I'll start off by saying I am new to dressage! I typically do hunter/jumper, but am having my pony mare broke in the spring and plan on doing just dressage with her, mostly lower level probably, but I still want a good quality saddle. If it makes any difference, she is not young so won't be growing, but is FAT right now. She will obviously gain muscle once she's broken and is riding, so should I wait to purchase a saddle for her until a few months after she's broke so it fits properly? Or does that not make a huge difference? I don't plan to purchase until late spring anyway.
I need your opinions on a saddle since I have almost no experience with dressage saddles. I am on a budget, so saddles shouldn't be terribly expensive. I'm open to buying a good new saddle, or a better quality used one around the same price. I am not sure what I'm willing to spend at this time, but let's start with $1500 and under. I do plan to test out my top choices with a saddle fitter.
I'd love to hear your opinions/decriptions/experience with different brands/models of saddles, and how well they break in and hold up. I've heard to Amerigo's are nice, as well as the Prestige saddles. I'd love love love a saddle that will keep me IN. Opinions? Thanks!
Tons of saddles at that price point. I recommend you buy a high quality used saddle as you can get much more for the money, especially if you/your horse are not too difficult to fit. I personally recommend wool flocking as I think it is more forgiving/adjustable as horses change. You might look for used Euroriding saddles. They are not so well known in the US, so are often a bargain. See what they have on closeout here (great deals and knowledgeable people): http://www.classicsaddlery.com/close...nsignments.htm
Try to ride in as many saddles as you can borrow, try etc to get a sense of what fits you and your horse and what you like.
I'd wait three months. Ride in whatever you have that fits. As a new rider to dressage, your position will change a lot and you may find that the saddle you pick now won't work for you once you adjust.
On the other hand, it's even harder to learn your new position on a saddle that doesn't encourage the proper position, so it's kind of a catch 22.
I personally would try to find something used that fits you and your horsey and have it prof flocked to your horse. If you get a decent deal on it, it's a good name brand, and you take care of it - you will prob be able to sell it for what you paid in a year. (or close to it anyway) By then you and your girl will have had some changes and you could start investing in a better fit for the two of you, if needed. Sometimes saddle fitters can keep up with the change with new flocking, but sometimes not.
I'm sure if you look around enough and try a bunch, you'll find something that speaks to both of you!
I really liked my Prestige, but didn't have any luck fitting the one I had to my wide, flat backed horses (I used it on a shark withered ottb)...I had a Prestige Top, I think. Maybe the other styles have a more appropriate tree shape for the widey's??
Love my Collegiate Jessica. So does my trainer. It's kind of a joke...we've got SUPER high end saddles in the barn, and we both love the Jessica. Fit the wide ones well.
For a basic dressage saddle, I also really like the County WB (warmblood)...but not much support while you are learning. County trees seem fairly versatile.
I just bought a Stubben dressage saddle b/c their tree structure is FLEXIBLE and very innovative compared to most other saddles with RIGID trees. It hasn't arrived yet...my trainer has an Excaliber that is nice, and I rode in the Maestoso and loved it...
I did not care for the Amerigo. I couldn't feel anything going on under me. I have eventing friends that LOVE them though.
See if you can borrow a few from your trainer while you take lessons...TRY TRY TRY first!