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Saddle help-most. "secure" feeling dressage saddle?

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  • Saddle help-most. "secure" feeling dressage saddle?

    I hope you don't mind me posting as I'm more of a pleasure rider than a dressage rider! Long story short I have a lovely 19 yo tb who's been retired from upper level eventing to be my trail buddy. I have a County Conquest xc saddle that I've had flocked for him (narrow tree), but I'm wanting something more secure with a deeper seat and some blocks for when the deer jump out! I really wanted a western or endurance type, but my fitter really doesn think one will work. He's got a big wither, big broad shoulders, and a dip in his back due to lack of condition and age and he's round in the middle! Sooo, she's suggested a dressage saddle. She sells Albion, kent and masters and fairfax. But I'm looking for ALL options from you experts If it matters, I often feel pitched forward in many saddles which I do not like!

    One thing that intrigued me about the k and m or fairfax are the changeable gullets since he is up in age, they could fit something else years later? But open to any opinions please. TIA!

    Oh and price range is less than $2k, preferably much less!

  • #2
    Feeling pitched forward means either the saddles you sit in are too small or too deep for you. The most secure saddle would be a capriole saddle, which you can have by a Swiss custom manufacturer for around $6000 new. You won't find them used.
    You could try wintec. They come with exchangeable gullets and knee blocks.
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • #3
      Short of a capriole saddle, I would rethink the endurance option. My horse had a custom Sharon Saare endurance saddle that fit her just great ... it was about $4,000 new and I sold it for under $2,000, so you can find those used.

      Wintec *is* a great low-cost option for a changing horse. I don't think they're great saddles, but they are adjustable and very sticky


      • #4
        How about a used County Eventer? You can usually find them for quite a bit less than $2K on ebay. Or contact County and ask which eventers they have on their demo list. They are running right around $2K.
        I wasn't always a Smurf
        Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
        "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
        The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


        • #5
          I actually know the horse and rider combo in real life, so here's my .02 (for free!)

          I think the saddle fitter is right that finding a western saddle to fit this guy is a needle-in-the-haystack venture. He is similar to my nightmare-to-fit TB in many ways (curved back, broad shoulders, hollows on the sides of withers due to age...that's a lot of topography to match a saddle panel up to).

          I think you need to look for an all-purpose or VSD type saddle, with a slightly more forward flap than a dressage saddle. It won't be nearly as forward as your current saddle, which is good as it gives the shoulder more freedom, but OP has a longish femur and I think will be more comfortable in an AP or slightly more forward flap than a dressage saddle so you don't have to have your leg straight under you at all times. You know, for those times you might want to ride like the Marlboro man on your pockets with your feet on the dash!

          My only caveat about AP saddles is make sure the stirrup bars are not hung too far forward...that will put you in a chair seat. Ideally they should be as close to the deepest part of the seat as possible.

          I'd suggest an Albion Legend VSD or a Kent & Masters GP with a deep seat and sizeable blocks for security.

          For my money, I'd actually look into the Tekna all purpose with the suede seat. The new models have changeable gullets, and they are wool flocked. The synthetic suede seat and knee rolls are very grippy, and the blocks are moveable. And of course they're synthetic so easy maintenance. The original ones were built on a prestige tree and have to be adjusted by heat, but the newer ones have changable gullets. A6 is the old line, S-line are the new ones. FWIW, the old ones have a good curve to the panel that would probably work well for your horse, but then you wouldn't have the changeable gullet.


          • #6
            Try some used saddles. I have a Jaguar and find it very secure. But it's by no means the only choice. I found the Prestige 2000D very secure as well. Mostly you need to sit in a lot of saddles and find the one that fits your body type, that will also fit your horse. Lots of used saddles on the market, many of them barely used.


            • #7
              I have a Prestige D2000 and find it very secure! I was able to stay on the other day during a huge spook/spin when one of the pecan trees outside the ring lost a huge limb and the limb crashed to the ground.

              You need to sit in lots of saddles and see what you like.


              • #8
                The WIntec or Tekna with the (fake) suede seat coupled with full seat breeches. Closest thing to velcroing your butt to the saddle without actually doing it.

                Some seat covers may also provide additional grip
                Freeing worms from cans everywhere!


                • #9
                  Based on the description of the horse, it sounds like a Custom Saddlery Revolution might fit the bill. The description of the horse sounds like my horse and this fits him well. And I have rarely felt this secure in a saddle as this Revolution


                  • #10
                    The most secure saddle I rode in has been a Trilogy Amadeo Elite. It was like riding in a diaper. It did not fit my horse well, so I sold it, but I felt like I was riding with a seat belt t=in that warhorse of a saddle.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Iberiansyes View Post
                      It was like riding in a diaper.


                      • #12
                        My stubben scadica is very sticky with the elk hide on the seat and knee rolls. I had to order a county and when I test rode in it I was soooo surprised at how much more secure i felt in the stubben. But the county fits my horse and myself better and it just shipped from England today. Very excited .
                        Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                        • #13
                          Nice fat Stubben with big knee rolls! You can't go wrong with one of these, and they seem to hold their value. Scads of 'em on E-Bay all the time. For a narrower kind of guy like him, the 29.5 tree would probably be fine.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CHT View Post
                            The WIntec or Tekna with the (fake) suede seat coupled with full seat breeches. Closest thing to velcroing your butt to the saddle without actually doing it.

                            Some seat covers may also provide additional grip
                            Ditto. I love my Wintecs. I have two, one Pro, and one Isabell. They are both the older models, without the thigh blocks. I love them.


                            • #15
                              I have a Custom Saddlery Revolution. Deep seat, big blocks, grippy buffalo leather. I only came out of that thing once and it involved some acrobatic movement with four hooves off the ground.

                              I had it fit to my narrow, shark-finned guy with a dippy back. He was very comfortable in that saddle, and he was generally pretty picky about saddles!

                              Too bad it doesn't fit my bigger mare.
                              Born under a rock and owned by beasts!


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by CHT View Post
                                The WIntec or Tekna with the (fake) suede seat coupled with full seat breeches. Closest thing to velcroing your butt to the saddle without actually doing it.
                                Good grief, that sounds scary! Full seat on equisuede!

                                I feel more secure when I know I can get OUT of the saddle in a hurry if I have to!

                                I have ridden deep-seated dressage saddles with thigh blocks and felt a lot less secure in them than in saddles with flatter seats. The high cantle of the deep-seated saddles (dressage, Australian) made me feel tilted forward (and I hate the poleys on Australian saddles!).

                                Some trainers I know start their babies in western saddles because they are more secure. (Also can be more dangerous if your foot gets caught in the stirrup!).

                                I don't think western saddles have "panels" in the same sense that English saddles do, and they fit very differently. I suggest what other posters here have--try different saddles, on the horse, 'til you find one that fits him and is hopefully comfortable for you.

                                Oh--and BTW, OP, we don't "mind" at all! Welcome to the dressage forum!
                                Founder of the People Who Prefer COTH Over FB Clique
                                People Who Hate to Rush to Kill Wildlife Clique!
                                "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique


                                • #17
                                  And get a long bucking strap.
                                  On my 4 yr old's saddle, the bucking strap is close to 16" long. I can have hold of it and have some freedom in giving him some rein, when I need to grab it because of his youth (not to mention arab-ness{his 1/2 arab-ness}).
                                  That particular saddle is a Kieffer Wien DL, I love it. It some knee roll but not much knee roll and it is a moderate seat. As well as somewhat advanced stirrup bars(not a chair seat). He has to spook really aggressive to get me loose--I always keep one hand on the bucking strap(AKA o-shit strap). I figure when he is about twenty, he will be broke.


                                  • #18
                                    I think you just have to try a bunch of different saddles. I am a secure rider, yet I feel insecure in some of the saddles mentioned, like the County. I think it's because everyone has their own preferences. For examply, I hate riding in saddles with wide twists--that makes the saddle feel insecure to me. Some people are exactly the opposite and hate narrow twists. For the most part, I tend to stay away from Hennig, Albion, Schleese, and County. I like Trilogy, Hulsebos, CWD, Forestier, and Prestige--probably in that order.

                                    I have a Trilogy Verago that I feel very secure in. They are not cheap, but you should be able to find a used one.
                                    'Like' my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Calla...946873?sk=wall


                                    • #19
                                      Considering that you are mainly a pleasure rider, have you considered an Australian stock saddle? Wellspotted mentioned them and didn't like them, but you might. There are several different designs varying from the traditional design with normal stirrups and panels, right up to what's very nearly a Western saddle, and there's all the half-breeds in between. They come in synthetic versions (Wintec, Sydney Hill and Ammo). Bates also does them in leather in the traditional and half-breed versions. If you want security, you can't beat a stock saddle as that's what they are designed for. All day long comfort and security for when that kangaroo jumps out of the shadows or you want to gallop down a hill side.

                                      In Australia it's certainly a very very popular saddle with pleasure riders or those working young horses until they are established enough for a dressage saddle.


                                      • #20
                                        I have tried so many saddles over the years, some dressage, lots of western, an endurance and had one aussie.

                                        There are some narrow western saddles with high gullets, you may be surprised. Check with Coolhorse.com and see what they have. Call Stacey and she can help fit your horse.

                                        Didn't like the aussie or endurance, sold them.

                                        I just got a new dressage saddle and test rode in it yesterday. I have the opposite problem, an uber wide little mare with a huge shoulder, straight back. Lynnda at Classic Saddlery did an excellent job fitting both my horse and me beautifully. I ended up with a Toulouse Marianne closeout, fixed tree, really wide with the tilted seat for my weird pelvis. I was riding in slick breeches, no stirrup leathers and riding her big trot. It was super secure. I wasn't too keen on the thigh blocks because in the past they didn't fit my long femur. This one does, put the stirrup leathers on and we had the best round canter I have ever had out of this little ranch horse.

                                        I have read people love the Toulouse or hate it, I love it. And it is wool flocked, not foam on this model. Gorgeous well made saddle.

                                        I also really liked my County, but didn't fit this horse, I used to have an Albion years ago and liked it. Have had a couple of Wintecs, sold them. Dover used to have a synthetic in their name, liked that one. I sold it to get the Albion.

                                        Also, you may want to check out barrel saddles...good quality ones like Cactus or Martin. Some models have really high gullet clearance and are surprisingly comfortable. My interim western saddle is a Cactus uber wide model, but wouldn't fit your horse. It is very comfortable even for long trail rides. I am still unsure about bar coverage for lots of hill work, but my mare has been very happy in it.

                                        Good luck.