I love the new Stubbens with Biomex. It's also relatively easy to get a Stubben fitter out to your barn around the SE/Mid Atlantic, which is nice.
I did ride in a Stackhouse recently that I loved. I had ridden in one previously that I did not like at all, but it was not made for me. That's the trick, though. If I had the money, I would get the custom Stackhouse because it's fitted not just to your horse, but also to you.
In my experience, some fitters do a great job of making the horse comfortable, but don't take so much notice of the rider, and I"m sure vice versa is true.
I was never really particular about saddles, until the last few years. Used to be able to ride nearly any horse, in nearly any saddle, and do just fine. Not so much anymore.
About a month ago, I traded my Delgrange PJ for a Schleese (sorry, I don't know the model) and realized just what I was missing - this saddle is HEAVEN on my arse, I could ride in it all day. My horse is thrilled with it too - typical TB topline with huge withers, was able to fit it to him without a bunch of extra pads and from the very first ride he was a different horse. I know Schleese in general come with mixed reviews, but so far they get my vote as far as I'm concerned.
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what
lies with in us. - Emerson
I agree with what others have said about saddles being SUCH an individual thing depending on the rider. I now ride in a Jeffries Flyover, and while I normally don't care for foam panels, I'm dealing with it because this is the one, single, solitary saddle that I have sat in and ridden in that puts me in that perfect position with my leg back underneath me where it belongs. In every other saddle, I was struggling, and my trainer was finally like, "No, you need to ride in this saddle." She said that once my position improves, I should be able to ride in anything and be OK, but right now, I need a saddle that will help teach me to keep my leg back. I bought my saddle used for well under $1,000 and it fits my horse perfectly, too. So win-win!
ETA, I agree with Hijumpgrrl - in an ideal world where I am independently wealthy, I would have a custom Stackhouse with the balance that the Jeffries provides me made out of buffalo leather with wool flocked panels.
I actually have an Albion that is super soft and so comfy to sit on that was fitted to my horse, and tonight I rode in my friend's old Stubben and I LOVED it! My horse went so much better, and it was actually easier to sit the trot, and he stayed better connected, and I felt better balanced, everything just worked better... I'm pretty sure my seat bones will be sore tomorrow because the seat was SO hard compared to my Albion, but it was such a great ride I think I will do it again, sore seat bones or not!
I guess the thing with saddles is that you just have to try them, every horse/rider combo is different, and probably changes over time as well.
Gallant Gesture "Liam" 1995 chestnut ottb gelding
Mr. Painter "Remy" 2006 chestnut ottb gelding
Stories about our adventures:http://tbatx.wordpress.com
I own my jumping dream saddle, a Wise-Air monoflap. I am still searching for my dressage dream saddle. Waiting to see if the Loxley monoflap might fit the bill. I only have 3 more dressage saddles to sell before getting a new one, and that includes the one I am riding in now
I have a TB with decent withers and also have a 5'9" with a very long thigh. I sat in a Voltaire jumping saddle and it fit my horse very well (he really liked it) as well as me. I could ride all 3 phases in it at the lower levels. The tree shape on the saddle I think would let it fit a lot of different horses. Good luck finding one used though! (FWIW I also liked their dressage saddles!)
A Wise-Air also fit pretty well, and are pretty nice saddles.
** The difference between genius and stupidity is genius has its limits. -- Albert Einstein **
If i had to buy my own perfect saddles I'd be very poor ! I have almost all my perfect saddles - but one is a demo from Custom saddlery - the icon Star which i use on a setting of 27.5cm on Bob, Lucy and Brown who are all narrowish and withery. For the wide ponies, I have my own brand of English Saddle Fit saddle, built in the UK to my design. It's all buffalo and has short panels and specially soft knee rolls, and it's just lovely on the wide no-withered ponies, I can really get grounded and feel their back. For jumping, I have my Wise-Air, and it's so super-solid over big fences. Po and me rock XC in the Wise-Air. I just need a jump saddle for the narrows, and it's not the Wise-Air because ....
...... I hate changing the gullet in them, and it's just too extravagant to have a second one !
I own mine -- it's a Black Country. Dressage saddle, but should a sack of money fall from the sky, that would be the first jump saddle I'd try too! Completely customizable for no extra cost, excellent service, wonderful butt candy, and the only reason I have it is because it was a gift.
Don't try ANY saddle that you would not be willing to shell out the cash for new. Why do I say that?
Because you will fall in love, and then you will endure the heartbreak of months of endless searching for that rare mythical unicorn of a saddle that someone just happened to take perfect care of and list on ebay in your price range.
Best advice EVER! Why? Because I did this...I had already tried several other saddles in my price range, they just were not working for "me". So I said what the heck, lets try this one, and then "maybe" I could serach for a used one. Well, I tried the saddle that was WAY out of my price range and I fell in love with it.
Long story short, I sent it back. Tried 3 more saddles, had the saddle fitter searching for a used version...finally just bought the one I really didn't want to fork the big money out for.
But end of story, I absolutely love it.
Good luck, finding the right jump saddle is very individual. I hope I never have to saddle shop again...hate it!
I too have my dream jump saddle and got SOOOO lucky finding it used. It's an Amerigo CC Pinerolo (full calf) in a +4 tree. Amerigo normally only goes up to +2.5 in width - this was a special made saddle for someone that's extra wide. It's also one of the few saddles out there that I could find that fit my long thigh well without ordering a special flap.
I thought I'd never find a used French/Italian saddle wide enough for my horse. I love anything made by Peter Menet, and hopefully in a few years I can get a custom Amerigo Dressage saddle.
Right now I have a Black Country Dressage in XW that was made with upswept panels for my horse. It works, I'm comfortable in it, and my horse is comfortable. But it's not my dream saddle. And unfortunately, my experience with the tack store I purchased it from, and BC itself, was not good. I will not buy another BC saddle.
My personal favorites are my County's.i have a Sensation jump saddle (made the mistake of trying the new model that has essentially no demos or used for sale and shelled out for it but it is by far my favorite saddle I have ever sat in. And wool flocked which was essential for me). It is the saddle that fit me best of the various models I had tried including CWD, Antares, and Devoucoux but I admittedly didn't have reps out as I knew I didn't want a saddle with foam panels.
My horse went best in that saddle compared to other models and that pretty much sold the saddle for me.
Then even though I knew that I would not be able to purchase a new County Dressage saddle I had my rep out to fit me and my horse and I began the used hunt. I was able to find a used County Perfection in the seat, flap, tree, and panel configuration that I need that is in excellent used condition for less than half of what it would cost new. Thank you Fine-Used-saddles.com
They have excellent customer service and I can't wait for the saddle to come in.
Bottom line it's all personal preference. What I loved someone else could hate. People and horses are all so different. I hope you find something you love. The used hunt can be discouraging but it was worth it for me once I found what I wanted!
I love my Stubben Roxane. People who don't like Stubbens like it and find it comfy. I'll give you that my old Siegfried is quiet hard. My Aramis (dressage model) is older and isn't terribly cushy, but I don't find it hard or uncomfortable.
The newer Stubbens are a lot more comfortable than they used to be.
I own mine... Its a Black Country Vinici Monoflap Jump. Custom Made for my VERY hard to fit TB, and they made him special shaped panels and flaps for his funky shoulders, and accomodated my loooong legs (I'm 5'3 but have a 31 inch femur), I love it to death, and it's so easy to find that "sweet" spot on XC, but all the while, still show jump in it effectively.
To ride or not to ride-what a stupid question!
Not three different horses but all three phases in one saddle. Sorry to be vague. I am learning alot. Keep the info coming!
I've seen a few Black Country saddles that are blocked appropriately to go from the dressage ring to the xc field. They have a medium-depth to the seat, which I like, that makes them very versatile at lower levels. Very comfortable and secure, too. I know one of them had a drop to the panel, which the horse needed, but I don't know if that's standard with the brand. Most of the other saddles around our barn are Devoucoux and CWD (sponsorship, yay).
Well... until recently I was a Black Country forever rider. Then I tried a CWD monoflap (SE04) in an 18. Suddenly, all of my position flaws were gone or minimized. But... I could not afford the demo that they were willing to sell me. Many tears were shed.
Fast forward almost a year, during which I have been waiting for my BC to sell so that I could buy a Pessoa monoflap new. I was borrowing an older Barnsby Diablo, which was adequate and fit both of us fine. Then a friend posted her 17.5 Devoucoux Chiberta on Facebook and I had her send it to me just for kicks and giggles. Previously I was a Devoucoux hater. It turns out that the Chiberta feels almost as good as the CWD, and it fits both of us ok. I guess I just like the French ones. In a perfect world I would have a size bigger and the CWD. But this one is more than adequate until I can save up for the CWD, and it will hold its value.