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Saddle shopping should be used as corporal punishment- Help for the suffering?

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  • Saddle shopping should be used as corporal punishment- Help for the suffering?

    So I've recently embarked on another saddle fitting nightmare. I am convinced I cursed myself two years ago saying I've never really had a hard time finding an appropriate saddle. I have since probably tried a dozen saddles. During this go 'round, I've tried three different Countys. I accidentally fell in love with the Perfection with the bull leather (OMG!) and after that the other two with the XTR leather didn't compare. Of course the Perfection doesn't fit my horse (but may be able to be tweaked) but my stupid, ridiculous long femur might be the deal breaker. This is devastating because it is an absolute STEAL of a deal. The Connection fit us both but I'm not in love with it. Of course in waiting for these to arrive I missed out on a Schleese Link on a #2 tree that, in hindsight, would have probably been perfect. Sigh.

    So now after having tried so many saddles in the past year, I have a better idea of what types of tree shape/panel shape/gussets would be a good starting point to work from and think a Schleese on a #2 tree would be best suited for my short-backed horses. Of course now I can't find any that would be suitable and fit the budget.

    This is mostly a vent but I have two questions- am I right in declining on the Perfection if I feel that my knee wants to go over the thigh block? The flap is very straight and if I don't ride with much bend in my leg it is ok but I like some bend. I am just not sure how that block is supposed to feel. Will get pictures tomorrow. As far as the Schleese saddles, the Link and Wave appear to have a bit more "forward" to the flap. Should I continue to look for a 17" which fits my butt or increase the search to a 17.5 to give my freak-leg more room? UGH! I am tired of spending all this money shipping stuff back and forth!

  • #2
    Make a list of what you and your horse must have in saddle to ride comfortably and what your budget is. Send it to some of the bigger online used retailers and see what they recommend. I agree saddle fitting and hunting can make one a little crazy. Ask me how I know....

    I, also, recommend the book by Joyce Harmon on saddle fit. It has been helpful for me. Room for your leg is important as that helps you sit more correctly. Don't let a great deal on pretty saddle keep you from buying what is best for you and your horse. Again ask me how I know... The pain of reselling something may be worse than the buying part.

    Good luck! Happy saddle hunting.

    Happy riding,
    Jessie and the Stinky Pony aka Bosco

    Comment


    • #3
      Saddle fit is so important to you and your horse's comfortable that I would advise not dropping any money on one until you find something pretty close to perfect. You will spend far more $$$ than you want to in chiro, massage, methocarbamol, etc. in fixing the aftermath of an ill-fitting saddle. Not to mention what you could suffer in terms of your own position if you buy something that also does not fit you properly.

      A saddle is really only a "steal" if it fits both you and your horse. Don't compromise. I rode in a synthetic saddle (Thorowgood T4 high wither model) until I found a regular leather saddle that fit well. It took probably a good year of trying and trying before I found something that works.

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Thank you guys so much. This is what I needed to hear. Apparently butter-bull-leather is like crack. I need rehab. I have since boxed it up so it won't be tempting.

        Comment


        • #5
          Congrats on stepping away from the pretty saddle. May the right saddle come your way very soon. Sending you good saddle shopping karma!

          Comment


          • #6
            If you come across another Schlesse that is a good seat size but maybe not perfect fit for your horse, you should talk to them about how adjustable that model is. They can take off the panel and replace it with a shorter one on (some?) models and I think the leg flap might be able to be moved slightly forward.

            Comment


            • #7
              Butter-bull-leather...my @ss cannot sit in anything else...I'm doomed.

              I'm of no help.
              ~ Enjoying some guac and boxed wine at the Blue Saddle inn. ~

              Originally posted by LauraKY
              I'm sorry, but this has "eau de hoarder" smell all over it.
              HORSING mobile training app

              Comment


              • #8
                Bull leather IS like crack, LOL. But I'd hold out for a saddle that fits both of you well.

                The Schleese saddles really *are* extremely adjustable. I got a used Wave recently and had it tweaked by our saddle fitter to make it perfect for my horse for a very reasonable fee. It's lovely to ride in and the entire adventure cost me about half of what my jumping saddle did!
                **********
                We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
                -PaulaEdwina

                Comment


                • #9
                  OP, are you my alter ego? OMG, we have the same issues! I'm also small seat, very long thigh, and very short-coupled horse. Over the years, I'm bought and sold a zillion (well, that may be a slight exaggeration) saddles trying to find the perfect solution for both my horse and I.

                  Have not ventured into County's yet, mainly because there is no rep in the area. I spent the last several years in a saddle that was really too small for me, and my leg tended to creep up and over the thigh roll - not horrible, but not great. However - it did make it harder for me to keep my leg on my horse - and I couldn't figure out WHY I couldn't consistently correct that problem. And why I couldn't keep a deep seat when my horse was tense. It isn't that my riding was terrible - it was just little nagging issues that would pop up here and there.

                  After much soul searching, I finally decided to try new Custom saddles, gulp. And was conviced I did NOT want one of those external thigh blocks - I want something under my leg! Well, I finally went to the external thigh blocks - and after the 4th saddle, found one with the seat balance I liked - and that demo happened to have short panels too! And I have to admit, that external block and nothing UNDER my leg has been eye opening. AND they have the option of shorter panels (pony panels) - I think this is similar to the option Schleese has for the shorter backed horse. They let me keep a demo saddle for a week to ride in, and by the end of the week, I was convinced, I have to come up with crack money My leg isn't creeping over the block, I'm sitting deeper, and I feel like I have better communication with my boy.

                  Yeah, it is worth it, keep searching for what is perfect for you and your horse... BTW, that was the advice I got from three trainers (who are all friends) too - don't compromise, do it right this time around...

                  So my advice - if you are pretty sure that Schleese will work - try one, and if it does work, buy it. And don't look back

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Regardless View Post
                    This is mostly a vent but I have two questions- am I right in declining on the Perfection if I feel that my knee wants to go over the thigh block? The flap is very straight and if I don't ride with much bend in my leg it is ok but I like some bend. I am just not sure how that block is supposed to feel. Will get pictures tomorrow. As far as the Schleese saddles, the Link and Wave appear to have a bit more "forward" to the flap. Should I continue to look for a 17" which fits my butt or increase the search to a 17.5 to give my freak-leg more room? UGH! I am tired of spending all this money shipping stuff back and forth!
                    Is it mean of me to say that your post make me chuckle? I know it's frustrating - I know, because I went through two years of saddle shopping nightmares too -, but it's nice that you manage to keep a bit positive spirit in a very frustration situation.

                    Anyway, no, your knees should not go over the thigh blocks. They should go "behind" the thigh blocks. Properly fitted, you should not feel them. And you should not have straight legs either. You don't really want jumping angles, but proper angle is essential for a balanced seat. Here are steps to evaluate whether you need a forward flaps. Make sure your hip joints are properly opened (that is number one problem I see many people who think they need a forward flaps). Now take your feet off the irons, lift your whole legs starting from your hip joints temporarily away from the saddle to open up your hip joints more, and then allow them to come back to your saddle, draping loosely down onto the saddle. Check to see the stirrup irons are at your ankle bones. Pick up your irons. If your knees still want to go over the thigh blocks, you need a forward flaps, or a larger seat. If you have an option, I would go for the forward flaps, rather than the larger seat, because that is what fit you the best, but it is not always feasible unless you get a custom made saddle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I saddle shop thusly:

                      1.) Make appointment with saddle fitter.
                      2.) Await her arrival.
                      3.) Spend a couple hours riding around in stuff.
                      4.) Pick one, from a variety of options ranging from $900 to $5,000.
                      5.) Await its arrival.

                      Fin.

                      This seems preferable to me than guessing around and spending tons of money on shipping saddles around, not to mention the aggravation.

                      Your OP doesn't say where you are located but I use Kate at Dutchess Bridle Saddle.
                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                      Jinxyhttp://tiny.cc/PIC798&http://tiny.cc/jinx364
                      Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                      The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        fwiw, after years of doing the saddle "thing" i finally tried a Stubben - and i haven't looked back since..... fits everything, feels fabulous and wasn't expensive!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          1/2" in seat size is really a very small amount. And especially in dressage saddles with their varying cantle heights a 17.5" in model A can fit the rider exactly the same as a 17" in model B.

                          I feel your pain. After my horse outgrew my Stubbens it took me a couple of years to find my dressage saddle, and two more years to find a jumping saddle. This despite the saddle fitter saying my horse had a fairly normal shape. I admit part of the problem was that I didn't want a deep seat - talk about a pain to find!

                          I agree with everyone else - don't compromise. Find something that really does work for you and your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Regardless View Post
                            . Should I continue to look for a 17" which fits my butt or increase the search to a 17.5 to give my freak-leg more room? UGH! I am tired of spending all this money shipping stuff back and forth!
                            I ride in a 17.5" Schleese...but your question above reminded me of the day I bought it. I had a friendly barn 'helper' that stands at least 3 inches taller than I do but she is skinny in her hips and thighs and well...let's just say I'm not. She bought a 17.5" saddle too - and walked around the barn for a week exclaiming "I can't believe we ride in the same size saddle!" which is her code for calling out my junk in the trunk. Who among us has not enjoyed such a lovely barn neighbor?

                            But my point is that the right saddle will fit your butt and fit your femur. Also, Schleese modified the saddle I bought by cutting off the flap so that my lower leg is on my horse rather than on my saddle - ahhhh.

                            Good luck!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I just finished a saddle nightmare.... I finally decided on a model which fits my horse and me...


                              Really I decided, that the brand doesnt matter... Important is service..... The representative of this brand was there 10 days after we talked for the first time, and the saddle was ready three weeks later.... And whenever there will be any fitting problem, they will come and fix it....
                              And I decided also that I dont need kneeblocks...
                              https://www.facebook.com/Luckyacresfarm
                              https://www.facebook.com/Ulrike-Bsch...4373849955364/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'd second Meup's post. You can save yourself a world of pain if you find an independent saddle fitter who can bring the saddles to you to try out. PM me if you'd like the contact info for mine, who has clients all over the country. Good luck!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by WasthatC View Post
                                  I ride in a 17.5" Schleese...but your question above reminded me of the day I bought it. I had a friendly barn 'helper' that stands at least 3 inches taller than I do but she is skinny in her hips and thighs and well...let's just say I'm not. She bought a 17.5" saddle too - and walked around the barn for a week exclaiming "I can't believe we ride in the same size saddle!" which is her code for calling out my junk in the trunk. Who among us has not enjoyed such a lovely barn neighbor?

                                  ...
                                  I know - don't you just hate those kinds of gals

                                  On a funny note - I had to saddle hunt when my big greenie came to me. I have a long femur like the OP and could not find anything. I also wanted to wait before going the custom route as my gelding is growing and changing.
                                  I had, many saddle trials over a 4 month period. I also had a trial on 2 new model synthetic Isabel Werths in 2 different seat sizes. I first fitted it to my boy with the proper gullet size, borrowed one of those nice ergonomic girths, then played with the thigh blocks on and off.
                                  I kept trying other saddles and coming back to the Isabel. So I bought one along with the cair girth and have been using it and showing in it for 18 months now... I don't know- go figure - it works for us...Different strokes... I guess!!!

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Ohmigosh. Some of these posts had me cracking up! I did ship back the Perfection today (er, rather had my husband do it because I couldn't get myself to). You should have seen me last night sitting in it on the stand in my pajamas contorting myself to make it work. Yeah.. wasn't gonna happen!

                                    I actually called Schleese yesterday and got a lot of useful information. I do need to look for a #2 tree for sure (if I go with a Schleese). They also helped with the center vs. forward balance questions I had as well, also with which models I might try in the a 17 and which might work in a 17.5. Very helpful. I am not yet set on Schleese but do have one coming for a trial so I can at least get a feel. I really like the adjustability factor and they do look like gorgeous saddles.

                                    I so, so, so envy you guys who have regular access to a saddle fitter. The only saddle fitters that I know of that frequent where I am (Idaho) come once a year to the Dressage Festival. Sooooo I'll need something that will work until it can be properly fit. There is a County fitter who comes here once a year (and she's been incredibly helpful via email) but she won't be here until the spring. Schleese couldn't understand why I couldn't get to them when they come to Idaho in the spring... I had to remind them it's a big state. Luckily my horse is not picky and has a nice back.

                                    On to the next I guess Love hearing all the stories though, reminds me I'm not *that* special ;-)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Yep! We feel your pain. My daughter just rode in a County Perfection yesterday and it wasn't the answer. Hard to believe huh.

                                      The canter was to die for in the saddle but it wasn't working for the trot. She, like you, has a long femur except she'd need a larger seat size than you so we won't be your competition on the saddle hunt. What we determined is that she needs a block that is set further back. She's an eventer and likes a bit of angle in her knee and she doesn't have the toothpick leg that hangs, so she needs to push them back a bit for her position in the trot. There was too much gap on this Perfection between her thigh and the block. Her thigh creeped up at the trot. I have heard tho that they can change that?

                                      Her dressage instructor (who owns this saddle and she says that it is a dream saddle on 'one' of her three horses ... big sigh here) she then got on and said that she didn't 'feel it' the same on our horse.

                                      It just doesn't make your day feel good and makes the search seem impossible. The problem is that you really have to ride in the saddle choices on the horse that you're fitting and that is a huge problem when you don't live anywhere or know enough people to supply that many different saddles for you to try.

                                      So we are in shipping/trial hedoublel right now too.
                                      Don't let anyone tell you that your ideas or dreams are foolish. There is a millionaire walking around who invented the pool noodle.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by pony grandma View Post
                                        She, like you, has a long femur except she'd need a larger seat size than you so we won't be your competition on the saddle hunt. What we determined is that she needs a block that is set further back. She's an eventer and likes a bit of angle in her knee and she doesn't have the toothpick leg that hangs, so she needs to push them back a bit for her position in the trot. There was too much gap on this Perfection between her thigh and the block. Her thigh creeped up at the trot. I have heard tho that they can change that?
                                        Too bad she needs a bigger seat size. This one's flap/block was so freaking straight I don't think there would be a gap between anyone's leg and the block! There wasn't any room to move the block, if it could have been done, which is another reason I am liking the Schleese saddles- gotta love a totally adjustable block!

                                        Good luck

                                        Comment

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