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Dressage Saddle Advice Wanted! :)

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  • Dressage Saddle Advice Wanted! :)

    I am just sort of keeping a lookout for a good deal on a dressage saddle, but I need to narrow down which saddles would be best for me. It's not imperative that I find one right away or anything.

    Heres the deal:

    I grew up riding in close contact saddles.. now I ride in a "AP" which is really built and rides more like a CC with a deeper cushier seat. It's a Black Country Wexford. I love this saddle. I am also still comfortable in various CCs and jumping saddles.

    The dressage saddle I have is an HDR somethingorother... I'll try to remember the model name. But regardless, the leather is rather stiff and I feel like there is SO MUCH between my horse and me when I ride in it, especially in the leg area. Hence, I never ride in it.

    I would actually like to have a dressage saddle to work on flatwork in...

    Anyways, my horse is pretty easy to fit and generally most off the rack wide trees fit him great. His topline is very "normal".

    Any recommendations for sort of minimalist dressage saddles with deep (comfy?) seats that have nice soft supple leather?

    Also, I am not blessed with long legs.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. There are no tack stores near me to try things and not much of a dressage contingent in my area...
    2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

  • #2
    What about a BC Eloquence?

    I also ride in a Wexford (which I love) and I have a Black Country Eloquence for that horse. I love the Eloquence - I think it's incredibly comfortable. I don't have a lot of experience with dressage saddles, so I can't say for certain it would meet your "minimalist" requirements. I also have short legs (I'm only 4-11) and this saddle works pretty well with my short legs.

    I also have a Thornhill Danube for a different horse - I don't like this saddle, but it fits the very hard to fit horse, so I live with it.

    Good luck!


    • #3
      I bought a brand new M. Toulouse Aachen. I love it! Deep seat, and fits my leg great. My knee to thigh is longer then knee to foot, and it really fits me well. The knee block is not too large to restrict contact, but make me feel secure. I bought this saddle at Rolex last year and got a great deal. 18" seat fits true to seat size. Their tree sizes are a bit small. My guy take a med-wide, and i bought at x-wide tree and it fits him great. They are 900-1000 new, got it for 750 2 years ago.
      Esmarelda, "Ezzie" 1999 Swedish Warmblood

      "The world is best viewed through the ears of a horse."


      • Original Poster

        Kodidog, I will have to see if I can find something used. I don't have the scratch for another BC! LOL.. I bought two the summer before last. One for each horse. Too bad they aren't the same size. But I can always wait and save up, too. I think that might be the problem... the BC saddle I have is so awesome and comfy that I can't stand the HDR any more. I rode it in all summer one year while saddle shopping (before I got the wexford) LOL.

        Cruisemom, I tried a Toulouse Aachen, sat in one at Rolex one year. I found the seat to be uncomfortable... the twist too wide or something. It was digging into my upper thighs. I also had a pretty bad experience with a different Toulouse saddle before, so I am a bit leery of them, but I do know a lot of people have them and like them.
        2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


        • #5
          I hear you. I've been searching and searching for a used Eloquence for the mare that currently goes in the Thornhill. No luck so far. And sadly I have a 5 year old, that I need a jumping saddle for as well (would love a Wexford for her). My husband had no idea what kind of change saddles for 3 horses was going to cost.


          • Original Poster

            I looked... my current saddle is a HDR Rivella. It's wool flocked... fits my horse well and I find it comfy. BUT the flaps just won't seem to break in! And I feel so "far away" from my horse in it.
            2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


            • #7

              Here is a used Eloquence for sale.


              • #8
                Maybe silly question, VCT, but have you tried oiling your saddle? A light neatsfoot oil treatment is the first thing I do with a new saddle. Helps the break in and the saddle will wear better. Not familiar with HDR, but there are a number of saddle brands with a deep seat that will let you feel close to your horse. Prestige is wonderful if it will fit your horse. Custom Saddlery brands such as the Solo are nice. Trilogy and Albion are also quite nice. Most of these can be found used on consignment at a good tack shop, including some online shops that will let you take a saddle on trial. Trumbull Mountain is one online shop that is good. A monoflap saddle might be worth trying also.


                • Original Poster

                  Hi Lateralwork,

                  Yeah, I've oiled it a number of times... the flaps just don't seem to want to break in! And it is very strange to me how I can't feel my horse as well in this saddle. It seems counter-intuitive to how a dressage saddle should be.. heheh. I've had the HDR for a few years now... I only rode in it alot that one summer when I was saddle shopping. But I rode in it nearly every day for 3 months or so... cleaned and oiled it regularly... and I oil it sometimes in the winter, too just for good measure. Its still stiff like the day I bought it. In fact.... it still looks completely brand new! LOL It's bizarre!

                  Thanks for the recommendations on brands, I'll look them up. I have worked with Trumbull Mountain before - love them. I actually called them today just to have a quick chat with them and got some advice. They are great. I just need to keep saving up, and looking for something used. May as well sell this saddle since I dislike it so much.
                  2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                  • #10
                    I have always been a fan of close contact saddles as well, and when I began eventing it was hard for me to find something I liked because every saddle I tried had so much "stuff" under the flap. I settled for a Passier with small removeable knee rolls. Just last week (and 10 years later), I purchased a Stubben Tristan. I knew nothing about the Stubben dressage saddles, but I checked out their website (http://www.stubbennorthamerica.com/stu09Tristan.html), and the Tristan really is a very basic, and closer contact dressage saddle that still offers the position support dressage riders look for. It is working exceptionally well for me, so perhaps it's worth looking into.
                    Horse, thou art truly a creature without equal, for thou fliest without wings and conquerest without sword.


                    • #11
                      Have you tried Passiers ? They put you closer to the horse, but the seat is hard - I think the Nicole Grand Gilbert is less hard (I might be wrong about that - I don't have one, but I meet a lot of people who do ). I have a Country Competitor, which I find puts me nice and close to the horse - and the rep is at a lot of shows so you get to try them on your horse for no cost, which is always a plus.


                      • #12
                        I don't know if their wides are wide enough, but Both Stubben and Passier should have the feel you're looking for. The Passier PSLs are really soft and comfy.
                        "Rock n' roll's not through, yeah, I'm sewing wings on this thing." --Destroyer


                        • Original Poster

                          Thank you everyone. I am checking back and taking notes!

                          Kate - Unfortunately there aren't any "real" shows in my area. Lots of really nice quality local schoolings to do... but there are never any reps there. I know Countys are really nice though! Luckily for me this horse has a really basic easy to fit topline. My other horse, on the other hand, needs custom saddles because he's soooo wide shouldered!
                          2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                          • #14
                            I know alot of people who like the Stubben Tristan for close contact. The seat is not cushy, but it is comfortable.


                            • #15
                              I have ridden for many years now in a Stubben Tristan (also called a Schultheis) and they are my fave. They are very close contact and you will really feel the horse. As a bonus, their design also makes them great for hacking out and even low jumps. Plus, because they lack all the crazy padding and things that hold you into place, you will be forced to develop a great seat on your own; and that is always a good thing


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by HMM View Post
                                I didn't end up buying from them but they are very good to work with
                                I wasn't always a Smurf
                                Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                                "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                                The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                                • #17
                                  For the HDR (& alot of lower end saddles) you need to strip the finish off then oil etc = there are some wonderful threads on this somewhere on COTH (I read most of them last year but didn't bookmark), a few saddle maker sites also had some how to's but forum versions are always full of tips & problems that other first timers have run up against.
                                  Of course, once you strip the protective finish on this type of leather, you may reveal the inconsistencies that made that leather cheaper in the first place BUT since you dislike the saddle as it is & it fits you & the horse, I'd give it a go.

                                  Even though your horse is easy to fit, I'd still do complete wither/back tracings (ie the trace that include 3 "lines" across the saddle area of the back) & send those in along with photos to online saddle shops.

                                  Libertyville still has a few clearance Passiers though size is very limited now.
                                  Also give Stubben a call & see if they have any of the websale saddles remaining but you do need to know fit first as the saddles are final sale.
                                  Classic Saddlery also had some clearance dressage saddles tho they were Toulouse (ie Santa Cueros) for the most part.


                                  • #18
                                    can you buy directly from santa cueros? And how do you know they make the m toulouse? Altho they do have models on their web page that do look alot like hte m toulouse so I don't doubt you. Just wonder if it would be cheaper to buy direct from them?


                                    • Original Poster

                                      I think I am probably going to just save up and work with Trumbull Mountain again. I love my Black Country saddles and they were so awesome to work with before. I can make new tracings to send to them when we are ready but since they know a wide Wexford, which they sold me, fits him perfectly I'm ahead of the game dealing with them. Plus, they are so helpful and nice. And I know if I get a BC it's a great quality saddle.

                                      They also carry Frank Baines.... so we'll see. If I have a chance to try a Passier or Stubben, I will. I won't buy a Toulouse saddle again. I had one before and it was awful.

                                      I am not in any rush... so I can take my time and save for a good dressage saddle for him. I have a well fitting saddle for him right now that I love and I can do basic dressage in it fine.

                                      Thanks all
                                      2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                                      • #20
                                        You could also find something that fits you and your horse, try it out to make sure then look for that saddle on ebay. I was prepared to do that as well but found my saddle before I had a chance. I tried everything from Amerigo, Spirig and Custom to County and Albion. I ended up with a County Perfection. I love it, but they do have simpler designs such as Connection and the WB. Good luck!
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