So I'm looking at saddles again, to ride in as I'm getting the mare back in shape. Her custom one fit well when she was in shape, but she's older and has had a long vacation, so I need one that works with her current, very different shape.
Am looking (at the moment) at a Duett Presto, a Bates Caprilli CC, and a Smith Worthington Beaufort.
Assuming they fit her, any thoughts on which may work the best with my long thigh?
I like a narrower twist but can deal with a wide-ish one given my budget. Just don't want my knee falling off the front of the flap. Would be using for (hopefully) hunting and some local showing, XC schooling, etc. Obviously cushy is good but given the long coyote runs that tend to happen, the ability to get and stay up off her back (ie centered/forward balance point) is more important.
I'd say that Bates won't work unless you like to ride long. I have a Wintec pro jump that's built very similarly and it's okay but my knee is right on the edge of the flap. I've ridden in a friend's Bates and I found it to be a very similar ride.
The Beaufort looks like a saddle that might work. I like the way the flap is cut better than the Presto.
Currently I have a County Extreme and a Stackhouse, both of which have extra forward flaps.
In the past I've ridden in and liked the Ainsley Chester (the old ones), Barnsby Diablo and the Courbette Vision Extra. The Jeffries Flyover is also a possibility but be careful with them as they ride small and I had to go up a full inch in the seat size to make it work despite the very forward flap.
i have both an amerigo vega and pinerolo monoflaps..and my femur's are freakishly long!
the pinerolo has a narrow twist and fits my high withered TB beautifully. It also has extra forward flaps. the vega is wider for my wide WB, it fits me well too.
i've tried other saddles, what I felt works for me is to get more forward flaps and a saddle that may be bigger than your "usual" size. for example, I usually fit 17 1/2 to 18" saddles, but found (with various saddle fitters too) that going to an 18 1/2 with forward flaps works great for hunt/xc saddles. it lets me get the leathers short enough without my knee coming forward of the flap and gives me some room on the back of the saddle too.
I love my OTTB! I get my dressage test done faster!
Am looking (at the moment) at a Duett Presto, a Bates Caprilli CC, and a Smith Worthington Beaufort.
I tried a Duett Presto (from the wonderful used saddle room at The Tack Room in Camden ) but the flap was not long enough for my thigh. And I'm [only] 5'9"! Which used to be tall for a woman but these days isn't really.
Anyway, other than that I loved the saddle, so I called Duett and asked if they made a Presto in a long flap. They replied that they did not.
So I got a Rondo, which I really love. The twist is wiiiide, though. My elfin little RI says it practically pops her hips out of joint to try and ride in it. If you like a narrower twist I'd recommend trying out a Duett before committing.
I find it cushy and comfy, but easy to get up and stay off the horse's back. Very secure.
I finally gave up trying to find a ready-made that fit, and got a Stackhouse custom. It is everything I ever lusted after in a saddle and I'm going to have it buried with me. It was made for my boss/queen mare (24) and it is now being used on her son who is 14. The only adjustments required were flocking.
I'm taking jumping lessons with The Legendary Jimmy Wofford. In addition to being one of the great event riders and coaches, he also was a MFH of Piedmont,as was his wife, Gail.
First day of the cross country training was a description of the dynamics of the rider position in the saddle.
The back of the knee needs to have a 90 degree angle as the base. No extra padding under the knee/leg as it turns the knee out, losing the use of it as a grip. If there is padding, the lower leg will slide backwards, out of control. Then, one also can't use the lower leg or heel as only a separate cue.
From his book, Training the Three Day Horse and Rider, pg. 36
"The knee roll should stop at the point of the knee and not continue down the skirt of the saddle. Long knee rolls will cause the knee to open and slide backwards in the landing phase of the jump."
Most saddles are cut too vertically down from the pommel to allow the comfortable 90 angle. There are many that look like they go forward, but don't actually angle from there. He thinks that a pencil roll in the very front of the flap is all that is needed. If the flap is cut properly the leg will stay put from the physics of the balance. He wants the flap cut forward enough to allow 1-2 more holes of shorter stirrups for training the gallop and strengthening the rider's legs.
The stirrup bar position has to be in right place on both sides of the saddle. You should be able to easily stand in the stirrups and feel like you can move in any direction. It is easy to keep your balance. You aren't locked into any position, so you can adjust to whatever terrain and obstacles come your way.
He has designed a few saddles himself, and they have his signature. They are worth ferreting out. They never were production saddles, so they are quite rare. He has had Stackhouse make some saddles for him. That is why Stackhouse can get the position right. The one that Stackhouse made for Jimmy for the team, had to be under 10 lbs. because the total required weight of tack and rider was 165 lbs.
My saddle is a custom Stackhouse for hunting. I think I had it made in the early 90's. It is comfortable, and has the balance. I'm teaching the green beans to jump, so I'm testing the range of motion. Even when the stirrup leathers feel like they might be vertical- the wrong direction- I'm able to center, stay on and ride.
Since I want some extra cushioning for my damaged back, I've added a sheepskin seat saver with some very thin poron between the sheepskin and the seat.
Please consider picking up a copy of his book. There is much more detail than I have given. I haven't recieved my copy of his new one yet. But, I bet there will be even more sage advice there.
I have read Jimmy's book, and also his articles in Practical Horseman about saddle fit to the rider, AND I have a long femur as well.
I second nixing the Bates CC. It won't fit your femur - you'll have knee sticking out behind the edge of the flap. If you really want the adjustable gullet for the Bates, try the Bates Eventer - that model has a forward enough flap for a long thigh.
I also think you should look into the Black Country line, if your budget allows. I've never sat in a more comfortable saddle - I can actually hack out for hours in mine without my butt falling asleep. I have a Tex Eventer, since I dislike deep seats, but they make a deeper seated, forward flap model called the Quantum that's worth looking into.
Oh, and the Wofford saddle tends to fit very narrowly (I had one on trial and was told that they cleared them out because they didn't fit a lot of horses well), so they went pretty cheaply. If you have a TB with tall withers, they might fit well. Lovely leather on them, but rather a BIG saddle, if you know what I mean.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison
So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."
I second the Black Country saddles. They are great at customizing their saddles at no extra cost. My husband is a tall skinny fellow with a very long thigh. Black Country added length both down the flap as well as forward for him. We started with a trial on the standard Tex Eventer from Trumbull Mountain Tack. Then using email and pictures designed the saddle to fit him and the horse. Very easy, and he had an almost custom saddle in about 4 weeks.
Whicker, I do have Woff's book (all of his, actually, I think)--had forgotten that the 3-Day one had a saddle bit. I agree with his "no extra padding" approach for my wide-barreled mare in particular. I do think on the slab-sided types a bit of knee roll can be nice so you don't feel like you're going knock-kneed while astride them!
As I mentioned, I do have and love my custom jumping saddle...which is a monoflap with just front and rear blocks, no knee roll. Allows for short stirrups and getting into the "back seat." (Quick plug for Matty Marlow at Heritage in the UK, who made it for us!)
Was looking for a "short-term" saddle since my mare had changed shape last year (ie gotten out of shape). I checked the current saddle's fit on her over the weekend, and it appears to fit well again! I think with the grass coming in and putting her on Tri-Amino (she's 18 this year), her topline filled back in nicely even without a lot of work yet. Now we'll see what happens when she's back in regular work, watch her get even wider....
So. Cool. My bank account is happy for now. But will keep the input in mind for the next time around the saddle-hunting carousel! So far the 3-yo seems to be a similar shape to the mare, though her ribs are not quite as well-sprung. She's going through so many growth spurts I haven't bothered trying to fit a saddle to her yet, though. Am dreading that this fall when we restart her....
I know people suggest going up in seat size to allow for a long femur. After having done that a couple times now, I'm going to recommend against it.
What I found is that with my stirrup length where I want it, I get pushed back behind the center of the saddle & end up in a chair seat.
I've got a Berney Brothers jumping saddle going up to MT this weekend because someone heard I had one in a larger size & they were looking. It's a generous 17.5 and just put me so far in the back seat.
I've been riding in a Wintec Pro, that's a 17" (I think) and lengthened my leathers a hole & am dealing with my knee at the edge or hanging over, again. It's more important to me to be sitting in the "sweet spot" and feels so much better.
If I could find an old Ainsley Chester or Barnsby Diablo, I'd be in heaven, but 'til then, I'd rather have my knee hang over than my @$$ pushed so far back.
I use the Bates CC - for everything. I am tall, too, and ordered the longer leg flap. It is not such an expensive saddle and can take a bit of abuse and is ok in the rain. It fits my horse. I am very comfortable on the air cushion ride for hours. My horse's back is always fine.
I have heard that some people find the balance makes it sit a bit downhill, but shims are available if the adjustable forks do not fix it. Make sure it is not made so narrow it pinches.
Only thing I can say is that I ordered a 17" (with the longer flap) which is what I used to use to accommodate my long leg, but actually I float around in it a bit. With the long flap I could have gone back to 16-12".
My longest lasting saddle for the hunt was a Passier A/P - it was indestructible, and beautifully built, but my girls told me my leg is better in the Bates.