Look at Duetts. Mid range pricing and great to work with. I tried them a few yrs ago and loved them, but ended up with a zaldi. Love it, but doesn't fit my new halflinger, so I'm selling it and have a Duett Fidelio on order to trial.
So sorry the custom saddle didn't work out for you. As someone with very long femurs, I feel your pain. You need to find a saddle where the stirrup bars are set back enough so your leg falls under your body. Many, many saddles have bars that are too far forward.
I ride in a Roosli saddle that was made for me many years ago. I'll never sell it because I couldn't afford a new one!
I had an Albion years ago that I liked a lot but I haven't looked at any of the newer models. Many people like the Duetts, especially if they have a rounder horse.
Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews. Tack Guru - Expert Reviews of English Tack
Originally Posted by right horse at the right time
For a variety of reasons, I'm not going to keep the saddle. I'm not happy with it.
I do need a saddle. I have ready access to Albion, Amerigo, and Lovett & Ricketts (sp?). Thoughts? I had no interest in going through this (again)...
Not on your list but check with County
- just let them know that you only want to buy the saddle you demo, so the rep or head office needs to find you something off the Demo List (which is good as you can "make an offer", bad as these saddles do not come with the same 1 yr fit (for the horse) guarantee, BUT for the discount, you may be able to replace the tree anyway )
Duett tends to be med wide & wide twist only, but call Nancy & chat.
Amerigo - I feel the panels are not quite as adjustable as more traditional wool flocking & make sure that the tree is adjustable locally (or fairly so), they do make some very nice saddles.
Albion - try them
L & R - no rep or shops that stock them so I've only seen rather ancient versions, if you have a good local rep, do the Demo Thing You really can't do this too often, even with the same rep, over & over, to be certain that you really do love that saddle
Zaldi - a friend has the San Jorge: she & her horse instantly loved it, the "standard" demo fit so she ordered one, it was just as perfect. (note ignore the website pricing as you can do much lower cost in the US)
Prestige makes beautiful saddles that will last, contact VTO if you don't have a local retailer.
Of course, I'll give you the same advice as last time - find a saddle for right now, used, as cheap as possible, as minimalist as possible (those velcro blocks can be wonderful things), study your dressage, have fun with your horse ...
& go serious saddle shopping, this time, next year, when you will have a rather more educated seat & leg & horse (likely with new muscling): make sure the saddle you order/buy then, is one that will support your growth as a rider (this is really what you pay your trainer for - those predictive forecasts )
MDTackExchange always has some nice saddles in the 2K (& less) range (L'Apogee does some very nice saddles)
If you can't find anything used that fits both you & your horse, try to stay with a 2K saddle this time around rather than a 4k version; those 2K saddles are often a lot easier to sell on in a year or 2.
PS ((hugs)) that this 1st saddle experience didn't come out as you wanted.
I have been in saddle purgatory for several years. Both myself and my horse are not easy to fit. After trying maybe 20 saddles, I finally ordered an Albion. I am 5'8" with an extremely long femur. I ended up ordering a fully custom K2 VSD. The VSD is considered an AP with a dressage tendency, but for someone with a long femur, it works perfectly as a dressage saddle. The base saddle is $2,200.00. I ordered (with a very knowledgeable Albion fitter's help) an 18", MW tree. We ordered a thicker front gusset and 3" rear gusset to allow flocking changes for balance an my young horse develops. I also ordered the Ultima leather (yummy) which is usually not an option on this saddle. They put long billets on it including a sliding rear billet normally only offered on the Spanish Riding School saddle. We also ordered 2 sets of velcro blocks (standard are not velcro), a different contour at the back of the skirt, and....black patent accents on the rear face of the cantle, the roll around the pommel, welting and edges of the stirrup keepers. So, it is a dressage saddle with a more forward flap. Not something you'd notice (like the flap on Edward Gal's saddle). Food for thought. Mine is truly one of a kind that we designed to my specs. If you don't need all the extras it would run around $3,500 with the yummy leather,long billets, and 1 set of blocks.
"You can try to fix lazy, but you can't fix stupid."
Hi right horse...thanks for posting your saddle dilemma. I've been shopping for my young Dutch and spent a lot of time thinking about what to do. He's only 4 so will change a lot. Like you, i have long femur. I've sat in every saddle i could find from trade shows, to horse shows and tack shops.
Have you considered a Passier Optimum or Henig? Both floated to the top of my list fast, and never went away. Both are adjustable. Both accommodate my long femur extremely well. Other saddles forced me into a larger seat to allow for my longer legs. I scored an older Passier Optimum online for $500. !! Yay! For me, this is perfect. if my horse grows or changes in the next few years and i need to change saddles again, i will be in a position to upgrade. However, i also feel theres a good chance this saddle may grow with him. lastly, i LOVE how it fits me. It's a very minimalist type of saddle - meaning, no huge thigh blocks, no huge panels or ocean-deep seat - and i LOVE it. Equally, i also loved the Hennig - same feel.
FWIW, my Hunt seat is the soft buffalo you thought you were buying and it is soft, flexible and somewhat tactile feeling. I liked it fine, but it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me. That type of leather can be challenging to keep clean looking.
Best of luck to you and great that you thought through this situation with logic. Your dream saddle will appear - but you may have to think outside of the box!
I am 5'8" with an extremely long femur. I ended up ordering a fully custom K2 VSD. The VSD is considered an AP with a dressage tendency, but for someone with a long femur, it works perfectly as a dressage saddle.
<snip> Ultima leather (yummy) which is usually not an option on this saddle. They put long billets on it including a sliding rear billet normally only offered on the Spanish Riding School saddle. We also ordered 2 sets of velcro blocks (standard are not velcro), a different contour at the back of the skirt, and....black patent accents on the rear face of the cantle, the roll around the pommel, welting and edges of the stirrup keepers. So, it is a dressage saddle with a more forward flap.
I want to SEE this saddle
(I will NOT ask the final accounting )
PS I was always so despising of velcro blocks (velcro = UGLY) but they are just so damn convenient
Thanks Cindy – I will look at those pics in a few mins!
Bogie, thanks. I think that some fitters just put us in a larger seat size, but that pushes us back to the back of the saddle, which doesn’t solve the problem. I have to keep the stirrup bar “locks” in the locked up position, which doesn’t make me feel safe, otherwise the stirrup leathers fall out of the saddle with each ride. They don’t do that with trainer, whose legs are shorter.
Arabiansrock, thanks. Sigh.
Alto, as always, thanks!! On the Smith-Worthington saddles, the only one that might work (other was wrong size, other was for short-legged people) is the Maxx. Very inexpensive – great sale!! Says that it is a wide seat, and I think (what do I know anymore) that I want a more narrow one, or a narrow twist… Regarding the County saddles, I think that many, many people in Maryland ride in them. When I was at the dressage show at PGEC (maybe a chapter challenge or something) when I was in DC last fall, I think that most everyone had a County. I will see if there is a rep out here to talk to. Will look into the Duetts… Thanks for your comments about Amerigo…we have a local L&R rep here…Zaldi – I am most likely going to ride in one but we aren’t sure if the seat size is too big… prestige I can look at… this is what they have to say about one of their saddles…note the not for the short legged rider!
“The Galileo features the "open seat" design from Prestige. A flatter, yet still deep seat, gives you room to move, without locking you into position as so many deep seated saddles do. Moderately large knee rolls. Calfskin leather reinforced with full grain leather at wear points, makes this a very comfortable and durable saddle. Not for the short legged rider, the Galileo's flaps extend back under the riders leg for just the right contact and support. A wonderfully balanced sadle.”
I’m leaning toward the find used…I REALLY wanted to find something last time but gave up and got a “custom” because I thought it would be cheaper and less hassle in the long run...hmmm… this time I’ll listen better to your advice!! OMG I had no idea it would be this miserable. But, the horse found me, so if I have to go through this for a saddle, no biggie. The predictive forecasts from trainer are all systems go…at least for horse!! I make progress every single time I ride…and I’m sure horse will have even more new muscling by then…he’s already developed more in the past few months! I wish the saddle fairy would fly to my barn.
Maude, thanks! I’m sorry you’ve been in purgatory, but it looks like you made lemonade out of lemons!!! You have to post a pic of this beauty!! Thanks for the specific info on the Albion…I’d beg for a ride on it if you weren’t across the country!!
RodeoQueen, thanks! I haven’t checked out either of the ones you suggested…but they are both on the list of “excellent saddles.” I may send a mold to one or two of the used saddle places (the ones that have been highly recommended) to see what we can do. As far as riding in them myself…I have to rely on kind people like you to give me the reviews! Damn femur. Thanks for the info on the buffalo…I’m actually glad that it happened because it opened my eyes to some other problems!
So maybe what I will do is buy this equimeasure thing and try not to burn my horse’s back and then send it in for advice. Sigh. Here are some pics of my boy’s back today. Apparently SOMEONE should have squared him up and marked his shoulder before taking these pics…and should have taken some from above. I think I remember hearing this advice months ago here on COTH, but sadly did not remember it until I looked at today’s pics and realized the error of my ways. FWIW, here are the pics: oh! and the white marks were there when I bought him, so I didn't do it! http://s1325.photobucket.com/user/ri...?sort=3&page=1
LarkspurCO: no horse's training is complete until it can calmly yet expressively perform GP in stadium filled w/chainsaw juggling zombies riding unicycles while flying monkeys w/bottle rockets...
The pics of your horse look a lot like mine, with those withers and back. I'm riding in a Trilogy Verago and love it. The Verago has a narrow twist, and if you like a wider twist the Trilogy Amadeus is the one.
My horse is a fitter's nightmare. I have just had the fitter out for the third time in a week (thank goodness he lives less than an hour from the barn). My horse measures/traces a medium to medium-wide but he does NOT like anything tight at all. He goes muuuuch better in a wide with a sheepskin half pad to take up the volume. I do hate when the fitters do not listen to me when I say what works the best for my horse.
Your nightmare is why I will never order a custom saddle. I will always buy the actual saddle that I am trying. The "newest" saddle I have ever bought was an Albion that was the demo of the rep.
I have some of your issues - a draft cross with their wither/back issues (mine is long backed to boot) and I carry lots of my leg length in my femur. I am a narrow twist and I want a flat place to ride in the middle of the saddle, but secure from front to back. Have tried everything from a Hennig to a County to a Albion to my current Hulsebos. Nothing is perfect, and now that we are schooling PSG I find I am as fussy about how it rides for me as my horse (who is an absolute prima donna about saddle fit).
I really don't have any specific suggestions regarding makes/models - as my experience is that each individual saddle can be so different. I tried some Trilogy saddles and found them all too wide for me, but I like a really narrow twist. A low head Albion was okay, but not a great fit for my horse. Black Country may also work, but they can be pretty pricey - even used.
Didn't have much of a budget, went through a few saddles that bridged. Still am looking out for a treed saddle that would fit him. Anyway, while I was going through this a UDBB buddy loaned me her EZ fit treeless. I knew nothing about treeless, I wasn't even looking at treeless, but I put this saddle on him (not a dressage saddle -it looks like an endurance saddle) and we both fit this saddle wonderfully.
It solved our general saddle needs, but of course not our dressage saddle needs. But now I'm looking at treeless dressage saddles. In fact another UDBB bud has sent me an older Ansur to try. And my saddle maker is working on an English version so worst case I'll be having one of those made next year.
People have very strong opinions about treeless, and goodness knows all horses don't do well with treeless (outy spines don't do as well as inny spines). But have you considered treeless?
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
I will always recommend using an independent saddle fitter who services multiple brands. I have had good luck using this method with multiple horses over the years. I don't have issues, and just don't have to stress about saddle fit. Some horses are more difficult to fit than others, true, but my fitter has always been able to find something that works. Currently I'm happy with my Kent & Masters, but in the past I've had a Verhan, and she also works with County and Black Country (my personal favorite).
She also has a good selection of consignment saddles in various brands, so no telling what she might have. PM me for some contacts who might know someone in your area.
I am technically challenged, so can't post a picture of my saddle. If you go to Albion's website, you can see the VSD. If you go to their dressage saddles you can see the ultima leather on their other saddles. My saddle is trimmed in patent like the Revelation without the bling. It was over $2,000.00 less than a Hennig. The back contour of the flap was changed and a new pattern had to be made which jacked the price up too. So, it could be very affordable. Not more than a Custom Saddlery saddle. I had a Roosli and it was my favorite saddle. Unfortunately it did not fit my current horse. I feel your pain. Good luck, There IS a saddle out there that will work for both you and your horse. You just have to keep searching. My horse will be 6 this May and has never been in consistent work mostly becase of saddle fit issues. So, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Just keep crawling towards the light. M
"You can try to fix lazy, but you can't fix stupid."
I have the equimeasure. Bought it several years ago. It works but it's rather big to ship to anyone, i.e. you'll need a fairly big box BUT the fitters I was contacting didn't want me to ship it, they wanted the standard tracings! So before you buy ask around if any of the fitters you are working with will use it. No need to waste your money. On a note, you can reuse it and you will need a fairly large oven to warm it in.
But now I'm looking at treeless dressage saddles. In fact another UDBB bud has sent me an older Ansur to try. And my saddle maker is working on an English version so worst case I'll be having one of those made next year.
Just be careful with the older Ansur saddles. Those models did not have a built in gullet like the new models have. They certainly work with some horses, but for others, I can attest to the fact that they cause problems. You would need to use those with a padding system that creates a gullet.
I would look at some of the treeless saddle makers who do very well in endurance. Some of them have dressage saddles.
I love my Freeform treeless; it's the only one I've kept even though I've tried many over the years.
Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews. Tack Guru - Expert Reviews of English Tack