Frank Baines Capriole model. I got mine off eBay last year and love it-- minimalist but still inviting to sit in. I had tried many saddles before buying this one-- if it is possible to feel both secure and unrestricted at the same time, that is how I feel in this saddle.
Last edited by baymare; Apr. 13, 2009 at 10:43 AM.
...a deeper seat has come in handy with some of my younger horses and for those like my daughter's mare who tend to try to root the rider out of the saddle. Having said that though, I don't like to rely on the depth of the seat to keep me in place. That is what the core muscles & balance are for.
I have the opposite opinion....I hate the deep seats the most on young greenies. Not for rooting but bucking. A mare I used to have had a nasty buck in her. Trying an emergency dismount out of a deep saddle that sucks you in when you decide it is time to bail (the only horse I have had that was so dangerous this was necessary...) got me seriously injured. I could not swing my leg out of the @%&# thing to bail. Ever since then: I ride babies in close contact saddles I can get out of if needed.
I have a couple of flatter saddles. One is an old school County Competitor that I just love but FWIW a saddle fitter told me that the older ones are a tough fit for most horses. I also have a mid 90's Courbette Von Furst something. It is not technically a dressage saddle, but I used it with good success until I acquired the County for cheap. Neither of those saddles have particularly big blocks.
I used to hate a deep saddle. Same arguments that most have made here about the inability to adjust your seat, etc... I never could find one that fit my thigh properly. I happened on a deep seat saddle that actually fit me properly, and much to my excitement, I stopped coming off my youngster that has just the quickest, biggest spook known to man. The one thing that I really like about it is that the knee blocks are tall but narrow. When you look at the saddle from the front, you'd think that the blocks would be intolerably huge, yet they are so narrow front to back that I never use them unless necessary for a spooking or bucking incident.
Take a look at equinefit saddles by Rene de Koning. He is a custom saddler who can make even the more difficult paralympic saddles. I am returning to competition after breaking my back 3 years ago. (rampaging deer hit me while I was galloping my big DWB) He has been able to make a saddle that doesn't set off my back and gives me choices and freedom while staying in balance easily. It has enough tack and it's comfortable.
My previous saddles include Passier, Giocomini (made by Andy Foster in 1984), Stackhouse, Stokes, and Laurische (made by Andy Foster, again) All of these are of the flatter seat shape, so I could ride a greenie with attitude or a made subtle master.
His saddles are well made, totally top and bottom custom, with extended stirrup bars. reasonably priced, too.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Blocks have nothing to do with a saddle being flat, unless you're using flat in the term that Hunters use it.
I have lovely high thigh blocks on my Ancient Passier. I had them added for the particular horse this saddle is for. Seat is still open and shallow, but I have something to dig into as needed on the stallion. It's because of his shape. I ride in the same model saddle on another horse, with no blocks at all, nothing but the underneath panels, and don't need them.
Leg support/thigh support *can* be completely independant of seat style and shape.
My old dressage saddle is a Passier PS Baum--very flat seat so you can move (which I find especially important on a young/green horse who is likely to spook!) You can pick them up very cheaply at tack stores as they are no longer "the fad"--I saw several for $350 OBO at a tack store here in Charlottesville! The old Barnsby dressage and Stubben dressage saddles from the same era are built very similarly...and you can pick those up for a song as well--I saw several at VTO saddlery recently. They fit pretty much anything you put them on and they allow you to have the correct position/seat without forcing you there.
I had many problems with dressage saddles built in the mid-90s--I have a very long leg and saddles from that era were designed with a more forward flap (County WBs for example)--I was constantly having to force my leg under myself. So I bought the Passier, which really allow you to be in the right position without forcing you to be there.
I prefer the flatter seat since that is what I intially learned dressage on many years ago. I have a Tad Coffin dressage saddle. I have had it for 8 years and love it! It is very comfortable and my trainer keeps trying to buy it off of me. It still looks new and I'm alittle rough on my saddles.
I do have his "shims" and are not fond of those, especially if the horse has hight withers. The saddle I have is an xwide, it fits my (and a vareity of other horses) warmblood perfectly , but my high withered TB needs a halfpad. I prefer the mattes with it's shims. So neither of my horse's have any discomfort nor back problems.
I would say call Tad if you can. I had the saddle made in black with the short billets (but the brown is beautiful), but had him change to the long billets last year because of the bulk behind my leg from the buckles. Because I am so tall, Tad slightly customed my saddle with a slight forward flap to allow for a variety stirrup lengths for when i ride a smaller barreled horses.
I think the saddle is very soft comfortable and I can really feel the horse; but people who are used to the bucket seats and large thigh blocks hate it with a passion, they think it's too hard. I don't like the bucket/blocks because I feel it really restricts the riders movements or I feel that it puts the rider in a position...just feels weird to me, but to each his own!
I would also try to find an older Passier Grand Gilbert, it is a flatter saddle too..I think they are usually in the brown color too. That's the saddle I initially learned dressage in too, and some are still around in pretty good condition.
I used to think that a saddle with deep seat and huge knee blocks would be THE solution for a BMW (Big Moving Warmblood) type of horse. And then I found out how wrong I was. My current horse is huge himself, moves in a perfect BMW way, and a deep-seated saddle on him literally squeezed me out of it in trot and blocked me totally in canter, I couldn' t follow the enormous movement of the horse. I got a Passier A-tempi, totally classical, medium seat, medium blocks saddle, and find it a lot easier to ride this horse.
I've recently switched to an older Stubben Tristan from a no-name cheap, deep seat dressage saddle and love how much flatter the seat is. I feel a much closer connection to my horse's back. It did, however, show me just how lazy I was in that deep saddle, as I must seriously engage my core muscles more to maintain my seat. I feel much more effective and stronger since riding in this saddle.
I'm with you, I don't like feeling locked into a deep seat dressage saddle.
Has anyone tried the Cynron Pegasus Close Contact Dressage Saddle ?
I never heard of it, but I did an internet search for a flat seat dressage saddle and this is what came up. It looks interesting to me!