View Full Version : Saturday Night Saddle Suggestions

Oct. 1, 2011, 10:11 PM
Hubby's watching football and I am bored....

So.... my wish list:

Narrowish twist
Slightly more forward flap for my long leg (does that exist in a dressage saddle?)
I hate bulk and would prefer small rolls and a shallower seat
(yeah kinda sounds like I should just stick with my CC)
Under $1500

Horse is a round Morgan, no wither, short back. Wide... potentially Extra Wide.

I've been looking at Kent & Masters, Lovatt & Ricketts... I think a Duett or a Black Country would have too wide of a twist.

Anyone know anything about the Thornhill saddles?


Perfect Pony
Oct. 1, 2011, 10:27 PM
FG, I am having a saddle trying extravaganza tomorrow, I will let you know what I think!

I will say, try to throw some of your ideas about what you THINK you like out the window and just try saddles. I thought I liked a forward flap and a shallow seat, but at the recommendation of SP's assistant, based on my body type, I found I LOVE LOVE LOVED the Trilogy Verago. Talk about a straight flap and deep seat! But in a dressage saddle it's all about the angles of the individual saddle and how it fits your conformation. Saddles I think I will like I hate, and vice verse.

Good luck!

Oct. 1, 2011, 10:30 PM
Thanks PP! I can't wait to hear about your saddle fitting adventure tomorrow! Be sure to post details.

Yeah dressage saddles are new territory for me.... you are right, I should just sit in a whole bunch and see what feels good and what fits me, without letting my preconceived notions get in the way!

Perfect Pony
Oct. 1, 2011, 10:47 PM
FG, if I were you and needed a wide saddle I would get this saddle on trial, great all around saddle for flatwork, but also great for trail riding, and good for low jumps. Would not look weird in the dressage ring. Would love to find one in a medium tree for me. Probably one of the best all around saddles ever made.


Oct. 1, 2011, 11:04 PM
The Thornhill Vienna is an especially good candidate for your wish list and it's well under your stated budget. Cordia Pearson is the gal to call about Thornhill. She also reps for Smith Worthington so she can talk across those two brands. The Zurich would suit you as a rider but may not suit the horse's shape--again, talk to Cordia about it.

If your girl can wear an A-shaped tree in W or XW, which is what I suspect you have her in now, then don't give up on Duett until you've talked to Nancy at Duett re: the Fidelio. Don't be fooled by the big block in the stock picture: the saddle comes with three sets of blocks, small medium and large. It's their high-end dressage saddle and has a moderate twist, similar in design to a lot of the schmancy European tack (Devoucoux, Amerigo, etc.) The seat is fairly deep but not bucket-deep; I didn't find it confining when I rode in it, and deep-seated dressage saddles are not my fave. Prestige would also be an option if she can do the A-shape thing, particularly the Optimax--although finding that particular Prestige under $1500 would get interesting. So if we're really talking about "Wide" and not "Extra Wide," the Toulouse Octavio would be worth a look. It's built after the Prestige Optimax. The Toulouse Octavio XW is going to fit like anyone else's wide tree, IMHO.

The Trilogy Verago would be perfect...if it didn't retail at over $3000. I've ridden in one on a very wide horse and it is LOVELY, sort of like if the Passier Grand Gilbert got updated for the 21st century. Unfortunately, I can't say I've ever seen a Verago for less than $2000 unless it was an off size.

And while we're talking "too rich for this budget," another one to put on your future wish list is Frank Baines. Some lovely dressage saddles and they know how to build 'em on a U-shaped tree with a comfortable twist. But again, no way Jose under $2000 in a W/XW tree and the seat sizes you're looking for.

Pocket Pony
Oct. 1, 2011, 11:31 PM
Love, love, love my Frank Baines, although it isn't under 1500. You might find a used one, though. I got the Capriole because I also don't like a deep seat. I'm long hip to knee and the flap fits me fine. It is a wonderfully balanced saddle, just wonderful, and they have a lot of options for wider horses. Trumbull is not going to be carrying the Capriole any longer and so had some on special, IIRC.

Here they have a used one: http://www.trumbullmtn.com/store/demo-and-used-saddles/used-dressage-saddles/seat-size-17-5/frank-baines-capriole-17-5-w/

I second trying a Duett. Mr. PoPo's jumping saddle that I've been using on Mac is very comfortable and the twist isn't too wide even though the saddle is wide - the seat is too big for me but I can still do some okay work in it.

When I had my saddle fitting appointment my top three selections (out of about 15-20 saddles we looked at) were a Duett, the Capriole, and something else that I don't remember.

Trumbull is wonderful to work with, I'm sure they could help you find something if you give them a call.

Oct. 1, 2011, 11:32 PM
Honestly, I think you should sit in anything and everything you can get your hands on, from Trilogy, County, Custom to Passier, Kieffer and Stubben. Try as many as you can, you may surprise yourself in what you find comfy. I ride in a County Perfection. I love it. I went from a Kieffer to my County. I am full-time dressage so I may be looking for something different from you but trying as many as you can is the key. Everyone is different, every horse is different, you may find a Stubben comfy in this horse, but VERY uncomfy on that horse. Enjoy the process and learn. Take notes for the future too... I did, and I feel like it will be helpful for me in the future.

Pocket Pony
Oct. 1, 2011, 11:34 PM
B-n-F, good points about what you might like on one horse you might not like on another. I've even found that between the different types of riding I do. For example, I don't like my jumping saddle or my dressage saddle for trail riding - I prefer a Western saddle (or bareback!). Not sure why, but that's how it goes...:lol:

Oct. 2, 2011, 12:44 AM
I love my Stubben dressage saddle. I have an Aramis - small knee rolls, narrow twist, short enough for a short backed horse. The 32cm tree on mine is just slightly too wide for my Arab, but his topline sucks at the moment and when he fills out it should be perfect.

Oct. 2, 2011, 01:16 AM
I have an L&R Berkeley for my wide curvy-backed Arab. He does have fairly prominent withers. I don't think you'd like the Berkeley -- mine has decent-sized external blocks and a fairly deep seat. I also prefer a wider twist; I wouldn't call the twist real wide (I wish it were a bit wider) but it's not narrow.

Perfect Pony
Oct. 2, 2011, 11:29 AM
Don't forget to try a Neidersuss, they are a bit old school, but seem to fit some horses well, are comfortable, and you can find them in excellent condition for around $1000.

Here is a used Frank Banes for $1900 (make an offer if you like it?)

And a Symphonie for $1000

I found Pelham, Trumbull and M&M tack to all be great to work with as far as trials and finding something that works. You can always make offers on the saddles too, I have gotten a couple hundred off or so.

Oct. 2, 2011, 12:40 PM
Wow you guys are awesome! I am glad I asked. Some options I had not thought of... including the County Eventer. I had a Black Country GP Event I did not care for and it made me write off all purpose saddles.... but the BC had a very straight flap and something about the mechanics of the saddle didn't work for my build. The County looks like it has more of a jump saddle influence which is nice, and more what I am used to.

Thanks for the many links too....Good to know you guys have had good luck with Trumbull, Pelham and M&M.

I think it is going to take me sitting in a bunch to see what is comfortable for both me and pony. I had contacted a saddle fitter when I bought the mare, but we agreed to wait until she was W/T/C under saddle and used to having tack on and off before we went forward. I think she is going to be in the area later this fall so maybe I will try to hook up with her again (providing Miss Mare is off vaca by that time!)

Jenny as always you are a rockstar when it comes to saddle evals! ;) Thanks for the info! Yes she is in a Wide Ainsley Leceister that is an A shaped tree.... I didn't think anything but a hoop tree would fit her but this saddle does, for whatever reason. So the fact that it works on her may give us more options?

Pocket Pony
Oct. 2, 2011, 01:56 PM
Flashy, I spent a good year with Mac in a Western saddle and then Mr. PoPo's jumping saddle for the past few months (because it was the only English saddle that moderately fit Mac) so that I could let him have a year to get fit and build the muscles that he would be developing from our work. THEN I bought a nice new dressage saddle - he's filled out a lot since I got him and I wanted to get a dressage saddle for his more buff self. I spent so much time trail riding him and only doing light arena work in the beginning that this worked for us and now that he's more filled out I could spend more money on what I hope will be his dressage saddle for a very long time.

I think you're smart to not budget TOO much for a saddle right now, because in a year or so you may need a new one since she's young and growing.

Good luck! :)

Oct. 2, 2011, 02:33 PM
Great point, PP! I forget sometimes she is only a baby and has growing to do. She is quite butt high currently and having seen both her dam and her sire, I think she is going to broaden quite a bit also.

The close contact I am riding her in right now belongs to a friend, and it works well enough. I may just stick with that for awhile and see how things go. I think by spring she may be too wide for it....

The Frank Baines you recommended is lovely.... I am definitely going to add that to the "must see" list!