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Help a hunter buy a dressage saddle!

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  • Help a hunter buy a dressage saddle!

    A serious accident yesterday forced me to seriously reevaluate my program with one of my horses. After 4 years of fighting with him, I've decided to retire him from jumping. He is the type that would take one step forward for every two he'd take back and yesterday was the final straw. He has become extremely unpleasant and arguably dangerous to jump and I have no desire to make him miserable or get myself hurt trying to make him do something he simply can't or won't do.

    Fortunately, he is a very talented horse and was previously finished (though never competed) through PSG with an education through I-1. And while I'll probably never compete him myself, I like to have things to work on with my horses, regardless of what that job is. So it appears I am now in the market for a proper dressage saddle.

    What I have to spend depends greatly on what I buy to "replace" him (he was my only jumper). If I buy a young prospect, the sky will be the limit, if I buy something further along and thus more expensive, I'll be on a budget.

    I am very short from hip to thigh and am, ahem, ample on bottom . I ride in a short flap for my jumping saddle and have a 17" seat. The most recent dressage saddle I rode in (and liked quite a bit) was a Verhan, but I'm quite sure there are many out there to try and I'd like to make an informed decision. I do tend to like less saddle than more, but I'll try anything. My horse is a Hanoverian, broad shoulders and normal withers.

    What would you recommend in a Low-$2000 price range? A $2000-$4000 range? Over $4000 with no limit?

    Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.

  • #2
    So this is for an imaginary "to be" horse?
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      Get out a saddle fitter, there is no way this can be solved online. It has to work for you AND him.

      Dressage seats have nothing to do with "bootay size" or height. I am 5'4" and ride in an 18" saddle. It depends on your thigh length.

      If you like minimal padding (and no knee rolls) start with stubbens. I highly doubt you need to spend 4K to get a decent saddle.

      Good luck!


      • #4
        I'm assuming this is for the horse you are retiring from jumping.

        Really, there are a million different options. It needs to fit him AND you. Your best bet would be to find a decent saddle fitter and give the problem over to them. Dressage saddles are a bit trickier to fit than jumping saddles.

        In the mean time, you need to go sit in a few and find out some idea of what saddle concept works for you. Some of us like a deep-seated saddle with knee rolls. Other people find that the epitome of awfulness. You won't really know until you plunk your butt in a few, preferably on a moving horse, but in the tack store is better than nothing.

        Pricewise, well, there's a whole range depending on whether you go new or used, custom or off the shelf. Don't assume that your first dressage saddle will be your last. Your needs may change as you get more into it.


        • Original Poster

          Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
          So this is for an imaginary "to be" horse?
          No, this is for my horse I retired from jumping. Just threw him night check hay and blanketed him...if he's imaginary, then I need to see a doctor The "to be" horse is his jumper replacement...what I end up spending on said horse will determine how much I have to spend on a saddle.
          Nine out of ten times, you'll get it wrong...but it's that tenth time that you get it right that makes all the difference.


          • #6
            In the $2,000 and under range I recommend a Kent and Masters. I think they are more like $1,500 or less. I believe they come with adjustability features as well so you have a lot of flexibility on the horses you can put it on.

            Albions are between $2,500 and $4,000, depending on what model you get and in what kind of leather. I _LOVE_ these saddles.

            Black Countrys are also in that range and are lovely. I personally love the monoflap that looks kind of strange but have only sat in one at the tack store (while drooling).

            Above $4,000 I think you are just spending more money, not actually getting anything any better than the ones I just mentioned.

            I don't think Schleese gives you anything worth the extra money, I hate whatever Devoucoux is doing with dressage now, and hate hate HAAAAATTTE the Hermes Corlandus. Terribly designed for the horse's back, imo.
            The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
            Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
            The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


            • #7
              Basically, you have to beg, borrow (maybe not steal) all the dressage saddles you can and see what you like. You may be surprised at what you like and what you don't. I thought I would like an Amerigo..it bruised me! Tried a Barnsby Kanter..couldn't get out of it fast enough.

              A friend of mine is in love with her Forestier mono flap, I have a Ridgemount (not an expensive saddle) that I feel puts me in the right spot.

              I also don't think you need to go above $4,000 for a decent saddle.

              Try a bunch of used saddles for sale on consignment, see what you like and then from there see if it will work for the horse as well. The trick is getting something that works for you.

              The brand of the saddle is less important than that if fits and feels good for both horse and rider.

              Saddle fitter is a good idea too but ime, most represent one or two brands and always recommend them. If you can find one that has several different kind, including used ones...so much the better.


              • #8
                I agree with borrowing and trying every saddle you can. Or, can you find out what saddle your horse went well in when he was a Dressage horse?

                You should be able to find a good fitting well made saddle without spending a fortune.
                Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts


                • #9
                  Yes, the saddle must fit the horse first.

                  After that (but before that in your search), I think you need to ride in many and ask some basic questions:

                  1) Do I want a steep or shallow curve up to the pommel? You'll be able to see this to an extent in the trail saddles you borrow. IMO, you need a full ride in one to see how you like them.

                  2) Do I want a flat, open seat and minimalist flap/thigh roll design or a bucket like the Verhan? IMO, buckets are more persnickety. Put some edge of the bucket in the wrong place, and you will be unhappy.

                  3) If you are built like a regular woman (not an elongated stick figure), can you find a saddle that knows how short your femur is? Dressagers riding around in flaps too long is this short-chick ammy's pet peeve.

                  4) Don't be afraid of getting a larger seat size. IMO, if you are strong and balanced, you might like a longer seat. If the saddle is deep, you'll need more room, too. No vanity sizing when buying a dressage saddle!

                  Or just call it a day and buy a very nice old western equitation saddle. Those things are cheap, beautiful, enduring, well-balanced and fit lots and lots of horses.
                  The armchair saddler
                  Politically Pro-Cat


                  • #10
                    I would be shopping for used saddles. A budget of $2k would be plenty and give you quite a lot of options. Another option would be one of the Wintec saddles, which many people like and are very affordable.

                    Find yourself a dressage coach, go to the lesson in your jumping saddle, and then work from there. The dressage trainer will probably be able to access a few saddles for you to borrow. From there you can decide if this is even a direction that interests you.

                    Even if the horse is confirmed through PSG, if you do end up competing him, you'd probably start around second level or even lower. It's legal to show in a jumping saddle, even, just a bit harder to do the work correctly.
                    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket