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View Full Version : How many saddles did you try *update post 23*



Big_Grey_hunter
Dec. 22, 2011, 10:37 PM
before buying one? I bought the first dressage saddle I tried (albion platinum), but I'm having trouble finding a jump saddle we both like. I've tried 4 saddles and have two more coming (prestige, vega monoflap, amerigo, albion monoflap, 2 black country are next), as well as riding in a few saddles at the barn (the ones I liked don't fit my horse). The only ones I like my horse dislikes. Of the ones that fit him, the amerigo is my favorite, but it's hard to swallow $5,000 for a saddle I'm just 'okay' with. I've mentioned I'd like to look at some cheaper saddles, but haven't set a definite price limit, as I am willing to pay a high price tag if I love the saddle. If I found a saddle under $2,500 that fit my horse, I wouldn't care if I don't like it. It's hard to find used in most of these saddles because I need a 16.5" long flap

If you were me,would you:
1. Keep trying saddles until I find one I love
2. After trying the two new saddles, just pick the least objectionable of the 6
3. Give up on finding a saddle I love at any price and ask for some cheap saddles to try then buy whatever fits my horse
4. Something else.

ottb
Dec. 22, 2011, 10:41 PM
Stackhouse can build you a saddle you both like for $5K.

hightide
Dec. 23, 2011, 12:04 AM
I probably tried 20+ saddles in my saddle search. I know it gets discouraging, but you'll sit in the right saddle and you'll *know*. I'd keep looking, at least for a while longer. You don't say how long you've been searching, but I was on the hunt for 6 months, trying 5-6 saddles every week before I found the right one. I know it feels like there's no saddle that will possibly work for every factor it needs to (horse, rider, budget, etc.) but it's out there, I promise! :)

Far_North_Equestrian
Dec. 23, 2011, 01:42 AM
Keep trying saddles. I know I sound like a broken record - but try out some of the "cheaper" but still quality brands, I'm a huge fan of my St Lourdes saddles. Also within your budget if you can get your hands on one try a Jeffries (I have a 20 year old Jeffries that is still going strong).

I believe that if you're going to spend over $4k you can get a pretty well fully custom Schleese as well.

Don't spend big bucks on "just OK". less then $1000 for a "just OK" saddle that is useful for the time being is one thing, but anything more then that you'd better love (IMO).

ECEventer
Dec. 23, 2011, 06:22 AM
I have a black country dressage and jumping saddle. I have a wide backed horse and the freedom tree is really the best option for him. Both were new and custom. I feel like you should keep looking or go for custom. Both you and your horse should be comfortable. It took me months and 2 other saddle companies before I found the "perfect" ones for both myself and my horse. You don't mention this but are you working with a professional fitter? That made all the difference for me! Good luck!

RunForIt
Dec. 23, 2011, 08:57 AM
...I've sat in, tried, bought, SOLD enough to buy a really nice HORSE - last year got the saddle of my dreams, a new Chiberta, the Devoucoux rep/fitter couldn't have been nicer or more thorough - the saddle fit me beautifully, and balance - OMG - can't begin to tell you how balanced those saddles are...and fit for horsie? Couldn't have been more perfect, except for one thing...he's one of those horses that the recessed stirrup bars hurt and hurt a BUNCH. Only, no one knew that then...when horse started having issues, I immediately had the fit checked - PERFECT!!! It must be ME! so for months, with more lessons and travel than I could afford, we tried to fix ME and I got worse as horse was getting worse. Before someone says, "DID you check him for kissing-spine?" YUP, beautiful rads, only changes were at the end of his rather long wither RIGHT WHERE THE RECESSED STIRRUP BARS WOULD BE SITTING...

Long story short, I was able to sell the lovely Chiberta quickly (almost overnight) and had the good sense to listen to some very good friends (on and off COTH :D ) who urged me to consider trying Black Country...so I did. Had Patty Merli over and lots of saddles later, pony and I were measured, new Vinici jump saddle ordered, and a nice demo was left behind to at least walk around in (at this point, pony was not so sure he wanted to be ridden in ANYTHING).

Over the course of the four weeks it took for my new saddle to arrive, my horse gradually became happier and happier, actually asking to canter which had been an ordeal for months! He's quite sensitive for all his pony looks and attitude - the serge panels of the demo seemed to wrap around him in a way that made the fit even better.

He's over with a good friend now, happily getting fit again, jumping around XC and getting quite lovely in his flatwork - the new Vinici jump is beautifully balanced for me (and happy friend), pony loves, loves loves it, and I must say, the leathers I chose make this a BEAUTIFUL saddle. I am excited again about riding because the mystery of why has my precious horse become a monster has been solved...and maybe I'm not quite the terrible rider I thought...

Only dillema now is that I have to find something quiet (and affordable) to let me get back too and catch up with pony boy....but that's ANOTHER story..:lol: :cool:

Moral of this story is not to convince you to buy Black Country, and not to get you to rely on a saddle fitter...but to get you to do two things: make sure the saddle not only fits and works for you AND your horse, but listen to your horse...he is really the only one that knows if the saddle fit is right. And believe me, all that talk about horses being stoic and trying their best even when they hurt is horribly true...mine sure did. Never again!

scubed
Dec. 23, 2011, 09:18 AM
Their number is legion :lol:
Not so many jumping saddles. I have found my dream jumping saddle after 7 saddles over the past 14 years, some of those changes due to horse changes rather than intrinsic problems with the saddle. I am now riding in the wise-equestrian saddle and totally love it. Fits me, fits my horse, provides that extra security for greenie moments, couldn't be happier.

Dressage has been more of a problem. I've tried dozens, owned about 15 and still haven't found *the* saddle. I'm hoping the next try might be it. A saddle person I respect and who tends to like the same stuff I do recommended it and I think my wonderful (totally non-horsey) dad is getting it for me as my joint xmas/birthday present, so update to follow.

subk
Dec. 23, 2011, 10:20 AM
Of the ones that fit him, the amerigo is my favorite, but it's hard to swallow $5,000 for a saddle I'm just 'okay' with. I've mentioned I'd like to look at some cheaper saddles, but haven't set a definite price limit, as I am willing to pay a high price tag if I love the saddle.
The last saddle I bought I sat and tried exactly zero and I ended up in the most wonderful saddle I've ever sat in. In the past I've tried as many as 18 for a single purchase. If you can spend upward to 5k, do yourself a favor and give David Stackhouse a call and have one made custom for both you and your horse!

Ibex
Dec. 23, 2011, 10:29 AM
4,382. And now I'm starting from scratch AGAIN because my horse changed shape.

Not that I'm bitter or anything :winkgrin:

SEPowell
Dec. 23, 2011, 11:29 AM
Stackhouse can build you a saddle you both like for $5K.

Although you can't guarantee that it will fit the horse. I went that route and he missed my horse's back's shape completely. I learned the hard way that I should have asked to have him return to fit his work and not just send the saddle to me. So be very careful if you choose to go that expensive route.

This mare is admittedly difficult to fit because she has a long wither and curvey back. I'm now considering the Black Country route, but so far most look a little too padded for me, and I just noticed an Albion XC monoflap that looks nice http://www.daviddyersaddles.co.uk/product-10590.htm

I've tried County (by buying a used one, it fit the horse but too much padding under the thigh for me), a Black Country (also by buying a used one, same comment as for County but maybe if I have it customized I can reduce the padding under my thigh), a Flyover (loved it for me but it slipped on the horse) a Stackhouse (loved it for me but it seriously hurt horse's back), a Berney Bros full tree steeplechase saddle (loved it but the panels were very hard and made horse's back sore), and for the past year I've been riding in a half tree steeplechase saddle and it's ok for me and horse's back is finally better.

So, Good Luck!!! I read all the saddle threads hoping someone else will find just the saddle I want and I can copy her. :)

Wonder how I could try that Albion withput having to buy one? The only one I've seen online is in England and I'm in the US :confused:

RunForIt
Dec. 23, 2011, 11:42 AM
Although you can't guarantee that it will fit the horse. I went that route and he missed my horse's back's shape completely. I learned the hard way that I should have asked to have him return to fit his work and not just send the saddle to me. So be very careful if you choose to go that expensive route.

YIKES! You're the first I've ever heard say that...but it can happen. Eric sent my Devoucoux Chiberta to me BUT he drove all the way to Aiken 2 weeks later to check the fit when I thought horsie was unhappy. Fit was just fine...problem was with the stirrup bars and we didn't listen to horsie. SOOO relieved when Patty Merli came back to make sure the BC Vinici Jump was working perfectly for us both...and will continue doing so...:D :cool:

SEPowell
Dec. 23, 2011, 11:58 AM
YIKES! You're the first I've ever heard say that...but it can happen. Eric sent my Devoucoux Chiberta to me BUT he drove all the way to Aiken 2 weeks later to check the fit when I thought horsie was unhappy. Fit was just fine...problem was with the stirrup bars and we didn't listen to horsie. SOOO relieved when Patty Merli came back to make sure the BC Vinici Jump was working perfectly for us both...and will continue doing so...:D :cool:

Wow! What a gem to do that for you!

I called Stackhouse and he said, "You ladies read a little about saddle fitting on the internet and think you know all about it, just put the saddle on the d@&m horse and go for a ride." :eek: The next day his assistant called me and asked how the ride went and if I were happy. I told her that in one ride the horse seemed fine. Like a fool, I decided to give the saddle a chance, even though I knew bridging was not good, but thinking that since Stackhouse said the saddle fit her there must be something esle I didn't know... and that decision really ended up hurting her back. Anyway, shame on me for not growing horns and getting something done about it then and there. That was a very expensive mistake.

I ended up using the stackhouse saddle on my semi-retired mare, sold the saddle I already had for her, and I'm still searching for a saddle for my difficult to fit mare.

3s
Dec. 23, 2011, 06:15 PM
"4,382. And now I'm starting from scratch AGAIN because my horse changed shape."


And that my dear is why you should get yourself a saddle that can be adjusted to accommodate your horse's growth/changing shape over the course of the years. I highly recommend Schleese - take a look at their Youtube channel which goes through all the things you should consider when looking to buy a saddle.

Bogie
Dec. 23, 2011, 06:48 PM
I've ridden in, bought and sold many, many saddles. That's why I prefer to buy them used -- so much less angst involved! I would keep looking until you find one that makes it effortless to hold your position. You will not be satisfied until then, especially if you are spending that much money.

My horses have not been particularly hard to fit but I have very long femurs so the stirrup bar/flap position has to be right.

The saddles that I've kept are:

County Extreme
Stackhouse
Wintec Pro Jump

So there you go -- from the sublime to the ridiculous! The County and the Stackhouse really fit me through the leg and are very nicely balanced.

The pro jump? The flaps aren't forward enough but it's really comfortable and indestructible.

I bought both my Stackhouse and my County on eBay for less than $750.

eventer_mi
Dec. 23, 2011, 06:49 PM
I have a Black Country and I, too, hate heavily padded saddles. It's why I didn't care for the Albion Kontact (in the lovely Ultima leather) that I bought from England - waaaay too much saddle there for me. I've since found that with blocks and things, if the saddle works for you, they're there if you need them, and you don't notice them if you don't. So, I wouldn't avoid BC if that's the case. Like RunForIt, you can always get the Vinici model for closer contact.

Btw, the magikal bodywork guy in So. Pines says that almost all of the Stackhouses he's seen fit too tight in the withers. Just FYI.

RFI - check your messages on Facebook! I've dropped you a note...

candysgirl
Dec. 23, 2011, 08:19 PM
Look into Stubbens. They are on your inexpensive end. They may not be "in" at the moment, but they make a fantastic saddle. Most horses I've put mine on (I have both a CC Siegfried II and a dressage Aramis) seem to like them. They seem to fit a lot of horses also.

If you can't find an off the shelf one that will work for you, they do custom ones. I know several people at the local hunt have custom Roxannes with the Biomex seats that they absolutely love. My saddle budget was...ummm...low so mine are both $300 20yo saddles, but they're still in good enough shape to show in.

ideayoda
Dec. 23, 2011, 08:46 PM
Only one (passier AP for jumping) and later only one (passier for dressage)...and 25 years later another different passed (again, only one). The old ones fit every horse because they do not have extended points. And you can get them used (aka well loved) for less than $1000.

If horses are well ridden they develop muscles (behind the shoulder) within about three months.

LTLFLDF
Dec. 23, 2011, 09:26 PM
When you sit it the right saddle you will LOVE IT and so will your horse. Keep trying anything you can get your hands on. It is our job as a saddle rep to help you find the right one. So sit in anything you can you maybe surprised with the one you end up loving.

Toadie's mom
Dec. 23, 2011, 09:34 PM
I'm not going to recommend any particular brand, but do recommend that you keep trying until you and your horse are happy! Stupidly I've bought 2 jump saddles without a lot of thought. I now don't like either one of them, and am about to embark on a more thorough search. On the other hand, I tried 13 different dressage saddles before I found one I loved. I mean as soon as my horse walked off I was in love!

I thought I'd made up my mind to take the plunge and get a Stackhouse (again by reputation only, haven't even ridden in one:o). Then it dawned on me that the friends who had them, and were pushing me to get one, are built similarly to each other but TOTALLY different than me:winkgrin: Anyway, I'm going to use my dressage strategy this time, and not make such a quick decision.

subk
Dec. 24, 2011, 01:08 PM
II thought I'd made up my mind to take the plunge and get a Stackhouse (again by reputation only, haven't even ridden in one:o). Then it dawned on me that the friends who had them, and were pushing me to get one, are built similarly to each other but TOTALLY different than me:winkgrin:
Custom means custom to the horse and custom to YOU. I decided on a Stackhouse after watching a freind go through the process (and it IS a process!) We couldn't be built more differently and have a more different physical needs in a saddle--She's 5'4" long waisted with short stubby legs, I'm 5'10" and all leg. Both of us would tell you that our Stackhouse is the most secure feeling saddle we've ever ridden in. That's 80 or more years of combined riding in however many saddles two people go through in that many decades. :)

This is important to remember especially when buying used custom ones. Unlike most brands that do well with a certain body type the balance on a Stackhouse will vary as to the person that originally ordered it.

CobJockey
Dec. 24, 2011, 11:44 PM
Everyone is going to kill me. I bought my Beval a year before I bought my horse, off of Ebay, sight unseen, and it fits me and the horse so well it's stupid.

Bogie
Dec. 25, 2011, 09:46 AM
Once you understand your body type, your horse's body type and how the different elements of a saddle impact balance, you can narrow the choices down pretty quickly.

I know that I like a saddle with a long, forward flap, stirrup bars that are set back, and a flat seat with a low cantle. I can look at a saddle and have a pretty good idea whether or not it's right for me. I don't care about brands other than that I like to buy a quality saddle that will hold up. I have a semi-custom dressage saddle (so that it fits my leg) but my other saddles were all bought off eBay.

My current horse is a not a hard fit. He's a stocky TB who takes a MW tree. His withers are pronounced, but not overly so. I prefer buying wool flocked saddles so the fit can be adjusted but my horse likes my foam paneled Stackhouse just fine and also has no problem with CAIR.

I think that some of the problems people encounter with saddle fitting are fashion related -- they want a certain brand or style of saddle because their trainer or their barn endorses them.

That may lead them to choose a style or brand that isn't quite right for them or their horse and lead to a problem with balance. If the saddle doesn't fit the horse it will put the rider in an unbalanced position as well as potentially bothering the horse. I see so many people riding in saddles that don't fit (mostly too narrow -- so the pommel is too high, tipping them back) that I no longer mention it. I've realized that people don't appreciate it when you tell them that their $$$ saddle doesn't fit. The only exception to that was a woman who had a saddle so wide that it sat directly on her horse's spine. I insisted that she see my saddle fitter when he came into town.

I also see LOTS of people riding in saddles that are too small for them, causing them to sit on the cantle. Then they complain that the saddle makes their horse's back sore :no:. These folks also complain that their saddles are not quite right.

While there are some horses that are truly hard to fit, I suspect that many horses/people could buy off the shelf if they picked saddles built for their horse's conformation, chose the right size for them, and picked designs where the stirrup bars were correctly placed for their leg.

Big_Grey_hunter
Dec. 25, 2011, 06:36 PM
Thanks for all the support everyone! As luck would have it, two days after posting this thread the two BC saddles came. I've only ridden in one so far, and it is AMAZING. It puts me exactly where I need to be and is soooooo comfy. I took a jumping lesson today and, even though I haven't jumped in several weeks, my legs never slipped back! I've always had problems with jumping ahead and loose legs, but in this saddle, it was almost effortless to stay with my horse! The flap could be a bit more forward for my loooonng thigh, but wow. I really think this may be the 'one'.

eventer_mi
Dec. 27, 2011, 05:32 PM
Big_Grey - aren't the da bomb? I had the same experience with my BC Tex Eventer. Could finally sit back without feeling behind the motion, and even off a Prelim drop complex, my leg doesn't budge. I absolutely adore this saddle. Horsey loves it, too. Glad you found one that works for you!

RunForIt
Dec. 27, 2011, 05:38 PM
Thanks for all the support everyone! As luck would have it, two days after posting this thread the two BC saddles came. I've only ridden in one so far, and it is AMAZING. It puts me exactly where I need to be and is soooooo comfy. I took a jumping lesson today and, even though I haven't jumped in several weeks, my legs never slipped back! I've always had problems with jumping ahead and loose legs, but in this saddle, it was almost effortless to stay with my horse! The flap could be a bit more forward for my loooonng thigh, but wow. I really think this may be the 'one'.


Big_Grey - aren't the da bomb? I had the same experience with my BC Tex Eventer. Could finally sit back without feeling behind the motion, and even off a Prelim drop complex, my leg doesn't budge. I absolutely adore this saddle. Horsey loves it, too. Glad you found one that works for you!

and the nice thing is...these saddles seem to stay "in the family!" :D :cool: I'm the VERY happy and proud owner of a new Vinici jump saddle...The Tex Eventer and I just never meshed - so on it went to Cookiepony...and from her to...YUP! :D eventer_mi! Believe me, the Vinici ain't goin' NOWHERE!

Congrats on your new happy saddle,
Big_Grey_hunter! :cool: