I'm looking to get a really nice jumping saddle for my mare now that she's more or less full-grown (have been waiting for her to turn 6 so she won't change shape too much), preferably a custom made one or another good quality saddle. I currently ride in a Bates Momentum saddle which I like, but it it doesn't fit my horse quite right (it rubs slightly at the back, despite lots of experimentation with padding and changing gullets). Any recommendations? I like the looks of the Schleese Eagle and the Amerigo Pinerolo/Vega... or a Jaguar or CWD saddle... Any thoughts? I like close contact saddles but not excessively flat ones.
I LOVE my Stubben Roxanne. You can build a completely custom Stubben with the bajillion options they have or just tweak one of the models they make. I foxhunt in my Roxane and have nothing I'd change about it.
Look at the County saddles as they are wool flocked and can be adjusted as your mare changes over time. I love my County saddle and love how my horse moves in the saddle - freer with his shoulders and more willing to move forward into the bit. I have a Stabilizer XTR but have sat in the new Sensation and liked that as well. Try all the various jumping saddles and see what works for you and your horse.
It probably rubs at the back because it's too long/flat for your horse. Many of the Bates/Wintec/Collegiate are like that with big gusseted panels that can dig into a curvier horse's loins. An Amerigo, Vega, or Jaguar could work well for you if your horse has a curvy back. I LOVE all three. Because I needed an XW, I ended up with a used special order Amerigo CC Pinerolo. Despite the fact that I mostly ride Dressage, you will have to pry that saddle out of my cold, dead hands. When I buy a new horse, it will have to fit to that saddle.
I've seen some nice Jaguars that are wool flocked, but they are mostly the older ones made by Harry Dabbs. Vegas are the "average" of horse shapes, while springing for the Amerigo opens you up to several different models shaped for different horses.
That said, the wool flocked saddles are a bit more flexible in saddle fit. Amerigos can be opened and have the flocking adjusted, but with the shape and size of the panels, there's not as much wiggle room. My Dressage saddle is an English-made Black Country Eden which is wool flocked and my fitter can easily shift stuff around to where it needs to be.
best saddle advice:
Wait for Jen4Jenny to see your post (or find her in the posters list and send her a message)... she will analyze the situation for you. I've never seen that much saddle fitting knowledge in a "non-saddle fitter" person
My favorites as far as my own comfort are CWD (CWD can be ordered with wool flocking or foam panels) and Butet, but its good to try a lot of different ones to see what type fits your particular horse best. A friend just bought a fully custom Black Country, with upgrades in leather and everything it came to $3,000. The horse is as happy as the rider with the fit, and it took well under the 8 weeks they told her to expect for delivery. She was very impressed with the rep and their customer service. It lacks the luxury of the beautiful leather of the French saddles, but its very attractive and the leather feels very nice to the touch.
Thanks for all your advice! I ride jumpers and need a 17.5 inch saddle with regular flaps. I'm a bit limited in the number of saddles that I can try because I live in Northern BC, Canada (=> no good tack stores or saddle reps) so I can only really try a variety of saddles when I head to Langley or Calgary for shows... Hopefully having a clear idea of what would work best for my horse and myself will help with that.
Lesley is fabulous. Talk to her. I'm in Ontario and she custom fit a dressage saddle *beautifully* based on wither tracings and lots (and lots) of pictures. She also has a nice selection of high end used saddles for sale, including Custom Saddlery jump saddles (on my lottery wish list) and Amerigo.
Do you have any conformation shots? Rubs can occur due to several reasons, some of which have been mentioned. Lateral instability can also happen if the gullet channel is too wide or narrow for your horse's back or the curve of the panels side to side are too angled or flat. The tree might also be too narrow or as mentioned, too straight longitudinally or too long.
Wool flocked is certainly more adjustable and depending on your horse's shape, your preferences and price range, there should be choices available.
I have to agree with Kat. I have had a Tad for 2 months and love it. I rode in a friends for 7 months before that. The freedom it gives my horse is like no other. His shoulder moves more open and free and he feels much less restricted. I went with the A5G because I wanted a flatter seat (I rode in a Hunterdon for years and wanted less restriction) but he makes the TC2 which is a deeper seat. While I have no ridden in the Butet or CWD I have heard great things about them. I preferred the shorter tree points of the Tad. Good luck with your search. Keep us posted!
I love my County Stabilizer. I couldn't find a saddle to fit my hard to fit mare--she was also super picky herself with feel. I got a used County and had them adjust the flocking to fit her. Great saddle fitter came out--I'm quite happy now!
My saddle is an Antares and I LOVE it. It's 17.5, medium wide, I think a 1A flap (is there such a thing? It's the shortest you can get) It fits just about everything I've ever put it on. It's made of buffalo which I think tends to stick a lot better to your leg. I got a deep seat but you can get flatter seats if you want. I bought mine from http://www.frenchusedsaddles.com/ The first one I ordered didn't fit right and they exchanged it for another without any hassle.
My body type is short (5'3") and stocky with a rather large butt and short legs.