Forgive me if this isn't the best spot to post this, but I did it so oh well. So I've been reading through many a thread on stubben siegfried all purpose saddles. The thing is, all the threads I've found are only on the old stubbens, from before I was even alive! So I'm wondering how the newer stubben siegfrieds compare to the old ones as far as durability and position? I know Stubben has many more fitting options for the horse now, so hopefully the odds are in my favor in that regard. I've heard some people complain that they put them in a chair seat and you have to ride with a very short stirrup. Is this true of the newer models as well? I don't want to need my knees cranked up all the time, since, as well all know, that makes it much harder to do dressage work.
I am at a place where I'm kind of just playing around with the ponies...there's nothing where I live as far as competing goes, so I'll just be working on lower level dressage, trail riding, and very small fences. If/when I find something I want to focus on entirely, I'll invest in a discipline specific saddle, but for now I just want to keep track of one saddle and go out and have fun.
I love stubbens. I don't want a bunch of squishy padding or super soft leather that's going to wear out on me. I do not care for french designed saddles. I'm 6' with long legs and with the way my skeleton is designed those newer french-y cc saddles just don't jive with me. They make me feel very insecure and like they're tipping me forward. I don't think this is just rider incompetency, because I rode in a FLAT plain flap cc forever and loved it. Not to mention I find stubbens design a million times more asthetically pleasing. I love the contrasting leather on the panels especially. Then again I also like rust breeches and hunter green jackets......
I have a newer Siegfried. About 6 years old. I was thrilled when I was ready to buy Tucker his "forever" saddle after he stopped growing, and Stubben had just come out with their extra wide trees! This was the 3rd Stubben Siegfried I have owned, the first two were bought used for my daughters and we were very happy with their saddles, so I was very happy that it fit him so well. It is super comfy. I am 5'8 and this saddle is just perfect for my height. I am equally comfortable in long stirrups for dressage work and hacking them up short for jumping.
I am 5'11" and my Stubben Siegfried extra always put me in a chair seat, even with the extra forward flap -- the stirrup bars are just too far forward on the saddle to put my leg under me. I was thrilled to sell it on and get something that works better for my conformation. FWIW, I ride in either a County Extreme or a Kieffer Norbert Koof FL. With these saddles, I'm never fighting my tack.
I have not tried their close contact saddles so don't know how those are designed. I think they are horse friendly saddles and made to last, but there are so many choices right now that it's worth riding in a few saddles to see what you like/don't like. As a tall rider, I think it's great that there are so many off the shelf options for forward/longer flaps. That wasn't always the case.
Only way to know if they will work for you is to ride in a few of the newer ones to see.
I think the Kieffer is a really under-rated saddle. My horse's love it and I find it to be quite balanced and comfortable.
It did not work for me, personally. I felt like I had to fight to keep my lower leg back, and I always had knee pain after riding in it. I found the Edelweiss to work so much better to keep me in the right position. It is not the most comfortable saddle for long rides...the seat is pretty firm. If I got another one I'd get the biomex seat in it. But who are we kidding, I'll never need another one unless it stops working for my horse. It is built like a mack truck and shows no signs of needing to be replaced.
I love stubbens, even though my current guy absolutely couldn't go in one (flat, mutton withered, little thing). The old parzival AP we have (30+ years old now) does not work for me anymore, the flap isn't forward enough and the seat is a tad small but it wears like iron and our baby is going to be started in it.
Anyway, I have ridden in the Zara, the Edelweiss, and the Roxanne. The Zara and the Edelweiss both worked very well for me, the balance was good and I felt very secure in them. I *hate* the Roxanne, the balance is all wrong for me, I have to jack my stirrups up so high my knees and ankles hurt to be able to ride in it effectively.
Basically, I would recommend the edelweiss for a taller rider, especially one that likes the bare bones CC saddles. Mine barely had a mark on it except for the water stains after owning it for well over a year in 2010, and I used it on a daily basis.
Thanks for the info everyone! I'm definitely going to look into these other saddles as well. It helps a lot to get opinions from others because there are *NO* tack stores anywhere me that sell any english tack at all, so I don't get the opportunity to sit in or look at anything, and I'd rather not waste a ton of money on shipping trial saddles that are just a shot in the dark.
The older Stubbens wore like iron - back in the early 1990s, I had a riding student who rode in a Stubben he'd gotten in Germany at the end of WWII. The newer ones, IMO, don't measure up quality-wise, and they don't tend fit a wide range of horses.
If you don't have a local tack shop, you can work long-distance with a shop like Equestrian Imports or Panther Run Saddlery through templates and photos. Both places have years of experience and success in remote fitting. If you send them clear photos and an accurate template (instructions on taking a template at http://pantherrunsaddlery.com/?page_id=434), they can assess your horse's fitting needs and make recommendations / send saddles for trial that have a good chance of working. Long-distance fitting requires that you do more work (a breakdown of what to expect at http://pantherrunsaddlery.com/?page_id=400), and it may involve trying a few saddles, but if your info is accurate, the process usually goes pretty quickly. And both places offer a one-week "ride it like you own it" trial policy.
I evented my last horse in a current model Siegfried VSS for 8 years. I bought it in demo condition in 2005 and it ha proven tough as nails...more comfortable and lighter than the old German-made Stubbens but exceptionally durable. The seat isn't plus but it is softer than the old ones for sure. It survived 8 years of almost daily use, was stolen, recovered, and I still love riding in it when I can, though it doesn't fit my current horse. It doesn't put me in a chair seat at all and I feel like it keeps me centered over my horse. I tend to be "tippy' with my upper body and this saddle definitely did not contribute to that habit. I've done all three phases in it (tight times at a one-day), trail ridden in it, foxhunted in it, started babies in it...it really is a go-to saddle for many purposes. That said, I never felt like it is a no-purpose all-purpose, as it has much more of a jumping tendency and I had no difficulty over larger fences. I love my Siegfried!
I don't love the Siegfried, but I do love the Roxane I have. I can lengtem the stirrups for flat work without getting put in a fair seat. Mine is only 5-10 years old and I see no reason it won't last as long as my other Stubbens. I have several other models that are 20-40yo.