View Full Version : Help!! I'm looking for a Dressage saddle on a budget!

Mar. 12, 2010, 02:55 PM
I need suggestions on a dressage saddle in the $600-$700 range. Obviuosly used, but what would be a good one to get?

Passier? I have found a couple of those, the brown are much cheaper. Will it matter if I get a brown dressage saddle?

Wintec Isabelle has been suggested, but if I could I would prefer to stay away from synthetic.

Obviuosly I have no clue, so I need some help!(not really a dressage rider, but looking to start!)

Any suggestions would be appreciated!

Mar. 12, 2010, 03:04 PM
Do you have a local tack store? You need to go sit in a bunch and see what fits you and hopefully they'll have someone on staff that might help fit your horse. The Isabell fits a wide range of horses, and comes in leather, but will probably be $900-1000 used. However, that saddle doesnt fit all riders, i cant used it.

Passiers are good quality, but i cant sit in those either, too painful. But for some it's perfect.

No one will care if you show in brown. Its coming back in style, slowly... But more and more brown out there.

You might get a cheap wintec or thorowgood as a starter saddle until you know more of what you are getting yourself into and what exactly you'll want in a better saddle.

Mar. 12, 2010, 03:09 PM
Passiers! I bought a brown one for an UNREAL low price and simply used Hydrophane darkening oil on it. It's now a very dark brown/almost black. I think they are some of the most comfy saddles around for me, and they tend to fit a wide variety of horses.

Arizona DQ
Mar. 12, 2010, 03:15 PM
Maybe you should rethink the Wintec? I too was against the synthetic saddles, but I am now sold on them! I see a lot of them in the show ring as well.

I DO have a Passier as well, but prefer the Wintec Pro.:winkgrin:

Mar. 12, 2010, 03:38 PM
I was lucky enough to find a Cliff Barnsby "Raven" model on E-bay for $405.00 - excellent condition and it actually fit my horse and me perfectly! I am very pleased with it. But before I got it, I tried many different dressage saddles to find out what fit me and the horse first. It wasn't hard to do that as my instructor uses many different dressage saddles in her lesson program, so I just tried all her school saddles to find out which worked and which didn't. My saddle is dark brown and black, and I use a brown bridle with it.

Mar. 12, 2010, 04:15 PM
omg, I had a Raven, awesome saddle, awesome.

OP, as was advised, you should go and sit in a bunch of saddles first, get a sense of what feels good. Also, take wither tracings of your horse to a tack shop and compare and see what might suit him. You and your wallet may love passier, but it might not suit your horse then you're back at square one.

At first, don't look at prices, look at what "works" for you and your horse. When you get an idea, then go shopping.

You can find lots and lots and lots of EXCELLENT used saddles for $700, crosby, niedersuss, barnsby, rembrandt/classic, ainsley, miller klimke, passier, courbette, toulouse, county, some albions, some black countrys, I just sold my stackhouse for $600, stubbens, thornhillss, duettes, smith worthington, berney brothers, stokes, etc, etc,.

lots to choose from, just a matter of what works for you and your horse

Mar. 17, 2010, 03:28 AM
I have an Albion Original Comfort that both my horse and I love. Got it used on Ebay for $950 a few years ago but I have seen them down in your price range. Super comfy saddle.

ToN Farm
Mar. 17, 2010, 07:52 AM
Don't forget, the saddle must fit your horse too. I would suggest getting some help for someone with experience in saddle fitting.

Mar. 17, 2010, 09:20 AM
I agree strongly with ToN Farm. Your horse's back is too important to scrimp.

Mar. 17, 2010, 09:20 AM
Absolutely sit in as many saddles as you can find. Dressage saddles fit riders differently than jumping or close contact saddles, mostly because many have deeper seats and a variety of block options and twists.

There are plenty of excellent used saddles in your range but you first need to narrow down your choice by what fits your horse and what is comfortable for you.

When I first started dressage schooling I preferred a deeper saddle and loved my Albion Original Comfort. Since then I've moved away from saddles that "hold" you into position.

Do NOT buy on eBay unless you know exactly what you want.

May. 22, 2010, 06:06 PM
Try out the wintec. I was a total saddle snob and rode in a Luc Childeric for years. I just bought the new wintec pro (without the Cair) and I LOVE it!!!

May. 22, 2010, 06:58 PM
Start with the horse. Do you need flat tree? Banana tree? Wide? cutback? Guessetts or non?

Then you, need a narrow waist if the horse needs a wide twist? Long flap? short flap?

There are TONS of affordable saddles out there right now. The trick is figuring out what your horse needs first, then what you can agree on with the horse, then finding that particular combination.

I adore Ancient Passiers, (brown, no padding, molded flap) but that's because they fit my horse(s). I HATED it when I first started riding in it--had to strengthen my abs a LOT.

Once you can tell us what the horse needs and what you think you might want, we can help better ;)

May. 23, 2010, 08:59 AM
I won't bother repeating all the excellent advice already given. After you have a good idea of what will work for you and your horse, if cannot find it locally, here are some tack shops which usually have a good selection of used saddles...

Rick's has a fantastic selection and some VERY good deals!!!
Rick's Heritage (http://www.heritagesaddlery.com/default.asp)

Pelham Saddlery (http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/)

Great to buy a saddle from them, but NEVER consign a saddle to Trumbull Mountain.
Trumbull Mountain Tack (http://www.trumbullmtn.com/)

I'm sure you will find a great saddle for you and your horse....Happy saddle hunting!!!

May. 23, 2010, 12:31 PM
I love my thornhill- it fits just like my old Passier that it was designed after, but fit my current budget! They have a wide variety of tree and seat sizes to fit most horses and riders.

May. 23, 2010, 12:43 PM
I bought a used "Albion Original Comfort" for $900 4 years ago (I'm sure you can find one cheaper if shopping around). I was actually looking for a saddle to use out on the trail so I never even concidered buying a dressage saddle, but then I ended up sitting in it at the concinment store... WOW! What a saddle, I bought it on the spot. It actually feels like it has a pocket for each seat bone and I have never ridden in a more comfortable saddle- ever. Everyone who gets on my horse comments on the saddle, how exremely comfortable it is. Mine is also very hadsome, it is black & very dark brown.
Good look saddle hunting.

May. 24, 2010, 09:25 AM
I recently got an E. Jeffries off ebay from England (I live in Eastern US) for under $400 including shipping. If you know what you want and your horse isn't too hard to fit, I highly recommend the online shopping thing. I think the most likely places to find deals are local tack shops that do consignment, but don't have a big internet presence or directly from sellers on area or local websites, including Craigslist. Good luck

May. 24, 2010, 11:26 AM
Have you checked here/

May. 24, 2010, 11:47 AM
Do NOT buy on eBay unless you know exactly what you want.

Agreed. But if you have had the opportunity to sit in/try several saddles, and you have found a model/seat size/tree width that you know works, eBay can be a fabulous resource. I got my older Passier GG through eBay several months ago. I began searching for that size seat/tree after I had found one through a tack store that fit me and my horse very well. The eBay seller provided the serial number, which I then sent on to Passier to confirm the saddle was being represented accurately. Each time I have sent a serial number to Passier, I've had a reply from Thomas within 8-10 hours. I got the saddle for a song (right around the price range stated in your OP) and it was in great condition.

May. 24, 2010, 12:06 PM
Many nice Keiffers come it at around 600-800 used. I think Keiffers are very nice for the price...right now, there's a Kieffer Adjustable Rhein on Ebay with a buy it now of under $600...since its adjustable (by a dealer), and a med. tree (could fit a range), might be worth a look.

ETA: I agree with ASB that EBay is a good tool. I've bought and sold on Ebay since 02 and I'd say 90% of the time I got great deals and dealt with great sellers. Check the feedback rating, that is always helpful.

ETA2: Plus, Ebay is so fun to mess around on. I just found a Stubben Excalibur with all the fittings for under 900$, including shipping! Gotta love Ebay browsing.

May. 24, 2010, 12:27 PM
I'm not sure what others think of the brand, but another one to check out is Ovation. I was able to try one belonging to someone at my barn who is buying a custom for her rapidly widening horse. It fits me and my horse perfectly, and is in your price range. I'm now anxiously awaiting the arrival of my friend's new saddle so I can have my "new" saddle! I was completely prepared to spend more, but the fit is so perfect for the two of us I will stick with it.

I've been borrowing a Circuit, and it's a surprisingly decent saddle for the price, which was low even brand new. It's just an 18", and my legs are far too short for it! The seat seems to work even for thin people, it just needs someone taller than 5'1" riding in it.

May. 25, 2010, 02:20 PM
I was in your same boat last fall. My budget was around 500-700 so I bought what I thought would fit us - a used Klimke Miller. Well, it didn't fit either one of us and my trainer said to get rid of it. I purchased a wintec thinking this will get us through but I hated it. I ended up selling that on eBay for the same price as I paid (whew!). My saddle search continued - you name it, I probably tried it. Stubben, Passier, Bates, Barnsby, Niedersuss... the list goes on - they were all used. Either it would fit me or my horse but only one fit the two of us... my trainers custom Schleese. I know, I know... you can't afford a custom, well neither could I and even if I could, I wouldn't be able to convince my non horsey hubbie to allow me to spend the $$. So, I ended up selling that used Klimke on eBay and a bunch of other tack that I wasn't using... I cleaned out my closets and while I was doing this, found pretty much the exact same Schleese that sat in someone's house with hardly little use for a price that was "just outside" of my budget. In selling the saddle, old clothes, old tack, I had $1300 to spend and paid $1K for my schleese (the lady spent $3500 on it) and had spare change! My point is, it took me several tries on used saddles and I do have a difficult horse to fit (x-tremely high wither and a flat back) and I knew what I bought initially (if it wasn't adjustable) I would have to get rid of later. I had time on my hand and an all purpose Stubben to ride in and even my trainer let me borrow her Schleese. If you have time and a way to generate a few xtra bucks you can find what will work but it has to work for both you and your horse or else your budget will be wasted on an ill-fitting saddle. Good Luck.