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Dressage Saddles with flat panels?

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  • Dressage Saddles with flat panels?

    So I've been trying to wade my way through saddle shopping. I have tracings on their way to Trumbull Mtn, but since they don't have a lot in my budget ($1200 or less, very open to used), I might have to look elsewhere.

    Of all the saddles I have tried, her favorite by far is the Wintec 500 Wide. My barn owner uses this on his Percheron! Looking at her I would not think she is that broad, but she LOVES this saddle. Floaty trot, smooth transitions, happy expression.

    Problem is, I hate it. Seat is super uncomfy, balance isn't quite right, and I really want leather. I think she might like it because of the broad, flat panels as she is really table backed. The gullet isnt actually that wide.

    So, wise COTHers, what saddles have broad, flat panels that might work?

  • #2
    I recently purchased an XW Toulouse Mariann from Classic Saddlery. Love the saddle and so does my mare. It was a blemished saddle, but I can't see anything wrong and it is the only dressage saddle I have owned that actually fits me and the horse. Contact Lynnda at Classic and see if she can help you.


    • #3
      My horse has a fairly flat back, and the Wintecs also fit him. I found a Stubben Excalibur dressage saddle with gusseted panels that fits him well. If you can find a newer one (the older ones tend to have rock hard seats) with the gussets that might work for you, and they are usually reasonably priced. Good luck!


      • #4
        Broad Flat Panels? Check. :-)

        Comfy seat, too!

        Patience pays.


        • #5
          The Thorowgood and the Kent & Masters have flat panels.
          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
          Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
          The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


          • #6
            Originally posted by craz4crtrs View Post
            I recently purchased an XW Toulouse Mariann from Classic Saddlery. Love the saddle and so does my mare. It was a blemished saddle, but I can't see anything wrong and it is the only dressage saddle I have owned that actually fits me and the horse. Contact Lynnda at Classic and see if she can help you.
            I'm looking to buy one of these too! Do you have any pics of you riding in it? I like the big thigh blocks but wanted to see where they put your leg--if not too straight down I can handle it.


            • #7
              No pictures of me riding, but I have one of the saddle on my mare. She is a n AQHA mare with a huge shoulder, straight back, but curves side to side. Not a table back.


              I am 5'8" with a long femur and this saddle is wonderful. The first dressage saddle that doesn't tilt my pelvis forward, but supports me. I didn't think I wanted the exposed thigh blocks, but I love them. I have never had my leg stay put without effort with the other dressage saddles I had.


              • #8
                I second the Kent and Masters, specifically their S-series. My uber-flat backed horse still had rocking issues with their "original"...but the s-series did the trick.

                They can also go pretty wide - the original series has a cob version - if I were you I'd try them!
                My blog: Change of Pace - Retraining a standardbred via dressage


                • Original Poster

                  Thanks for all the suggestions so far! I wasn't very impressed with the Toulouse quality so I think I'm leaning towards something used. Trumbull suggested a County Competitor, anyone have experience with that on a flat horse? I should clarify she has some curve front to back but very flat across her back.
                  I've also been recommended the Kent and Masters, but some reviewers said the leather quality isn't great, can anyone chime in on that?


                  • #10
                    I have owned lots of saddles including Albion, Duett, County and even Wintecs. I love the Toulouse. It is just as nice as the Albion and County and nicer than the Duett. For what is is worth.

                    As for the County, I do love my County Competitor 2004 WXW, but it does not fit my mare at all. It is #2 on my favorites. I have it out on consignment at a shop in Olympia, WA. It fit my table back fjordieX perfectly and also my daughter's flat backed qh gelding. So it needs to find a new home since I don't own the fjordx anymore and my daughter doesn't ride dressage.
                    Last edited by craz4crtrs; Nov. 30, 2012, 09:30 PM. Reason: oops


                    • #11
                      My arab is flat backed (on top of being round and short backed). I went through multiple saddles, and came across a used Smith Worthington Danzig. Decent saddle for the price, the leather seems pretty nice, puts me in a good position. Mine has a flatter seat with no thigh blocks, which is what I prefer. They do make draft friendly tack as well. My only complaint about the saddle is that the gullet channel (or whatever it's called) narrows towards the back in order to achieve a narrower twist in the seat. Might not be an issue for some horses, but my guy has a rather thick spine. It also doesn't have much wither clearance, but it's not an issue for me. The company is really good about working with you to get your saddle the way you want, the gullet head can be adjusted by the company as well.
                      Last edited by r.j.246; Dec. 1, 2012, 02:12 AM.


                      • #12
                        fwiw my Stubben Tristan fits my tank of a Connemara perfectly - and the saddle doenst slip or move around... it is the XW model it is close contact, low profile and super comfy to ride in.

                        unfortunately Stubben no longer makes them but you can find them used... or look on the Stubben web site for demo sale - i got mine - it looked brand new - for 1200 including shipping.


                        • #13
                          I demoed a Kent and Masters S Series and quite liked it. It was too flat for my horse.

                          I had never heard of the Kent and Masters before having this one recommended to me. The more research I did on them, and after riding in it, I was quite bummed it didn't fit.

                          The Kent and Masters have several different tree shapes, different gullet sizes, and the ability to adjust the flocking, making it very customizable. I happen to have an extreme saddle fitting issue to work around and had to order custom.

                          I rode in an older County Competitor on a tiny Chincoteague Pony. It fit her well, she was round side to side with a slight wither. Quite easy to fit actually. Very easy saddle to balance in.


                          • #14
                            Ohhh, I likey likey the Marianne! My local tack store is getting one in this week for me to try.

                            Also FWIW, I love the quality of the Toulouse saddles for the price. I have owned one in the past, rode in it heavily for a year and a half, and it still looked like brand new when I sold it. Also held it's value pretty well, considering it's an Intec brand.

                            Yes, they are SOFT leather, and do scratch easily. But I never got anything more than surface scratches on mine that RUB RIGHT OUT with some conditioner.

                            I can understand that they aren't for everyone though.


                            • #15
                              I have an Ovation Klimke that is super-comfy and has a flatter panels that I used on my long and flat-backed quarter pony. It was perfect for her!
                              Unfortunately it is collecting dust now since my new guy is very short coupled and it bridges the like Golden Gate. It's a 17 1/2 Medium (non-adjustable tree).
                              The only thing the government needs to solve all of its problems is a Council of Common Sense.


                              • #16
                                Just wanted to chime in about the Toulouse Marianne. LOVED IT! I sat in it and I heard angels sing. I trotted and cantered in it and it's like it was made for me. I'm buying one! The big thigh blocks are PERFECT, they give plenty support but are SO comfy. The seat is open yet supportive. The rise is perfect. It fit my horse wonderfully, but I'm getting a size wider for him because he is a princess and likes a half-pad. The Med tree was JUST RIGHT, and with my half pad it was a little too tight. I rode him without the half-pad and in just a regular pad and he gave me a little bit of a stink-face at first, because he knew the pad wasn't there. But after I told him he had to go forward anyways he went AHHHHH, I want to stretch and lift my back, mom! The panel shape contoured his back like it was made for him. But I'm getting a med-wide so we can use the half-pad. He normally takes wides in other saddles, so I was very surprised how well the Med fit. Merry Christmas to me!!