Yes, I know purists will tell me I should have both a jumping and a dressage saddle.
I have a new horse, and that means a new saddle. My dressage saddle would probably fit him with some adjustment to the flocking, but even before I moved on from my last horse I had moved on from the saddle. It just didn't fit me right, so it's on consignment at Pelham.
I have a wintec close contact saddle in caramel that I used on same said previous horse for our excursions into the hunter pleasure ring. Naturally I have the gullet change options, but I really would like leather.
So, what's a "jack of all trades" rider to do? I have a pony club background, and may want to eventually have fun at <gasp> elementary eventing. Two feet sounds right up my alley.
I will be doing a lot of trail riding.
I will be making a few trips to schooling dressage shows for intro and training levels.
I may ride in a hunter pleasure class for fun.
So, what saddles out there would be best to support a correct position for mostly on-the-flat riding--both hunt seat and lower level dressage-- and the occasional pop over tiny fences?
Oh yeah, I'll be looking for used because cash flow is. . . let's say it's like molasses in January in Maine.
I ended up with a Black Country GP Event kind of on accident. My horse has a serious shark fin and then a very flat back and it was the only thing I could find that would fit him. They retail for 2k new but I picked mine up for $600 on e-bay.
I'm a bit like you... I do a lot of trails, hacking, a little dressage, the occasional crossrail.
It is hands down the most comfortable saddle I've sat in. Everyone who has tried it loves it. It also puts me in a correct position, and with the deeper seat, knee rolls, and blocks it keeps me there. And yet it is not bulky AT ALL. I feel as close to the horse as I did in my old school pancake close contact.
We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
A little embarrassed to admit it, but I love my Collegiate Senior Event more than any other saddle. It is very comfortable and sits you very close to your horse--perfect for my smaller jumps, beginner dressage and hacking out. The changeable gullet and the price tag were great too.
I would also look for a Stubben or an old Crosby Softride. They're easy to find and pretty cheap. Everyone who's ridden in my old Crosby, regardless of their shape or size, has loved it. The flap was shaped so that I could ride at a jumping length or a dressage length comfortably. Stubbens are great saddles too (my horse loves his) and they're really easy to find dirt cheap.
Albion, too! I purchased their Original Comfort GP900 at Pelham about 10 years ago (when they were still a dealer). Graduated to an Original Comfort Dressage saddle that I really love. Also purchased at Pelham; it was a consigned saddle.
Sold the GP to a barn buddie and it is still going strong. It has the VSD style flaps, so it works well for flat work and low jumps as well.
Did you look at saddles at Pelham? Also, Double G Ranch in Lebanon is usually worth looking into, as they usually have a pretty good selection of used English saddles, as well as new ones.
i have an albion (i think it's called K2)
it was made semi custom for my v hard to fit mare. at the time we were doing distance riding so they included several extra dees for tying things on.
i love it! it is the most comfortable saddle i ever rode in. and most importantly - my mare loves it! (and it was v. reasonably priced)
i bought it from kate at dutchess bridle and saddle.
I bought a Stubben Siegfried VSD-DL (the Scandica model with the elk leather) when I started riding again about 2 years ago. It has been a great saddle - comfortable, with a deep and secure seat, and I have been able to use it for everything without feeling too handicapped by the fact that it is an all-purpose saddle.
I just ordered a County jumping saddle (can't wait until it arrives in January!), but I will continue to use my Stubben for hacking around the pastures; and, I hope to try my hand at some really low-level eventing next year, so I am glad I'll have it to use for dressage.
Stubben Daland if they still make them. They are the same as the older-than-dirt Siegfried only the ENTIRE seat and flaps are suede-covered. You can fall out of them but it's darn hard.
I've had 2. I very foolishly sold the first one (bought in the 60's for $250) because it didn't fit the knife-withered OTTB that I had at the time. Then tried saddle after saddle after saddle and never found one I liked to fit me.
Eighteen yrs ago I was able to still purchase one through a local tack shop. It took over 3 months to get here but it was worth every cent. Cost then was $1250 plus tax. My trainer has an old Daland that she had recovered probably 5 or more yrs ago and I believe it cost her $800 then.
Sometimes you have to burn a few bridges to keep the crazies from following you!
I love the Courbette Pandur Spezial I ride in. I don't know if or when I'll ever actually want to go back to riding in "real" dressage saddles again after riding a few different horses in it for the last few months. Comfiest saddle ever for me.