I rode for years and years in a Crosby Olympia II. Only reason why I stopped riding in it is my then young and up and coming horse was a wide width.
I still have the Crosby which I bought in 1986, rode in it until 2003. It is a medium width. I rode endurance and showed in that saddle. I rode many many really hard miles in that saddle. Wow.
Currently ride in a Solstice Wide from 2003 to the present.
In a heart beat I would get another Crosby AP. They revamped the Olympia II and it is now the Crosby Sofride. I have my eye out for one, but need a wide. This saddle is an ultimate hacking saddle. You can do jumping, trail, dressage, or cut cows and cow pen! Maybe pricy, but it will fit out of the box, or get your custom saddle fitter to make it work. I did have a leather guy put in some extra dee rings on my saddle, easy.
Except for a couple little scuffs, my old Crosby is in very good condition even after all these years. It is still buttersoft, beautiful color still too. My black Solstice has faded some over the years. But it is also in very good condition.
I'm not sure if you've looked into synthetics or not, but I ride in the Thorowgood endurance saddle, and I really like it. On the surface, it looks like a regular english all-purpose saddle, but it has a few features that make it great for endurance. The panels are shorter and broader than a typical AP saddle, which is good for short-backed arabs and spreads rider weight over a wider area. The seat is shallower than a dressage saddle but more comfortable than a close contact on long rides. You can adjust the billets forward and back to suit your horse's conformation. And it has lots of d-rings, too. I'm 5'3", and the flaps are short enough for me.
I 3rd the Thorowgoods. I have the endurance and also an all purpose. Both are quite comfy and I have ridden hours in each. My friend has an all purpose and loves hers also. I bought the all purpose used at Rick's Heritage and it was in like new condition. One is wide and the other is med. wide. Both are older models so so not have the changeable gullet. I love the straighter flap as I like to ride with a longer leg. Neither saddle has a very deep seat. Just a little deeper than a close contact, but are easy to get out of to do some jumping.
Thanks again everyone for the advice. I'm definitely looking into the bates for a hunter/ ring saddle.
I've been offered a great deal on a new wintec pro endurance. It looks like a nice saddle, I could hop around a little course in it and have a free enough leg to do my dressage schooling. I could also change the tree size to fit everyone, so that's another plus. Can someone fill me in on the cons of this saddle? I asked around at foxcatcher and no one had anything negative to say about it, but I want to make sure I am well informed before I plunge in. I also searched past threads but didn't find to much information on the subject.
Thanks again everyone!
Just a note on the Wintecs -- best friend rides endurance, started LD, now does 50's. Even when doing the LD's, the Wintec trees do not hold up to the amount of work (conditioning, etc). Trees warped and/or cracked over time. They're cheap, so you can just buy a couple, but just wanted to give a heads up in advance.
. So do lots more research, narrow it down even further and then try all the saddles on your short list - don't just sit in them at the store. You need to do at least 20-25 miles on your trial run (with lots of trotting especially), otherwise you might not get a good "reading." If a company doesn't let you demo a saddle, move on! And research your options for saddle pads as well.
These are very wise words.
I bought NINE saddles when I was trying to find a saddle for my mare. Eight didn't fit her and one almost killed me after riding only a few hours. Lord at the wasted money!! The light FINALLY went on and I refused to buy another that I couldn't actually try. Still tried three more before I found one that works great for the mare and me. The one I ended up with is a synthetic and cheap but we love it.
Never again will I buy a saddle I can't actually ride first.
You know why cowboys don't like Appaloosas?" - Answer: Because to train a horse, you have to be smarter than it is.
I do LD rides in my Stubben Siegfried II. I like the narrow twist and its what I had before. I do all our conditioning in it and my horse has never been sore. He's extremely opinionated about tack and will in no uncertain terms let me know if he is uncomfortable in something. He's never objected to the Siegfried II.
Eventually I may get a different saddle if we have problems when we start doing 100s in the future, but this works for now.
My friend does rides in her M. Tolouse dressage and jumping saddles.