Not sure if this was the best forum to post this in, but figured I'd give it a shot.
I want to get a saddle that I can mostly pursue dressage in, but can also pop over some low jumps in and what-not. (Might some day attempt Beginner Novice, but that's probably about it). So in theory, a 'general purpose' saddle would work. But you see so many cases where people consider 'all-purpose' to be 'no-purpose', but I'm hoping to find something that will prove that 'no-purpose' label wrong.
I will be working with a saddle fitter (just trying to find a time that will work for both of us right now) and she has suggested the Albion K2 GP or the Black Country Ricochet.
I was just wondering if anyone had any opinions on either of these saddles, or suggestion of something else?
There are many types of saddle snobs in the world. The all-purpose haters are only one brand. Personally, I had an old Crosby all purpose which was great, nice balance, very comfy, worked well for any activity. Sadly, I had to sell it when it no longer fit my horse.
It's really about the quality of the saddle's design and how it fits you and your horse than it is about what category it is labeled under.
Thanks The saddle fitter I am working with has nothing against all purpose saddles, and she doesn't seem to hold a real brand bias, she just wants to find a saddle that fits. And she already knows I can be a bit neurotic when it comes to saddle fit, so I'm sure we'll find something
I was just wondering if there were any suggestion of other brands/models to look at than Albion and Black Country (that would still be in that price range, lol).
I like the Passiers but not all will fit the description you gave. I rode in one this summer that I was comfortable schooling Prelim dressage and XC - but rode in another that seemed to pop me out of the tack jumping. Just different fits.
Try a VD (meaning all purpose but leaning towards dressage) or a PT.
But would suggest that you try any saddle you get & have someone watch you ride in it, to make sure it will do the job!
Be careful - the Paxtons are the "new line" whose trees are not adjustable. The older Passiers have wooden trees that you can have a saddle fitter adjust.
You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng
Before I got my dressage saddle, I did everything in my Stubben Siegfried II. Its a close contact saddle. Its flat enough that I can drop my stirrups to a more dressage like position and get by.
The other thought is to get a dressage saddle with minimal blocks. I ride in my Stubben Aramis (like the old Tristans or new Genesis Specials) on trails and for endurance rides. Trail rides with friends typically involve finding downed trees and such to pop over. It has really tiny blocks and isn't 100% perfect for jumping, but if I put my stirrups up a hole or two I can safely get over low stuff.
If I had to choose one or the other to sell, I'd probably sell the Siegfried II. I love it, but its not as easy to do flat work in. I can more comfortably jump low stuff (I have no desire/current ability to jump much higher than 2'6" at this point) in the Aramis than I can do dressage in the Siegfried. (I hope that last sentence made sense...)
Cliff Barnsby http://www.barnsby.com/ make lovely saddles, with cutting edge technology combined with excellent craftsmandship. I went to a fascinating seminar on 'saddles through the centuries' and these guys talked about modern manufacture. Look at their VSD model.
I recently had a new Stubben Genesis VSD on trial. The flap was just slightly too long and forward for me, but I am short from hip to knee. The saddle itself however was lovely. The balance very good for flatwork but the flap just forward enough that I felt I could jump in it.
So in theory, a 'general purpose' saddle would work. But you see so many cases where people consider 'all-purpose' to be 'no-purpose', but I'm hoping to find something that will prove that 'no-purpose' label wrong.
That line about 'no-purpose' saddles needs to be put out of its misery.
I ride in an AP most of the time because I don't differentiate 'dresssage' from 'jumping' when it comes to schooling a horse. An AP lets you make more adjustments in your position, especially in the canter or gallop. I also use an AP for trail riding, endurance and all phases of eventing at the LLs (provided the AP is the right fit).
Personally, my very most favourite saddle in the whole world is the Wintec AP. It is seriously comfortable, and it's also very lightweight, which I like for the horse. But this is what fits me and my horses. We aren't all the same, and some folks seem to get genuinely squeamish at the thought of putting their snobbery aside and riding in a Wintec. (I admit to past-life snobbery -- then I discovered Wintecs and sold my Devoucoux on eBay.)
My one comment on the Albion is that I've found their saddles to be quite heavyweight. I like something lighter on the horse's back.
Would be so much nicer on my pocket-book if the Wintec I tried had worked but I just wasn't happy with how it was fitting him
My horse will probably think even a heavier English saddle is light as he's kinda used to being ridden in a Western saddle right now, lol.
So far she has mentioned having an Ablion K2 GP and the Tzar to try, as well as a Black Country Quantum. I believe the Ricochet is a mix of the Quantum and the Wexford, but I'm not sure if she has one for me to try right now.
I used to have an ancient Stubben Siegfried that I had picked up used but it was just too wide for my horse and the amount of padding needed to make it work made it kinda wobbly in the process, lol.
One thing I really liked about the Albion K2 GP that I got to try on him briefly at one point was the wither gussets! It just made things seem to sit so much nicer around his withers, instead of sitting down /into/ him, it was sitting nicely /around/ him.
Nice article about A/P saddles, Bogie, thanks for the link!
And that's just it, I don't plan to jump anything big, I'm a chicken So it'll be mostly flat work, trail riding, and some jumping. I think I once managed a couple single fences up to 3' or 3'3" in my old Wintec 500 A/P, but I think I could be quite happy with 2'6" (repeat, a chicken, although I once had an instructor tell me they didn't see any feathers and to just get over the jump, lol)
Still waiting to hear back on a day that I can try saddles out
I have an Albion and I really like it. I have no problem jumping or flatting in it. I have the high wither/TB version. My horse has a short, curvy TB back and it fits him really well. Highly recommend it. I LOVE only having one saddle for everything. Less to pay for, less to clean, less HASSLE.
If you liked the Wintec, take a look at the Thorowgood line as they have models designed for high withers and for the rounder cob types which might offer a better fit for your horse. I have a basic AP saddle from them which I find really comfortable and has stood up well over the years...