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Saddle Suggestions for the Rider with...issues?

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  • Saddle Suggestions for the Rider with...issues?

    I am venturing over from eventer-land to see what you all may have to suggest for me. I finally have a budget (albeit still fairly small) to find a dressage saddle that doesn't cause me pain and fits my pony.

    Background: I broke my back in two places, so I am definitely working with some greater sensitivity, as well as have some specific fit issues that became an issue after the breaks. I can't ride in anything with a very wide seat and twist, need something that isn't hard as a rock (riding with a thinline pad helps greatly, but the seat having SOME give is looking to be a good thing, from experimenting with my jump saddle, an OLD Rossi monoflap in pristine condition). I also like to be able to get my stirrups up a little bit more than normal (helps my back, plus I ride a medium pony, and I've got some long legs even though I am short).

    I've seen a Schleese JES Elite on a Hennig tree in my budget (staying under $1000), multiple Albion's, Dover Circuit, KL Select, to name a few, and just wasn't sure which way to start looking for something that may meet those criteria. My pony is a fairly standard fit, medium tree, a little bit of a dip behind the wither, and a flatter back (not curvy at all).

    Thank you all for any input you may have!

  • #2
    If you are looking for something cushy maybe try an M. Toulouse, I have heard them referred to as like sitting on a marshmallow!


    • Original Poster

      Do you know if the seats on the Toulouse dressage saddles are as wide as their jumping models? I know that I passed up a jumping model due to the twist and seat being so wide


      • #4
        Originally posted by Noctis View Post
        I've seen a Schleese JES Elite on a Hennig tree in my budget (staying under $1000), multiple Albion's, Dover Circuit, KL Select, to name a few, and just wasn't sure which way to start looking for something that may meet those criteria. My pony is a fairly standard fit, medium tree, a little bit of a dip behind the wither, and a flatter back (not curvy at all).

        Thank you all for any input you may have!
        This is unfortunately going to limit the available saddles - invest in a very good wither/back tracing before shipping saddles in.
        Depending where you, some suggested contacts are Annette at Hastilow USA, Anne at Equestrian Imports, Kitt H (who posts here), Kate W (who posts here - AND she has Ponies!!!) ... if you search some of jn4jenny's posts, she has a much more extensive "recommended list"

        If you have access to saddle reps in your area, use them to find saddles that you're comfortable riding in - if possible, keep the demo saddle for 1-2 weeks (ie at least 5-10 rides). Try to lesson in the saddle & then go for a cooling hack - this should really clarify where a particular saddle is going to challenge you.
        The downside of this, is that if the saddle does not really fit Pony well, you'll not be able to get a true feeling of how the saddle will feel.

        I suspect your budget will be a challenge in terms of fit for the pony - reflocking will need to be part of the budget & you don't want to spend $$$ bringing in saddles (that don't fit) or saddle fitters that have nothing "in the van" that actually fits your pony.

        My experience with Toulouse was far from confidence building - they are very casual regarding quality control so if you want to try these talk to Linda at Classic Saddlery (she retails almost all of their models & is excellent at applying standards of saddle construction to the product - which was not something my local tack shops were doing ).

        I also like to be able to get my stirrups up a little bit more than normal (helps my back, plus I ride a medium pony, and I've got some long legs even though I am short).
        Look for a saddle with minimal or no/removable blocks - this will allow you greater adjustability in your stirrup length without pushing your hips/seat back.
        Do ride with the thin line pad but also explore the Ogilvy half pad (too thick for my tastes but if you already have the pad & then adjust the saddle with pad, this may be ideal for you).
        Stubben offers the Biomex which can really help with spinal pressure (& lots of saddles that are not hard in the seat) BUT if your pony is as straight backed as he sounds, it's unlikely to work ...

        From your list, Albion does offer "Cob trees" so talk to reps & see what they suggest (not sure they have much in a narrow twist).
        Many UK shops do trees suited to ponies so I'd tend to focus on British made, do consider the Fairfax/Kent & Masters etc range or Thorowgood range re fit for the pony at a reasonable cost (you can likely find used or clearance on the T4's).
        (unfortunately again I suspect twist will be more the fit issue)

        Relax & enjoy the process


        • #5
          I am eventer as well, I had this saddle and loved it. It’s a older Crosby, often call the “Tad Coffin” (he designed it). They do not make them any more, you would have to find used, but it would be well within your budget. Other reason I think you may like this saddle is that it is small. The flaps are fairly short, it does not overwhelm a smaller horse.

          (although mine was black with long billets)

          Narrow twist (really narrow, the narrowest I could find in a dressage saddle, I HATE a wide twist)
          Pencil knee rolls
          Soft foam padded seat

          Basically it feels like a close contact saddle designed for dressage. I can’t stand huge blocks, super deep seats etc. I find that this saddle was everything I needed for the dressage phase. I am not riding upper level dressage (evented to prelim with this saddle though).
          APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


          • Original Poster

            I've been in contact with Kate W, she's fit my pony before (previously riding in an ancient County that fit the pony well, me....not so much.) I know she mentioned carrying the Tekna saddles, which I've heard a lot of good things about. Waiting to hear back if she has anything that may work for us on her next trip into town. Thankfully the Pony is a straightforward fit....it's just me!


            • #7
              I have broken my sacrum and Albions are what I usually ride. The Platinum Genesis Ultima is my favorite, but I also have an older Style with the Ultima leather and a Legend Ultima jumping saddle. Dutchess Bridle and Saddle in New York has done a very good job fitting these for my horses. With the PG I went a whole size larger than I normally ride and it worked very well.
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