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View Full Version : 17" vs 17.5" seat? How big a difference is there?



toowoomba2
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:29 PM
I got a trial saddle from Dover this weekend and it only comes in a 17.5". Its the Pessoa Legacy Event XCH saddle with the exchangeable gullet.

So far, I've only tried it on a TB that's recently recovered from an injury, so could only walk up and down hills and very brief trot sets. I felt very balanced in two point at the trot in the saddle. I'm going to try it on another hose tomorrow that can jump to check the balance over fences.

The saddle seems huge. I'm 5'6, but since the flap is already forward, I don't need a big saddle to keep my knee from going past the knee roll. I wonder if I should get a 17"

Here's my dilemma - I can only tack up and ride the 17.5". They don't have a 17" demo. If I go down 1/2 inch, will the balance change? I've had bad experiences with two saddles that have terrible balance when jumping higher(i.e. stirrup bar in the wrong place, puts me at odd angle, etc) even though it fits the horse. So this time I really want to make sure the saddle works for me too (not just the horse!).

Should I stick with the slightly too big 17.5" saddle since I know it has good balance, or should I take a chance with the smaller saddle and hope if feels the same over fences?

Petstorejunkie
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:35 PM
How old are you and how long do you hope to keep the saddle?

toowoomba2
Aug. 29, 2009, 10:38 PM
old
;-)

showponies
Aug. 29, 2009, 11:29 PM
at 5'6 I would say a 17.5 would be huge on you....unless you are all legs...You sould have 4 fingers in front and a hind behind when sitting, also when sitting in the saddle, your knee should come to the middle of the flap...Remember seat size has nothing to do with the size of your butt:) it has to do with the distance from your hip to your knee.....Go to a local tack store and have them fit you...This might help....

Meredith Clark
Aug. 29, 2009, 11:39 PM
at 5'6 I would say a 17.5 would be huge on you....unless you are all legs...

Must disagree.. I have the saddle the OP speaks of. I'm 5"3 and have a 17.5inch. I event so I ride with my stirrups short and my knee went over the flap in the 17inch.

If you buy the saddle from Dover they will allow you to sit in it on the horse as long as you return it in the condition you received it.. if they can still sell it as "new" after you've returned it you're ok. Just be careful and wrap the billets and leathers.

toowoomba2
Aug. 29, 2009, 11:50 PM
Must disagree.. I have the saddle the OP speaks of. I'm 5"3 and have a 17.5inch. I event so I ride with my stirrups short and my knee went over the flap in the 17inch.

If you buy the saddle from Dover they will allow you to sit in it on the horse as long as you return it in the condition you received it.. if they can still sell it as "new" after you've returned it you're ok. Just be careful and wrap the billets and leathers.

Ugh, I was wondering if going down a size would cause my knee to go past the flap. I always have that problem, but feel like the next size up is sooo much bigger.

So what do you think of the saddle??

superpony123
Aug. 30, 2009, 01:49 AM
Well, the difference is half an inch. ;)

Sorry, I just had to :D


Anyway, have you ridden in a 17" saddle before?

*Generally* if the saddle fits and its balanced, it should be in all sizes as well. (well, if you took a 15" of that same saddle, obviously you might not feel nearly as balanced. but the saddle would still be balanced because it fits the horse. anyway, a half inch is really not a terribly huge difference, at least to me. i ride in a 16" even though i can technically fit in a 15.5" but I am more comfortable with the 16. i've ridden in a 17 just fine, too.) Some brands are notorious for having unbalanced saddles. Some are known for their superior balance. Having a too-big saddle feels very odd and unusual depending on the build. Like I said, I've hopped on a friend's horse in her saddle which was a 17" county. I was thinking "oh jease. I'm going to be so unbalanced in this thing, it's huge" and really I was just fine. Comfy saddle, too!

See how the jumping and cantering is with the saddle. It might change your mind.

Skip's Rider
Aug. 30, 2009, 08:46 AM
For me, half an inch makes a huge difference. In the 17" saddle I felt very secure, and it was easy to hold my position. In the 17.5" (same brand of saddle), my legs moved all over the place and it was very difficult to hold my position. This was very evident to me at the trot. So, since you have the saddle, try it. If you can't hold your position, then it's not the saddle for you. Good luck!

showponies
Aug. 30, 2009, 12:50 PM
Must disagree.. I have the saddle the OP speaks of. I'm 5"3 and have a 17.5inch. I event so I ride with my stirrups short and my knee went over the flap in the 17inch.

If you buy the saddle from Dover they will allow you to sit in it on the horse as long as you return it in the condition you received it.. if they can still sell it as "new" after you've returned it you're ok. Just be careful and wrap the billets and leathers.

You may disagree all you want, I have over 23 years of fitting saddles to many different people and horses....If the saddle is too big you will get left behind over a jump..YOu won't be able to stay up with the horse..... There are saddles made that can be a 17" with a forward flap or and exlong flap....This is a big purchase, unless you know of a saddle that is PERFECT for you and your horse, then I would recomend that you get a professionals help...You can try all you want, but if you don't know what you are doing, the trying won't help...Some trainers have no idea about saddle fit either..Good tack store personal are trained in it......

KathyR
Aug. 30, 2009, 04:10 PM
I am 5'6, and ride in a 17.5. It is a flat, older PDN, no padding, so that might make a difference with knee rolls and blocks. I've ridden in a 17.5 with all the padding, and I felt small in that. Guess it depends on the saddle and padding.

mortebella
Aug. 30, 2009, 05:31 PM
I know way, way less about this than other COTHers (MVP comes to mind) because there are all sorts of elements to saddle design - but one big thing I know the hard way is that your height ain't got NOTHIN' to do with the size saddle you take. You need to measure your femur. That's your saddle size, roughly. I am 5'4", a certified shorty, and take an 18" saddle, now probably not in every make and model saddle out there - might need a half one way or the other for an ideal for that saddle. But I can tell you what will happen if you put me in a 16.5". :eek: which logic would dictate would be more appropriate for my height. So be careful, there are more strangely proportioned folk in the world than you would think - I'm just saying, don't guess, get out the stick and START from there, then it's a matter of that saddle's design.

hollyhorse2000
Aug. 31, 2009, 01:47 PM
Don't guess when it comes to saddles. If the one you're in feels too big, then hunt around and find someone online who will send you a 17" on trial . . . then you'll know for sure. That said, make sure the 17.5 really is "too big" for you. I see many people riding in saddles that are much too small for them, but I guess they're used to it, so it feels normal . . .

turnandburn
Sep. 8, 2009, 12:32 PM
You must also consider the placement of the stirrup bar. It should put your leg in a natural position so your leg is not too far in front or behind you causing you to struggle to get your ankle and hip in line.

JinxyFish313
Sep. 8, 2009, 01:33 PM
Must disagree.. I have the saddle the OP speaks of. I'm 5"3 and have a 17.5inch. I event so I ride with my stirrups short and my knee went over the flap in the 17inch.

If you buy the saddle from Dover they will allow you to sit in it on the horse as long as you return it in the condition you received it.. if they can still sell it as "new" after you've returned it you're ok. Just be careful and wrap the billets and leathers.

Same here...I'm 5' and ride in 2 different saddles on a regular basis - a 17" Beval Natural, and a 17.5" Butet. At jumping length my knee has about an inch to go. I'm not terribly skinny though, I do have a butt and thighs :)

I bought a 17" PDN a few years ago for $200 because it was in excellent condition and I grew up riding in a no-frills PDN. I figured pretty soon there won't be any good saddles around without lots of padding, blocks, rolls, etc. I hadn't actually ridden in it until a week ago and I was so impressed by it. It felt like "home" again. My knee BARELY made it though. If I went any smaller I'd definitely be over the flap.

Hunter Mom
Sep. 8, 2009, 02:09 PM
I am 5'7" and ride an 18". It was the one that fit me best. I figure saddle size is a lot like shoe size - I have everything from 8.5 to 10.5 shoes in my closet, and each fits. There is more than one dimension in it, and each manufacturer/model will vary a little anyhow. If you feel like the 17.5" fits you well, and you feel balanced in it, get it. Don't go down a size because some chart says you should. Buy what fits you.

JB
Sep. 8, 2009, 02:33 PM
How much of a difference there is depends on the saddle.

The more shallow the seat, the bigger 1/2" will feel.

I rode in a 17" Stabilizer and a 17.5" Stabilizer XTR (or the other way around, I don't remember now), and did not feel a difference at all. But, they are slightly different in build.

If the seat is too big, but your balance point is still in the middle, and your knee/leg is in the right place and your seat is such that you don't rely on a snug saddle to keep you in place, that is much more conducive to correct riding than having a too-big seat put your center of balance behind the horse and you slide around.

What it comes down to is I would not buy a different seat size from one I demo'd. Even if I said the balance point didn't change *for me* in that exact saddle, that is not a given it won't change *for you*.

Across Sicily
Sep. 12, 2009, 01:35 AM
Hmm. Well, I demo'd a 17.5" Stabilizer and wound up with the 18". The 17.5 might have worked well enough, but I'm THRILLED I went with the 18". It caused me one or two sleepless nights but the 18" fits me better everywhere than the 17.5" and I feel very solid in it.

For the record I'm 5'9" and a great deal of that is in my legs, particularly the femur. I'm not enormous but I'm not a super skinny girl either. When I was measured I was told that my leg basically belonged in a 19" saddle.

You might check Dover's policy on saddle returns; I don't know what it is, having not trialed a saddle from Dover, but a great many saddle dealers will give you a week or two to return the thing so long as there are NO marks of use on the saddle. That may set your mind at ease. :)

Also, depending on what the saddle is, you might be able to trial the 17" from somewhere else, like, say, SmartPak or Rick's Heritage.

JET11
Sep. 12, 2009, 12:05 PM
Don't get freaked out by the number "17.5". Nowadays the European saddles are made different than the old Crosby saddles. Slightly big is for sure better than a saddle that is too small. When we ride and jump, we tend to slide slightly back in the saddle. We don't ride on the pommel. You want to make sure you don't end up riding the cantel when moving slightly back in the saddle.