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A better saddle for dressage?

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  • A better saddle for dressage?

    I have been riding in a Wintec pro dressage saddle for a year and though it is "comfortable" I didn't realize until the weekend before last how much "stiffer" it is than my old leather Reitmeister saddle is. I took a lesson in the old saddle (have had it now for 25 years and it still looks great and feels like butter) and I could feel the horse so much better than in the Wintec saddle.

    The old saddle is an all purpose saddle but seems to allow a better feel of the horse. To be more exact, I felt like I was riding almost bareback compared to the Wintec.

    Is there a moderately priced leather saddle that I could look into that would ride the same way but is a dressage saddle? I have only ridden in a County and the Wintec and sadly due to finances from dental work, cannot afford a County saddle - though it did feel like butter and was very comfortable.

    I plan to take a lesson this Sat. and will again ride in the all purpose. It just feels so much better than the Wintec - I can actually feel what the horse's back is doing. I guess the best way to explain it is the Wintec makes me feel "perched on top" of the horse and the all purpose makes me feel much closer to the actual horse's movement.

    Thanks and the mare is not to hard fit, she wears a medium in the Wintec and is not mutton withered nor shark finned. I have also determined that I do not like that overgirth strap that came with the Wintec, it is attached to the flap of the saddle and the flaps do not move when that is buckled.

  • #2
    Thoroughgood now makes a leather version of their synthetic saddle that is called the Fairfax. Kate Wilson at www.dutchessbridlesaddle.com sells it.

    It comes in the same three tree shapes (high wither, regular, and cob, I think), and a range of widths so there should be something to fit your horse. The panels are flocked and have an additional layer of ProLite foam built in.

    It is actually a pretty cool saddle for a very reasonable price. I rode it in and while I ended up getting a used Albion Ultima for a STEAL, I would not sniff at either a synthetic Thorowgood or the leather Fairfax version if I needed another saddle to fit a special horse.
    The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
    Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
    The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


    • #3
      sidepasser, check out older county saddles, like 80-90's ones. There are bunches around and I find them very close contact. They can routinely be found under $500. Another nice riding and buttery soft leather saddle I like is the rober dover crosby freestyle, again, can be found well under $500. Both saddles I find are forgiving and fit a lot of body styles, and are minimal and clean, easy to ride and very close contact.

      cool review meupatdoes, thank you, I was curious about that saddle.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • #4
        I also would suggest looking at used saddles.

        Check out pelham saddlery's used dressage line-up


        they have many really nice ones for under $2000 and even a few for less than $1000
        Bridal Sweet 05/28/1983 to 01/23/2008


        • #5
          I was really impressed with www.middleburgtack.com--they let you try the saddles too. There were many that were under $1000 that were quality dressage saddles. They had County's too, if that's what you like!

          I started dressage in a Crosby Prix St Georges, and you can find them for around $700. Comfy too!

          Many older passiers, stubbens are in your price range also, but not as comfortable as the Crosby's (IMO)

          Dover makes dressage saddles in leather that are affordable--you've got to try and bunch and see what works for you!

          Good luck!


          • #6
            I just found a M. Toulouse Aachen Dressage saddle at the local tack store and was amazed at the price ($799) and is brand new. I went to www horsetackreview dot com and found it to be a good price. Anyone here familiar with this saddle? Very comfy saddle and leather is soft and smooth. Would love to hear other opinions on this - apologize if I misidrecting this question...
            "The Horse: Friendship without envy, beauty without vanity, nobility without conceit, a willing partner, yet no slave."


            • #7
              I have one, it is lovely and is surprisingly close contact despite the rather largish thighblocks. Also, I found the twist to ride narrower than it looks. I find the tree and seat run a bit smaller than marked, but the construction and comfort and leather is beautiful. Its wool over memory foam irrc. The leather is schrumph (sp?)-like, extremely grippy. I could not wear my full seats in that saddle else I would be velcro'd. It was the saddle I chose on the windy cold days to go trail riding though Amazingly, as soft as the leather is, its highly durable and doesn't scratch or scrape, though its only been ridden in britches and with calfskin leathers. I have had 3 toulouse saddles, and the aachen is the only one that really impresses me.

              My horse has outgrown his, so until it sells, a friend is borrowing it. She has put her albion and her custom saddlery saddle aside to enjoy the aachen. It is lovely and fits the wide qh she is riding like a dream. $799 is a steal, I bought mine new last year and they're generally around $1k
              Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


              • #8
                I have an Albion Ultima Platinum. Fits me and my horse and if things change, the genesis system allows me to have the head of the saddle changed to fit him as well.


                • #9
                  I second the Stubben suggestion. You can find some great ones used. There is not a better saddle that lasts like they do. Even new, they are reasonably priced and are worth it!