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Dressage saddles with a half panel

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  • Dressage saddles with a half panel

    Not short flap, short panel point up front. One that doesn't extend down the shoulder. Does anybody make one except for the $4k Prestige D1?

    I am just curious. I have always thought that it is far easier to fit a saddle that sits "on top" of a horse rather that today's models that seem to fit "around" - there is so much saddle that it's easy for it to not fit somewhere, and that somewhere is often the shoulder/wither area.

    I was comparing the fit on Mini-MOs pony the other day - my niece and daugher both ride the same pony, and both have collegiate saddles with the same size tree, but Mini-MO's pony saddle has a very short panel that doesn't extend down the shoulder, while my niece's does. The pony is very roly-poly round, but Mini-MO's saddle fits better and slips less. It's totally just a theory of mine, but I think that the farther the panel extends down the shoulder, the more the saddle moves to accomodate the movement of the shoulder underneath (movement can be either forward/backward sliding or lateral slipping as well). I have a Jaguar jumping saddle for my TB with short panels (it was the only thing that accomodated his high withers and broad shoulders...he's a tent-shaped horse) and I like it better than any other saddle I've ridden in. The Jagauar dressage saddle seems to have shorter panel than most dressage saddles, but not as short as the D1.

    Just wondering if anyone knows of others.
    Last edited by meaty ogre; Feb. 22, 2011, 03:25 PM. Reason: found out what I'm asking about is called a half panel

  • #2
    they're usually called "half panels" where the panel doesn't extend down the front of the saddle. google half panel dressage saddle and you'll start finding stuff I had a county WB that had half panels.

    Many cc and a/p-gp style saddles have half panels because the intent is for jumping, so the extra shoulder clearance is needed for the drastic range of shoulder movement.

    To my knowledge, most dressage saddles have full panels because it offers more stability on many body styles (certainly not all, roly poly for example).

    Here found this you might find interesting:

    eta, also found this: http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum//s...d.php?t=276560
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


    • Original Poster

      yay, now that I know what they're called, I'll have much more luck searching for them! thanks!


      • #4
        Stubben has one the Genesis, I love this saddle! It is defiantly under 4k with the most upgraded model at 3600.


        The blurb about the simple Genesis D doesn't mention the half panels, this is the one I own and mine has 1/2 panels.
        --Luck is what happens when preparedness meets opportunity--


        • #5
          My Sommer saddle has half panels. It fits so many horses. Love that thing.


          • #6
            I have Bond Street saddle (became Cynron saddles) that is a half panel. It has memory foam gel in the panels to mold to the horse and I think in the seat as well. It's also has a key adjustable gullet width. goes from wide to much wider

            The flaps are hang down from the panels like dog ears. Really odd looking.

            It's an interesting saddle that you can occasionally find used.
            "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

            "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


            • #7
              Amerigo Vega

              I have an Amerigo Vega half panel dressage saddle (not monoflap) that I absolutely adore! My 17hh warmblood has HUGE shoulder blades, and it allows him much more freedom than traditional designs. Even custom made (XW, XL, and bigger for a larger derriere) it was under $3k.

              I liked it so much that I bought the same style jumping saddle.


              • #8
                Balance International has saddles with short points as well as those without points. Can make a huge difference in movement of the horse as well. Call up Carol. They do clinics throughout the country.


                • #9
                  I have the Vega too.
                  it also sports the 1/2 block. It's by Amerigo--kinda.
                  The panel stops where the block stops.
                  The Amerigo deep has a full panel and block. And the tree is different so don't be fooled!

                  they have gone up a few hundred in the past two years but they are still under 3.5K.

                  here is the saddle:


                  here is me in it. I'm super tall but I don't always like super long flaps. The 1/2 block is what I need to fit in a regular flap. You can kinda see where the panel stops...it's just above the bottom of the block.


                  Ann rents them. I rented mine for 3 months before I bought it.
                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                  • #10
                    Lazer has a half-panel option...

                    2007 Welsh Cob C X TB GG Eragon
                    Our training journal.
                    1989-2008 French TB Shamus Fancy
                    I owned him for fifteen years, but he was his own horse.


                    • #11
                      My Schleese Infinity has a half panel. I think several of their saddles do.
                      "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
                      -Richard S. Bach


                      • #12
                        My Schleese Wave has half panels. I believe a lot of their saddles do if you're looking at used ones. Of course if you order one, you can get half panels.


                        • #13
                          I own a JRD custom that has very short wither panels and no padding in the flaps and no knee rolls. It has fit every horse I have put it on because it floats on the horse's back.
                          Ask and allow, do not demand and force.


                          • #14
                            Thornhill Danube dressage saddle has half panels as well as my Cynron close contact saddle. I ride Arabians and the half panels plus upswept back work well for us.


                            • #15
                              Many saddle companies will make their saddles with a short panel option, some with varying degrees of success. Depending on the saddle, you may also be able to mimic a short panel by having the bottom portion of a full panel unflocked and then adding quilting stitches to flatten it out.


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks NCSaddleFitter.

                                It is very frustrating that a vast majority of catalogs only show a side shot of the saddle. I really need to see the bottom. (The other thing I like to see is a top shot so I can see how wide the twist is, and maybe a front shot to see how big the blocks are!). Side shot is the least helpful, IMHO!

                                anyway, it's good to know that modification might be an option. Unfortunately I had a hard to fit TB (sharkfin withers and wide shoulder) when I bought my jumping saddle. It now looks like I'm going to get a crash course in dressage saddles thanks to my mare.

                                Fortunately, I met a past owner of hers by chance this weekend and got a few pointers. She hates shoulder pressure and protests heavily, so I'm looking into quarter and half panels. I'm in the "less is more" camp when it comes to saddles. Many of the recent innovations, such as wider panels and wider gullets are great. The honkin' thigh and knee blocks and the panels that go down to the girth, not so much. I have found that my minimalist saddles have tended to be the best fitting (or least protested by the horses).

                                I've often discussed with a friend of mine that those awful lane cutback saddleseat saddles seem to fit anything with a back because they sit on top of the horse, and now down and around the horse like so many of today's "sofas on trees." Initially I thought a bigger panel = more contact area = better weight distribution, but now I'm starting to feel that a bigger panel = more things to obstruct the horse's motion.

                                Feel free to share any of your own thoughts and experiences with either half or full panels. I have heard some argue that half panels dont' distribute weight as well or that they make horses more sore. I'm sure it can be argued either way, and it is always interesting to hear others' take on things.


                                • #17
                                  Keeping with the "good old Days" theme on the board recently, years ago, most saddle were half panels and we didn't have all these saddle fitting problems.

                                  My first saddle had half panels and I kept it for decades as a last resort for a tough to fit horse. At a D Barbier clinic he brought his saddle and indeed it fit every horse at that clinic. Not to say it would fit every horse, but it did fit every horse at that clinic.

                                  Just like earth shoes, some folks er horses, will like them some won't. Just like treeless.
                                  “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
                                  ? Albert Einstein


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                                    I've often discussed with a friend of mine that those awful lane cutback saddleseat saddles seem to fit anything with a back because they sit on top of the horse, and now down and around the horse like so many of today's "sofas on trees." Initially I thought a bigger panel = more contact area = better weight distribution, but now I'm starting to feel that a bigger panel = more things to obstruct the horse's motion.

                                    Feel free to share any of your own thoughts and experiences with either half or full panels. I have heard some argue that half panels dont' distribute weight as well or that they make horses more sore. I'm sure it can be argued either way, and it is always interesting to hear others' take on things.
                                    haha those "awful saddleseat saddles" -- i learned to ride in one of those and still show saddleseat from time to time even though i've seen the light and converted to dressageland ;-) Yes, they tend to fit lots and lots of horses. The only time you run into problems is if they are WAY too wide, or if you have a horse with a short back whose conformation just can't accomodate roughly 21" of seat length.

                                    Here's my take on the half panel thing, and i'm not really an expert, but this is my experience--i had a medium width saddle ('full' panels) that fit my mare for awhile but then she muscled up and it was pinching pretty severely thru the shoulder. my new saddle is a half panel and i love it because it fits so many horses...including her. her shoulder movement is much more free. Could that have been accomplished with a wider saddle with full panels? possibly/probably. but I don't know how necessary full panels are. It is interesting to think about the weight distribution aspect of it, however my thought is, no matter how long or short the panels are, your weight is still concentrated largely in your seatbones...i.e. on top of the horse. I don't think the extra length of the panels --which is more on the sides of the horse--really helps anything with weight distribution, because the majority of your weight is still focused in the same place. even if it does help distribute some of that--do you really *Want* weight focused in the shoulder region, possibly impeding that movement?

                                    just my off-the-cuff thoughts...


                                    • Original Poster

                                      Yes, those awful saddleseat saddles actually require you to be able to hold your own position, don't they!?

                                      I had the opportunity to try several saddles yesterday and I noticed that the block was nearly always in the wrong place for me (I'm average height, but long femur) and I do tend to pinch with my knee or grip with my thigh, so it is very uncomfortable when my knee is over the block instead of behind it. Riding with longer stirrups would help, but I still don't like the feel of being locked in. My mare also does not appreciate my gripping knee driving the block and the shoulder portion of the panel into her shoulder. I can't blame her for that. I've never worn a saddle, but I have had the opportunity to use several different infant/toddler carriers and I can tell you that the fit at the shoulders is more important than anything else (I know it's comparing apples to oranges, but a poorly balanced baby carrier will make a mom cranky in a hurry!).

                                      What I need is a plain flap, no-block saddle with a half panel. Crosby quit making the Freestyle like a decade ago. What are the odds I can find one in my size and my mare's size?


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by meaty ogre View Post
                                        What I need is a plain flap, no-block saddle with a half panel. Crosby quit making the Freestyle like a decade ago. What are the odds I can find one in my size and my mare's size?
                                        My Sommer Nouvelle does not have a plain flap, it is lightly padded, but the knee blocks are removable and it is half-panel. Apparently they recently quit making those, but maybe an alternative to try if you can't find the Crosby.