I have a young horse that I am breaking at the moment. Currently have a Roosli that I love but I might have to find one that fits when he builds up his back muscle. What are takes on treeless, adjustable and regular saddles that y'all like? What saddles do you like any why?
I love my Stubben Genesis Special D. (probably the understatement of the year) Super close contact, nice "deep" feel to the seat and no knee roll to mess with my leg position. It's the most secure I've ever felt on any horse as it puts me in the perfect balance point on their backs. The lack of gussets makes the horses much, much happier and softer over their backs. The Biomex seat has kept me out of the chiropractors office and I feel better (muscles, back, seat) even after a day of tough rides.
For many years I rode in an Ortho/American Flex dressage saddle. IMO they are a super saddle for aging equine backs...but with a new generation of bigger movers coming along and my now aging back - I need what Stubben has to offer, but I did get my Silver and Gold Medals in those type of flexible panel saddles.
I got a L'Apogee a bit over a year ago and it's fabulous. It's designed by a woman in the US (fits *my* anatomy better than any other saddle I've had), constructed in France, and is my first foray into foam flocked. They are designed to sit a bit "closer" to the horse. This one is also a mono flap, further adding to the close contact feel. I tried and liked the Stubben Genesis as well--mine does have a bit of a thigh block, so it's quite different.
I have nothing bad to say about it. It's not a well-known brand in dressage, but if you are keeping an open mind, give Kitty (designer) a call--she's really knowledgeable.
From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.
Another Stubben fan here. I have an Aramis which is an old version of the Genesis special mentioned above. 20+ years old, well loved, greatly abused, but still looks lovely when cleaned up. It will be pried out of my cold dead hands. I will never sell it.
Trilogy Amadeo here. Fits us both very well. I like the fact that the panels are shaped so there isn't a lot of stuff between my thigh and the horse, and it has been perfectly fitted and balanced for both of us so I don't really notice it's existence.
We are lucky enough to have an excellent rep who is a very good saddle fitter, and that makes all the difference as far as making a final purchase decision goes.
I ended up with a Phoenix Vogue. I have a very wide young horse that was hard to fit. Found on treed saddle that worked but did not like the quality of the leather. Tried the Vogue and loved it. Big plus is that it works on all the horses I ride!! Which is 4. All different builds, but still wide loads. Love it in all of them. Even have a Duett for one but prefer to ride in the Vogue now. Very reasonably priced as well. I do have to tighten down the girth, but have to with my wide no withered horses with any saddle I use.
I have a Roosli for my older mare and it is my all time favorite saddle. Unfortunately, it did not fit my young horse (her daughter) as a 3 year old when she was started under saddle. It still doesn't fit now that she is 5. I have tried numerous saddles including some of the most expensive. Nada. I loved the Stubben but she did not. Hennig? No. I ended up with a Ferdi custom that was built on a Passier tree. It was originally made for my horse's sire and given to me now that he is retired. Still, it did not fit until she turned 5. The Roosli will (sadly) never fit her. At least with the Passier tree it can be widened or narrowed by a fitter who has the machine to do it. Love it and so does my horse. That said, I used a MW Albion Legend 5000 All Purpose saddle to start her and that is what I rode her in until she popped her withers this year. Youngsters change so much it is virtually impossible to have the same saddle fit them as they change and develop a topline. I feel your pain. Hope you have an easier time than I did.
Oh boy, I have a collection of saddles thanks to my herd who are all ages/stages of training. I prefer saddles that are relatively close contact with little padding/knee/thigh rolls (passier, stubben, niedersuss). However, in the end it has to fit you both so I have ended up with some saddles that on the rack I would never have considered sitting in; but, once on the horse they moved so well and I had little trouble maintaining my position that I had to bite the bullet so-to-speak. I have had adjustable saddles and still faced difficulty with some horses (that includes an Orthoflex) as well as the saddles not always being the best fit for me. My fave saddle simply does not fit the type/breed of horse I own.
This is one of those questions constantly asked and you will find that in the end the recommendations are always the same - you must try as many as you can get your hands on and see what suits the two of you the best, knowing that the future may require a different saddle.
When I purchased my horse as an undeveloped 3 year old I knew I was going to need a saddle that could be readily adjusted as he grew and matured. I went with a Schleese and have been so happy. The saddle is gorgeous, fits my anatomy, and fits my horse (tree can be easily adjusted on site). My rep is in the area every 6 months and for me, that was an important selling point as I knew frequent adjustments would be needed at first. That said, many on this board are not Schleese fans, so I am just voicing my positive experience. It is such a personal decision and so many factors come into play.
After a year long search, and a small fortune in return shipping fees, I finally ended up with a Frank Baines Elegance and both Rico and I love it.
I tried Trilogy, Passier, Stubben, County, and Custom. I love the County saddles, but sadly, Rico does not.
Am now on the hunt for a jumping saddle that will fit the narrowis high withered TB mare that I regularly ride and its not going well. She is a completely different fit than Rico. Kind of bites that I have to invest in a saddle for a horse I only ride once a week, but fighting my current close contact saddle is definitely holding back my progress.
I too have a Roosli which I love dearly. It fits my big guy like an absolute dream and its sooo comfortable. I'm sure it won't fit my yearling when he's ready to start, that would be WAY too lucky... So I'm planning on getting a custom Hastilow (http://www.hastilowusa.com/saddles/h...w-saddles.html). I tried out my friend's and it's a beautifully made custom saddle and completely adjustable as your horse develops and changes shape. AND they're almost half the price of most of the custom saddles I've come across.
I just spent weeks losing sleep over a saddle search for my 4yr old.
After sitting in a bunch of saddles and learning what both he and *I* needed (which was honestly a bit harder to pin down), I settled on a Kent & Masters S- Series. Low Profile, moveable blocks, adjustable gullet.
I was down to Albion and the Kent and Masters. Don't get me wrong, the Albion is a lovely saddle. I loved my seat in it, though I was a bit disappointed in the width of the twist, I had remembered them being a bit more forgiving in that area. The adjustability with the Genesis tree is great, too. Definitely a wonderful buy.
Ultimately, the price of the saddle really just made me throw up a little in my mouth. With the custom add ons we were looking at a $4k saddle. Not only would that have been a stretch, it would've eaten into my trailer budget, too. Not to mention the cost for each adjustment, head plate change, etc, and the time the saddle is in the shop. Additionally, to purchase one now would mean I wouldn't get it until January - at which point it could already need adjustments on a growing and changing horse.
I just couldn't, at this time, justify buying a saddle that expensive for a young horse - not sure if I'm keeping him and if I am what direction he'll end up going, and one I was lukewarm on anyway. I hope one day I will own one- they are beautiful and definitely drool-worthy.
The Kent and Masters, by contrast, is $1800 for the s-series ($1500 for the orginal). It fit him well, the gullet is adjustable, the fitter provides a free fitting & adjustments within 3 months of getting the saddle, and her prices thereafter are not expensive.
It took me a few days to decide on which seat because as great as it was, my seat bones were killing me the next day after riding. I went up a half inch to 18" and the problem has been resolved.
Will the kent & masters last a lifetime? doubtful, but I also don't need it to for the price. I have one that is a couple years old (their original model), and it is holding up just fine.
I figure the next time I need another saddle I'll either get a new one, if it fits us both, or go for something different. I'm definitely interested in getting something custom done w/ Hastilow, the next step up. And even then, that is $1k cheaper than the Albion!
Good luck! And word to the wise- do not discount your fit and comfort - it WILL affect your horse. I have been trying to make-do with a Wintec Isabell that seems just fine for my guy so I thought I'd learn to get on with it - but causes me great pain in my hips. My pain and discomfort has definitely caused issues between us- lesson learned. Find a saddle that fits you both!
Everyone is going to tell you something different--I think saddles are the WORST things to ask someone for a recommendation on. They are so personal to the horse and rider, one person's perfection can be another's torture device!
Adjustable gullets aren't always going to be the magic bullet, they are only adjustable right behind the shoulder. If the rest of the panel shape is completely inappropriate for your horse, it's not going to matter if you can widen it.
Sometimes it's best to just buy a used saddle and expect to have to replace it after a year or so into the training. Try out a whole bunch until you find one that works for you and the horse. And maybe you'll have to replace it with another used one again, and again--while a horse is growing they change so much! Once the horse is mature and well-established into their training, then think about investing in a new saddle that can be adjusted for future muscle development.
^ This. I went through three saddles on my mare before she matured. The third one worked till her retirement.
I'm on the second saddle for my gelding, and he's a mature horse -- but building muscle as he goes up the levels. Re-flocking was done every so often as he developed until he had hopelessly outgrown his first saddle.
Buy used if you can. Resign yourself to this reality: no saddle will last any horse a lifetime!
Another Stubben fan here. The Genesis Special D in a 29 cm tree fits about everything I ride. Since we have 16-18 horses in work that says a lot. Since occasionally there is a horse that is not yet developed over the back I can add a fleece half pad to make it more like a 28 cm. but that is all the customizing I need to do. To start out the really green beans I have an old Stubben in a 31 cm. but that is usually too wide by the time we get to really riding solo. We have two Stubben jumping saddles in a 29 cm. which also can go from horse to horse without custom fitting. Great saddles -- love our Stubbens!
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