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Just point me in the right direction please ? (Saddle help)

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  • Just point me in the right direction please ? (Saddle help)

    I will first be completely honest in admitting I hate shopping. Horse, saddle, clothing, shoe. But I recognize that I need a new saddle. I have an HDR that I bought new (for around $600) when I first decided to dabble in dressage, but I’m now moving up the levels , horse is in training at a fancy barn and I need to commit.

    I’m looking for used and looking to stay around $2k. My trainer is helping me but I feel rude just sitting around waiting for her to bring me samples to try! I have terrible luck with dressage saddles and I can never seem to find one that actually fits my body. Here are my needs/issues/concerns:

    * I come from the Hunter/ jumper/ Eventing world and I’m 100% more comfortable in a jump saddle. I like to ride with a really forward flap and my stirrups short. I’ve gotten more comfortable with dressage length stirrups but the flap on my saddle isn’t right.

    * most dressage saddles have a twist that is too wide for me. Maybe I need to just get used to it, but they feel like they’re splitting me in half down the middle.

    * I’m not tall (5”3) but I have crazy disproportionate legs, my hip to thigh is soooo long and my calves are short. Right now I have to ride with my stirrups longer than they should be so my thigh doesn’t go over or dig into the block.

    * both my horses are medium trees and I feel like everything used is wide.

    I uploaded two photos but I’m not sure how well you can tell saddle fit. I know I can’t buy sight unseen (sight un-sat in?) so should I contact a brand dealer even if I know I can’t buy new ? I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. Help ?
    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

  • #2
    You may like a Stubben Aramis and/or their Maestoso. Both have forgiving forward type flaps and a flatter or longer space in the seat. Twist is narrow as well and Stubben last forever and tend to fit a wide range of horses.
    Both these saddles are on the Stubben North America website and steeply discounted. If you luck out in tree size/seat size you may get lucky as a lot of the time they are basically brand new but sold at used prices.
    http://www.windsweptfarmllc.com

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    • #3
      Have you tried dressage saddles with a more forward balance point and flaps? A few that come to mind are Prestige and the French brands (Antarès, Devocoux, etc.)

      I’ve also seen pretty forward flaps on County & Custom saddles.

      One other thought - there’s a remote fitting service offered by the Saddle Geek. She used to post on here and is very knowledgeable. It might be worth paying for an assessment to give you a starting point on what to try.

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      • #4
        When you say splitting in half, what do you mean? Where do you feel it? That means something different to different people and it may not mean what you think it does.

        What saddles have you tried? Coming from jumping, you probably do need a forward flap and or velcro blocks as you slowly develop your dressage position.
        Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
        www.thesaddlefits.com
        Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

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        • #5
          The Stubben 1894 is also an option, it is their must more affordable option even fully custom.

          Either way it sounds like you want something with a shorter more forward block and a short flap. If you consider stubben, definitely get a fitter out for them as their tree is unique, so sometimes hard to guess what tree size would be ideal (I'd never have thought my WB would be a 28cm tree but it is perfect for him)
          "I'm too sexy for my blanket, too sexy for my blanket, these mares-they should take it..." (J-Lu) - Featuring The Skypizzle Pony aka Classic Skyline

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          • #6
            You might do best by going through an online tack shop that deals in good second hand saddles and will work with wither tracings. Pelham Saddlery comes to mind, but there are others as well. Being able to send them wither tracings will help them determine which saddles have a better chance of fitting, so you don't end up endless shipping used saddles back and forth.

            You might also look into Smith-Worthington saddles. They have nice saddles at reasonable prices, and they will work with wither tracings to assist in remote fittings. They also have some good tips on saddle fitting for both horse and rider.

            https://www.smithworthington.com/

            I bought a close contact saddle from them a couple of years ago and have been very happy with the quality of the saddle and the fit.
            "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

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            • #7
              If you aren't going to order a full custom, I'd start by asking everyone at your barn if you could perhaps sit in their saddle for a few minutes and see how it feels. Keep good notes - i.e. Mary's saddle is Brand, Model, Serial Number. Seat feels balanced but too small, flap would work if angled forward more. Once you have a starting point, a fitter who deals in used saddles (in person or with tracings remotely), can feed you some likely candidates to actually ride in.

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by sheltona01 View Post
                When you say splitting in half, what do you mean? Where do you feel it? That means something different to different people and it may not mean what you think it does.

                What saddles have you tried? Coming from jumping, you probably do need a forward flap and or velcro blocks as you slowly develop your dressage position.
                Hmm.. how to explain. So I naturally want to roll my thighs forward and sit more off my seat bones, not like a full 2 point jumping position but definitely not where I need to be for dressage. I’ve been working really hard to roll back, sit on my seatbones and open my hips. It’s funny bc one of my horses can be a bit of a fruit loop and when he acts up I immediately revert to my hunt seat position. *bah!*

                but back to your question , most dressage saddles feel like they’re spreading my upper inner thigh/ crotch area too wide. But maybe that’s bc I’ve never been sitting in a true dressage seat until recently ?
                http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                  If you aren't going to order a full custom, I'd start by asking everyone at your barn if you could perhaps sit in their saddle for a few minutes and see how it feels. Keep good notes - i.e. Mary's saddle is Brand, Model, Serial Number. Seat feels balanced but too small, flap would work if angled forward more. Once you have a starting point, a fitter who deals in used saddles (in person or with tracings remotely), can feed you some likely candidates to actually ride in.
                  There is literally no way I can go full custom. I’m a public school teacher and I’m scraping by just to keep my horse in training. I recognize the need for a proper saddle but I think it would be foolish to buy a custom saddle and then have to bring my horse home and no be able to ride most of winter.
                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Go up to Rick's Heritage in West Chester and you can sit in a ton of them.
                    Wouldst thou like the taste of butter and pretty dress? Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Meredith Clark View Post

                      There is literally no way I can go full custom. I’m a public school teacher and I’m scraping by just to keep my horse in training. I recognize the need for a proper saddle but I think it would be foolish to buy a custom saddle and then have to bring my horse home and no be able to ride most of winter.
                      I didn't mean to imply you should be! Sorry if it came off that way. Pesonally, I've done full custom and would never do it again. Bad customer service, and things showing up that don't look or fit the way they were supposed to. Massive headache without any benefit. I will only buy saddles when I can sit in the actual saddle I'm purchasing on my own horse for several days before paying.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post

                        I didn't mean to imply you should be! Sorry if it came off that way. Pesonally, I've done full custom and would never do it again. Bad customer service, and things showing up that don't look or fit the way they were supposed to. Massive headache without any benefit. I will only buy saddles when I can sit in the actual saddle I'm purchasing on my own horse for several days before paying.
                        No no, I didn’t take it like that at all ! If I had the money I would but I honestly don’t and that’s ok. I’ve also heard horror stories about customs. It seems unless you’re a big name who they need for business sometimes they don’t really care. And that’s a lot of money to give someone who doesn’t care !

                        I worked with a saddle fitter 2 years ago and I felt horrible bc I literally hated every model of the brand she sold. My friend who was hanging out at my house when she was doing the fittings bought one though so it wasn’t a total loss for her !
                        http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
                          Go up to Rick's Heritage in West Chester and you can sit in a ton of them.
                          I looked online and they didn’t have anything in my size and my horses size that I thought would work. But I could always take a wide to try and then find a medium in the same style I guess.
                          http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

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                          • #14
                            See if you can find a used Butet.
                            "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
                            -Richard S. Bach

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                            • #15
                              I think one problem of sitting in saddles at a tack store is that a lot can change once you put them on your horse. Even if the individual saddle fits the horse, how it feels to the rider may be quite different than how it felt sitting on a saddle stand.
                              "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Ok from what you are saying, I am actually going to suggest you want a wider twist. The wider twist will support your inner thighs and not let you rotate in. I find people who feel it in the inside of their thighs want more support not less. If you feel it on the outside you want less. If you want to test the theory, ride in a saddle that is a little uncomfortable and tuck a towel under you thigh kind of over the stirrup bar. See what happens.

                                For example me personally if the saddle is too narrow, my hips cramp and it is painful. To me it feels like my hip sockets are locked.

                                To add another layer of confusion, my sister needed a wider seat. She was having problems with her thighs coming out and her feet were point out not straight. What was happening is without the wider seat, the back of her thighs were collapsing in rotating her thighs out. It is not hurt at all and she would have never noticed it, but I did.

                                The more I do this job, the more I believe it is more about the ratio of the seat compared to the twist and how quickly it comes out than the twist or the seat width. Unfortunately you just need to experiment to figure it out.
                                Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
                                www.thesaddlefits.com
                                Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I was just able to load your pictures. I second looking at Stubben. I'd also keep an eye out for used custom-made saddles - especially from County who does a short/forward flap option that seems to be more common than other manufacturers. I would also sit in anything with velcro/removable thigh blocks. Due to the proportions of your leg, it's unlikely that you're going to like the position of a big block off the rack (unless it is specifically made for someone shorter - like the Trilogy Debbie McDonald or a custom short flap) - but you might love one if you could move it up and angle it forwards underneath the flap. You might even want to sit in a Wintec Pro with a velcro block - they fit some people really well.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I found a Custom Monoflap that is very comfortable for me and my horse during their once in a lifetime sale last year. Bought it for $2200 and thought it was a steal! Anyway, it has held up well, and it is very comfortable to ride it- it is not too wide across the crotch either. Here is a similar one I found on ebay today- but it has the long thigh block- I got the short one at the recommendation of my friend who also has one.
                                    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Custom-Sadd...ry!34698!US!-1

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I ride in a narrow twist for jumping and a pretty wide twist for dressage. I had a Stubben Aramis which has a more forward flap and a relatively narrow twist. I think Pelham has two for sale right now under $2k in different tree sizes (one of them is mine, sadly mare bulked up and it no longer fit). I’m replacing it with a Frank Baines Elegance which has a wide twist but fairly forward flap and I was able to customize mine to be slightly more forward. New under $3k so I bet you could pick up a used one in your budget.

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                                      • #20
                                        I came to dressage from h/j and the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever had is an Albion SLK. The trees are adjustable and they fit a less curvy back well. If you’re at a dressage barn, somebody has one. My tiny barn has like 3 Albions over 7 dressage riders. The SL might also be up your alley as it’s got a flatter seat and smaller thigh blocks.

                                        I tried a couple of Custom brand saddles this summer, and they locked me in pretty tight with the big ausie style thigh blocks. They the twist hurt my crotch and the pommel was weird high and I hit it posting. I tried an Icon Flight and I don’t remember the name of the other one.

                                        My main point is to try as many saddles as you can from in your barn. You might be surprised what you actually like.
                                        Last edited by jonem004; Nov. 12, 2019, 12:59 AM. Reason: Autocorrect went rogue

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