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Saddle Recommedations: Please help....

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  • Saddle Recommedations: Please help....

    Im looking at dressage saddles, and its getting complicated

    Money is no object.. my horse's comfort is #1

    My horse: 17hh TB, mare. Built like a big-azz Warmblood. but, with a nice wither on her. Huge stride. Short, wide back.

    Can you guys recommend a good saddle for her?

    Im confused about what a "narrow-twist" is, and what "low-head" means

    thanks all

    Merry Christmas - BTW

  • #2
    Well with that big wither you probably don't want a low head.
    Twist refers to the construction of the space between your legs. Too narrow and your crotch will be painful, too wide and it'll feel like your legs are being ripped from their sockets.

    Pictures of your horse, and a few of you will help us armchair saddlers make the best suggestions for you.

    It needs to be a perfect fit for you too for your horse to be 100% comfy
    chaque pas est fait ensemble


    • Original Poster

      I hope this works... this is the best pic i could find of her. I made the album public, hopefully you can see it

      oh, cant find any good ones of me... but.. im about 5'6" 120 lbs....


      its not a very good conformation pic of her, but, its the best i have on short notice... sorry


      • #4
        Saddle fit and comfort are such individual issues... I think the only way to really know for sure what will work is to try a bunch of different models.

        That said, I absolutely love my Schleese Wave, and I particularly like the fact that it can be adjusted as needed to fit my horse, even as his shape changes over time.
        Last edited by Lucassb; Dec. 25, 2012, 11:51 AM. Reason: typo
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


        • #5
          Next time you're out at the barn have some fun taking photos of her.
          Surely you have a photo of you riding? How you're shaped and proportioned makes a difference.
          chaque pas est fait ensemble


          • #6
            You might try talking with Colleen at Advanced Saddle Fit. Your mare looks similar to my half-Arabian gelding, with a wither that quickly turns into a wide barrel. I've been riding him in a Detente Argus, MW tree, and its been great.

            But Colleen sells quite a variety of saddles, with very different shaped trees. If you sent her a tracing and photos, she could likely help put you in something that will work. And remember, the most comfortable saddle for you, really will be the one that fits your horse the best. Also, her saddles are very reasonably priced when new (usually around $3K) and they are extremely nice quality.

            Her website is www.advancedsaddlefit.com

            Good luck!
            Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


            • #7
              Her back doesn't look all that flat to me. Albion SLK maybe? Schleese, Trilogy, County, Custom, etc.? Like others have said, try a bunch of saddles and you will have to figure out what you like and what does & doesn't work for her, and narrow it down from there.
              "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


              • Original Poster

                her back isnt flat.. its nice and round, but still wide. she jumps very well in a wide Amerigo Vega jump, that was customed to make slightly wider than their normal wide.

                she moves horrible if her back is pinched or her shoulders are constricted (understandable) I think the fact that she is a TB, makes her quite the DIVA when it comes to saddle fit, lol....

                I considered Schleese, so I went to a local barn where there is a Schleese saddle fitter that has already fit all the horses.

                As the owners were saddling their horses, every single horse was aggressively pinning their ears and swishing their tails at the saddle. every single one..... it confused me that this all went unnoticed by the owners....

                I was quite remarkable. Even my BF took notice, and said something to me about it, and he is not one to notice these things unless its painfully obvious.

                This has (unfortunately) formed my opinion on Schleese. it really saddens me, but, I just dont trust the local S fitter.

                Ive looked at the Albion SLK, and it says it has a "low head" Im not sure what this means... Im assuming this means, low withered?????,,, if so, that wont work for us

                currently considering County.. but, confused at which one

                ETA: thanks for the recommendation to call Colleen. I will contact her after X-Mas..


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by Petstorejunkie View Post
                  Next time you're out at the barn have some fun taking photos of her.
                  Surely you have a photo of you riding? How you're shaped and proportioned makes a difference.
                  I do have this video of one our first dressage lessons. IDK how it good it is for you to eval. it was winter and very cold... and please dont critique too harshly, we were both very nervous. she goes on her toes when her nerves are high, lol.

                  my poor trainer has been very patient with us...



                  • #10
                    That helped a little.
                    You can get albions with high or low heads. I'd hunt down an slk in an extra wide as they run a tad narrow.
                    Prestige with the upswept panels would work for her too.
                    Passier wide could work as well. My barrel built selle Francais goes nicely in his grand Gilbert.
                    chaque pas est fait ensemble


                    • Original Poster

                      thanks for your help PSJ


                      • #12
                        I have a 1/2 Tb who has an XW +4 Amerigo CC. Be prepared to go really wide with a dressage saddle - there's not as much wiggle room as with a jump saddle.

                        My horse's dressage saddle is an XW Black Coutry Eden custom with upswept panels - the kind you see on jump saddles. The thing I've found with Tb's who have curvier and/or short backs is that the big fat gusseted panels on most newer dressage saddles dig into their loins. They are made for big flat-backed warmbloods. Looking at Jaguars, Amerigos, and Vegas are a good idea if you can get one made wide enough. Prestige's too. Or the semi-customs like BC and County that can order with the panel configuration you need.

                        If you have an independent fitter in your area, have one come out. If you have a big tack store within a couple of hours of you, make the trip and sit in EVERYTHING. If not, at least start getting test rides sent to you from Smartpak - free shipping both ways. Get an idea of what's comfortable for you - do you need a more forward flap or a bigger seat to accommodate a long thigh? (It's not just about your butt!) What type of block are you most comfortable with? How deep do you like your seat? Etc, etc.


                        • #13
                          We've had good luck with County saddles fitting our Irish Draught crosses. There is enough width in the saddles and they allow plenty of room for their big, TB like withers. Our boys are not easy to fit.


                          • #14
                            As PSJ said, Albions can be high or low head (pommel). The high head ones are less popular, might be easier to find used.

                            Watch the panel angle on the Prestiges - they are better for narrower, more Thoroughbred-y horses.

                            Passier is a good suggestion, or maybe Stubben? I recently sat in a Genesis D with biomex (extra padding for a soft seat) and fell in love; unfortunately the shape was all wrong for my horse though.

                            Bates Innova might be another option if you like a wider twist. I actually like the newer Cair panels these days.
                            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jumpin_Horses View Post
                              her back isnt flat.. its nice and round, but still wide. she jumps very well in a wide Amerigo Vega jump, that was customed to make slightly wider than their normal wide.
                              If the Vega is working in a jumping saddle, I would start with that brand in the dressage and see how it works, also try the Amerigo. They have a models to fit many different types of backs.
                              "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."


                              • #16
                                LOVE my Hennig; excellent for those big withers, but dunno about the wide/round back. I have a TB also, but he's more typical in his body shape. Hennigs are adjustable; perhaps talk with Mahtowa Meadows (see website) and see what they think re: your horse's shape?


                                • #17
                                  Also, perhaps contact Trumbull Mountain Tack re: Black Country dressage saddles.


                                  • #18
                                    Although I couldn't open your picture, both Black Country and Frank Baines make saddles with a variety of fitting options suitable for TB horses. Wither gussets, k panels and upswept panels are some that can be useful. Wither gussets and k panels are helpful for giving some lift and balance to the saddle without having to go too narrow to clear the wither.
                                    Jay McGarry
                                    sms trained saddle fitter


                                    • #19
                                      I cannot recommend highly enough to work with a professional fitter. It does not have to be Schlesse it could be an independent

                                      You need someone who understands fitting horse AND RIDER.

                                      and for that you need expert eyes on the ground

                                      Dont take the behavior of horses at one barn as the endorsement of the fitter. It may be more the culture of the trainer ( crank the girhts with a girth pull, sore backs from improper training, improper feeding)
                                      -- * > hoopoe
                                      Procrastinate NOW
                                      Introverted Since 1957


                                      • #20
                                        Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                        Incredible Invisible