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Need some help narrowing down what saddles to try.

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  • Need some help narrowing down what saddles to try.

    Ok, so I currently have a 17.5 County Competitor dressage saddle. The flaps are too long and the seat is a 1/2 size too big. The saddle is just plain uncomfortable....My knee hits in a bad place and I don't feel like I have much contact with my horse because the flaps are so long. What is the general rule of figuring out how long the flaps need to be? I'm 5'3'' and about 115 pounds.

    What I need
    -Shorter flaps
    -Smaller seat
    -knee blocks that help with long femur bones
    What My horse Needs
    -medium tree
    -wool or foam(he fits in a M CWD standard fit just fine)
    -Has a medium wither and a flatter back

    What would you recommend trying? Budget $3k Used or New

  • #2
    I am the same size as you, with a really long femur as well. The Custom Wolfgang Solo with short blocks was awesome for me, even in a 17.5. From all the saddles I've tried, I am pretty comfortable with anything under a 16.5" flap but have found I really need a short block. You're lucky your horse will fit a standard medium, at least that's easy!!!


    • #3
      I'm a couple inches taller and a couple pounds heavier, but I love my Stubben Aramis. It's ancient and built on the old Tristan tree. I've got long femurs. It's a close contact saddle. My short legged friend likes it also though. She's my height, but is all torso where I'm all leg. She says the flaps aren't too long for her, though that sometimes is an issue for her.


      • #4
        Would avoid Stubbens as they aren't adjustable and my saddler wouldn't even touch the flocking on the one I had. I've found their trees are too banana shaped for flatter backs.

        With that price point, I would ask a Custom Saddlery fitter to visit as one of their trees is good for that build of horse. The saddles are adjustable. I ride in a early demo model of the Coronado and it was the only model with a thigh block that worked for me (freakishly long femur). Tried the Steffen model but couldn't even post in it as the top of the blocks prevented me coming forward enough. But with this brand, you can test ride and even if you don't buy a saddle, it can help you figure out what to look for in your search - so the fitting fee isn't a waste and you can buy used through the company.

        Passiers can fit flatter backs. The GG has a super long flap but there's a special model with a shorter one.

        Oh and with a long femur, check out where the stirrup bars are as you may need one farther back or your legs will be pulled forward. The straightness of the flap may also be an issue depending on how the saddle fits - meaning a straighter flap may mean the blocks coming too far back.


        • #5
          Something to keep in mind, you may be a 17.5 in one brand, a 16.5 in another, and a 17 in yet another. It depends on how deep the seat is, how long your thigh is, and the placement of the flap and block.

          I'm 5'4" with a long thigh. A smaller or short block is better since many flaps are not forward enough. I have a Black Country Eden which works well for me. But I really love Peter Menet's saddles - Amerigo, Jaguar, Vega, Dominus. My horse would need a custom because of his width and shape, but when I can afford it, I'm sold!


          • #6
            If the County fits your horse perfectly what about trying one in a smaller seat size with a shorter flap. It's difficult to recommend a saddle just based on the rider, the saddle has to fit your horse too. Every saddle is going to fit and feel differently and will feel differently depending on the horse you put it on.
            "My treasures do not chink or gleam, they glitter in the sun and neigh at night."


            • #7
              Get yourself to a big tack shop that has lots and lots of new and used saddles and then sit in them. Measure stuff. You will begin to see what features and sizes you need in a saddle to fit you. When you find saddles that will fit you, then narrow it down to saddles that will fit your horse, within an acceptable starting point for flocking adjustments.
              "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


              • #8
                Originally posted by js View Post
                If the County fits your horse perfectly what about trying one in a smaller seat size with a shorter flap. It's difficult to recommend a saddle just based on the rider, the saddle has to fit your horse too. Every saddle is going to fit and feel differently and will feel differently depending on the horse you put it on.
                FWIW County has a demo sale on now. I have gotten 2 short flap Connections of the demo list previously
                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.


                • #9
                  I'm a Custom fan as well, just bought my 2nd saddle from them after having 1st one almost 10 years. I'm not a shorty though, so can't comment on that part. ;-)


                  • #10
                    Without seeing your horse, or at least a template and photos, it's a bit tough to make really comprehensive recommendations. "Medium" can vary from saddle to saddle, and tree shape and panel configuration need to be considered, as well.

                    As for seat size, it also varies from saddle to saddle. Some saddles - Duett and Lovatt & Ricketts come to mind first - tend to run small, while others, like Passiers, tend to ride more generously. Most of the better UK-made saddles (Frank Baines, Loxley/Bliss, Black Country, Albion) can be ordered with a modified block or flap. If you have a reputable, independent-minded fitter in your area, I'd suggest working with them; if not, send templates and photos to a shop or fitter who has experience doing long-distance fitting. Kate Wilson, Ann Forrest, Panther Run Saddlery and Hastilow USA all have experience in that area.
                    Kitt Hazelton
                    Saddle Fitter


                    • #11
                      I'm close to your dimensions...5'4" and long legged. I recently bought a Custom Icon Star and love, love, love it! The saddle puts me in the perfect position and was easily adjusted for my Arab. It was an off the rack model, but they have others that can be more customized. It was $4k new.


                      • #12
                        A little bit more information would be helpful. Wither tracings and conformation shots would make it easier to offer suggestions. Many saddle companies offer options such as shorter flaps, some for no charge as with Black Country and Frank Baines. Trumbull Mountain is always happy to offer suggestions if you would like to send more info.
                        Jay McGarry
                        sms trained saddle fitter