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Stubben Saddle Gurus

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  • Stubben Saddle Gurus

    After reading the March 22 blog entry of Catherine Haddad - "Supersize It Syndrome" - I was wondering who rode in Stubben saddles that are very pared down as far as padding, knee blocks etc. - Tristan model I believe?
    How do you like these saddles? Did you purchase new or used?
    What is your horses conformation and how does it fit?
    Thanks so much in advance.

  • #2
    I have one on trial right now -- and I am not really a dressage rider, more like a trail rider who takes occasional lessons and has her horses in low level training.

    The Stubben dealer warned me that this saddle is not for everyone, but I love it. Only rode in it twice (Fri/Sat) but each time it felt right.

    I was going to get a Schleese, but the wait for a used one is long, so I thought I'd get an inexpensive used saddle to tide me over. I found a Stubben Maestoso with blocks removed and took it on trial. To my surprise I liked it. So much that I searched COTH, found the Haddad article, and asked the dealer to check out the Maestoso for fit and to bring the Haddad Genesis Special model.

    My horse might need a bigger size. He brought the 31cm and said it fit, but when I took conformational photos it seems pommel high. So we are working that, but even if I can't get it to fit, I know I will not order any other saddle with knee rolls, thigh blocks or big gussets. The close contact is home for me -- it all makes sense.

    I thought I might notice the long girth and buckles under my leg, but I don't. And this is with a girth that is a little short since I didn't have a long girth at all. The only thing I did notice is that I am in the last hole on the flap strap. My girl is a bit round... I don't know if they come longer or whether last hole is 'good enough.'

    jan

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    • #3
      Friend has an old Tristan with tiny thigh blocks. The twist is narrower which I like. Really like the lack of blocks. Nice saddle but leather feels slippery.

      For horses, Stubbens run narrower, but they do make wides which are wider than 32cm, but the gullets don't seem that wide even on the wider trees. They use a curved tree so aren't great for flat backed horses or horse without whithers. Seem better suited for horses with a dip behind the whither.

      I personally hate short billets. They can hit right under the thigh and if you ride more than one horse it means multiple girths. It's also a pain because some saddles settle more and then the girth is suddenly too long.

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      • #4
        I don't have a Stubben, but I have a very minimalist Jeffries. Pencil knee rolls only, which is just enough to give my knee something to rest on with the narrow-shouldered one that also has a little pot belly. It's the most secure thing I've ever ridden in. The seat is shaped almost identically to my no-name but nice cc saddle form the mid-90's. Just a hint of depth to the seat, but shallow by dressage standards.

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        • #5
          I spoke with dealer tonight about sizing for my horse(s) and he said 31cm is still his recommended size. He said I should take pictures of the saddle with me mounted. I recall in the Haddad videos that she said a new saddle will look pommel high. He concurs.

          I have heard that Stubbens run narrow. I asked him about general sizing and he said most stores carry a 32 cm because those saddles have more padding - that is what sells. He said 33-34 are for draft horses and they don't sell many of them. He said a narrower TB might be in a 27cm.

          He said Haddad uses her 31cm for all the horses she rides, and just pads up if it is too wide.

          I sure wish there was standardization here!

          jan

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          • #6
            I have a Stubben Tristan... no rolls and a relatively shallow seat... and I love it. I purchased mine new about 15 years ago, and it was imported from Germany for me by Haddad herself.

            These saddles last forever, and seem to fit a larger variety of horses and riders than most other saddles. I've used mine on everything from 15h arabs, to thoroughbreds, to warmbloods.

            The best thing about these saddles, however, is that they get out of the rider's way. Sure, you will have to learn how to actually sit on the horse, develop truly independent aids, and find your own balance and position, but that is as it should be.

            Good luck.

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            • #7
              The only thing I did notice is that I am in the last hole on the flap strap. My girl is a bit round... I don't know if they come longer or whether last hole is 'good enough.'
              Ask if you can have some extra length - I would not be OK with using the last hole constantly.

              As for 32cm vs 31cm, consider whether your mare is going to widen or narrow over the next few years.
              Ask the Stubben rep to bring you a 32 cm or a 31cm that has "settled"; I agree that many horses would fit the 31cm.

              It's a truly lovely saddle

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Just Not Native View Post
                After reading the March 22 blog entry of Catherine Haddad - "Supersize It Syndrome" - I was wondering who rode in Stubben saddles that are very pared down as far as padding, knee blocks etc. - Tristan model I believe?
                How do you like these saddles? Did you purchase new or used?
                What is your horses conformation and how does it fit?
                Thanks so much in advance.
                Hmm I guess you think about the Schultheiss Modell, which is even more extreme than the Tristan...

                I don´t know. It is a philosophy I guess. I used to own one of those for many years because I used to train with a German GP rider who was convinced that they are the best.
                Later on I moved, got a new horse with a custom made Höpfner and switched.
                Many years ago I met this GP rider again and found out that he also switched to a different saddle...
                Right now I ride the Passier GG...
                Ususally the saddle is important, but still there are many good saddles.
                And as far as I remember was the Stubben not very comfortable.....
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                • #9
                  I have a stubben tristan with a very small knee roll. I've decided the saddle is not for me, so I've moved on to a Schleese JES Advanced.

                  I felt like I was constantly behind the motion of my horse, and fighting to not be in a chair seat. I now realize that may be how I'm "supposed" to sit in this saddle as per Haddad's blog, but that is not my preferable way of riding. So I've moved on to a saddle that helps me get me get my leg underneath myself better.

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                  • #10
                    We had the Stubben rep here last week doing fittings and we'll have him back again in September for a full clinic with demo saddles/trees. I rode in the newest Stubben that Catherine is referencing in her blog back in June. It is the Genesis Special D. No knee rolls, the new high tech tree...the works!

                    It is an updated version of the Tristan which was the reinvention of the Schultheis (spelling is wrong) with a lot of modernizations, improved technology and other improvements.

                    Personally - I love where the saddle puts me. Particularly on my big moving Weltmeyer gelding FWIW. I can NOT stay with his trot in most saddles, so the Genesis Special works for us. I bit the bullet and ordered one last week with the Bio Mex seat and everything. I recommend riding in the saddle before passing judgment as it probably won't be to everyone's taste/preference. I feel like I am riding bareback with the amount of closeness to the horses - which might not be what other riders want.

                    As an aside - I was speaking with several other riders/friends and was informed how all Stubbens come with giant thigh blocks/padding and 'how they're just terrible saddles'...so like many things everyone has an opinion about everything! If you are local to our place, my saddle should arrive at the end of September and you're more than welcome to see it when it gets here.
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                    • #11
                      Tasker, what width did you order?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Karosel View Post
                        I have a stubben tristan with a very small knee roll. I've decided the saddle is not for me, so I've moved on to a Schleese JES Advanced.
                        When I was younger, I ordered a schultheis (?) special from Germany sight unseen. I really liked that saddle, but then I owned a horse that it didn't fit too well.

                        I also have a JES advanced. It is a half size too large for me, but maybe my ideal saddle. I am currently riding in the Jane Savoie saddle. I like it well enough, but I feel like there's not enough connection or play between my seatbones and the horse. I'd rather have a 17" JES advanced which seems to have enough of a feel to give you security, but not so much that I feel blocked or locked into the horse. I wonder if one day I will go back to the SS.

                        I see quite a few people with nice big saddles and blocks to keep the legs in place. They are very good saddles and fit well to the horse giving the rider and horse a good feeling. Nevertheless, I feel as though many of these people are restricted in their seat. Many times these riders grip with the knees and their hips don't look altogether soft and giving. It looks like it's hard to really relax in these types of saddles.

                        I haven't read the article though and will go read it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by 3Spots View Post
                          Tasker, what width did you order?
                          Terrible to admit this - I don't know. I can PM you the rep's contact info and you can talk to him, if you'd like. The saddle will fit 4 of the 15 we have in work with no alterations but is being purchased for Wyatt. I can manage on the other horses but he redefines the meaning of bouncy in any other saddle. I will probably be ordering a few more GS's in the future but have to sell some of my current saddles first...$$ is an issue to have 20 saddles at a time. I am leery of ordering a saddle without having a rep go over the horses and recommending which saddle they will need...too expensive and I am not a professional saddle fitter - just a rider!

                          But in the end, I like the way I ride in the Stubben Genesis Special better than the other saddles out there, so it's safe to say I'm a convert. The Bio Mex seat cushions my broken tail bone bits, so that is an added bonus.
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                          • #14
                            I keep hoping I'll find a Stubben Tristen/Tristen Special I can buy and see how it works for me - because I have a hunch I'd love the GS eventually, but want to try a similar saddle to figure it out first. I have always preferred my saddles have less to them, but would hate to spend the money and find out the GS isn't what I want after the fact! My horse's topline needs to stabilize in its filling out before I spend any large amount on a saddle anyway, so it may be a while!
                            Originally posted by Silverbridge
                            If you get anything on your Facebook feed about who is going to the Olympics in 2012 or guessing the outcome of Bush v Gore please start threads about those, too.

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                            • #15
                              Love our Stubben Tristan/Schultheis special! I originally got it 2 years ago for my DD (I was very lucky to find it used locally in almost new condition.) Since we are both the same size, I can enjoy it too. It has no knee roll, minimal padding, and short billets & flap strap.

                              I feel very close to the horse, almost bare back when riding in it. I love the way it allows you to open the hip angle and sit very nicely aligned without getting in the way. I don't find it putting me in a chair seat, just sitting deeply into the horse.

                              I'm using it on a round barreled, flat withered horse and although it has a lot of pommel clearance, it seems to fit him better than anything else I've tried and he seems to like it a lot. (DD daughter was using a borrowed Passier before getting the Tristan and the difference in his movement and her position were both quite noticeable.)

                              I may be partial, though. I grew up on a Stubben Siegfried, same size, I believe built on the same tree as the Tristan. The Siegfried is almost 40 years old. Yes, they really hold up forever, if well cared for. Still in use today when jumping, but DD is a confirmed dressage rider, doesn't like to jump.

                              I'd highly recommend you try one!

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                              • #16
                                I have a 40 year old Parzival that is still in good shape (not pretty though). It is the most comfortable saddle I have ridden in. It is the VSD model I think, and even though it has dressage flaps I trail ride and jump lower fences in it without a problem.

                                I tried a Passier GG a couple of times and hated it - WAY too much padding.


                                Christa

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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Elegante E View Post
                                  Friend has an old Tristan with tiny thigh blocks. The twist is narrower which I like. Really like the lack of blocks. Nice saddle but leather feels slippery.

                                  For horses, Stubbens run narrower, but they do make wides which are wider than 32cm, but the gullets don't seem that wide even on the wider trees. They use a curved tree so aren't great for flat backed horses or horse without whithers. Seem better suited for horses with a dip behind the whither.

                                  I personally hate short billets. They can hit right under the thigh and if you ride more than one horse it means multiple girths. It's also a pain because some saddles settle more and then the girth is suddenly too long.
                                  This....As a rider, I like the feel...but I don't have any horse that the saddle will fit.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Elegante E View Post
                                    Friend has an old Tristan with tiny thigh blocks. The twist is narrower which I like. Really like the lack of blocks. Nice saddle but leather feels slippery.

                                    For horses, Stubbens run narrower, but they do make wides which are wider than 32cm, but the gullets don't seem that wide even on the wider trees. They use a curved tree so aren't great for flat backed horses or horse without whithers. Seem better suited for horses with a dip behind the whither.

                                    I personally hate short billets. They can hit right under the thigh and if you ride more than one horse it means multiple girths. It's also a pain because some saddles settle more and then the girth is suddenly too long.
                                    They do offer the option of long billets. I checked last week but FWIW - I would rather have several long girths and switch out from horse to horse than deal with the exact same situation with long billets - which is what we've been doing for the last 30 years. Either way, pretty much every horse has their own girth around here...but I would like less bulk at my ankles. Personal preference.

                                    The width of the trees & shape of the saddle fork is why I wanted the rep to come up and try different sized trees in the GS on the different horses. I am way too chicken to spend that kind of $$$$ without a professional to check the horse in that particular saddle, then ride in it, then I do the paperwork to order the saddle. I *think* the 4 all fit perfectly in the Medium-Wide and the 5th horse needs some shims added on the right shoulder to compensate for some asymmetry. There is one horse who needs a tree 2 sizes narrower, so he is going to wait until some of the inventory clears and then get his own saddle - which will probably fit more of the 'other' horses as they are similar in shape/width to him than the broader horses that are getting saddle #1.

                                    From what I remember - the Tristan is the Schultheis re-invented. The S was the reincarnation of the Sigfried with shorter forks on the tree. The Genesis Special is the latest technology with the tree - the Tristan, et al. do not have that tree - which is a whole different feel.

                                    But seriously - contact Stubben and see if you can arrange a test ride. That will answer a lot of the questions better than posting on the BB.
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by fjordmom View Post
                                      I feel very close to the horse, almost bare back when riding in it. I love the way it allows you to open the hip angle and sit very nicely aligned without getting in the way. I don't find it putting me in a chair seat, just sitting deeply into the horse.
                                      Yeah. I chuckle to myself when people say the saddle "puts them into a chair seat." There is nothing there to put a rider into ANY type of seat. I think these saddles just have a larger learning curve than most others, but it's so worth it.

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                                      • #20
                                        There shouldn't be any pressure on the flap strap so if it isn't tight then the last hole will be fine. And since the flap strap is usually made from softer leather it will stretch.

                                        Stubben hint: Stubben's leather has a reputation of turning rock hard and slick. If an older saddle is slippery or hard use a liberal dose of the Hamanol. Let it set over night and buff the excess off in the morning. Repeat once a week until the saddle is softened. Then once every month or so as needed. Also - the Hamanol may smell funky but it does WONDERS for your hands/nails!
                                        Camels spit, Mary, camels - Catherine Haddad "Dressage Critic

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