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  1. #1

    Question ANOTHER saddle post - please help a dressage newbie

    I've been a lurker for a few months and changed two months ago to dressage - both horse and I are learning and are having a blast. I'm 5'11, about 125 lbs with a very long femur. Size 2 or 4. Pretty much no butt, sadly. Sweet horse is 16 hands, warmblood, "short back" I am told by a fitter from a specific saddle company. He has withers.

    I have an all-purpose Kieffer Aachen from childhood that is 30 years old and still beautiful...no issues with it, but I need a dressage saddle. I have a Custom Wolfgang Constanze that I have on a 10 day trial. It's an 18" with a standard flap. I like it...but don't know if I LOVE it. I do love the long rolls; shorter rolls felt like they were no assistance and I would do better in my Kieffer. I rode in the Wolfgang Solo that belongs to a friend, but the fitter told me that horse is too short backed for the Solo. After riding in a "real" dressage saddle, I know I need to invest.

    Does it make sense that I would measure "standard" in the flap? A few people who've seen me in the saddle think it looks too small. I don't want to get into the whole internet saddle shipping to try every saddle made, and I can't find a money tree in the backyard.

    Does anyone have this body frame and this horse type and have any suggestions? I have read so many of the posts on here about saddles...and the whole experience frightens me. I'd appreciate any help. Thanks!



  2. #2
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    I'm a huge fan of Stubbens. Older ones can be had for next to nothing. I found mine on eBay for $300-600.

    My 17.5" Aramis (built on the same tree as the older brown Tristans you'll find, just has different/upgraded leather) fits my long leg nicely. I really would have preferred an 18", but the one I got popped up and was too good of a deal to pass up. I'm a few inches shorter than you, but also have very long legs. I have a wide, but short backed Arab. He wears a wide tree, but is only a 68" blanket. Tiny short back. Most saddles look like they're going to swallow him whole and he protests rodeo bronc style if saddles are too long for his liking.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 9, 2007
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    Central NJ
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    The Schleese Link II is specifically designed for the big barrelled short backed horse. Pricey, but you can find used ones more reasonably priced.

    If you can find an independent saddler who represents lots of makes they can save you time and money by having a selection to try from.

    Good luck



  4. #4
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    I have a Custom Wolfgang Constanze that I have on a 10 day trial. It's an 18" with a standard flap. I like it...but don't know if I LOVE it.
    Send it back
    you can request a 2nd 10day's trial later on
    (you might also post photos/video for more opinions here)

    If at all possible, buy your 1st dressage saddle USED - this way, when you sell it on, you'll likely get close to what you paid: chances are the saddle you choose as a beginning dressage rider, is not the same saddle you will choose in a couple years.



    changed two months ago to dressage - both horse and I are learning and are having a blast.
    Keep riding in your Kieffer for now, explore other saddles whenever the opportunity presents - I assume you're working with a coach/trainer, what saddles do trainer & other students have that you could possibly sit in/feel?

    Find any/all saddle reps & fitters that travel to your area, begin with those that will come in for free or minimal cost (i.e. you're exploring not buying) - try every saddle that halfways fits your horse (you do want the saddle to at least sit evenly on the horse - use those saddle-fit pads).

    I suspect a more forward flap will work better for your leg than a straighter flap - if possible try the County Perfection with a rep as the flap can be adjusted to any degree of forward (you may not like other aspects of this saddle but it will allow you to experiment with flap position).

    Check with companies that offer online fitting (Trumbull Mtn, Equestrian Imports & many more) - stalk & read all of jn4jenny's posts on saddles for horses & people, she offers some terrific insight into saddle construction & saddle feels (I believe the Search function is working again)



  5. #5
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    Nov. 14, 2012
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    Thank you, candysgirl, for your help. I rode in Stubbens years ago when I lived in Germany. I am trying to avoid the whole rodeo bronc thing, so appreciate your help! 68" - that IS short! Let me check into the Stubbens - especially with the cost difference from a new saddle.

    Thanks!



  6. #6
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    Nov. 14, 2012
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    Thank you, sky! I'll check this one out, too. I may end up having an independent one come out - I have been reading all of the saddle woe posts on this forum...with more experienced people than I struggling mightily, I'm in waaaaay over my head . Thanks!



  7. #7
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    Alto, thanks! I know I will be sending the Custom back - but it is SO HARD. It doesn't feel perfect, and for that kind of money it needs to feel perfect. You make an excellent point that I can do another trial in the future. I have a trainer, and am in a very supportive, nice barn. Everyone is insisting that I ride in their saddles, and I am most appreciative, but they are all the same make - Custom. I really like the concept of the long rolls as it is difficult to get my leg back. I'm getting better, but the dressage saddles make it so much easier. I don't want to "cheat," and if it takes longer to get my leg back but will do it eventually without the rolls, I'm game for that as well. Is your suspicion about a more forward flap due to the switch I'm making to dressage or because of my body type?

    I will have someone take photos/videos of me riding in the Constanze just for comparison sake. It is a beautiful saddle and feels good - but not perfect. And I'm not sure if I will recognize perfect when I feel it...so...we may have a problem! I do have some photos I can post of him without the saddle but clearly showing his body type.

    Thanks for your help - I'm going to try to figure out how to post pics now and also stalk jn4jenny's posts. Thanks!



  8. #8
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    I can't figure out how to post videos...do I have to have a certain number of posts before I can do so? Thanks.



  9. #9
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    Nov. 16, 2006
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    I am identical to you (5'10" 125lbs, size 2-4, long femur) and my horse is also similar (17H WB with short back and withers). We were in a Custom Wolfgang Solo for a couple years and both liked it well enough. Now we have a Black Country - excellent quality saddle for the price. You can find them used and demo condition from Trumbull Mtn.



  10. #10
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    Mar. 11, 2012
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    I am currently on hiatus from saddle shopping hell. I am 5'3 and a size 2, but have some booty ;-) I think all of my height is in my femur, which frankly sucks. You really should try something with a more forward flap to deal with your long thigh, otherwise it seems like seat size must be increased. I loved the Perfection I tried but the flap was far too straight. Like you, I almost kept it because it was gorgeous and I thought I could make it work, but I am glad I sent it back. I have two more saddles coming, and if neither works I am taking up reining or something where one saddle fits every horse and rider. Fingers crossed for you (and me!).



  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by HCF View Post
    I am identical to you (5'10" 125lbs, size 2-4, long femur) and my horse is also similar (17H WB with short back and withers). We were in a Custom Wolfgang Solo for a couple years and both liked it well enough. Now we have a Black Country - excellent quality saddle for the price. You can find them used and demo condition from Trumbull Mtn.
    Which model do you have? I have a Vinici coming on trial because I am fairly certain the saddle will work for my horse (had another BC model that we really liked), and hoping it will work for me. Even though the flap seems straight, I am hoping the extra .5 inch in the seat will help with that. Sorry to hijack!



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regardless View Post
    I am currently on hiatus from saddle shopping hell. I am 5'3 and a size 2, but have some booty ;-) I think all of my height is in my femur, which frankly sucks. You really should try something with a more forward flap to deal with your long thigh, otherwise it seems like seat size must be increased. I loved the Perfection I tried but the flap was far too straight. Like you, I almost kept it because it was gorgeous and I thought I could make it work, but I am glad I sent it back. I have two more saddles coming, and if neither works I am taking up reining or something where one saddle fits every horse and rider. Fingers crossed for you (and me!).
    County makes saddles with forward flaps. I got mine off the demo list a few years ago. Where are you located?
    Smurf
    Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
    "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
    The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by carolprudm View Post
    County makes saddles with forward flaps. I got mine off the demo list a few years ago. Where are you located?
    I'll PM you



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Regardless View Post
    Which model do you have? I have a Vinici coming on trial because I am fairly certain the saddle will work for my horse (had another BC model that we really liked), and hoping it will work for me. Even though the flap seems straight, I am hoping the extra .5 inch in the seat will help with that. Sorry to hijack!
    I have the Eloquence.



  15. #15
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    I don't know how to "combine" threads, and don't want to disrupt the conversation about the Vinicis . I did update above in the other thread. Thanks



  16. #16
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    5'11" and 125 pounds, no butt and a long femur. What the heck are you doing even trying to sit in a 18" saddle????

    Honestly, with all the options out there these days, you CAN find a saddle that fits your backside and your femur. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't. You really probably ought to be in a much smaller seat size, like a 16 1/2" to a 17". You'll swim in an 18" and get shoved to the back. It makes dressage a LOT harder.

    In jumping saddles, you need to go with a larger seat size. In dressage, it's a crock when people say you have to. You might need to go custom on the flap and have it actually (horrors, to most) more forward and longer, but you can find it. You also will probably want to stay away from anything with a monster thigh block.

    Try looking for something with smaller seat and more forward and longer flaps. Start there, then size it for your horse. Guaranteed that the smaller seat size will make your horse happier, too. Even if it wasn't for a shorter back, he'll love you for sitting in the MIDDLE of the saddle and being more balanced on him. If he's wider, he'll push your leg up a bit more. Who cares? Get a saddle that fits. Let go of the idea that your leg doesn't look as straight and long as on other people who have shorter femurs and usually are shorter, too.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velvet View Post
    5'11" and 125 pounds, no butt and a long femur. What the heck are you doing even trying to sit in a 18" saddle????
    I don't know all the models that OP is trying, but I actually think it is refreshing that she is not obsessed with having a saddle a certain size seat. My Albion was a 17 1/2", and I could get by in my trainer's 17" Albion, but in a Hulsebos (which is what I ended up purchasing), I definitely needed a 18". I trialed a 17 1/2" and it was doable, but I not really sitting into the horse, more like above the saddle. With a long femur it does not surprise me at all that OP needs a bigger saddle size with her height. And if she is shopping used, it will be even harder to find a smaller seat with a long, forward flap.

    I am 5'7" with some butt, and wear a 6 or 8.



  18. #18
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    Yeah, well, I'm speaking from similar experience to the OP. I have a VERY long femur and am tall and thin (and used to be uber skinny and no butt). She needs a saddle that fits her backside FIRST. And nowadays, you can more easily find that and then get a longer flap. She probably ought to try some ancient Passier and Stubbens, not even the new ones, if she wants to go cheap. They used to design them for people with longer legs, and small backsides.

    Honestly, if you ever hope to get to the higher levels you need to be sitting in the middle of the horse and your saddle needs to fit you, just as it would someone with more "normal" proportions. It drives me nuts that people still believe this myth that you need to sacrifice sitting in the middle just because you have a long thigh.

    I hope she DOES get hung up on saddle seat size and finds what truly fits her seat, then finds a saddle that fits her seat and her leg. Then finds one that fits her horse as well. It can be done, and it's worth working on it.

    If you wonder what it feels like and you're more "normal" sized, go park yourself in a 20" seat and ride an uber big mover through the back. Good luck with that. You can do it, but you will be fighting the saddle.

    BTW, rothmpp, you are fitting into the more "normal" sizing category. I can see where you can fit into a larger seat in saddles that actually might run a tad smaller in the seat. And with a normal sized butt, it makes a huge difference, along with more "normal" legs. You just really don't know what you're talking about when it comes to being 5'10" or 5'11" weighing next to nothing, having little or not butt padding and then having a long femur. Just no way to relate to it even a large, flat saddle, but at least you might have a bit of an idea that you're steering her in the wrong direction.
    "Relinquish your whip!!"



  19. #19
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    I requested infoirmation on the Constanze and was told (via email) that the flap can be angled more forward to accomodate a longer femur. I think the more forward angled flap in addition to the shorter thigh block may work. This way you can have room for your femur and a seat that fits without being too big. I am also in saddle fitting he!! with the same problem as the OP but with a difficult to fit horse to boot (regular withers, broad back, big shoulders that push the saddle to the outside in the canter). The Constanze does look as if it has a shallower, more open seat which is very nice.
    "You post all your drama on Facebook and get mad when people judge you? You're a special kind of stupid, aren't you?"



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velvet View Post
    5'11" and 125 pounds, no butt and a long femur. What the heck are you doing even trying to sit in a 18" saddle????
    I *fit* in a smaller saddle than an 18", the same saddle in a 16.5" looks like it fits me and I can ride in it okay, but I prefer the balance point in a larger seat. Don't discount the larger seat size. I am 5'5" with a 33" inseam. I have freak long legs. I am ALL leg. I am far happier in a bigger seat size even though my butt isn't very big. The position of the stirrup bar has something to do with it. The sweet spot is just better for me in a bigger seat size.



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