had to use one after years of having a comfy saddle because my guy grew out of his saddle, man, it took a bit of getting used to and I was sliding around for the first few minutes!

Roxy SM
Mar. 30, 2009, 10:53 AM
I prefer the flatter saddles also. And I absolutely hate saddles with those blocks underneath the flap, can't ride in them. I find I can't get out of the deeper seated saddles too. My first saddle, was an old school saddle. I got it in 2000 when I was 12 and it had to have been at least 10 or 15 years older than me! A couple years later it finally fell apart. Now I have a Butet, but with very minimal padding and no blocks or anything and I love it. In fact GM ride in it once in one of the clinics I did with him and he liked it too! And a BNR I was a working student for is sponsored by CWD so she has like 7 or 8 of those, and one ancient flat as can be Hadfields, and that was my favorite of all her saddles to ride in!

cricket1978
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:19 AM
The old flats are great I had a blue ribbon for my first saddle. I personally love my soft leather and deepish seat of the saddle I have now, but I think that lots of us have bigger blocks and rolls than we need then we become dependent on them! Just think of what we used to be able to do in or ultra flat saddles, now we ride 3 foot courses in saddles with blocks and rolls made for the Grand Prix!

Trakehner
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:37 AM
I learned in the flat stuff...Parianis and Passiers...sure made you learn to sit and keep your butt in the saddle. I believe it made you a better rider.

I broke out my Stubben Lorelei for a lesson...the girl hadn't ridden in this type of saddle before (ah, youth!)...anyway, she didn't know quite where to put anything without the saddle "PUTTING" her where it wanted. Very funny...she wound up finding her spot and she did pretty well over some low stuff. The next day she was complaining about muscles she didn't know she had hurting. I just smiled and said welcome to being a rider vs. a passenger.

I love the flat ones...hate "bucket" saddles.

Tini Sea Soldier
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:57 AM
I still refuse to ride ponies in anything besides my flat, pancake pony saddle!!!

My Beval Gladstone (that's probably about 20 years old)... and fits EVERY pony I slap that thing on... it's a 15.5"... so it's a touch on the small side for me!!!! But who really cares about human comfort anyway??? hehe.

Sacred_Petra
Mar. 30, 2009, 10:06 PM
I still have an ancient Crosby PdN that I love to death!!! It doesn't have a singe "extra", no blocks, knee rolls, padded flaps, and the seat is hard as rock. Honestly riding in that saddle feels the same as in my ancient barnsby lane fox cutback, so it made adding saddleseat to my list of disciplines really easy. I have to say though, I think I'm a better rider for having ridden in a "pancake" saddle, and if I'm going to ride a horse who might act up I always choose my Crosby PdN over my big, cushy dressage saddle.

PNWJumper, your "Back when I was your age..." comment cracks me up, more so since I'm young enough that my first saddle was a cushy stubben with knee rolls, blocks, padding... all the "works."

pines4equines
Mar. 30, 2009, 10:32 PM
I had a Crosby PDN when I was going to Lake Erie College in 1979-1981 and I have to say it was so hard that it actually hurt my seat bones and sometimes caused me to ride defensively to protect my aching seat bones. However, I have much more padding now and I haven't had an aching seat bone in years.

I think I'm a better rider and have a better seat now due to that flat saddle than if I had grown up in a cushy saddle but then again, I DID walk 2 miles to school and it WAS uphill both ways... ;)

Proffie
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:03 PM
I grew up riding saddleseat. Talk about balance! It was balance or die. Those saddles are literally FLAT.

Now I ride in an old Hunterdon because all of those new-fangled saddles are too darn bulky to me!

billiebob
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:20 PM
I just switched from my old falling apart pancake saddle to a newer cushy-er model..and was a bit of an adjustment. I dont have any issues with my position in the new saddle, and I love how its so soft and grippy, but I'm finding it more difficult to really 'feel' what's under me. I'm sure I'll get used to it though, and my lower back thanks me already :)
When I first started riding a million billion years ago the lady who ran the barn gave me 'my' pony and sent me out with everyone on the trail. Bareback. With a bosal type thing. She said when I could stay on the whole ride without falling, then I could take some lessons in the ring. When I had independent hands, I could have a bridle. Then after that, I could have a saddle. The older girls were always proud to have their 'own' saddle. She was an old school cowgirl type lady and sending greenies out on the trails bareback was probably dangerous as heck. But it worked. I wish I had half the balance I had then :)

Geez.....I think this woman knew my granddad.....although he recently admitted to me that the reason he never let us ride with a saddle was because he was too busy to put the huge heavy western saddle on. I was eight when I finally got strong/tall enough to do it myself (well, with the help of the fence and a VERY patient QH gelding :)). He let us ride with the bridle, but I think that was only because grandma intervened.

Anyhoo, I have 2 saddles. An older Crosby softride with a deep seat and just a teeny little bit of padding by my knee, and a newer Bates with a flattish seat and those stupid block things. Actually, the block thingies are now in the trash because I refuse to use them. I hate thigh blocks like no other! I didn't notice a huge difference with the seat depth, but I was a little sore the first few rides so there must have been some new muscles working.

Marcella
Mar. 30, 2009, 11:36 PM
I have a FLAT FLAT FLAT Hermes...I got tossed out of a Western saddle the other day. I was humiliated, and everyone at the barn can't seem to let me forget that I ride in this tiny little postage stamp saddle 95% of the time and then get bucked out of a Western saddle (on the same horse) in the arena.

I can't ride in the Western saddle at all...the stirrups are all screwy and I can't get my heel down. I got bucked off because my jumper (who wears the Western saddle on trail rides) has such a huge trot and I was posting in the Western saddle but my leg kept swinging...and, well, those with sensitive jumpers can probably imagine what happened.

I thought I was an OK rider...not great, but certainly better than most ammys out there. HA! HA! HA! That brought me down 5 pegs.

I cannot ride in anything other than my Hermes. I feel like I can't get my leg on the horse or get my heel down. No knees at all, just lower leg. Even on the super sensitive horses.

copper1
Mar. 31, 2009, 07:34 AM
(Marcella, sounds like you need to shorten the stirrups on the western saddle! LOL!)
I adore my very no frills Ainsley that is wearing to butter soft. Knee and thigh nlocks don't bother me nearly as much as padded flaps-hate that "pouffy" feeling. I ride a lot of horses and often times need to use the client's saddle and my favorites are a Tad Coffin with no blocks and an Hermes. I had a Hermes Steinkraus back in the day before it was ruined by a flipped over horse and I loved that one so much. Several saddles later the Ainsley has fit the bill for me.

TheHunterKid90
Mar. 31, 2009, 10:44 AM
I learned how to ride in a flat as a board, hard as a rock, lacking knee rolls, 25 y/o Beval LTD....then I got a Beval Jr...still, flat as a board, then got a Crosby which had a wider twist to the seat and a little deeper and couldn't stand it so I got a flat Beval Natural and that was still too deep and the seat was too wide...so I bought my Beval LTD II which I still have now which for me works perfectly. The seat is flat flat flat (but squishy) and it has a very very twist and padded knee rolls. So moral of my story.....for me, what I gre up in is what is most comfortable for me. I hate the feeling of being sucked into a seat or down into the horse's back. I like the feeling of a narrow seat too...makes me feel like I'm riding a horse....not a couch.

equest
Mar. 31, 2009, 03:17 PM
Call me a wuss , but although I learned to ride in the flat saddle (Crump PDS) and had one for a few years, I would not want to give up my Childeric.

I noticed a great deal of improvement with my lower back soreness after switching to the cushy saddle.