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View Full Version : Saddle Suggestions Please!



Tiffani B
Sep. 24, 2010, 07:45 PM
What would you suggest for someone just getting into jumping?

I'm looking on ebay and have seen a ton of different options, and have no idea what the differences are.

All purpose?
Eventing?
Jumping?

What are good brands? Pros and cons of each? I see several Stubben saddles at good prices - are they good?

Monoflap?

What about the knee rolls? Suede or smooth leather?

I come from a Saddle Seat backgroud so I'm very comfortable in a flatter saddle with no rolls or suede LOL! I'm currently lessoning in an ancient Barnsby that appears to be an all purpose saddle but I don't know for sure since I don't know enough about hunt/jump tack to tell. It has very forward flaps, a flatter seat, and barely any knee roll. It's comfy for me, but it's the only saddle I've ridden in so far.

Cacique
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:00 PM
I am a hunter/jumper person through and through, but now I have some eventing and dressage experience. I think it depends on where you are going with your jumping. Are you riding with an eventer or a hunter jumper person? I would say you should get a jumping saddle, and it is great that you like the flatter style because this allows for you to better develop a classic position without being hindered by an oddly balanced saddles. Stubbens are quality saddles, but I learned to jump in one and didn't love it. I recently jumped in one though, and in my newfound eventer mindset didn't have as much of a problem with it. Bottom line, consult your trainer and look to your future in the sport. Don't get a stubben if you are planning on the h/j route. Like really really really DONT. haha. I don't know what your price range is, but I would recommend an older beval devon saddle. You can probably find one pretty cheap.

Good luck!

stoicfish
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:26 PM
One that fits you, your horse and your budget. The better saddles usually puts you in a better position.
The thing is, what saddles fits perfect for me and puts my body in the perfect seat might be different then what works for someone else. If you have the opportunity, ride in several brands and types (all purpose to jumper-dressage are for dressage) and see what works for you. I personally would rather have an older, but better quality than a newer and cheaper make.
I have a Jaguar jumper that I love and a Passier dressage saddle that is also really suited to me. As a kid I rode in cheaper saddles and there is a HUGE difference in how they feel. Fwiw.

Langfuhr
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:27 PM
Honestly, you just have to ride in a bunch of saddles and see what you like best..

Across Sicily
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:51 PM
Well hi. I rode saddle seat and Morgan/ASB/Arab hunter pleasure up until last year when I picked up jumping... so I know where you're coming from! ;)

I LOVE a great flat saddle after having ridden saddle seat. You will probably find that you like a saddle whose seat allows you to sit BACK instead of pushed a little more forward like many brands do. I definitely did.

I started with a Crosby Prix des Nations, which is about as old-skool no-padding no-knee roll as it gets. They are basically saddle seat saddles in the shape of a hunt seat saddle. I LOVED that saddle while I was still riding both saddle seat and hunt seat; it put me in a fabulous position. But I outgrew it eventually and learned that, in fact, not all saddles fit all horses, so the search was on for a new one.

I sat in a lot of saddles - like, a lot - and ended up with a County Stabilizer. Very good balance point on those. I didn't sit in any of the other Countys, however. (Hoping my rep will make it out next week, finally, so I can try an Innovation! I'm back to saddle shopping... sigh.) I also really, really like what is basically considered the pre-Stabilizer Stabilizer, the County Symmetry. It is a slightly older saddle that is no longer made, but you can find them on eBay (or like I did, through COTH quite by accident, which was *awesome*!)

I've recently begun saddle shopping again after getting a new horse (who is so NOT fond of my Symmetry - this is very sad), and my "likes" have changed a little after riding strictly hunter/jumper for 8 months. I've learned I now like a medium seat instead of pancake-flat. I like a little thigh roll to keep the parts where they're supposed to be. I like a calf block. I like a frickin' comfortable seat that isn't going to bruise my seatbones. You may surprise yourself and find out you like the same kinds of things.

Basically, what it comes down to (I know, a long-winded novel just to get to this!) is that you need to sit in lots. of. saddles. They all feel different - every single one. You may hate six from one brand and fall in love with one of them. You may love everything in one brand. You also have to fit Mr Horse... and keep in mind that different saddles feel different on different horses!

Tiffani B
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:54 PM
Well I don't have a horse, so the saddle just needs to fit me at this point. I do realize I'll need to sit in several and try them out, I'm just looking for a place to start! There are so many choices.

doublesstable
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:55 PM
If I were spending your money and you have say, oh about 4 to 5 gs - I would go with a CWD or a Devocoux. But getting started I think a good basic saddle that you can find used for a reasonable price would be a Beval, HDR or Crosby. Stubbens put "most" people in a chair seat. I actually LOVE the leather of Stubbens but the saddles stink for Hunters.

But I agree with the other poster that said you should consult your trainer because they usually like a particular brand.

Have fun shopping!

joiedevie99
Sep. 24, 2010, 08:59 PM
Take a ride to a tack shop and sit in all the jumping saddles they have- used and new. Write down what you like about certain models. I personally wouldn't recommend an all purpose saddle because they don't really put you in the right place for anything.

An eventing saddle might be fine, but it will typically have a more forward flap and slightly different stirrup bar position meant for a shorter stirrup, galloping type position. If you are new to jumping, you don't need that sort of flap.

in limine
Sep. 24, 2010, 10:18 PM
Tiffani B,
You say you don't have a horse - why do you need a saddle? Generally, you would buy a saddle to fit a specific horse (as well as to fit your seat and leg, of course).

Can you take lessons or borrow a friend's horse and saddle to try out some different saddles first?

If not and you really want to buy a saddle - I do not think your first one should be as expensive as a Devoucoux (which run in the thousands of dollars). You can find a quality used, close-contact jumping saddle for less than a thousand dollars pretty much throughout the country at virtually any tack/consignment shop. (you may even be able to find one for just several hundred dollars).

I would also encourage you to look for a standard close contact jumping saddle, as opposed to an eventing saddle with a very forward flap. The forward flap is for s specific purpose - jumping at speed and/or jumping high fences - and with shorter stirrup lengths. Jumping high fences, jumping at speed or with very short stirrups are not recommended for beginner jumpers. I would also avoid an all-purpose saddle - since, IMO, it is difficult to achieve correct balance when riding in one.

As another poster has mentioned, you might be very comfortable in an older Crosby Prix des Nations - one of the most common and, at one time, popular jumping saddles ever made.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:26 PM
This poster is a long time board member that's got extensive experience in the saddleseat ring. As far as I gather, she is selling her SS horse, and taking some H/J lessons to stay "in the horses". This is certainly NOT her first saddle, though.

OP- You're going to have to establish a budget in order to get valuable suggestions. In the "moderate" range, and intending to fit a lot of horses, I would look at the Antares "shelf" models from Smartpak. Great customer service, high quality saddles, and priced in the $2500 range. Otherwise, I would start looking used (difficulty being, of course, that most of the used custom tack is going to be made to fit a specific horse, and might not be a good option to use for weekly lessons).

sadlmakr
Sep. 24, 2010, 11:34 PM
I would suggest you wait to buy a saddle. Get your teacher /trainer to help you choose the saddle to fit you and the horse you will be using it on. When you buy the horse you want to ride in H/J, then look seriously at the saddle that will do what you need.
I rode a big Arabian in a Crosby Olympia II. It is actually a Three Day Eventing saddle but it fit me and the horse and it did what I needed it to do.
You need a mentor to help you try out saddles til you find that "Just right one".
When you find it you will know it.
Look for used ones and don't jump at the first one.
Look for a while.
JMHO.
sadlmakr

AndNirina
Sep. 25, 2010, 01:32 AM
I second looking at the shelf model Antares. The Antares Spooner is a nice saddle for sure, more forward in the flap than other saddles so it would be good if you have long legs. Countys are nice as well, and you may be able to find a used Butet that will fit what you're looking for. I had a Crosby Centennial for years that I loved, but had to give up when I bought my mare as it didn't fit her. It all really depends on your price range. CWD/Devocoux/Butet/Antares are well at the upper end of the price spectrum, but many of those saddles are custom or semi-custom.

I'd suggest getting measured by a local shop to figure out which flap length and configuration would fit you the best and then choose a saddle that would put you in the best position, nearest to your ideal fit.

You asked about Stubbens specifically. They are older and harder than the newer French saddles.. we rode in them in the 80's. Wouldn't be my first choice if I were looking for a saddle now.

AndNirina
Sep. 25, 2010, 01:38 AM
To answer a few more questions, if you're looking to ride hunters or jumpers you'd want a close contact saddle, as opposed to all purpose (no!) or eventing. I wouldn't recommend a monoflap specifically, and you'll find that the majority of cc saddles aren't monoflap. Also, knee rolls are a yes. Smooth leather, though, not suede. Suede knee rolls or plain flaps are more commonly found on older saddles. Pencil rolls or blocks on the underside of the flap will help you keep your leg in position, and are on many cc saddles. Hope this helps.

Tiffani B
Sep. 25, 2010, 10:28 AM
Thanks for the input. I'm not planning on buying a saddle right now, just researching. This whole "buy the saddle to fit the horse" thing is completely foreign to me. In the SS world, the saddles just... fit! Probably because there are only a few breeds involved and their conformation is very similar.

I just can't imagine having to budget for a new saddle every time you get a new horse. I get a new horse every 2-3 years! LOL.

What do trainers, who have to ride a multitude of different horses, do?

I think the monoflap saddle I saw on ebay was an M. Toulouse, which I see Smartpak carries. They look nice and are affordably priced, but that usually means "crappy" LOL.

I'll definitely talk to my instructor when the time comes. I'm just gathering information right now so I don't accidentally buy an Argentinian saddle for $3k.

FrenchFrytheEqHorse
Sep. 25, 2010, 10:35 AM
Thanks for the input. I'm not planning on buying a saddle right now, just researching. This whole "buy the saddle to fit the horse" thing is completely foreign to me. In the SS world, the saddles just... fit! Probably because there are only a few breeds involved and their conformation is very similar.

I just can't imagine having to budget for a new saddle every time you get a new horse. I get a new horse every 2-3 years! LOL.

What do trainers, who have to ride a multitude of different horses, do?

Most trainers have several saddles that will fit a wider range of horses, or will ride the horse in the client's saddle (barring any super dramatic rider-fit issues). The nice part about the higher-end saddlers is that they do a lot of their business selling used saddles, so there's a good market out there to sell a saddle that doesn't fit your horse. Most of the custom makers have a great "trade-in" policy under which you can trade in your old saddle for one that best fits your new horse. This is another reason I like Antares, etc.- the initial purchase is tough, but the saddles hold their value quite well, so you're not likely to drop several thousand dollars again if you need something different.

With CC saddles, you're really going to "get what you pay for". Better leather (critical!!), better craftsmanship, (usually) better customer service, etc... If it's in the budget to get something semi-custom or custom, go for it. You won't regret it.

iloverain
Sep. 25, 2010, 11:25 AM
i am bias towards monoflaps - LOVE THEM. however, an experienced hunter/jumper should really only use them, because the horse can feel every slight cue, which may not be good when youre first starting out.

as for the marcel toulouse monoflap - i have that one. only 'crappy' thing about it is that the leather marks pretty easily, but it can be rubbed out within seconds. i LOVE the saddle to bits, but it does tend to tip you forward a bit when you let your guard down. as for the affordable part...i think ive heard its because of a cheaper material in the tree? not sure.

headsupheelsdown
Sep. 25, 2010, 11:25 AM
I absolutely disagree with the posters that don't recommend Stubbens. I think that they are great saddles! Which is why they have been around a lot lot lot longer than the other brands mentioned. I have found them long wearing, extremely comfortable, having lots of styles and options and the Stubbens have very forgiving fit as far as the horse goes.

I think there are a lot of nice saddles to choose from out there, Antares, Beval, Butet, Prestige, Stubben, Crosby, Courbette, Pessoa, Amerigo, Kieffer, CWD, Devacoux, Amerigo, etc, etc, etc.

I think if you are not absolutely sure what discipline you are gonna go with, you should probably get an all purpose with a medium deep seat, that will take you into the beginnings of whichever way you go, and allow you to try lots of different options. When you decide(hunter/jumper/eventing/dressage), you can buy a more specific saddle. I would also recommend buying used until you know where you want to go.

And remember, if you will be riding many different horses, foam panels will be more forgiving than wool flocked.

Tiffani B
Sep. 25, 2010, 12:38 PM
I know I said I wasn't buying now (and told the SO that too LOL) but I found a used Crosby Prix De Nation for $400 locally. I'm going to try it out... the price is right.

I'm still not sure which direction I want to go in so I'll most likely not buy it, but we'll see. At least if I try it out it's one I can eliminate or put on the list for when I'm ready.

GoForAGallop
Sep. 25, 2010, 02:45 PM
I know I said I wasn't buying now (and told the SO that too LOL) but I found a used Crosby Prix De Nation for $400 locally. I'm going to try it out... the price is right.

I'm still not sure which direction I want to go in so I'll most likely not buy it, but we'll see. At least if I try it out it's one I can eliminate or put on the list for when I'm ready.

$400 really isn't a super price on a PDN, unless it's newer/in mint condition. You can find perfectly serviceably sound ones on Ebay in any combination of tree/seat size for under $200 usually. I have several PDNs and didn't pay more than $250 for the nicest. They aren't "fashionable" anymore, and therefore cheaper.

Tiffani B
Sep. 25, 2010, 03:28 PM
That's why I loff you guys LOL! I never would have known that! Thanks.

ktm2007
Sep. 25, 2010, 04:00 PM
$400 really isn't a super price on a PDN, unless it's newer/in mint condition. You can find perfectly serviceably sound ones on Ebay in any combination of tree/seat size for under $200 usually. I have several PDNs and didn't pay more than $250 for the nicest. They aren't "fashionable" anymore, and therefore cheaper.

This. But go ride in that PDN to see if you like it, then search ebay. I still have my OLD PDN and I wouldn't part with it. I love that saddle :)

flopsaut
Sep. 25, 2010, 04:11 PM
I don't think "fashion" should be the biggest concern for someone who's just started out riding huntseat, doesn't own a horse, isn't about to hop on the A circuit next week, is basically looking for a beginner's/transition saddle to get comfortable doing some h/j lessons for a while. I think an older Prix des Nations would be a great choice for that. It's what I grew up riding in, and WOW was it a big deal when my parents let me get a Crosby Equilibrium in like 1995 or something. Big bucks back then. As for knee rolls, I personally think they're a fashion trend which for all practical purposes are more suited to the jumper ring than the hunter ring. I don't see how they caught on in the hunters to the point that they're pretty much considered "mandatory" now. I think they're really overrated in the "this is going to put your leg in the perfect position!" department (only you are going to put your leg in the perfect position, sorry).

GoForAGallop
Sep. 25, 2010, 04:34 PM
I don't think "fashion" should be the biggest concern for someone who's just started out riding huntseat, doesn't own a horse, isn't about to hop on the A circuit next week, is basically looking for a beginner's/transition saddle to get comfortable doing some h/j lessons for a while. I think an older Prix des Nations would be a great choice for that. .

I don't know if this is directed at me, but I seem to be the only one who used the word "fashionable" so I'll assume it is. I didn't mean any sort of offense towards the PDN....as I said in my post I have several, which suggests that I enjoy them. I just informed the OP that $400 is a little steep for one, and explained the reasons why. Right or wrong they are not currently in style, it is what it is. But that doesn't mean that they're bad saddles.

flopsaut
Sep. 25, 2010, 05:12 PM
Oh no, it wasn't directed at anyone in particular! I could just as easily have said a $2500 saddle (also recommended in the thread) seemed a little inappropriate for the needs of a beginner huntseat rider.

Cacique
Sep. 25, 2010, 06:04 PM
1. County's are great, they are recommended by both an eventer/dressage trainer and a hunter/jumper/eq trainer who I have ridden with. One trainer HATES my butet, the other doesn't. So they are basically super universally appealing.

2. While yes, it is MOST important that the saddle fits the horse, I understand wanting a saddle even if you don't own a horse. But do remember that you will sit differently in a saddle that doesn't fit the horse well.

3. Since you don't own a horse, perhaps you should consider a tad coffin. They are also very flat cc saddles and they are made standard with a wider tree that you can narrow with pads. While not a lot of people recommend them, I rode in one once that I liked. They tend to bridge a bit, but if you find one for the right price they would probably fit well enough for lessons and they are extremely flat while still being relatively comfortable and secure.

shjhorses
Sep. 25, 2010, 06:22 PM
Make sure whatever you get fits you and your horse, the horse being most important. A bad saddle fit can make a bad ride. Try several that friends have or local tack shops will allow you to try. I ride in a Tad Coffin, they are expensive new, but they can work for many horses based on different thickness leather pads that can be used with them. Tad's are known for being uncomfortable for the rider until you get used to them, but they are a good saddle. I also have an Antares that I had custom made for my now retired mare which is very comfortable. There is a great saddle online store with good prices hobsonschoicesaddlery.com when you find what you want, see if they have it available.

Good luck

danceronice
Sep. 25, 2010, 06:34 PM
I would try the PDN. I have a Stubben AP that fits ME well, but it really doesn't work on my new OTTB (well, I've had him a year but he FEELS new after not having a horse for five years.) I got a PDN for about $240 off eBay and while it's still not great for MY rear (the reason I'd stopped using a cc years ago--kind of like sitting on a board) it works much better for his back. The one I bought is probably twenty years old, and it's in fantastic condition--they really hold up if they're cared for. I don't find myself missing knee rolls at all.

mojo7777
Sep. 25, 2010, 08:50 PM
How about one of the models with the adjustable gullet, since you don't own a horse yet. You could find one that is a fit for you and then adjust to fit the horse you will be riding. I know that changing the gullet size does not guarantee a fit, but it is a step in the right direction. I personally love the Collegiate saddles like the Diploma. My friend likes her Bates Caprilli. They are economical and fit the bill for many horses.

stoicfish
Sep. 25, 2010, 09:48 PM
I know I said I wasn't buying now (and told the SO that too LOL) but I found a used Crosby Prix De Nation for $400 locally. I'm going to try it out... the price is right.

I'm still not sure which direction I want to go in so I'll most likely not buy it, but we'll see. At least if I try it out it's one I can eliminate or put on the list for when I'm ready.

Yea know....buying something locally is worth something if you can try the saddle, see it in person and not buy it if you don't like how it feels. I would say less risk.
If you wait long enough you can always find that "great" deal on e-bay but there is also risks.
http://shop.ebay.com/?_from=R40&_trksid=p3907.m570.l1311&_nkw=crosby+saddle&_sacat=See-All-Categories $400 is not way out of the ballpark.

Tiffani B
Sep. 25, 2010, 10:07 PM
Wow, things have changed in just a few hours today! I might actually have a horse coming to me for 3 years while a friend is deployed overseas! So... I will wait and see what transpires. I might be buying sooner than I thought! :D

I'm fortunate to live near two excellent tack shops that carry a lot of used saddles. I'll start with the close contact models and see what I like and what fits me and the horse.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions and feedback. It's given me a good place to start.