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So, help me find a saddle

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  • So, help me find a saddle

    This has been an ongoing battle for me. Many have watched the video (congrats to my baby) and made helpful comments in my post about upper body and arms. My trainer has been on me for a while to replace my saddle. I didn't feel it was financially going to happen, but after all the comments by people who seem to be knowledgable (listening to the internet is scary) I'm thinking I need to try. So, all of those who chimed in, what should I be looking for in a saddle? The one I'm riding in has much bigger thigh blocks than I've had before, but it puts me in a chair seat, where I'm always fighting the blocks. The seat I know isn't quite big enough, but when you buy used, you sometimes have to settle. I watched an old video of me on a horse that was very hard to ride, but in a saddle that was custom for me (unfortunately sold it with her) and my leg position was much better than it is now, so I can see this saddle is causing me problems I wasn't aware of. I'm going to be looking for a quality used saddle that can be re-fit to my horse, preferrably schleese, hennig or jrd, as those can all have the tree changed if needed. Any other suggestions? Some of you seemed to know alot about this, can you help me out with type (as in knee/thigh block/flap placement and seat ideas based on what you've seen in the video?) Is this way to much to ask? Pretty much looking for a starting point, and I'm not stuck to those brands.
    Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!

  • #2
    Find a good saddle-fitter

    Good luck with your search! When I got my current saddle (a used Niedersuss Symphony), I worked with a saddle fitter and Lightning G's saddles in New York. Check them out at www.usedsaddles.com. I really felt I saved a lot of time by working with the saddle fitter because she had a good idea which brand of saddle and size of tree would fit us both. The saddle fitter was able to make some minor changes to the flocking, and has been keeping it comfortable for us both while my horse has been building up his top line.


    • Original Poster

      I can't find (and I've looked) an unbiased saddle fitter. Someone who is only interested in the horse & rider and making a fee for their advice and help. All we have in our area are sales reps who, of course, only want to sell you their saddles. According to the Schleese dealer, Albions and Neidersuess' always do this or never do that. According to the Custom rep, hers are the only ones that address this. The dealer who sold me the one I'm riding in says it fits me perfectly-obviously it does not. I have seen both good and bad results from all of them. I'm SO frustrated.
      Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


      • #4
        I would nix the Schleese. Have not seen one yet that I really liked. You are a good rider, and you should not limit yourself to something that has all that thigh block. In fact, I would say that even a poor rider is not helped with those horrible bumps on the saddle. I ride a "cheap" Albion. Have ridden Steubben, Pasier, and Barnsby. Liked them all. You will know when you ride the saddle for you. It will fit the horse and you will feel comfortable in it. I think you will not find that horse starting to buck into the canter either as she was doing in this video. Good Luck in your hunt! Saddle shopping is a real pain.


        • #5
          I never thought about Stubben in my life, thought they were old school, but with my impossible to fit pony took "Tasker"s advice and had a Stubben rep come out. The saddles are lovely, well priced, and they have so many options that I finally found several saddles that my impossible to fit pony liked and that fit her well. I was shocked and pleased.

          Someone really needs to market these saddles better, as they were really nice and well made. For the price nicer than anything else I have seen. I would certainly put Stubben on your list of saddles to look into, especially if you are on a budget.
          On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


          • #6
            Like PP just said - I was another person who never gave Stubben a second thought...until I rode in it. All the things that I fought my body over - which then made me fight the horse's motion - just went away. Plain and simple - I can ride like I have wanted to for the past 20+ years. My contact is softer, my balance is better, the transitions are smoother...it's like a ripple effect of harmony that starts with the saddle. Or maybe it's in my seat...hard to say but I'll give credit to the saddle for making the biggest difference. The horses are happier. I'm ecstatic. If you are anywhere in the area around our farm, please just pop me an email and you are welcome to try my saddle - or we have a rep coming to the farm in the next few weeks and you are welcome to bring your horse and ride here and try all sorts/sizes/models. If you're not local - contact Stubben and have a sit in the saddles. If you don't like them, then you can just cross it off the list of possibilities.

            Regardless of the whole Stubben thing - just try a bunch of saddles (if you can). Friends, family, people who you've met casually who are about the same height...the more saddles you sit in, the easier it will be to 'know' when you find the right one.

            Good luck!

            ETA: L-R
            Oct in an 18" demo
            August in one of Catherine's
            August in one of Catherine's
            August in a demo
            and July in a cheap Tristan that I picked up used ($550) and it is an inch too small...but better than what I had been riding in.

            I'll go ahead and point out what it did for me - I'm perching in July, still perching in the August shots to some extent and by October I can SIT. Finally.
            Attached Files
            Watermark Farm
            Watermark Farm Facebook Fan Page
            You Tube Channel


            • #7
              In the last 10 years, I have owned:

              Purchased new: schlesse, albion, prestige, county

              Purchased used: Luc Childrec,

              Trialed new: Hennig, Passier, amerigo,

              Riden in : Trilogy and DK

              Presently have 2 albion slk ultra

              In my opinion, if you are on a budget, I would stay away from the hennigs and schlesse. The Hennigs are crazy expensive and schlesse are expensive and getting a schlesse fitter is very expensive as well.

              I have had really good luck with:
              I have bought new and used saddles from them and have sold used saddles through them.


              • Original Poster

                The only reason I was even considering Schleese is we have a rep here in town. I've not heard much good about them, but figured they were local and it would be the easiest fix. For all of the 25 years I was eventing and doing jumpers, I have ridden in Stubbens and loved them all. Dressage people have so convinced me that it has to be custom made that I hadn't considedred a good, off the rack saddle. Who do you use to reflock a Stubben (or Neidersuess or Albion?) We only have Schleese, Custom and County reps in our area and they only do their own saddles.
                Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


                • #9
                  Ummm, this is going to sound terrible - but the gelding I got mine for specifically (the orange chestnut with the poofy forelock) is pretty even in his shoulders, so no customization was/is necessary beyond having the fitter come out and ordering the correct tree for him = width & shape of the fork.

                  The others that get to use 'his' saddle get a neoprene shim here or there to adjust the fit. At the moment there are 2 that it absolutely does NOT fit and as soon as I have the $$$, they will be getting one that fits them. They are going in the shorter seated Tristan until then as it fits them fine.

                  If you contact Stubben - I think all their reps are certified fitters, so they can adjust the saddle once it is delivered. (or I might be lucky in that that's my rep's qualification/specialty)
                  Watermark Farm
                  Watermark Farm Facebook Fan Page
                  You Tube Channel


                  • #10
                    Unfortunately there isn't a "rule" to say which saddles should fit you, or at least not any I'm aware of . Many of us have struggled with saddle searching, and that is why there are so many opinions about saddles on this forum

                    You will need to sit in them to know. So, borrow, beg, rob, steal, do whatever you can do to ride in as many saddles as you can.

                    And then, I follow the these check points to see whether any given saddle fit me:

                    1. stirrup placement: Make sure the saddle is level on your horse. Sit in the saddle without stirrup and allow your seat to settle in the deepest point. Make sure you sit up straight having a plump line between ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle. A saddle with appropriate stirrup placement should allow you to tip your toes up and place your foot in the iron. With shorter stittup length, you may have to "lift" your whole foot straight up to do so, but you should not have to move your feet forward or backward.

                    2. Knee block placement: a well fitted saddle should not restrict you in any way by knee blocks. They should lie nicely "before" your thighs, thus providing support. Your thighs/knees should no dig into them and the knee blocks should end before your knees. Some company offer shorter knee blocks for this reason. For me, since I'm short (5'3"), I need a shorter knee block but a standard knee block is probably fine with you.

                    3. twist: This is where your crotch go and you want the twist to be as wide as possible, but not too wide to push your femurs away. You need to be able to drap your legs down without fighting the twist. This has to do your anatomy and you will need to feel it.

                    4. Seat: this is where your seatbones go. Again, you want it to be as wide as possible, but not too wide as to push your femur away.

                    5. Overall feeling: close your eyes and feel the whole thing. You should not feel any part of the saddle poking/probbing you anywhere. You should feel like you are simply "melting" into it.

                    This check list will seriously narrow down your selections. Once you have a handful of selections, walk/trot/canter in both directions to see how they feel.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by thatsnotme View Post
                      For all of the 25 years I was eventing and doing jumpers, I have ridden in Stubbens and loved them all. Dressage people have so convinced me that it has to be custom made that I hadn't considedred a good, off the rack saddle. Who do you use to reflock a Stubben (or Neidersuess or Albion?)
                      I'll let you in on a secret. Stubbens can be ordered MORE custom than 90% of the supposedly "custom" saddles on the market! Call Stubben NA and they will set you up with a Stubben rep who will help you try some saddles.

                      I'll let you in on another secret, using a good, local (or traveling) saddle fitter who is not a rep for any particular brand of saddle is often much better than using a saddle rep for fittings.
                      On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog


                      • #12
                        My saddle fitter has clients all over the country, and I'm sure she's not unique. I bet with a little diligence and networking you can find an independent fitter in you general area to work with you and maybe others at your barn (to share the cost of a stable visit). Working wih her really saved a lot of time and headaches. PM me if you'd like her contact info. Good luck!


                        • #13
                          Ditto finding a saddle fitter who can come to you - and not one that is beholden to any specific brand. Twice I've had an independent fitter come out and it is so helpful to have a variety of brands and styles to try. The fitting started out with probably 20 different saddles to try. After putting them all on my horse's back, we cut it down to 10 to 15 or so. Then I sat on them on the saddle stand and cut out another 5 to 10 until I had 5 real possibilities. Put them all on the horse, hopped on, and it was immediately apparent which one was THE one. And let me tell you, I LOVE that saddle (Frank Baines Capriole). It fits my horse and me. It fits me so well that I don't really notice it while riding. My position is effortless. The saddle makes it easy to focus on *riding* not trying to make my body do something that my saddle doesn't want it to do. A saddle that fits you should make riding easier, not harder.
                          My Mustang Adventures - Mac, my mustang | Annwylid D'Lite - my Cob filly

                          "A horse's face always conveys clearly whether it is loved by its owner or simply used." - Anja Beran


                          • Original Poster

                            What do you think of Crosbys? I went to my local shop today and sat in everything. The girl told me not to look at what they were and when I would say, oh I don't think that ones pretty, or whatever, she laughed. She said to hush up and sit in everything, wether I liked it or not. There were 4 that felt good (out of the 22 I sat in). 2 of those look like they might fit my horse (at least worth trying). The one that I was totally comfortable in is an old crosby. Its got a really deep seat and almost no knee roll/block. Not used to that. But my leg fell staight down under me, no tipping forward or back.
                            Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


                            • #15
                              You can take a moldible wire like a clothes hanger and mold it to your horse's withers to see really what you are looking for in the width and depth of your saddle. As far as type of saddle it is like a bed. You have to try quite a few and one will be the right fit for you. Don't go for looks go for comfort, use and fit.

                              I do highly recommend a saddle fitter professional if you have one in your area. Not sure where you are located. Most cahrge approx $75 to $150 and worth it.

                              Good luck


                              • #16
                                My first dressage saddle was a Crosby Prix St Georges. It was really comfortable, well made and it fit a lot of the horses I was leasing at the time. Since then I heard that the flocking is foam rather than wool, so you might want to chek on that before you commit.


                                • #17
                                  I have hennig sofa saddle for sale.17",mint condtion.The pirce is 3000$ including courier postage to USA.I'm from Europe.Send me your email if you are interested so I can send you pictures lax.2007@hotmail.co.uk


                                  • #18
                                    Actually, my experience with Schleese has been that they will educate you without pushing their product on you - to the point that if your saddle (regardless what brand) is 'more or less' fittable, they work with you on what what you have. Before I decided to invest in a Schleese, I had Passier - that was (while not perfect) adjustable enough to work for the interim. At the very least - it's absolutely worth the time and effort to have a saddle fit evaluation (especially with Jochen if he happens to be the one who is available in your area) because you will go away knowing a heck of a lot more than you did when you came. And then you can use that information to make up your own mind.


                                    • #19
                                      I have also had good luck with Schleeses and have several older ones that have held up well. The only thing I don't like on the current models is the huge thigh blocks. I got the smallest ones for my last saddle and ended up sending them back because they were still too big. Went out and bought the smallest ones from Wintec and they work fine and don't look bad either. I'm really glad for removable thigh blocks on the Schleese saddles!! I also like the adjustable trees - have had one adjusted several times as the horse gained muscle and changed shape.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Perfect Pony View Post
                                        I never thought about Stubben in my life, thought they were old school, but with my impossible to fit pony took "Tasker"s advice and had a Stubben rep come out. The saddles are lovely, well priced, and they have so many options that I finally found several saddles that my impossible to fit pony liked and that fit her well. I was shocked and pleased.

                                        Someone really needs to market these saddles better, as they were really nice and well made. For the price nicer than anything else I have seen. I would certainly put Stubben on your list of saddles to look into, especially if you are on a budget.
                                        I absolutely adore my Stubben I got from another COTHer whose horse was too big for it. So does my trainer, who rides in far more expensive saddles regularly, since several of her students have custom saddles made from tracings of their horses/measurements/etc. It's pretty funny, because she now requests chances to ride in it - more than she used to because she's also in love with my horse.

                                        Someday I will get one of the new Stubbens, but my horse is likely to go through several more saddles as he changes shape according to both the chiro/vet who has known him since he was 3 and the massage therapist. He's apparently changed a LOT already, and it seems to be speeding up with collected work now.
                                        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.