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Super-deep seats on saddles?

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  • Super-deep seats on saddles?

    I've been horse-store browsing online, looking for a deal on a turnout blanket, and I keep wandering into the saddle section and I finally have to ask - What is the deal with the dressage saddles with the super-deep seats? Some of them look like they should come with seat belts.

    How do you move with the horse in such a thing? (I mean, I know you shouldn't be slipping and sliding all over the place, but some of them the cantle is so high it looks like there's one place you can sit on the horse and that's it.)

    They just don't look comfortable to me. Admittedly, I have never ridden in one - am I missing something?

    (I have the same general reaction to the saddles with a billion and one knee rolls, knee blocks, thigh blocks...)

  • #2
    What brands are you seeing that you feel are super deep. Just trying to get an idea of what you are seeing.
    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Bugs-n-Frodo View Post
      What brands are you seeing that you feel are super deep. Just trying to get an idea of what you are seeing.
      Of course, now that I'm trying to find it, I can't find the one that really made me go but here are a couple that, at least in the photos, look surprisingly deep to me, if not super-deep. (Some of which could be the photo and maybe they look less like they'd lock you in on the horse, I will admit.)

      http://www.doversaddlery.com/wolfgan...1-15573/cn/94/

      http://www.smartpakequine.com/Produc...1&cm_vc=Search

      I think it's the way the cantle comes up so much - almost like you're expect to lean back against it to brace. Just looks weird to me.

      (Now I'm going to have to go hunting for the one that really looked extreme, just to see if I imagined it. But it was fairly high in the pommel and the cantle so it looked like there was really only one place you COULD sit, and if I remember right had fairly decent blocks on the flaps, too.)

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      • #4
        I bought a Bates Isabel Werth which is super deep on advice of past trainer. Close out sale and great price but I really don't like that deep feel. Some people like deep like this saddle as it forces a rider into position. Good or bad? Personal preference I suppose but if anyone wants to buy a deep Bates Isabel Werth 17.5 inch saddle with only maybe 10 hours ride time, let me know.
        Last edited by onqhanoverians; Feb. 21, 2011, 08:55 PM. Reason: spelling
        Robin Quasebarth

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        • #5
          I think people like them because it "holds" them in. I tried a bunch if saddles like that because it seemed the right way to go to "hold" myself into a better seat. I finally switched to a really flat seat. I like them much better because you can move as needed to do what you need. I think if you have a less secure seat you'll feel better in a deep seat, but I think in the end, you really want a flatter seat.

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          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Beentheredonethat View Post
            I think people like them because it "holds" them in. I tried a bunch if saddles like that because it seemed the right way to go to "hold" myself into a better seat. I finally switched to a really flat seat. I like them much better because you can move as needed to do what you need. I think if you have a less secure seat you'll feel better in a deep seat, but I think in the end, you really want a flatter seat.
            I was wondering if maybe it was something that had kind of trickled down from the top - all those Dressage Queen types buying warmbloods with the HUGE movement that they can't ride very well, and so the deeper seat helps hold them in.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kdow View Post
              I was wondering if maybe it was something that had kind of trickled down from the top - all those Dressage Queen types buying warmbloods with the HUGE movement that they can't ride very well, and so the deeper seat helps hold them in.
              What's your point, exactly?

              Do you think Debbie MacDonald is a dressage queen type? Do think she rides in a flat saddle?
              2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

              A helmet saved my life.

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              • #8
                Well, I ride in a County and it is deep, but I do not feel held in. I do think it is a matter of personal preference. I certainly think Edward Gal can ride, and he rides in a County Perfection. The Trilogy is deep as well and I THINK that is what Debbie MacDonald rides in.
                ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                My Facebook

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                • #9
                  I'm very comfortable and secure in my deep-seated, perfectly balanced, carefully fitted Trilogy, thank you very much.

                  But I'm a wretched, lowly amateur and middle aged to boot, so I'll continue to enjoy the fact that it helps me find a good position, and is quite hard to fall out of if horsie decides to have a bucking spree, and tolerate your derision.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
                    What's your point, exactly?

                    Do you think Debbie MacDonald is a dressage queen type? Do think she rides in a flat saddle?
                    I was asking a question, not making a point. I have no idea what the various upper level riders ride in - I know what some of them have put their names on for marketing, but that doesn't mean that's what they actually use themselves. (Maybe they do, maybe they don't - at that level, I'd rather more suspect that each horse was likely to have a saddle that went best with that particular horse, since they're certainly worth enough to justify a custom saddle, rather than one from Dover/Smartpak/etc.)

                    If people like them, when I would like to know why. They don't look comfortable to me, but perhaps I'm missing something.

                    Likewise, if people like flatter dressage saddles, I would also like to know why. It's curiosity, not some kind of 'well, if you need a deep seat you can't ride' statement.

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                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by atr View Post
                      I'm very comfortable and secure in my deep-seated, perfectly balanced, carefully fitted Trilogy, thank you very much.

                      But I'm a wretched, lowly amateur and middle aged to boot, so I'll continue to enjoy the fact that it helps me find a good position, and is quite hard to fall out of if horsie decides to have a bucking spree, and tolerate your derision.
                      Who said anything about derision? Surprisingly enough, I don't judge people based on their tack choices. (Unless they're using ridiculous gadgets instead of training. Them, I judge, I admit it.)

                      If it's the comment about things trickling down - well, there is an element of 'fad' in tack choices, in dressage, h/j, and eventing. So I was wondering if the demand for more and deeper saddles is because a lot of people just plain do like them, or if it was because they started seeing them at upper levels and thinking it was the thing to have, regardless of the needs of the rider and horse.

                      (With all the comments about the 'big' and hard to ride gaits of warmbloods that I've seen right here on COTH, I can easily imagine that perhaps even an upper level rider would prefer to ride in something that assisted with staying in a correct position, rather than something you had to fight with to ride the gait correctly.)

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                      • #12
                        I had a Crosby Olympia II wool flocked event saddle. It was a little deeper than I usually rode. I had a Pariani Milano. But I used the Crosby because it fit my Arabian best. It had light blocks but compared to some Dressage saddles it was not that deep seated. But I liked it.
                        I have seen some Dressage saddles with big thigh blocks and big knee rolls.
                        If I need to get out of my saddle in an emergency I could not do it quickly.
                        There must be a need for those saddles or they would not make them.
                        Is it a matter of personal choice?
                        I have not tried any of those with the big leg blocks and deeper seat, so I can't say anything bad about them because I have not tried one.
                        Perhaps we will hear from someone who can explain the reasoning behind the design.
                        I would like to know also.
                        regards, sadlmakr
                        .

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                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by sadlmakr View Post
                          If I need to get out of my saddle in an emergency I could not do it quickly.
                          I think that might be part of why they make me go "huh?" - I had to bail out in a hurry when a horse tripped once, and some of the saddles I've seen just look like it would be very difficult to do that, which makes me personally nervous, because of the previous experience.

                          That said - I've never ridden in a saddle where the saddle was chosen to fit ME. Since I've pretty much only ridden other people's horses or lesson horses, the rule has basically been "you ride in what the horse likes" so maybe there's a level of comfort I'm not aware exists when you get a saddle that fits you just right and puts you in the correct position.

                          (Though I have ridden in one western saddle that somehow managed to make sure that no matter how I shifted my weight, it was horrifically uncomfortable. It had padding, it LOOKED fine - rode like an instrument of torture. I put up with it, but if I'd kept riding that horse regularly I probably would've been looking for alternatives.)

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                          • #14
                            I don't follow the fads. I think some saddle makers are in a competition to see who can make the deepest seat and biggest block. I think it has almost gone to an extreme. I think unless the deeper seated saddle with large blocks fits the rider's conformation it actually interferes with and gets in the way of correct riding. IMHO. I ride in a Roosli. It is a minimalist saddle. Close contact, narrow twist and a block that is there without interfering. This saddle hasn't changed in decades. Stubben and Passier are also classic though they have become more modernized. Originally, I think the deeper seats and larger blocks evolved to help the amateur rides stay more securly in position on the bigger moving horses. Not to say that the best professionals need this even if they ride in a deeper seated saddle. Bottom line is that if you can ride in the saddle and your horse goes well in it, that's what is important. Personally, I like more freedom in a saddle with a block as a "gentle reminder" that my leg has slipped out of position rather than feeling locked in. To each her/his own.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kdow View Post
                              Who said anything about derision? Surprisingly enough, I don't judge people based on their tack choices. (Unless they're using ridiculous gadgets instead of training. Them, I judge, I admit it.)
                              Perhaps you should re-read your posts.

                              You could simply have asked why people ride in the saddles they ride in.

                              There is a huge benefit to having more cushioning between you and the horse, especially for the middle-aged people who populate this sport. I could not sit my horse's trot without it, and neither could my trainer, not to mention, how happy the horse is and how free in his movement that he doesn't have to deal with any bouncing. There are many, many riders who would not be riding, and many trainers who would lose the majority of their clients, if the saddle makers of this world had not responded to the fact that so many of the people with money to spend and a horse to ride are also achy and sore, and need a little assist.

                              What's it to you?

                              The only riders who have ever ridden my horse, and this is back when I had a hard, minimalist Passier, who felt confined in it, were hunter riders who didn't have a dressage seat.
                              2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                              A helmet saved my life.

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                              • #16
                                Reiner Klimke was the most beautiful rider I've ever watched and he rode in flat dressage saddles with no block.

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                                • #17
                                  Well, I have ridden in flatter saddles with little to no block as well, and I did just fine. I have to say though, I like the security of the County I am riding in when I am pushing the limit and testing my horse a little bit. He can also be a spook if I fail to keep him busy enough and I like that all I have to do is relax into my saddle and follow his movement.
                                  ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                                  *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                                  *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                                  My Facebook

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by TheHorseProblem View Post
                                    What's your point, exactly?

                                    Do you think Debbie MacDonald is a dressage queen type? Do think she rides in a flat saddle?
                                    None proclaim their innocence (nor look for BNTs to back up their position) like those who are guilty.

                                    "And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling." - Capt Reynolds "Firefly"

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                                    • #19
                                      Some of the saddles that look really deep, or as if they would lock you in, don't actually feel that way when you sit in them. Of course, some do, too!

                                      I like a somewhat deep seat - that said I don't often ride in my dressage saddle, which is not as deep as the ones in the links. But I've never felt stuck or anything.

                                      The saddle I ride in most of the time is a Black Country Wexford. It does not feel like it is in my way at all, but when something goes all wrong it has helped me out. I don't feel the deep seat or knee or calf blocks unless I get jostled out of position by some shenanigans or something. And then there they are, just giving you a little support... but I never feel stuck.
                                      2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

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                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Maude View Post
                                        Reiner Klimke was the most beautiful rider I've ever watched and he rode in flat dressage saddles with no block.
                                        Sadly, I'm not, nor will I ever be, as good a rider as Reiner Klimke.

                                        And I'm about as far from a dressage queen as you could imagine (maybe you don't realize that is considered a derogatory term, OP?)

                                        I've ridden in a bazillion saddles over the past 40 years. I remember the very first time I rode in an old-style County Competitor--that would have been 20 years ago. It felt deep compared to what I had ridden in before.

                                        The reason I ride in the saddle I ride in now is that I rode in someone else's and found it way easier to find a good position in it than in my previous saddle, and I could have it customized and fitted to both my body and my horse's body so we are both comfortable and honestly, it's one less interface to think about.

                                        The way my saddle is designed and fitted, I have actually got very close contact through my thigh, (this may be one of the things that makes the seat look deep, you are actually sitting deep into the saddle,)a comfortably cushy place to sit my bony bum, and a moderate knee roll to remind me where to keep my leg.

                                        We've proved over the past few years that it isn't too hard to bail out of, either, unless you are wearing Sit-Tight breeches

                                        It is improtant not to buy this style of saddle too small or you will suffer. It also needs to be balanced correctly so you are sitting on the flat bit, not tipped onto your crotch, or you will REALLY suffer.

                                        I do think these saddles are harder to fit to a human, and a horse, than a flatter, more open seat, which is something to bear in mind if you are looking for a saddle--what fitting resources are available to you and are you prepared to avail yourself of them.

                                        Are they for everyone and every horse? Probably not.

                                        (And for the record, yes, Debbie M does ride in a Trilogy.)

                                        You need to try a bunch of things and see what works for your anatomy. Choice is a wonderful thing.

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