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OldNewbie
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:06 AM
Hi everyone,

I just started riding at age 41 a few months ago and have been having a lot of fun. Just did my first jump last week! At my instructor's suggestion, I've decided to get a saddle. I've got a budget of about $1000, although I'd love to spend less. I originally considered a Wintec synthetic saddle, but my instructor and others at my barn nearly fainted at the suggestion. ;)

I've read a lot here about used saddles, but there are so many brands and so many factors it appears very daunting to a total beginner like me. Also, $1,000 seems a bit low for some of the brands that are frequently mentioned here, even used. I visited Dover recently and this Circuit Pro (http://www.doversaddlery.com/product.asp?pn=LA-15455&EID=X1810001&TID=CHRS) seemed like a good fit. But I was curious what folks on the COH forums thought of this saddle and if anyone had other suggestions.

Thanks for your help!

BAC
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:16 AM
The Dover Circuit saddles have a good reputation, why not get a demo and try it out? Also, ride in as many different saddles as you can before you purchase anything, can you ride in other people's saddles at your current barn so you can get an idea of what you like?

You should be able to get a good quality used saddle within your budget. A used Beval saddle is another good option, or an older Pessoa. I would prefer a good quality used saddle over a new Wintec, I just don't like the looks or feel of synthetics.

Trixie
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:20 AM
Most of the circuit pros I've seen feel like plastic. Avoid anything that feels or looks like plastic.

You should be able to find a used saddle in your budget, though. I have, a used Ashland, which was lovely and lasted for years, a used Dominus, which I bought for about $600 and was beautiful leather but didn't fit my horse, so I sold it for $800. I'm now onto a used butet, which I paid $1100 for. It can be done, you have to know what fits you, and then scour the internet and used tack stores for a deal.

There are also some beval saddles that are roughly in your price range and far superior in quality to the Dover ones, last I saw them.

Talk to your trainer about what would fit you and your horse. It's useless to buy a saddle and have it not fit what you're riding.

Bogie
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:20 AM
You might want to do a search here about the pros/cons of buying a saddle when you don't own your own horse.

I think that if the school saddles where you ride don't fit you, it can be a good idea.

Before buying anything, ride in as many saddles as possible so you can find out what type of saddle you like -- deep seat, shallow seat, blocks, forward flap, long flap, etc. There are so many options that until you are more familiar with them I wouldn't buy anything.

Ask your trainer to find you some saddles in your barn that you can try in a lesson so she can help you evaluate whether the saddle is helping you or whether you are fighting the tack to hold your position.

It's a shame they squelched the Wintec route. They are good saddles (I like the pro jump) that don't break the bank.

I would certainly advise going the used saddle route. There are a lot of bargains out there. Also, certain saddle brands seem to fit more horses . . . Stubbens generally are horse friendly and if they fit you, can be found for short money on eBay.

Keep in mind that as your riding progresses your choice of saddle may change. Over the years I've found that I like a progressively flatter seat with minimal blocks. There was a time when I found a deeper seat and more pronounced blocks made me feel more secure.
Good Luck!

lesson junkie
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:23 AM
Hi, OldNewbie-I was going to say exactly what BAC said-ride in as many as you can manage, even if you think you won't like it. And, you have plenty of money to spend if you look for used.

The only thing I would add-if you can manage to wait until April and get to Lexington for Rolex, you can sit in any saddle made, and there are killer deals to be had. It's saddle shopping heaven!

mvp
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:27 AM
Bogie offers good advice, but I'd disagree on just this point:




It's a shame they squelched the Wintec route. They are good saddles (I like the pro jump) that don't break the bank.



It will be expensive if you buy a synthetic saddle and then begin to show. No, your trainer didn't need to faint at the suggestion, but many people might not favor the look of a Wintec in the show ring.

Why buy a saddle that won't go everywhere you can conceive of going?

Yes, your tastes may change but that will take some time. In the meantime, definitely ride in a bunch and do your research so that you know what's out there and what it should cost. I also think seeing a saddle in person (or at least the brand) is key. There's lots of leather out there that feels and wears much worse than the pictures of the new stuff suggests. I'd put the Dover Circuit saddles among these.

paintlady
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:29 AM
Are you buying this saddle for your own horse or are your riding lesson horses?

Personally, I would not buy a saddle unless it was for my own horse. A saddle needs to fit the horse - not just the rider.

If buying for your own horse, I strongly advise working with a saddle fitter. I've wasted too much time and money on saddles in the past only to have them not fit my horse properly.

KateKat
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:41 AM
First off, good for you! Myself being an adult rider (started at 25) its great to know there's others like me out there somewhere :)

I bit the bullet and bought my own saddle a couple months ago because the school saddles I was riding in were horrible. The one I used barely fit me, was slick as glass and I don't feel fit the horses very well either. A good used saddle, a Northrun Ashland (which I LOVE, I would recommend as a brand to check out) basically fell in my lap and I purchased with the approval from my trainer. I've sat in a few other CC's and french saddles, so I agree to try and see if others at your barn will let you try your saddles so you can decide what you do or don't like.

Good luck, I know that having an ill fitting or uncomfortable saddle can really affect your ride and learning.

Bogie
Jan. 12, 2010, 10:54 AM
I would suggest riding in any saddle you consider buying. Thinking a saddle is comfortable when sitting on it in the store does not mean it will be comfortable when it's on your horse.

Likewise, I've had saddles that felt great on the flat but just didn't work for me over fences.

BAC
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:10 AM
Personally, I would not buy a saddle unless it was for my own horse. A saddle needs to fit the horse - not just the rider.

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many places don't fit the saddle to the school horses anyway, so I see no reason why the OP shouldn't buy her own saddle regardless of whether she owns a horse. Whatever she buys probably has just a good a chance, or better, of fitting the school horse. Not saying its right, and ideally every school horse would have a properly fitted saddle, but in many cases it just is not the reality. I own both an ancient Stubben and a much newer CWD, so I usually am able to use my own saddle on the horses I lease or lesson on, but in once instance neither fit and I used that horse's own saddle, which did fit him well.

joiedevie99
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:23 AM
My only recommendation would be to choose wisely re: tree size. If you don't get something adjustable, think about whether you ride more horses that are wide, or more that are average to slim. If you ride a bunch of wide QHs and WBs, look for a good used saddle with a wide tree. If you ride TBs, look for a medium. Also keep in mind that you can use a saddle that is a bit too wide with an extra pad. If the saddle is a bit too narrow, there is nothing you can do.

js
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:41 AM
There is nothing wrong with the Wintecs, what about the Collegiate saddles, they are adjustable too and leather? When spending your own money, buy what you can best afford, the instructor doesn't have to love it, she isn't paying for it. As long as it fits the horse(s) you are riding, go for it.

Are you using a lesson horse or riding your own horse? Why did the instructor suggest you buy a saddle if you are using a lesson horse? Fitting the horse is important; however, if you are riding different lesson horses a one size fits all saddle is near impossible to find. Getting an adjustable saddle such as the Wintec will help if you have to ride different horses but its not a guarentee it will fit any of them. What saddles are being used now? Is it a brand you can find used and afford?

Bogie
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:08 PM
It really depends on the brand. Some wide trees are really wide. I think the widest I'd go for a personal saddle is a m/w. You can only add so much padding before you end up looking like the princess and the pea!


My only recommendation would be to choose wisely re: tree size. If you don't get something adjustable, think about whether you ride more horses that are wide, or more that are average to slim. If you ride a bunch of wide QHs and WBs, look for a good used saddle with a wide tree. If you ride TBs, look for a medium. Also keep in mind that you can use a saddle that is a bit too wide with an extra pad. If the saddle is a bit too narrow, there is nothing you can do.

headsupheelsdown
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:20 PM
Buy used, they will be less expensive (well within your price range), already broken in and won't make you cringe if you get a horse it doesn't fit and have to sell it.

My favorite recommendation is Stubben (32 or 33 tree), as anyone that reads my posts will ascertain.

But there are LOTs of nice saddles out there. I think it is a good idea to get your own. Two would be better...I would get a regular tree and a wide tree. That will fit the majority of horses you come across.

Welcome to the horse world! I hope the next posts we see may be something like... I am choosing between these two horses... which should I get?

Hunter Mom
Jan. 12, 2010, 12:28 PM
Another vote for getting your own saddle after sitting in as many as you can get your tush into. You will find it makes a huge difference for you.

If you like the Wintec (which I don't - leather is just a million times better!) look at the Collegiates - they're both made by the same company. I bought a Collegiate Alumni new a couple of years ago after I bought Mare. I knew she wasn't going to be my forever horse, so wanted something that at least had a shot of fitting whomever I got next. That said, I've ridden everything from DD's pony to OTTBs to a 17.2 WB in that saddle without any problems with saddle fit.

morning glory
Jan. 12, 2010, 01:50 PM
Used saddles are (typically) a lot more comfortable and you don't have to go through the slippery, breaking-in period. You can also usually get a lot more saddle for your money.

That said, I took a Collegiate Alumni on trial last year and was pretty impressed with it (didn't fit the pony, though). If you really want a new saddle, it's a pretty nice, balanced saddle in your price range (and is wool-flocked, plus the adjustable gullet, both of which could help it fit a wider range of horses as you progress).

Otherwise, I second the Stubben recommendation. They're comfy (I think. Some people find the seat too hard), fit a lot of horses, and will provide a lot of security as you're learning. Plus they last forever.

ReSomething
Jan. 12, 2010, 03:59 PM
Try, try and try some more.
I got my own, being another person riding a batch of school horses. First thing I got didn't fit me (and BTW my trainer just about fainted when I said Wintec so I skipped that too) so I started trying out saddles at her recommendation. If at all possible buy high-end used, they are better made and keep their value, but primarily make sure that it is very comfy for you and average to fit most horses. I ended up with a new HDR that fit me well enough. If I 'd have had the budget for a Stubben I'd have bought one of those. Trainers are usually very happy to help out with suggestions on good brands and whether they fit.

dab
Jan. 12, 2010, 05:43 PM
Your instinct to buy used is a good one -- Saddles take a while to break in especially if you're only riding in lessons once or twice a week -- Plus you stand a good chance of getting your investment back if you sell a saddle you purchased used --

Do you have any idea if you're going to want to show within the next couple of years? ... foxhunt? ... lease a horse?

I'd still consider a Wintec if you have no show plans -- It's funny how widely accepted their saddles are in dressage while they're not popular in h/j circles -- If you do consider Wintec or Bates with CAIR panels I think it's especially important to test ride (and jump) it -- Opinions vary greatly on these saddles -- I think they're great for a horse's back but demand better balance from the rider --

While adjustable saddle trees (which are offered in some brands like Wintec, Bates, Collegiate, and Pessoa) sound great, switching the gullet plate to change the tree width is not something most riders are willing to do each time they switch horses -- If you ride a different horse in every lesson, it will be a PITA to use this feature -- An adjustable tree might be useful if you lease a horse ... you would be assured of a fairly decent fit without having to buy another saddle --

I started riding as an adult too, and I rode lesson horses or exercised friend's horses for the first 5 years -- Having my own saddle was a real convenience for me -- My trainer recommended that I look for a used all purpose saddle, and I ended up finding a 15+ year old Stubben Siegfried -- That was nearly 20 years ago, and I still use that saddle on my retired mare for pony rides or our rare strolls through the woods --

Some riders will tell you that an 'all purpose' saddle is a 'no purpose' saddle, and they're right -- But, for an adult beginner who's looking for security in the saddle, in no rush to jump big, and not looking to win equitation medals, they can be a good option -- The trainer who sold me my first horse started pushing for me to buy a close contact saddle ASAP -- But, within a month we had figured out my mare had several tricks that could easily unseat a novice rider, and all of a sudden my trainer was in no rush for me to get rid of the Stubben -- When I decided to dabble in dressage, my dressage trainer said I didn't have to rush into the purchase of a dressage saddle like most of her former h/j clients who owned CC saddles -- My next hunter trainer also had enough respect for my mare's antics to leave me riding in the Stubben ... even at A shows --

You've been given great advice about riding in as many saddles as possible -- If you're trying different saddles on different horses realize each horse's conformation can alter the fit of the saddles and your comfort riding in them -- If you fee like a saddle is tipping you too far foward/back, discuss saddle pad options with your instructor --

Also consider if you'll be allowed to (or want to) keep your saddle at the barn -- If you keep your saddle at home, consider getting a saddle bag that lets you lug the saddle around easily -- Realize that A/P saddles are usually heavier than CC jumping saddles -- Synthetic saddles like Wintec tend to be lighter -- Most saddle cases I've tried are unwieldy -- I like ones with handles I can easily sling over my shoulder and easily get the saddle in and out of like http://www.bitofbritain.com/Bit_of_Britain_Custom_Saddle_and_Equipment_Bag_p/98916.htm or http://www.bitofbritain.com/Shires_Saddle_Bag_p/845.htm --

Linny
Jan. 12, 2010, 11:08 PM
I don't own a horse, but currently have 2 saddles in my dining room.:rolleyes: Both fit the horse I usually ride, and are a good fit on the horses I have done lessons on, thus far.
I would advise trying as many saddles as you can. Ask your instructor for help. I'm sure she's be able to ask other clients if you might be able to sample their saddles. If any of her clients are considering a saddle change, she would probably know and might be able to help. Be sure to get your trainers input on how you look in each saddle. Sometimes that super comfy saddle allows you to slip into a sloppy position.

As for what to get, I agree that a nice used saddle may be a better investment than a new one. (One of the 2 in my house is a barely broken in saddle and I just don't ride enough to do the job!) I had a Circuit Elite and liked it but sold it last summer and bought a nice used Beval Natural, which was stolen 3 weeks later.:mad:
For a new rider, I love the Steubben. It gives you a nice secure feeling and the things are indestructible. Another lesson friend has an Ashland and is very pleased with it. She's not had any trouble with the fit on the schoolies she rides.

Congrats on taking up riding in your 40's. It's quite an adventure. Welcome to the board.

Trakehner
Jan. 13, 2010, 07:20 AM
Oh for Gawd's sake...just get a Wintec.

Do I have one? Nope.
Have I ever had one? Nope.
Would I ride in one? You Betcha!
Have I ridden in one? Nope.

Lot's of snobbishness out there when it comes to saddles. European vs. Argentine vs. Indian vs. who knows what mystery saddles made of some sort of animal covering in pink or blue! GACK!!!

You're taking lessons, you're a beginner, you don't know what you'll be doing riding-wise in a year. Get a nice Wintec (nice Wintec...is it legal to say that?) with the adjustable tree. In 5 minutes your saddle can fit anything. You are not going to lose a hunter class due to your saddle. Presentation maybe, but I suspect you don't want to buy a $600 sandwich case.

Anyway, you can get wonderful prices on these saddles, the people who ride in them seem to like them, they're pretty comfortable and very quickly saleable. What you won't get is snobbery as you can with a Devacoux, Schleese, Herme's and many other overpriced horse cripplers (two of these brands are known for fitting riders and not horses).

When you finally/eventually get your own horse and figure out what you really want to do for your riding style (hunter/jumper/trail/dressage/vaulting) then you can get a "real" saddle. Or you just may decide you don't care what others think, you like your Wintec...they really do have a fan base.

One warning about saddles, some fit women great and are guy cripplers (most Crosby's are notoriously bad for guys). The German stuff seems to fit men and women (Passier, Stubben, Kieffer etc.). Bring a friend with an open mind when you shop, bring a book, and when you get it narrowed down, sit in the saddle for 20 minutes to see if any "ow's!" show up.

Good luck

meupatdoes
Jan. 13, 2010, 09:09 AM
Are you buying this saddle for your own horse or are your riding lesson horses?

Personally, I would not buy a saddle unless it was for my own horse. A saddle needs to fit the horse - not just the rider.

If buying for your own horse, I strongly advise working with a saddle fitter. I've wasted too much time and money on saddles in the past only to have them not fit my horse properly.

This is so, so important.

You can still buy your own saddle, but you must take it upon yourself to educate yourself on saddle fit if you plan to use it on multiple horses. I recommend "The Horse's Pain Free Back and Saddle Fitting Book" by Joyce Harman for starters. Read this cover to cover before you put any money on a saddle.

I ride many many different horses, and for this reason I have two jumping saddles: one is your average medium-wide with straight panels and another is a more frog-shaped wider tree with more curved panels. They ARE NOT interchangable: if one saddle fits one horse, the other will not.
Those saddles plus my dressage saddle plus a saddle fitter's pad with some shims means that I can ensure a decent fit on 90% of the horses I meet.

For the remaining 10%, I use the owner's saddle, unless it happens to fit worse than anything I can come up with, which sadly is often the case.

Bogie
Jan. 13, 2010, 09:17 AM
Trainers are usually very happy to help out with suggestions on good brands and whether they fit.

I'd have to disagree with the latter part of that statement. I've ridden with many trainers who really didn't understand saddle fit -- nor did they understand how a saddle that is unbalanced on the horse will cause the rider to be unbalanced.

My horse's comfort and my riding both improved when I started to work with a good saddle fitter.

Now, I did own my own saddle long before I had my own horse. I've got a very long femur and it's hard for me to find a saddle that fits my leg. But I will also admit I know nothing about saddle fitting so I probably made more than one horse uncomfortable by riding them in my saddle :no:.

Having watched my saddle fitter work on my horse and others for the past 12 years, I am highly skeptical when people recommend a brand because theirs has "fit" every horse they've ever put it on. My take on that is that they just didn't know the difference.

Some horses are more stoic and will put up with a saddle that isn't an ideal fit; others will complain loudly.

Yes, buying a saddle that's on the wide side and having a full complement of shimmed pads is a good idea -- but only if you understand how to fit a saddle yourself. There are plenty of good articles out there about saddle fit that are helpful but there's nothing like having someone show you how to assess saddle fit (and to show you how sore a horse's back can become when the saddle fits poorly).

OldNewbie
Jan. 13, 2010, 11:11 AM
Thank you everyone for your responses! At this point, I am using my trainer's horses, all warmbloods so far. I believe my trainer wants me to have my own saddle for shows, which we will start doing in the next couple months. Her main point (and that of the other trainers in my barn) is that the Wintec saddles aren't suitable for the H/J ring, and I'll just end up buying a leather saddle anyway. I have no idea whether this is the case, but I'm going with it.

I will take what appears to be the consensus advice and try out a bunch of saddles, and consult with my trainer. So far, I've ridden in my girlfriend's custom Devacoux, which is super nice but is waaaay out of my price range, an old County of my trainer's, and a few others (Pessoa, CWD). Generally, I can't tell much of a difference between the brands, although that Devacoux calfskin feels like a comfy sofa! Several people mentioned used Bevals and Stubbens, so I'll check those out. And I'm not going to rule out the Circuit (or the Collegiate). :-)

Regardless of what I get, I'm going to make sure that I can test out the saddle on some horses before I commit to buying. I'd hate to get stuck with a $1,000 dust collector!

I especially appreciate the advice about how some saddles are tougher on guys. I'm one of the only male riders in my barn older than 12, so that sort of advice is hard to come by.

chawley
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:09 PM
Congratulations on your new riding career, and welcome to the board! Many others have posted great advice for you. I'd like to add that saddles are very subjective, and one person's favorite brand might not work for you and vice versa.

That being said, I have ridden in about every brand of saddle under the sun, and while I love some of the higher-end saddles such as the PJ or Luc Childrec, I have always been very satisfied with the Beval saddles. They have a wide range of prices and styles, and the quality is great. I currently have a Beval now, and it's one of the best saddles I've owned. My trainer has several Bevals for the lesson program that are 20+ years old and still going strong.

Good luck with your search!

PletchersMom
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:22 PM
My suggestion is, take your time and sit in every potential saddle, while it is on your horse. Something that feels good on a saddle rack, may not feel as good when it is on your horse.
Also, if you like a particular saddle, look it up on horsetackreview.com to see what everyone had to say about it.
Lastly, make sure it fits your knee. I have a long thigh and had to go with a Stubben Roxane due to the forward flap.

After you find a saddle, invest in a nice pad too...I LOVE my Lettia Cool Max pads. I have 4 of them! I also like EOUS pads too. And they come in really nice colors, and wash very nicely as well.

Glad to hear that someone my age just got into riding.

Happy saddle hunting!!

Xanthoria
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:30 PM
"Originally Posted by paintlady http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/images/buttons/viewpost.gif (http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?p=4613671#post4613671)
Personally, I would not buy a saddle unless it was for my own horse. A saddle needs to fit the horse - not just the rider."

Unfortunately, it has been my experience that many places don't fit the saddle to the school horses anyway, so I see no reason why the OP shouldn't buy her own saddle regardless of whether she owns a horse. Whatever she buys probably has just a good a chance, or better, of fitting the school horse. Not saying its right, and ideally every school horse would have a properly fitted saddle, but in many cases it just is not the reality.

I know you're trying to express the reality of some situations, but why would a person ride at a place where the saddles are not correctly fitted to the horse? And how can one expect a horse to give you a good lesson when his back hurts?

Horses backs vary so much - there is no one size fits all with saddles. Period. If you are padding the crap out of them to try and get them in the ballpark, ask any saddler what that's doing to the balance of the saddle and eventually the horse's back. (This adds the question "who is padding the saddle to make it fit? The beginner OP? Or someone qualified?)

And lastly, what kind of trainer wants her students spending money on a saddle that won't fit all her horses and could make them sore? That takes cash out of her pocket on two fronts: less money for training, and vet bills!

I see absolutely no sense in spending $1000 on a saddle that won't fit any horse perfectly, but could hurt many. I'd no sooner do that than buy one pair of shoes and expect 10 different kids to take dance lessons in them.

My TB would stop dead in a poorly-fitting saddle and refuse to move. Other horses may well be a lot more stoic. That doesn't mean we should abuse their stoicism!

BAC
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:45 PM
I know you're trying to express the reality of some situations, but why would a person ride at a place where the saddles are not correctly fitted to the horse? And how can one expect a horse to give you a good lesson when his back hurts?

Because they don't know any better, nor would they have any idea if the saddle they are riding in fits the horse, especially when they are new to riding. I agree with what you are saying and wish all horses, school and otherwise, had perfectly fitted saddles, but that is not the reality. So many school horses are very stoic, that's why they are school horses, they are willing to put up with so much. :sadsmile: So I see no reason why OP should not buy a saddle and use it on the horses he rides that it does fit. When it doesn't fit a horse, hopefully its own saddle will fit. A lot depends on the quality of the riding establishment and the trainer's knowledge.

Xanthoria
Jan. 13, 2010, 12:56 PM
And if the OP uses it on the horses that it does fit, again I have to ask: who is making the decision that it fits? The uncaring trainer or the newbie OP?

I think that the entire premise of a trainer encouraging a rider to buy a saddle in hopes that it will fit many horses makes so many warning bells ring to me.

And the fact that so many people on this thread made suggestions for saddles indicates that understanding of saddle fit and the individuality of each horse's back is lacking.

OP, I recommend talking to your trainer. She may well have a brand/size of saddle in mind that will fit the 1 or 2 horses you ride regularly. If she doesn't, and tells you to get whatever you like, run away!!!

Trixie
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:27 PM
And the fact that so many people on this thread made suggestions for saddles indicates that understanding of saddle fit and the individuality of each horse's back is lacking.

I think folks were suggesting brands that have been successful them in the past - and what to avoid. I don't think most folks here would advocate putting an ill-fitting saddle on any horse, period. As long as the OP learns what does and doesn't fit or has qualified assistance to assure fit, I'm sure he'll be fine.

I'm not a fan of wintecs or most stubbens for hunter showing. Neither is forbidden, they're just seen more rarely. If you're making the investment FOR showing, I'd probably go with something else.

Bogie
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:37 PM
I'm with you on this one. And yet, I can truly understand wanting to have your own saddle, especially if you are an adult male riding in a lesson program dominated by 12 year old girls :D.

I don't think most trainers are uncaring. But in my experience, many of them just don't know enough about saddle fit to make an educated decision.

Years ago I was riding with a trainer who carefully evaluated the saddle I was going to buy for my own horse. I rode in it happily until I was in a clinic with Kim Walness. With infinite kindness she said to me, "I love that saddle . . . . but not for that horse." She then explained to me how and why it didn't fit him. I was horrified that I'd subjected my stoic horse to any pain.

Another time I had a saddle that I felt didn't fit my new horse. I showed it to another trainer who nodded her head and emphatically agreed with me. I had this, my favorite saddle, for sale when the Saddle Dr. came to the barn. I showed it to him and he said, "I can fix that! It will fit him perfectly." And it did. After the second time I stopped asking trainers and started asking saddle fitters.


And if the OP uses it on the horses that it does fit, again I have to ask: who is making the decision that it fits? The uncaring trainer or the newbie OP?

I think that the entire premise of a trainer encouraging a rider to buy a saddle in hopes that it will fit many horses makes so many warning bells ring to me.

And the fact that so many people on this thread made suggestions for saddles indicates that understanding of saddle fit and the individuality of each horse's back is lacking.

OP, I recommend talking to your trainer. She may well have a brand/size of saddle in mind that will fit the 1 or 2 horses you ride regularly. If she doesn't, and tells you to get whatever you like, run away!!!

sycamoreshowmom
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:43 PM
We bought our saddle before the horse. Luckily it fit the horse we did get. Its a Passier we bought used for $400.

Our trainer and BO gave us a list of equipment we could get prior to getting a horse. They found that often it was not the price of the horse but the $2-3000k worth of equipment purchases to get everything you need for said new horse right away if you didn't own anything of your own was a financial strain on new horse owners. It helped a lot having most of our equipment already when we purchased. Prevented the whole million trips to the tack store to get everything we need. Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching. It could add up very quick.

Xanthoria
Jan. 13, 2010, 01:55 PM
I think folks were suggesting brands that have been successful them in the past - and what to avoid. I don't think most folks here would advocate putting an ill-fitting saddle on any horse, period. As long as the OP learns what does and doesn't fit or has qualified assistance to assure fit, I'm sure he'll be fine.

I'm not a fan of wintecs or most stubbens for hunter showing. Neither is forbidden, they're just seen more rarely. If you're making the investment FOR showing, I'd probably go with something else.

Your first para - I agree. Would hope OP learns and has qualified assitance etc.

If folks suggest brands they have had luck with in the past for the OP they must be psychic though - how do they know what size/shape the horse/rider are? They can only suggest based on price point, and since many used high end saddles are priced the same as new low end ones, it's a moot point. The OP can choose any brand he wants, though it's slim pickin's at $1000!

Second point though just underscores how this problem comes up: rejecting a certain brand that may well offer the best fit for a certain horse or rider (Stubben Roxane for long legged riders - it's one of the best!) simply because they're not trendy.

In actual fact, hunter judges can't see the saddle brand unless they have taken to using binoculars and freeze-frame camera technology to judge. And even if they could, brand of tack is not what's being judged.

Buy the saddle that fits the horse best - you'll do better in the show ring with a comfortable horse - and don't let anyone talk you into putting the horse's welfare second to fashion.

Trixie
Jan. 13, 2010, 02:11 PM
It's unusual that one brand of saddle is the ONLY brand of saddle that fits a particular horse.

And suggestions, which is what the OP asked for, are just that - what has and hasn't worked for one person. That's not to say that saddle will work for everyone, it's only personal experiences.

For me, I dislike the Dover Circuits, at least the newer ones, because I haven't seen any that don't feel like plastic and I don't think that's beneficial for horse or rider - plus, felt slippery. I don't like the feel of the Wintecs, either, and HATED the one I rode in because it put me in an awful position and was uncomfortable. I've found that jumping higher fences in our stubben was restrictive, which also affects my horse. Those are opinions. They are not the gospel and shouldn't be taken as such, which I think the OP is aware of.

There's a reason most of the popular saddles are popular. It's frequently not only price point or bells and whistles, it's because they're well balanced and well built and suitable for the task at hand.

No one said, also, that fit and purpose should be "second to fashion." But if one is purchasing a saddle for a specific purpose, it makes sense to buy one that actually suits that purpose.

TalkIsCheap
Jan. 13, 2010, 03:51 PM
I have to say I loved my old Wintec. Bought it about 15 years ago, since the lesson saddles at the time either had mismatched leathers, flocking gone awry, some slick as glass, some torn, some unbalanced....all of which did wonders for your form and seat. Not. That Wintec was great over fences, on the flat and out cross country.

I also consigned it years later and pretty much got back what I paid for it. I would recommend a wintec again for a newbie.

And I see no reason not to show in it, since this guy is just starting out and I would assume be in long stirrup/eq classes for a bit. The judges really don't care, and neither does anyone else to tell you the truth. I notice dirty boots, bad hands and poorly fitting helmets before I look at saddle design & color.

Perhaps you can ask the (ahem) adult male riders/trainers at shows what they like to sit in?

Otherwise, take your time shopping for used saddles. Speak to saddle fitters if possible to understand what can be done to tweak the fit/reflock. Or perhaps there are some Juniors aging out and getting out of riding that may want to sell theirs.

EquineRacers
Jan. 13, 2010, 05:45 PM
Get them on consignment if you can, that way you can try out several and if you don't like it you can return it easily. I personally love the Crosbys

jaslyn1701
Jan. 13, 2010, 07:04 PM
OldNewbie, I feel your "pain". As the oldest student in the barn, the 16 or 16.5 lesson saddles made me feel like my nether regions were oozing over the back. So, I tried my trainer's husband's saddle - lots more room - like for me and another person. So, off I went to my friendly tack store to sit on saddles. I don't own my own horse, but had a pretty good idea of what I wanted. No knee rolls, no thigh blocks, just a simple close contact saddle. An added advantage is the store personnel not only know me, they know my trainer and her horses. After sitting on about ten (including one that I was told to get off of NOW, it doesn't like you) I ended up sitting on a new old Crosby PDN - 17.5. It loved me. And I loved it and was happy to buy because my trainer has one and it has been on every horse in her barn. Layaway and a few months later, it was mine. I still love it and it has worked with everything I have ridden.

headsupheelsdown
Jan. 13, 2010, 07:27 PM
ANOTHER advantage of buying used is that you can actually "girth up" the saddle and ride in it. With a new saddle, you cannot tighten the girth as frequently putting marks on the billet straps or stirrup marks on the flaps will be a "you just bought it" scenario (at least around here). You can only sit in it with an immaculate sheet or saddle pad between your horse to see how it fits your horse with your weight on it- makes a difference.. Some store DO have Demos you can try, though.

If you are going to show do NOT get a Wintec. Lots of people like them, I know, I know.

Some horse ARE hard to fit. However, given a decent sized tack shop and one of about 90% of the horses out there... you will be able to find something off-the-rackthats a nice fit. Neither custom made nor custom stuffed. Right off the rack. The other 10 percent of the horse population might be more challenging.

This whole saddle fit thing has gotten out of control. I gotta wonder about the people in teh horse world that find something wrong with every horse/saddle combo. makes me wonder if they are just trying to appear more knowledgeable and experienced than they are.

headsupheelsdown
Jan. 13, 2010, 07:37 PM
[QUOTE=Xanthoria;4616332] In actual fact, hunter judges can't see the saddle brand unless they have taken to using binoculars and freeze-frame camera technology to judge. And even if they could, brand of tack is not what's being judged. /QUOTE]

You can tell a lot of the brands. Sure you can. I also hope the judge is not noticing this, but a lot of other people are.

JOBEAN
Jan. 13, 2010, 09:56 PM
[QUOTE=meupatdoes;4615693]This is so, so important.

You can still buy your own saddle, but you must take it upon yourself to educate yourself on saddle fit if you plan to use it on multiple horses. I recommend "The Horse's Pain Free Back and Saddle Fitting Book" by Joyce Harman for starters. Read this cover to cover before you put any money on a saddle.

I ride many many different horses, and for this reason I have two jumping saddles: one is your average medium-wide with straight panels and another is a more frog-shaped wider tree with more curved panels. They ARE NOT interchangable: if one saddle fits one horse, the other will not.
Those saddles plus my dressage saddle plus a saddle fitter's pad with some shims means that I can ensure a decent fit on 90% of the horses I meet.

For the remaining 10%, I use the owner's saddle, unless it happens to fit worse than anything I can come up with, which sadly is often the case.[/QUOTE



Joyce knows her stuff! This is a keeper..

http://www.harmanyequine.com/saddlefit.stm

http://www.harmanyequine.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=215

Joyce is the best! Fit my boy for me!

js
Jan. 14, 2010, 12:54 PM
[QUOTE=meupatdoes;4615693]This is so, so important.

You can still buy your own saddle, but you must take it upon yourself to educate yourself on saddle fit if you plan to use it on multiple horses. I recommend "The Horse's Pain Free Back and Saddle Fitting Book" by Joyce Harman for starters. Read this cover to cover before you put any money on a saddle.

I ride many many different horses, and for this reason I have two jumping saddles: one is your average medium-wide with straight panels and another is a more frog-shaped wider tree with more curved panels. They ARE NOT interchangable: if one saddle fits one horse, the other will not.
Those saddles plus my dressage saddle plus a saddle fitter's pad with some shims means that I can ensure a decent fit on 90% of the horses I meet.

For the remaining 10%, I use the owner's saddle, unless it happens to fit worse than anything I can come up with, which sadly is often the case.[/QUOTE



Joyce knows her stuff! This is a keeper..

http://www.harmanyequine.com/saddlefit.stm

http://www.harmanyequine.com/shop/product_info.php?products_id=215

Joyce is the best! Fit my boy for me!


I loved this book and it is well worth the read for anyone that rides. However, it also should be mandatory reading for anyone and everyone that own's a tack shop or sells saddles. It was very frustrating to have been armed with some really great information and knowledge from the book but when putting that info to work in trying to find the right saddle I found that many of the tack shops could not answer questions about the saddles they were selling.

For the OP, if you are using your trainers saddle and it fits her horses and you and you will be showing her horses, then it might be best to look for the same saddle used. Why go thru the trial and error process of finding a saddle when you are riding one that is already working. Get the same saddle, I'm sure there are used versions out there.

equest
Jan. 14, 2010, 03:18 PM
Unless you plan on entering the A-circuit show ring in the next year, just ignore the snob factor and either get the Wintec or buy a used version of whatever your trainer uses on the horses you ride.


Used saddles are an excellent deal. Try Rick's Heritage, they are wonderful to deal with and screen the saddles well before listing the.

Linny
Jan. 14, 2010, 09:44 PM
I bought a used saddle from Beval and found them very good. They are returnable if they don't fit or are unsuitable. many of the consignment shops have similar policies. If your local shops offer a decent choice of demo's or used saddles, try as many as you can and on as many horses are possible.