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Dressage Saddles

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  • Dressage Saddles

    I am going to start dabbling in Dressage after doing hunters my whole life. Any ideas on a brand of used dressage saddles? Would like your input on what works for you. I was thinking comfortable with a deep seat. What do you think?

  • #2
    Have you sat in any saddles yet?


    • #3
      If you're lucky enough to live near a tack shop with used saddles, go sit in a few then take the ones you liked (and you think will fit your horse) home on trial.

      If you live in the sticks (like me) then you can try saddles long distance, but the shipping costs add up faster than you think.

      I just wrapped up a painful saddle hunt and now have a saddle I love, one that I bought only 2 months ago (fit the horse, and while comfortable, I could just never "get in to or around" it), and my saddle I'd bought several years ago.


      • #4
        Before you start looking, get a general idea of what your horse needs in terms of a narrow, medium, wide or XW saddle; whether it needs to be cut back because of shark fin withers; if your horse's back is "banana" shaped or flat.

        Then ascertain whether you need a wide or narrow twist for your own fit. Since a hunt seat rider spends most of the time out of the saddle the twist doesn't matter a lot. But since a dressage rider theoretically spends all the time in the saddle, the twist is critical to your comfort. That will knock out a lot of saddles.

        Then you have to decide whether you like a deep seat with big knee rolls and a seat that "keys" you in or a flatter seat with minimal knee rolls to let you move around at will.

        Everyone has their own preferences based on necessity, experience, whim or style.

        Beware of saddle fitters who are reps for specific companies because they will sell you a brand new one of theirs that may or may not be "right for you."

        There are mail order saddle places that are very good at steering you have new and used saddles and based on wither and back tracings and discussion with you about your twist requirements, can make reasonable recommendations. Trumbull Mountain in New England somewhere comes to mind.

        Welcome to saddle hell.


        • Original Poster

          I guess what I am trying to ask is what are the popular brands of dressage saddles. She has no withers and is a medium wide tree.


          • #6
            I have, and love my Custom saddlery saddle.....


            They come to you, to fit and try...and have a quite a few saddles to choose from...

            Hope that helps


            • #7
              I just tried a Devoucoux Milady and have tried a Makila (liked this one better)...both were extremely comfortable and fit well on my wider backed lower withered pony. I normally ride in a Schleese and between my husband and I we have three. I felt the devoucouxs would be very appealing to a variety of riders especially someone just starting out or coming over to Dressage from HJ. My guy liked it too and it fit reasonably well for a loaner..they are made to order and can be readjusted to fit.
              Redbud Ranch
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              • #8
                Originally posted by 3Hanns View Post
                I have, and love my Custom saddlery saddle.....


                They come to you, to fit and try...and have a quite a few saddles to choose from...

                Hope that helps
                I love my CS saddle too!! It's an Everest - for the high-withered set cracks me up.

                I'm sure they have something is good for the non-withered horse too!


                • #9
                  Since you are just now trying the discipline, dabbling as you said, you may be better off with a used one. The brands I've found to be most comfy for me are Courbette and Thornhill (aka JC or Canaves). You may also want to look into the synthetics, like a Wintec.
                  Last edited by sdlbredfan; Sep. 25, 2009, 10:43 AM. Reason: add sentence
                  RIP Sasha, best dog ever, pictured shortly before she died, Death either by euthanasia or natural causes is only the end of the animal inhabiting its body; I believe the spirit lives on.


                  • #10
                    Hmm, well, sounds like you need a place to start. Obviously you want to go sit in as many as you can at some point, but here are some names to start:

                    Passier (I LOVE mine)
                    and there are quite a few more... haha

                    Honestly, I just saddle shopped, and I think your best bet is probably to do a lot of online searching first. You'll be able to figure out price range and style, and you can often tell a lot about the way a saddle will feel by the way it looks (though you may hate it once you sit in it, or your horse might). If you haven't ridden in a lot of dressage saddles at this point, you really should try to find a tack shop with a wide variety. You may want thigh blocks, you may hate them. You may want a deep seat, you may decide you want a regular. Your horse might have a flatter back and need gusseted panels, or he may need more of a banana shaped underside.

                    For me, I prefer a more minimalistic saddle, so I found I liked a lot of Passiers, Kieffers, Neidersusses, and I found a couple of fabulous used Barnsbys. There are a lot of threads on here with useful online used saddle shops (they'll also have new saddles if that's what you want), so take a look. It'll be a frustrating yet interesting process = )


                    • #11
                      I think something with a deep seat and large thigh blocks that force your leg long and lock you into the saddle would be very uncomfortable for you at this stage. Find something you can move around in a little, get a feel for it, and allow your leg to hang naturally.


                      • #12
                        Popular saddles are truly regional. A trainer who likes a brand that fits their clientele are likely to buy the same brand. If you stick with the oldest, traditional brands you will do best because they are built to last. Personally I tried a zillion saddles that fit my horses and didn't fit me (including Lauriche, Black Country, Kieffer, Frank Baines, Passier, etc., etc. ad nauseam). I ended up with an Albion Original Comfort, a Laser and a couple of Stubbens.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by in_the_zone View Post
                          I think something with a deep seat and large thigh blocks that force your leg long and lock you into the saddle would be very uncomfortable for you at this stage. Find something you can move around in a little, get a feel for it, and allow your leg to hang naturally.
                          I don't know. It seems to be quite a personal choice. I like a deep seat, larger thigh blocks with a more "you will sit here" feel to a flatter seat, smaller or external thigh blocks, and a "sit anywhere" feel.

                          The OP needs to sit in a bunch and decide what works for them. And the feel varies between saddles made by the same company too.

                          I've just finished a saddle hunt and have tried several used/new saddles in the last 6 months:

                          Verhan Odysey: (flatter seat, huge thigh rolls, but wider twist)

                          Equation: (an older one that was terrible, a new one with a medium seat, external blocks, which is comfortable and I got a good price on, but I had a feeling I should've waited when I bought it and is for sale now)

                          Black Country Eden: (flatter seat, moderate thigh rolls, comfy)

                          Custom Saddlery Advantage: (loved it for me: deep seat, larger thigh blocks, horse didn't like)

                          CS Everest: deep seat, larger thigh blocks. Soooo comfy. Love it, love it!! Horse loves it.

                          Saddler's Bench: older saddle, flat seat. It was a crotch buster.

                          Bates Isabell: liked the changable gullet plate. Deep seat, thigh blocks changable. Sold it when I bought the Spalding. Seat padding wasn't a soft as some other saddles.

                          Spalding Britanica Elite: medium seat, larger thigh blocks. Comfy. Also for sale. Bought this saddle when horse was not as fit and had it adjusted, but just not deep enough for me.

                          Measure the saddles you try. Take photos. Keep good notes so that if you see one that "measures up" you might have a better shot at one that will work.
                          Last edited by Boomer; Sep. 26, 2009, 09:47 AM.


                          • Original Poster

                            Shopping So Far

                            Ok, so I went to Dressage at Devon this weekend and there were a few vendors there.

                            I tried the Albion and I liked the XL the best. I liked the way it fit, but thought the seat was harder than all of the others that I tried.

                            The Laser-Talisma I really liked. It has this crank that allows you to adjust the tree. Pretty interesting.

                            Hated the Amarigo.

                            Schleese-I really liked these, but the price tag was up there at $6,000.

                            Custom Saddlery-I liked this one but it wasn't as comfy on my bottom.

                            And my absolute favorite was the new County Perfection. OMG, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. It felt like they had molded that perfectly to my body. And it was so comfortable. But also a little pricier at $4,500.

                            I think that I am going to go used since 5 months ago I bought a brand new Devoucoux Biarritz jumping saddle for $4,000. Hopefully I can find something that will work for me. I can always have things adjusted.

                            Out of those saddles that you recommended, which ones are adjustable? I know that most companies charge anywhere from $300-$500 to readjust a saddle.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by easystride View Post
                              Ok, so I went to Dressage at Devon this weekend and there were a few vendors there.

                              And my absolute favorite was the new County Perfection. OMG, I thought that I had died and gone to heaven. It felt like they had molded that perfectly to my body. And it was so comfortable. But also a little pricier at $4,500.

                              Out of those saddles that you recommended, which ones are adjustable? I know that most companies charge anywhere from $300-$500 to readjust a saddle.
                              Lucky you, went to DD!

                              I'm sure Schleese is adjustable, as is CS depending on model. I think Albion is.

                              Don't know about County. I've never sat in one I liked so I didn't even consider them on this last saddle shopping venture.

                              That's awesome you had a great venue to go to and sit in some different brands!! Glad you found something you like!


                              • #16
                                Remember that often what is advertised as being adjustable really isn't - all that can be 'adjusted' is the flocking. There are only a couple of truly adjustable saddles out there - which means properly adjusted over the withers as well at the gullet plate. Reflocking really doesn't do much if the tree isn't right as well (or to begin with!)


                                • #17
                                  I LOVE my Windsor Greenline. Not too easy to find, but look around...I got a great used one at my local tack shop. Nice deep seat, long thigh blocks, and REALLY soft leather seat. Once you sit in one, I am sure you will love it, too.!
                                  Founder & Donor/Account Advisor
                                  Brennan Equine Welfare Fund


                                  • #18
                                    With no withers, consider looking into the saddles carried by Trumbull Mountain. They specialize in hard to fit horses, like those with no withers. Black country saddles (which they carry) are the bomb, BTW
                                    "The mighty oak is a nut who stood its ground"

                                    "...you'll never win Olympic gold by shaking a carrot stick at a warmblood..." see u at x


                                    • #19
                                      Prestige saddles are very comfortable (think complete opposite of Stubben). I have the Optimax which is made for the high-withered-TB-type with a massive shoulder and it has a very deep seat.

                                      I saw that you said something about the saddles being adjustable- Prestige saddles can be adjusted up/down 3cm from their original size by VTO, Dover, etc. for $100.

                                      They retail $3,000-3,600 new, but you can get good deals on them used.


                                      A great place for high quality used saddles- http://www.fine-used-saddles.com/catalog.htm?Vl=2&Tp=2
                                      Originally posted by RugBug
                                      Don't throw away opportunities because they aren't coming in exactly the form you want them to.