Endurance saddle with comfy seat, grippy leather - UPDATE and a Question:
I know, I know, yet another saddle thread from me. Sigh. I am confidant that one day I WILL find the perfect saddle for myself. (and therefore stop posting about saddles) But...I am learning along the way. For instance, after Saturday's ride, I now know that I do not really want a Close Contact Saddle. But, I'm not sure I will ever find what I DO want!
But it says "Stirrup bars are NOT DESIGNED FOR JUMPING" and I would like the option of jumping small jumps every now and then.
I like being able to ride short, and stand in 2 point to give my horse a break every now and then, but most - all?? - of the Endurance saddles I have seen are either built like Western saddles, or Dressage saddles, with the mega high cantles - another thing I hate.
I'm not exactly training for the Tevis Cup here, but I would like to feel secure when I ride, and be able to walk the next day. Oh, and D rings are nice.
I love my Solstice. The leg position is more straight, but not full-on dressage straight (if that makes sense). I think they say it is not for jumping because the stirrup bars are straighter maybe? I had to work really hard to get my wintec webbers onto the bars, they're not coming off anytime soon! The saddle is secure, but not a huge pommel or cantle, and while not a grippy leather I haven't had any issues. I can post, stand 2-point, etc no problems. I bought mine used, I had it reflocked and have also adjusted flocking for fit.
A friend has the Duett. She doesn't have a draft either, but a wide 14.2 hand arab/quarter. She has been happy with her saddle.
Have you talked to Trumbull Mountain tack yet? I know they are good for fitting. I was able to use an independent saddle fitter that was great.
"Do your best, and leave the rest, twill all come right, some day or night" -Black Beauty
Why not get just a jumping saddle? I do endurance rides in my Stubben Roxane http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/s...allpurpose.php Mine is super comfortable. I foxhunt in it, trail ride and do endurance. The leather is grippy enough that I don't feel like I'm sliding around, but I also don't feel 'stuck'.
I've been riding the Duett Companion Trail for a couple of years now and love it. Comfortable saddle, deep knee rolls and you could use it for jumping. I bought mine from Trumbull Mountain Tack where I was able to get an all black saddle.
Mostly any UK-made trail saddle can be ordered with a more forward flap; some companies charge more for that option, and some don't. The suggestion of getting a jump (or ap jump-focus) saddle is another good one. As long as the saddle fits you and the horse, and both can go the distance comfortably, there's no reason the saddle has to be "trail-specific."
The Duett saddles fit the wide horses really well, and Nancy is very good to work with. They're made in Argentina, so you won't get the same cushiness or BETA specs, but they're very good value for the money and lots of people love them.
Freebird, thanks for the kind words on my blog - I'm glad you find it helpful.
I don't have much experience with the L&R ap saddles, but their dressage and trail models are lovely. IME, they tend to run wide in the trees and small in the seat, and are very couch-like in terms of comfort. And keep in mind that any saddle can be ordered (or retrofitted) with extra dee rings.
So - a little update! I found out that the Rubicon and Solstice can be ordered - for no extra cost!! - with regular stirrup bars - which means I could jump in it - as well as all leather - I'm just not a NuBuck fan SO, for now, I am really leaning to an all leather Rubicon with normal stirrup bars.
But here's the thing....
I am assuming here, that while it wouldn't cost any extra, it wouldn't be returnable either, and I want to make dang sure that this is the perfect saddle for my horse and I, before I plunk down $3,000.
So - do I just pay for shipping and have them send me a Demo Rubicon, and if I like it, do wither tracings etc. and have them order one for me? I have looked for a used Rubicon with these specifications, but of course have come up empty handed - especially since I would want a 2010 or later edition.
PLEASE don't just order a bench-made saddle if you aren't sure it's going to work. Some places will take it back, but some charge a re-stock fee (10% or 20% of $3000 ain't chump change), and some won't take it back, period. Ask what the individual policy is. And DO ride in a stock model to make sure it's going to work before you order one; the Solstice fits a longitudinally flatter back, while the Rubicon's better for a dippier topline. And remember that each saddle will ride a little differently, so if you try, say, a 17" wide demo Rubicon and decide to order one, the one you get will feel a little different than the demo did - especially with different stirrup bars and different leather.
The Enduro is a lovely saddle, but fits quite differently from the L&R saddles. The standard tree in the Enduro is flat-ish, but with the panel configuration, it works well for a more withery horse (though it can be ordered on a hoop or what Frank calls the "dome" tree). The L&R saddles are more hoopy.
MaybeMorgan, the stirrup bars on the L&R endurance models are "hinged" - they're attached with metal tabs and can swing in and out, and are much lower profile than their standard stirrup bar, meant for comfort during long hours in the saddle. They aren't designed for the rigors of a rider in eternal 2-point, going over jumps. That said, I've never heard of them giving out under normal use on even the most rigorous rides.