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  1. #1
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    Oct. 21, 2009
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    Default Dressage saddles with narrow twist?

    Can anyone recommend any saddles that have moderate to narrow twists? I'm crossing over into dressage showing from h/j land and would like a dressage saddle that at least has a seat that is somewhat similar to my close contact saddles. So I'm looking for a narrower twist with a semi-shallow seat and preferably not any huge knee/thigh blocks. Any ideas?

    Also, Has anyone sat in the Dover circuit hybrid saddle? It sounds like a great option for cross-overs like me, plus my husband has the circuit pro close contact saddle so I know I generally like that brand. Oh and my price range is $1500ish new or used.



  2. #2
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Default

    What is your cc? often staying within the same brand means a similar tree is possible.

    ETA $1500 used will get you alot more saddle than $1500 new.



  3. #3
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    Feb. 23, 2005
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    Default

    County Connection or Competitor, though you are probably not going to find a real shallow seat in a dressage saddle.. You would be looking for a used County in that price range
    I wasn't always a Smurf
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  4. #4
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    Default

    look at the older passiers. minimal block, moderate to narrow twist, shallow seats. only flaw is seat tends to be harder, and leather, while very strong, can be a bit slippery. saddle tite is your friend there.



  5. #5
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    Default

    I too came from Hunter Land and had the same questions!! When I first sat in a Isabelle I was truly offended and two years later I bought one. lol. I have since sold it but the point I am going to make and this is just from my experience, is you will not stay with one saddle.

    What is expected of a hunter is pretty much the same year in and year out. The fences get bigger. That's it. this is a blanket statement I know but with Dressage the horse continually changes his body and musculature and you change as well. I believe you will find you will want something different as you move up the levels and your own seat changes or you might feel more secure doing bigger movements with more depth in seat and block in knee. Heck, sitting the trot is a big movement for me

    Start cheap. don't overthink it and go from there.
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  6. #6
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    Aug. 14, 2001
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    Default

    oops, to answer the original question before I started rambling, my first saddle out of a close contact was a Wintec Dressage 500. It was the least "offensive" and good on my wallet.
    Proud Member of the Opinionated Redhead Club! RIP my dear Avery ~3/21/1995-9/21/2011~

    Extreme Cat!!! 2006 OTTB
    Magic Cat - Final Demand



  7. #7
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    Aug. 13, 2010
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    Default

    The Stubben Tristan Special is a very minimalist dressage saddle. No knee rolls at all and very open seat. I'm not sure about the twist but I think it is fairly narrow.



  8. #8
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    Oct. 21, 2009
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by good booie View Post
    I too came from Hunter Land and had the same questions!! When I first sat in a Isabelle I was truly offended and two years later I bought one. lol. I have since sold it but the point I am going to make and this is just from my experience, is you will not stay with one saddle.

    What is expected of a hunter is pretty much the same year in and year out. The fences get bigger. That's it. this is a blanket statement I know but with Dressage the horse continually changes his body and musculature and you change as well. I believe you will find you will want something different as you move up the levels and your own seat changes or you might feel more secure doing bigger movements with more depth in seat and block in knee. Heck, sitting the trot is a big movement for me

    Start cheap. don't overthink it and go from there.
    Thanks, those were my thoughts as well. I would like to think that eventually I'll do enough dressage at a high enough level to justify the $$$ for some of the high end custom saddles but for now I just need something that is comfy and will get the job done. Probably the hardest part is spending 20 hours a week in a close contact saddle but only a couple hours a week in a dressage saddle. My legs and seat sometimes have trouble getting comfortable in such a foreign feeling saddle.

    Unfortunately we have a really crappy local tack store so all my test riding will have to be through online companies. Hopefully with these suggestions I can narrow down my choices so I'm not spending too much money on shipping saddles back and forth.

    Alto- I have several close contact saddles that I ride in depending on the horse. There are actually very few jumping saddles that I don't like but I do especially love Antares and Delgrange saddles but those brands are definitely out of my intended price range (or at least I haven't seen any).



  9. #9
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    Jul. 17, 2007
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    Default

    I like a narrow twist with a more "open" seat and am very comfortable in the Passier Relevant and the M. Toulouse Aachen.

    As a plus, the Aachen is available with the new Genesis adjustable gullet. No pulling the saddle apart and switching parts... just the turn of a key.
    Athletic Horses. Educated Riders.
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  10. #10
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    Mar. 20, 2010
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    Default

    My Forestier Saumer has a narrow twist and a shallow seat (you could get them with deeper seats as well).



  11. #11
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    Sep. 29, 2007
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    Default

    Depending on what its going on to of, I love my old roosli pilatus- still my favorite saddle to ride in. The tree shape works well on TB not as great for big, flat backs.



  12. #12
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    Default

    I have an older Rembrandt (before adjustable gullet) that is not as wide in the twist, and does not have ginormous knee blocks to hold you in place. I remember also liking a Stueben Scandica that a friend had, but was a bit out of my price range at that time (you can find them used at a really good price now)

    I need a narrower twist, because I'm pretty petite and some of these dressage saddles can lock my hip out of place and it hurts like Hades.

    I also wonder why every year it seems like the blocks get bigger, and the seat gets deeper. We have an old dressage saddle at the barn that is used for lessons, the cantle is practically flat compared the saddles today, and there are NO knee blocks to speak of, just a little padding there.



  13. #13
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hntrjmprpro45 View Post
    Alto- I have several close contact saddles that I ride in depending on the horse. There are actually very few jumping saddles that I don't like but I do especially love Antares and Delgrange saddles but those brands are definitely out of my intended price range (or at least I haven't seen any).
    Then you may be seriously overrating the importance of the narrow twist. I wouldn't call the twists on the Antares or Delgrange saddles narrow--they're moderate, not too narrow and not too wide--and many of them are medium-deep seats. A moderate-twisted, moderately deep seated dressage saddle may not feel like much of a migration. I know that my Amerigo CC, which is a medium deep seat, feels a HELL of a lot like my Dominus dressage saddle (also a Peter Menet design). Same twist, practically the same seat design, etc.

    The point is that you may want to try a wider range of dressage saddles than you were originally imagining.

    But I'll humor your original question and suggest stuff with fairly narrow twist, fairly shallow seat, and minimal blocking. On that budget, I'd be looking at

    1. The Bates Caprilli dressage. It is stucturally equivalent to the Wintec 500, but the Wintec 500 is made of a slippery equileather that is not to everyone's tastes. Another option is the Wintec Pro, which is again structurally equivalent to the Bates Caprilli dressage but has equisuede on the seats and flaps to help keep you where you belong. As a bonus, these are all adjustable gullet models. The Bates CC dressage has a narrow twist and a medium-deep seat, definitely not as deep as some dressage saddles. Can be found as cheaply as $750-ish. Middleburgtack.com has several on consignment.

    2. The Thornhill Vienna. This is a very close structural cousin of the classic, $3500 Passier Grand Gilbert (translation: almost identical in build except for a slight variation in block shape and a cushier seat than the original). The blocks are very small and non-obtrusive; a nice choice if you don't want to feel locked in. The cantle is quite high, but IME the saddle doesn't "ride" like it's deep--the actual depth from pommel to the bottom of the seat is not very much. The Vienna retails at $950 and is a steal at that price, but you can find them used for absolute peanuts. There's a girl on Horse-Grooming-Supplies.com who's been trying to get rid of one in 17" medium since late January, asking somewhere in the neighborhood of $450. A nice choice if you'd like to have a starter saddle to get you through a few years until you can upgrade.

    The Toulouse Aachen is also theoretically a cousin to the Grand Gilbert, but I don't recommend it for quality reasons. I know some people are gaga for it, but I think the leather quality on the newer Toulouses is inexcusably bad.

    As for the real deal Grand Gilbert, don't buy a Grand Gilbert unless you can find it for $600 or less. It's a fabulous saddle, super popular with eventers who like its similarities to the close contact saddle ride. But it's a dime a dozen on the market and you will struggle to resell it. It's also got a seat that's hard as rocks.

    3. Neidersuss Symphonie. A well-respected brand in the dressage world, good quality, been around for ages so you can find them under $1000. Good balance and good leather for the price. If I were shopping in your price range, it would be among my first picks. Middleburg Tack has a whole mess of them, but you can find this saddle model just about anywhere (including your local Craigslist, probably).

    4. Anything by Roosli. You'll find that Roosli, a Swiss brand, rides and is built very similarly to the high-end French brands. They're not super duper easy to find on the used market, but they're out there. Pelham Saddlery has several in their used inventory, and Saddler's Row also has one:
    http://www.saddlersrow.com/17-Roosli...t-p/d20515.htm

    Or if you prefer, the Zurich, which is Thornhill's knockoff of the Roosli. But Thornhill's version is pretty deep in the seat, and for this kind of money, you could have a real Roosli so I don't know why you'd go there:
    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/dress...Used12873.html

    5. Cobra or Jaguar, if you can find one that suits and is in the budget. Cobra was designed by Peter Menet, now famous for his Amerigo/Vega designs, and built by Harry Dabbs. Cobra has a narrower twist and minimal blocking; it rides like a much higher-end saddle than it retailed for. There is also a Menet-deseigned line called Dominus, but they have bigger blocking and a moderate twist (although for the record, I own a Dominus and love it). Jaguar was not designed by Menet but has Menet's design marks all over it, and again it will ride like a high-end saddle. Jaguar will be hard to find in your budget. Cobra is a rare brand in general but when you see it, it is in your budget:
    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/dress...d/Con4771.html
    and Jaguar, as you can see slightly out of your budget:
    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/dress.../CON12211.html

    6. Some of the Prestige tack, which will be on the high end of your budget but they are very nice, well-respected saddles. Example:
    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/dress...Used13137.html

    I'm sure others here will suggest the Passier, Stubben, Kieffer tack. Yes, those brands have shallow seats and minimal blocking. They also (often but not always) have hard seats. But they are a dime a dozen and you will have no trouble finding them, so if you want to go this route, you won't have trouble finding one.

    As usual, the caveats to choose something that fits the horse and fits you apply.
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  14. #14
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    Oct. 26, 2007
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    Boston MA
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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    3. Neidersuss Symphonie. A well-respected brand in the dressage world, good quality, been around for ages so you can find them under $1000. Good balance and good leather for the price. If I were shopping in your price range, it would be among my first picks. Middleburg Tack has a whole mess of them, but you can find this saddle model just about anywhere (including your local Craigslist, probably).As usual, the caveats to choose something that fits the horse and fits you apply.
    This is what I ride in and I love it!!! Bought it several years ago used and spent less than $800. My trainer likes it too and it fits my horse like a glove!



  15. #15
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    Default

    Roosli - especially the older ones (up to mid-1990s) have a very narrow twist and I can't ride in anything else now. And yes they do tend to fit the TB backs better.

    Prestige Top has a medium twist (compared to the Roosli). Some Passiers, and some of the Albions (SLK Low head) have narrow twists.

    Also, you need to make sure you are in the correct seat size - riding in a too large or too small seat size will make you sit in the wrong spot and it won't matter what the twist is, it will not be comfortable. Seat size has to do with the length of your legs as well as the size of your butt.

    Pelham and Trumbull Mtn have pretty good trial policies so you can take them home and ride in them - the saddle must also fit your horse properly to put you in the right position - there are a lot of factors that go into getting you comfy in the saddle, twist is just one, but when you get the right one everything else becomes unacceptable!



  16. #16
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    Mar. 14, 2002
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    FL
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    I agree, a County Competitor. I like a narrow twist as well and tried every saddle out there when I was looking several years ago. Came back to the County.

    Cody



  17. #17
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    Sep. 9, 2008
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    Default

    I love my Collegiate Convertible Dressage saddle... very similar to the Wintec/Bates, narrower twist and the seat doesn't "lock" you in, plus it's made of decent quality leather and is flocked. New ones online are just under $1000. It is a "lower end" saddle, but still quality construction and is perfect for me as I am getting back into riding and just half-leasing a horse. I'm sure I'll move up to a $$$ saddle in a couple of years as well.



  18. #18
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    I love my county, but, let's face it, it is a deep seat and it does have blocks. I have the County Perfection and I like blocks, but that is a personal preference. I also like the deep seat because I feel like I am more wrapped around my horse, if that makes any sense.
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  19. #19
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    Sep. 13, 2008
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    Ohio
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    Default

    I would also recommend the Niedersuss Symphonie! They are what you are looking for as far as twist, open seat, kneerolls and quality. There are always a few on ebay for a decent price.



  20. #20
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    Aug. 12, 2005
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    Default I second Niedersuss, Passier, Rembrandt with a caveat

    Look for the older models of these brands. The newer ones seem to have the larger blocks and more padding/deeper seats. I ride in an 1990s Rembrandt Sequel - pencil blocks, flat seat, a true minimalist saddle. The Northstar, very hard to find, have moderate blocks and a high cantle but a very flat open seat.



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