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Trying saddles

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  • Trying saddles

    Step one buy horse - check.

    Step two - tack . Sigh.

    Specifically trying saddles. I do not have the saddle budget alot of dressage people seem to have. I can spend about $600 on a dressage saddle period.

    1. Tried the Kincaid - about a $500 saddle found at a couple of places. Here it is on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Kincade-Dressa...458106&sr=1-67

    When I placed it on Fella's naked back it looked lovely. The medium tree fit him very well.

    So I tacked him up and got on. Boy o boy - the whole thing collapsed and rode like a treeless. No support for me, no support for him. It mushed right down and pushed into his shoulders. So back that went.

    2. I'm looking at two options right now; a new Wintec 500 - not the suede butt, the smooth butt http://www.amazon.com/Wintec-Dressag...458070&sr=1-20 with the gullet system for $550.00

    or a used Passier classic http://usedsaddles.com/product.htm?id=utn40k1p

    I prefer leather over synthetic, but with the cair panels I should be able to fit the saddle to suit him as he muscles up. I've sat in the Wintec, but not the Passier.

    I don't need knee rolls -I ride with and without them no problem.

    Of course the Passier is a whole lot of back and forth - mail to me to try, if I don't like it, mail back. I can go to the tack shop and pick up the Wintec. And like I said, I've already sat on that one.

    I'm thinking I'm leaning towards the Wintec.

    BTW I want one of those saddle block things that you try saddles on at stores! It felt really nice to sit in - nicer than a chair!

    He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).

  • #2
    Stay away from the Kincaids, as you have already discovered. Better to get a used saddle or a synthetic if you are on a limited budget. I thought your new guy was on the wide side? IMO the Wintec is going to be your best bet if that's the case. Though, keep in mind that just because you can adjust the gullet of the Wintec, there is only so much adjusting the channel can do. If your guy is truly wide-wide, then a Wintec wide would be the better route. But, sounds like that's your best bet as you can pick it up at the tack shop and give it a spin.
    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    A Voice Halted


    • Original Poster

      It's interesting - he's got his withers from his momma I guess - narrow and high. He's got a decent girth, but he's no barrel like Lilly my instructors TB/Perch cross http://www.flickr.com/photos/5296733...n/photostream/

      Fella http://www.flickr.com/photos/52967336@N00/5941461443/

      Yup, I'll be giving the Wintec a spin.

      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


      • #4
        I prefer leather over synthetic, but with the cair panels I should be able to fit the saddle to suit him as he muscles up. I've sat in the Wintec, but not the Passier.
        It's the adjustable gullet that will give you the flexibility you're looking for. The Cair panels are a completely different attribute - that means a bunch of airbags inside the panels, rather than wool flocking - having Cair or not does not affect the adjustability. What sort of horse is it ? I have found some of those wintec dressage saddles fit amazingly well on some narrower TBs - much better than I expected. Is there nobody in your area with a bunch of saddles you could try ?


        • Original Poster

          I'm sorry, I completely conflated the cair panels with the adjustable gullet. Thanks for clarifying that. He's a Perch/STB cross. He wears a medium tree. I have access to a few saddles to try, but the problem is that I live in a big ticket area for dressage where people drop a couple thou on a dressage saddle no problem So I can tell you I've sat in some beauties that just make me sigh, but there's not a whole lot I could do about that this year. I'm hoping to have something to ride in this year and next year I can look at one of those sweet-ass rides I've had the pleasure of lessoning in

          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


          • #6
            I have a bunch of $500 - $800 saddles in the truck that I would love for you to try, but the distances are too great in this country to provide a comprehensive mobile tack service. Have you talked to Patti Merli ? I don't know if she goes by you, but she also has a bunch of used and good value saddles in a truck.

            Have you tried the Collegiate Jessica or Mentor ?


            • Original Poster

              Thanks, Kate.

              I did meet Ronnie of Skylands saddlery when she was out fitting a saddle at Dark Horse stables and she said she had used saddles on consignment, so I've sent an email inquiry to her. I just found Patti Merli's information Saddle fitter PATTY MERLI travels up and down the East Coast. She carries Duetts in her van. She can be reached at (843) 810-2485 http://www.duettsaddles.com/contact.htm

              I just looked at the Collegiate series. The Jessica they recommend for slender riders (that ain't me). I'll look into the Mentor.

              He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


              • #8
                I just purchased a black dressage saddle, med tree, off eBay. It was listed as "unknown" brand as saddlemakers tag had been removed by a previous owner. I bid the $100 opening bid and forgot about it figureing that it would take off from there. Ended up being the only bid. Didn't need this saddle-didn't want this saddle. But, since I was dumb enough to bid, I paid the seller for it. Received it, it seemed to be well cared for and, while not high end, it appeared to be of nice medium quality. Put it on one of the schooling mares (who uses a med tree) hopped on and got a very nice supprise---It is a very comfortable saddle for me and the mare! Now if I could just figure out who manufactured this saddle I would send you their way!
                Anyway, watch eBay. This time a year saddles are not selling well and some real buys can be made. Good sellers will provide you with photos and measurements and generally bend over backwards to ensure that you have all the info they can give you so that you are pleased with what you purchase.


                • #9
                  I love the old Passier. It is a fabulous saddle (I have had several and they wear like iron) and it has a lovely balance point.
                  "Where knowledge ends violence begins." B. Ljundquist


                  • #10
                    I agree with ebay, especially if you find one you really like but it is out of your price range new. Get the best you can for your money and best does not mean most expensive. The best means what fits you and your horse the best and has all of the qualities you want. I love County, Custom and a few others that are WAY out of my price range new, so, I shopped used. Honestly, I'd rather have a 20 year old County than a cheaply made new saddle. Don't give up!
                    ~Amy~ TrakehNERD clique
                    *Bugs 5/86-3/10 OTTB Mare* RIP lovely Lady, I miss you
                    *Frodo '03 Anglo Trakehner Gelding*
                    My Facebook


                    • #11
                      Passier's are very nice saddles and generally well balanced. Two concerns about the one you showed: 1) it has a pretty deep seat so if you are used to riding in a 17.5" saddle with a flatter seat, this will feel small and 2) it's listed as having foam panels. I didn't know that passier made saddles that didn't have wool flocked panels. With a saddle of that age I'd be concerned that the foam would be very compressed. You can't fix that and you can't adjust the fit.

                      I might call the shop to confirm that if you're interested in the passier.

                      I've never ridden in the Wintec dressage saddles but I have a pro jump that I like quite a lot. I've had no problem with the CAIR panels and I find the interchangeable gullets to be very helpful.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                      • #12
                        I would very much pass on the Wintec. I have a Bates Event, same company, same tree, just leather. The tree broke last summer. Or rather, I NOTICED it last summer. It had probably been broken for a long time given that the screw on that side would not stay in, and hadn't wanted to stay in for a few years.

                        It took a YEaR to get them to fix it. Yes, a year. First they told me it wasn't broken. OK, then I must be blind. When I told them exactly where it was broken, they changed their story to "well, it is broken, but we don't think it's broken enough to fix it, so we aren't going to". I had to threaten to sue to get them to fix it. No joke.

                        So they finally fixed it. I got it back about a year after I started trying to get it fixed. I didn't notice the panels were on crooked until I went to take pics to sell it. Yes, the "master saddler" with "over 40 year's experience" put the panels on 3/4" off center.

                        I emailed them, they refused to respond. Of course, they don't publish a phone number. I kept emailing once a week until finally the woman emailed me back saying she didn't care, they wouldn't even look at it. That they were just sooooooooooo gracious to fix it in the first place, so tough cookies that they put the panels on crooked.

                        I had to have it fixed on my own dime to be able to ride in it or sell it.

                        Keep in mind that this saddle was 6 years old, rarely used, stored indoors, and babied. The leather is pristine.

                        Oh, they also scratched the hell out of it while they had it too. Like deep scratches. One of them didn't oil out either.

                        Worse customer service ever, and a giant waste of money to buy their products. Their "lifetime guarantee" is a total joke.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks for the observation on the deep seat. My equitation instructor's Kieffer has a very deep seat and I find the cantle too high. The seat does hold me and I don't mind that at all, but you can't emergency dismount from her saddle. You have to dismount Western style - keep one foot in the stirrup.

                          He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                          • #14
                            Ditto Hampton Bay, I also have had bad experiences with Wintec tree breaking and getting it fixed. In my case, they did fix it without complaint as I was original purchaser , but they DO NOTtalk to the customer only the retail store, and mine took 2 months to do. Not as bad has hb but still unpleasant.

                            I second looking at used passiers. also if you want new, I bought the thorowgood hi wither dressage saddle for my new tb and it fits him like a charm. It also has adjustable gullets. Dover has them. Much better quality than wintec and made in england by master saddlers,not made in vietnam.

                            good luck saddle shopping is not fun


                            • #15
                              Have you tried craigslist? It is amazing the saddles out there for sale right now. Locally, or nationally:


                              You never know what you will find out there. Craigslist in a way is the new eBay, so it's not unusual for sellers to have PayPal accounts and to ship. I have sold to people out of the area through craigslist.
                              2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

                              A helmet saved my life.


                              • #16
                                I know exactly what you are going through because this was me a few years ago. My budget was a bit higher, but after trying eight saddles, it turns out the Wintec was the one that fit my horse best at the time.

                                That saddle served us well for about 3 years until her back changed so much, even changing out the gullet wouldn't have really worked for her.

                                I couldn't bring myself to buy a saddle off eBay, it just seemed too risky and I couldn't find anything in the local tack shops on consignment or on CL either.

                                The Wintec held up well, was totally easy to care for and I never had to worry about it getting wet.
                                Proud owner of a Slaughter-Bound TB from a feedlot, and her surprise baby...!


                                • #17
                                  You're near or nearish to a bunch of pretty good tack shops, aren't you? I'd take everything they have in the right size and try them to figure out what will fit, and then use that info to look for used saddles within your price range.
                                  MelanieC * Canis soloensis


                                  • #18
                                    Buy something to get you buy for now, and then find a decent used saddle, and put it on layaway. Pay that sucker down, and look forward to the day you can ride in it. That's how I afford expensive saddles - I don't have the budget for them either but I LOVE a truly adjustable tree like my Verhan.


                                    • Original Poster

                                      That sounds like a plan. I've never actually done layaway before. Is there some kind of maximum time you have to pay for it? Are there extra costs involved?

                                      He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by paulaedwina View Post
                                        That sounds like a plan. I've never actually done layaway before. Is there some kind of maximum time you have to pay for it? Are there extra costs involved?

                                        It depends on where you get it - I've done it with private individuals (I'm just about to go pick up a nice saddle for my DD from a person over in Ocala next week, in fact) where I just sent her a pre-agreed-upon amount a month. We wrote up a contract and I just paid her a deposit and sent her the money every month via wire transfer. Better to do it with a tack store, though - that can get a bit hinky. And I do it with used saddles only - you can get a GOOD used saddle for $1000.