I was wondering if anyone had suggestions for saddles for people with shorter legs? Most of the saddles I have tried or seen seem to have a much too long flap, especially in the size that fits my horse. I was riding in my trainer's Crosby the other day and the flap was almost longer than my leg! My horse isn't hard to fit, and just goes in a medium tree. Are there any brands who are known to have slightly shorter flaps? Not looking for a custom saddle here, as I can only spend about 2k used...
If I've said it once on this forum, I've said it a million times: Just find something that works for the horse, then pay a saddler to shorten the flap. MUCH cheaper and easier than finding something with a custom short flap. It's especially easy to shorten the flap of a plain-flapped saddle (no knee roll) but it can be done with a knee roll as well.
That said, $2K will buy you a whole lot of saddle in this market if you decide to pursue something used with a short flap. Especially if you can wear children's seat sizes like 16". Just saw a 16" Bruno Delgrange short flap for $1600 earlier this week. Cori McGraw has a 17" Antares Richard Spooner for $1990 with a 13" flap: http://www.highendusedsaddles.com/saddlesavailable.htm
The Bates Caprilli CC can also be ordered new with a short flap at around $1400.
Alternately, you could look into something that already has a cut-off flap, which is a popular option for show jumpers who like to hike their stirrups up. The Phillippe Fontaine Diane is one such saddle: http://www.pfsaddles.com/PFdiane.html
Amerigo/Vega tends to have a shorter, more forwardish flap. And again, in this market, you can find them at the high end of the $2K range (Vega at least--Amerigo is trickier but I have seen a few, mostly in unpopular colors or sizes).
Or you could save up a few hundred more bucks and order yourself a custom saddle from one of the English brands: Classic, Hastilow, Black Country, pick your poison but they all hover around the $2000-$2500. The cheapest of those is probably Classic, who offer an off-the-rack short flap option and can custom-order any flap for an extra $100. http://www.classicsaddlery.com/saddl...ingclassic.htm
Last edited by jn4jenny; Oct. 14, 2010 at 11:59 AM.
love, love, love my PJ with the short/forward flap and I bought it used exactly in your price range. I'm 5'2". Often, with a regular flap that is shortened, an individual with legs that are short from the knee down but not from the hip to the knee will find they come out the front at the knee with a correct stirrup length. The short/forward accomodates that.
Simply cutting an existing flap will not give you a quality fit. A flap that is made to be short fits differently over the entire flap and not just lenghtwise. The degree of forewardness will also change how a flap fits the person. For these reasons I support getting a used french/custom saddle rather than something you cut down. Your budget is reasonable for finding something in good shape and really there is nothing nicer than a well made saddle. I view them as safety equipment
I bought a Crosby Centennial with a short flap this spring for the same reason (same height too). It is about $2100 new, used would be less. The flap also has a regular or forward option too. I'm so glad I did it; makes a big difference!
"Radar, the man's ex-cavalry: if he sees four flies having a meeting, he knows they're talking about a horse!" Cptn. BJ Hunnicutt, M*A*S*H Season 4, Episode "Dear Mildred"
Unless you find a really high end saddler and spend some dough, I don't think you'll be happy with a cut-down flap. Or rather, if you are like be-- both short and vain and bitter about it-- you won't be happy.
The other points about the whole geometry of the flap-- particularly the expected length and angle of your femur-- matter, too.
Then there's the shape of the horse. How much does his horse-sized back spread out your little legs?
Being short-on-wide, I ended up being much happier in any saddle cut with a relatively straight flap. If I jumped bigger or owned narrower, a short-flapped version of a saddle cut with a forward flap might work for me.
But the shape of the seat mattered, too. So a long, open seat usually created a wider margin of error for a flap cut not "just right."
If you can tell us more about the shape of your horse and saddles you do or don't like, and if your booty is child-sized or woman-sized, that can help. Though it seems attractive and may feel good, I wouldn't buy a smaller seat size to get the flap geometry I wanted. Some day you'll be riding a big-gaited horse in that and won't be able to sit. In the meantime, you'll offer your horse's back less surface area for supporting your weight.
For people who are unusually short or tall, it can be worthwhile put in some serious thought, time and even money to finding the saddle with the right balance. Hang onto those "this one hits the spot" saddles forever.
I'm 5'3" and have similar issues with saddle fit. I can usually find something that works for the horse, but fitting me is another matter.
The problem I've found with many saddles is that the flap is either too forward or too long or both. I often find that my knee isn't anywhere near the knee roll and that the flap is past the mid point of my lower leg. Furthermore, if I find something where the knee roll is in the right place, it's usually on a saddle with a seat size that is too small, as in 16". Even 16.5" are borderline - ok if the seat is relatively flat, but not ok if it's a deep seat.
The french saddles such as Butet and Antares do work well, but I don't want to spend $4+ for a new one and I've not found a used one yet that fits my spec.
Just yesterday though I had occasion to try an Arc de Triomphe saddle and it fit beautifully. The flap position was great and the knee roll was exactly where it should be. Unfortunately it was an older model that was "well loved" so the flap markings were hard to read. Upon visiting their website, I discovered they have many seat and flap options and the prices are reasonable. Their entry level saddle is around $1800 or so and the next level up is $2600 new which is certainly a lot more affordable than other French brands. Perhaps give that a go.
I'm 5'3'' but all leg. I found that I needed a forward flap to fit my femur, and I finally ordered my dream saddle (a Devoucoux, yeah yeah whatever). It fits awesome, and the flap is just fine length-wise.
I'm barely 5 ft tall with a short leg and I fit into a 16" Butet with 0 flap really well - it's like it was made for me :-) I tried a lot of saddles and had the best luck with the higher end French saddles - they usually have a short flap option that can be combined with other options like tree size, etc - that way you get something that fits you and your horse. Of course, unless you've got $4k+ to spend on a new one, it's hard to find exactly what you need in a used saddle...I was lucky and found my like-new Butet on ebay for $2k. Good luck in your search!