Need out of the box saddle suggestions- Update- buying a saddle!
Looking for out of the box - off the beaten path- saddle suggestions. I've tried many of the usual suspects and I am heading towards custom saddle land, which I don't want to do!
(omg - this is long- sorry!)
I am looking for a brown, wool flocked, square cantled jumping saddle. My budget is negotiable.
Horse is a TB, has long withers, wicked short back and big shoulders. His back is moderately curvy, not Roxanne curvy, but too curvy for my Butet and my Prestige. Horse also seems to want wither gussets and a generous gullet.
My search is compounded by 1) horse is a fussy chestnut and is very sensitive to saddle fit - even in saddles that my fitter says fit, the horse says no;
2) I need a forward balance point with not a deep seat and a forward flap. Many of the "usual suspects" - Nobility, County etc put me in a chair seat, or I have to fight the saddle to get out of it.
I have been working with (harassing??) several reputable saddle shops with saddle fitters (including Trumbull Mtn) and have tried dozens of saddles.
The only two saddles that I have tried on him that he worked well in - used his back, stretched forward into contact- are a Black Country Ricochet and my 20lb 50 yr old heavily shimmed Stubben Siegfried (which is what I ride him in). The Ricochet was *particularly* bad for me, too deep, wrong stirrup bar placement etc, made me pitch and pitch w/ my knee, couldn't open my seat and sit. The Stubben only fits him with a lot of shimming, and it's chair seat city.
I did try the Tex Eventer, but the tree was too flat for him. Have also tried Wintec, Berney Bros, Duett monoflap, Kent and Masters, Jefferies Schlokmole (sp?), and a whole bunch of other saddles. Most of the issues we are having are tree too flat; tree too curvy; gullet not wide enough; not enough wither clearance; wrong balance for me.
If you've stayed with me to this point, thanks!! I really need some perhaps lesser known suggestions!
Last edited by Judysmom; Jun. 29, 2012 at 08:58 PM.
Have you tried an Albion? They are very willing to tweak their "stock" saddles to suit your individual needs if you go through a reputable dealer.
It made a huge difference for my mare - At least she quit bucking all the time!
Hm, never heard of balance saddles, will check out the website later. Thanks for the suggestion.
JWB- I actually really liked the Albion Legend I sat in, but I didn't even take it try on the horse, I could see that it was going to not give him enough room around the withers. I checked out their website, based on the other thread, the Kontact Dual and Kontrol flat look like they might be worth a try...
That's actually one of the companies who are on my list to find a dealer for.
Which model do you have?
Do you have a picture of his back? The M Toulouse saddle I have, the Marielle, manages to fit my big withered mare. Her back is sort of curvy but not really and it fit her really well. I then widened it out and it is a perfect fit for a long withered, big shouldered, short backed tb. His back is a little flatter than hers but the way the panels are shaped and stuffed it seems to work both ways.
I don't know if you have tried any of their saddles but it might be worth a shot.
Forgive my ignorance, but why the requirement for a square cantle? (this may be obvious to someone who knows more about saddle construction than I!)
Have you tried any of the newer Pessoas? The Nelson model may work for you: http://www.pessoasaddles.com/saddles/nelson.html. I know some people don't like Pessoas, but I find them to be incredibly well balanced with thoughtfully built trees.
I have the "budget" K2 Jump. A good Albion rep will measure for your "stock saddle" and it will be built (within reason) to your horse's measurements. They will also fit it for you when it arrives and again after about 30 hours of ride time to make sure it fits properly.
My previous saddle was a Toulouse and I would not recommend them to anyone! They are pretty on the surface, but all the work goes into the asthetics and underneath, they're just really poorly balanced. My horse HATED it.... The gullet was really wide but the panels were just foam slabs that didn't really fit on anything I tried it on, and you can't adjust them.
mg- the cantle is more aesthetics than anything else, although square cantled saddles are more often less deep, and jumping focused vs all purpose. That said, my old Stubben definitely has a flatter seat than the Schlese I tried.
Unfortunately Pessoas don't work for him. I like them though thanks for the suggestion.
Anyone try Hasitlow? I sent them an email and wither tracings last week, still waiting to hear from them...
Yes, what Prestige did you try? My "eventer" has a very upright balance point (compared to the backseat the Ainsley Chester puts me in). It's brown (well, orange), and not that deep and you can take out the knee and thigh blocks if you want. I can even do flatwork in jump length stirrups and it's a good balance. The cantle is round, but it does have a pretty white bar across the back...
They fit a wide variety of horses although they are foam flocked.
I love Amerigos, but the one I had for my mare didn't fit my new TB, and I couldn't quite justify the $ on another since his shape was changing so much (he was 4 at the time). Ended up with a Frank Baines, which I LOVE! It fits my guy nicely, though he has a flatter back than most TBs - might be worth a try. If you are interested, I got mine from Trumbull Mountain tack shop in VT. They seem to carry a lot of FBs, and will ship trial saddles.
Also, FWIW, I have not heard many great things about Toulouse saddles. And I don't think you will find them wool flocked (which was one of my requirements when saddle shopping).
Oh, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my prestige. Its a Nona Garson Elite with a forward flap. Love it, love it, love it!!! The balance is perfect for jumping and flatwork, I can SIT and open up my seat bones, its a great saddle. Unfortunately, while it LOOKS like it fits the horse, something about it just bugs him, and it made him back sore. I even had it converted to wool, and it still bugs him. Oh well. The best we (meaning myself and two different saddle fitters) can figure is that the prestige tree points are bothering him, and maybe its too flat?
Yes I've been working with Trumbull Mtn and we have yet to find anything through them that suits the horse and myself.
Amerigo is an option, although they are about $1,000 more than I want to spend. And I realize I may end up there anyway, but the horse is young and has only been in work a few months,and I understand that they are custom? I have big concerns ordering a custom saddle now because his back is putting on muscle.
I tried a Vega on him a while ago, wasn't right, maybe better now that he has more back to work with.
I also think I'd like to try to go with a saddle maker that does wither gussets, the saddles that I've tried on him with gussets seem to work better for him than those without.
Thanks for all the suggestions Problem shared is a problem halved, right?
Last edited by Judysmom; Jun. 6, 2012 at 09:01 AM.
Reason: more info
Foo. I was going to suggest you try the Duett monoflap!
Frank Baines might work for you--they are the narrow horse version of the Balance saddles, which are (were?) also a Frank Baines product.
I have a friend with a similar-sounding horse (OTTB)and she has had to put him in some pretty wide trees, despite him having a "normal" width back. She rode in my HDR Showjumper Pro for a while (wide tree that had been widened to XW but is probably a 34 cm equivalent so not THAT wide) and she is now in a Thorowgood jumping saddle with either the wide or XW gullet in it.
What didn't work about the Wintec? If it was a back soreness thing due to the CAIR panels, could you maybe try a Bates instead?
I ended up with a wide tree Kieffer jump saddle. The only thing I could find that came remotely close to fitting my large withered, short backed, big shouldered, well muscled boy. He's got a broad, flattish back plus HUGE shoulders, leaving a big pocket of space right behind his shoulder blade. A medium 'looked' like it fit him when he was standing still, but the tree points were actually digging into him with every step he took The Kieffer is wide enough so the tree points don't poke him, but with enough padding/stuffing through that area that it clears his wither nicely and makes great contact through his 'pocket'. (The gullet is very wide, and the panels are larger than normal at the front.) I read something that said 'fit the shoulder, not the wither' and that is exactly what I had to figure out in order to get the saddle to work for Pie.
This saddle has completely turned around our jumping. He was tense, nervous, and bolting after fences and I was riding him in a pelham. After one jump in the new saddle- literally he landed, threw his head up and prepared to bolt, and then seemed to go 'oh, that didn't hurt!'- and he jumped eagerly without nervousness or tension or bolting! I've been riding him in a snaffle since, and his attitude has totally shifted. He's his normal confident, cocky, sometimes opinionated self instead of nervous, rushing, and unsettled.
I tried a Prestige event on him, in a wide (34 cm) tree..the darn thing looked to fit his wither tracing but did not fit him at all. I don't think it could have fit more poorly! It pinched the shoulders, bridged (I could see LIGHT between the panels and his back), and it popped up in back and didn't make contact with his back for the back 3/4 of the saddle. Too bad because I loved that saddle!
In terms of rider fit~ I absolutely adore this saddle. It has a forward flap (I'm really long hip to knee), not too deep a seat, and balance point is perfect for me. I was also riding in a Siegfried, and was constantly fighting it to stay balanced and forward enough. For dressage I ride in a Roosli, and this Kieffer is similar in terms of the balance, but the seat is much more comfortable and the leather is way grippy.
Sirensong4 - That's alot of the problem I'm having, he's not really narrow, he measures a very generous M/W in most saddles, but he has a decent wither that's wicked long. Oh, and his back is really short. Many of the saddles I tried- even in a 17"- hang over his last rib. The Wintec didn't give him enough wither clearance, it sat down on him pretty bad.
Actually, the problem with the Wintec is a problem I have had with alot of the saddles, the correct width saddle doesn't give enough room? height? for his wither, that's why I'm kinda leaning towards a saddle with wither or front gussets.
If you click on my profile, I have a back shot of him as my profile pic (if you want to see him )
Not sure if any will work for you but they are a bit different.
I just bought a Frank Baines Reflex ($3,200 custom) and it fits my TB (long, high withers, big shoulder) beautifully. It has wither gussets and a very forward flap to fit my extra long thigh. Lovely leather quality, has broken in almost immediately.
FWIW--I rode in an Amerigo Vega for 3 months while I waited for my Baines to arrive. HATED it for a variety of reasons. I was really disturbed by the poor leather quality, especially at a $4,000+ price point. The dye bled out of the saddle the entire time I had it, regardless of what I used to oil/clean/condition it.
Have you tried any Passier saddles? The Passier Wellington is a close contact with a wide gullet, gusset panel, wool flocked and square cantle. I have one and really like it. My ottb is pretty sensitive too and I tried a lot of saddles before I settled on the Passier..Passier Grand Gilbert for dressage and the Wellington for jumping.