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Same saddle, different seat size, different feel

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  • Same saddle, different seat size, different feel

    I have been saddle shopping since I need a bigger seat (argh, depressing). I really like the saddle had been riding in. What it is is irrelevant to the question as I don't want to get into the "this saddle is better than that saddle" stuff.

    Anyway, I found the same saddle, albeit a bit newer. 18" seat vs 17 1/2" seat. Same horse size. Same panels (CAIR, so goes there part of what kind of saddle it is). Same everything except the 1/2" bigger seat.

    It fits totally different. I like a narrow twist and it looks like it has the same twist as my old saddle but feels wider. And my mare is not as fond of it either. I am using the same Mattes pad as I have been since assumed the fit, which is not changeable, is the same since it is the same size.

    The ONLY thing that is different is the seat size, but 1/2".


  • #2
    It changes your seat's relations (angles) to the stirrup bar. A 1/2" can be a huge difference.

    Plus, no two saddles are built identically. Too many variables. Especially if one or both are used saddles!!


    • Original Poster



      • #4
        Also, is it a new version of the same saddle? The 'updates' sometimes feel much different than the prior years version. Maybe its the new model, not the seat size that's doing it.


        • #5
          When I bought my saddle I first tried my trainer's and loved it. I ordered the exact same saddle brand new. When it came, it felt nothing like my trainer's. Then I tried another friend's saddle, which was also same brand/size as mine and it felt different too. I was told that's not unusual for hand-made saddles.


          • #6
            ditti all of the above. I have sat in 3 courbette berninas (my old trainer liked them), hated two, liked one. Decided the odds weren't good enougth to buy one


            • #7
              yup to all of the above. Just by virtue of how they're made, its possible to have a good deal of variation on the same exact make and model and size... especially if its a couple of years in between saddles.

              I'd wager however the new saddle is more likely an ill fit on the horse than it is on you. In other words, if the saddle doesn't fit the same on the horse, it will sit differently, which will put you in a different position in the seat, which will make things feel differently. Many times a flat out painful saddle can be made comfortable just by leveling it better.

              If its possible, do a side by side examination of the saddles, check the old one on your horse carefully, then the new one.

              Also! take measurements of the seat and twist and location of the stirrup bars, and compare that to the old one you liked. See if you can actually detect a difference. If you can, then you know what to look for as you continue on your saddle hunt. If you can't, then maybe something else is going on.

              Put both saddles on a saddle stand and sit in them there too, see if you feel a difffernce with the saddles sitting in a new position (aka, not on your horse where they will be affected by fit).

              Your horse is the main judge though and won't lie, if she's not liking it, listen to her. I'm guessing this is a popular brand, and probably mass made tree. There should actually be a great deal of standardization in that and not so much variation from saddle to saddle (its the handmade stuff that can vary wildly). So, its probably because the manufacturer either tweaked the tree design or because the newer saddle isn't "broken in" to the same degree as the older one. Panels, trees, etc, tend to soften and flatten/widen a bit with age.

              good luck
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


              • #8
                You will find that in "that" saddle you are talking about (which I ride in and love) that there is actually a 1/2" difference between all the sizes except between the 17 1/2 and the 18. It is closer to a 1" difference. Measure them. I have owned both. I love the 18", but due to having more room in the larger one I sit toward the front of the saddle and it makes it feel narrower and lines you up over the stirrup bars better. I don't like feeling confined and that works well for me. Hope that helps!


                • #9
                  I have a Vega.

                  I rented it from Ann at Equestrian Imports for 3 months before choosing to purchase this saddle.

                  Though, when buying a rental, the money out for rental (200 a month) did not go towards the purchase of the saddle.

                  errrrrg. I still have beef with that policy.

                  So I had Trumbull Mountain make me a brand new pretty shiney one.

                  Sent the rental back.

                  New saddle arrived,
                  put it on horsie
                  hopped on up.
                  and started crying.

                  It felt totally different--the twist was wider--seat not the same.
                  I cried and cried and cried.

                  In the end I worked out a deal with Ann--she took the new one and sent my rental back to me. I ended up out a bit more money from the ordeal but at least I have the saddle that I love so much.

                  Saddles stink.
                  Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                  • #10
                    I know in the Wintec Isabell (don't know if that's your saddle), the difference between the 17.5 and the 18 is HUGE. The 18 is totally uncomfortable to me (and many other people at my barn) but the 17.5 is great. I've ridden in several different 17.5s of that model, but the 18s are terrible! Don't know why, but it just became accepted with my friends that it was a nice cheap option unless you had to have an 18!
                    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc


                    • #11
                      The seat size (and as other's said, sometimes just individual variation) can make a huge difference.

                      I have a L'Apogee (can't say enough nice things about it, literally it has changed my life). I rode in my trainer's 4 yo saddle for a month and fell in love. Then the owner/designer of the saddles came out to fit me and my horse. Her saddles not only come in different seat sizes, but also different tension of the webbing on the tree. I am in what she calls the "short seat" and I can't remember the details, but the stiffness/softness (ie, the "sweet spot") is in a slightly different spot in the seat than the regular seat.

                      I can tell you that when I rode in the demo, I freaked out a bit, because it did NOT feel like the identical (albeit much older) version of the saddle and it's a whole lot of money to spend on something that isn't just right. She assured me it was a break-in issue only.

                      Much to my surprise (and delight) when mine arrived 8 weeks later it was perfect from day 1.

                      So the short story is, from saddle to saddle, and seat size to seat size, there can be a big difference.
                      From now on, ponyfixer, i'll include foot note references.