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Best dressage saddle for Arabians

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  • Best dressage saddle for Arabians

    hi coth it was suggested that I start a thread with this title for best help.

    Situation - 15 hd arabian mare, very short coupled, need 18 in seat saddle (I'm short and chubby). So most saddles are very long on her back and also I have a hard time keeping a good position in them because the stirrup bar is too far forward for me.

    Saddles I have tried and HATED: Wintec/Bates Isabelle, Frank Baines Reflex, HDR Paris. They all tipped me forward and I could not stay balanced.

    saddles that just weren't RIGHT but better than the above: Black Country Eloquence, Black Country Vinici, Frank Baines Elegance, toulouse Aachen.

    Saddles that had issues: toulouse Verona (had 2 lumps under seat).

    Saddles that didn't fit horse: toulouse aachen, fb reflex, wintecs/bates don't fit right. Others were shades of ok to good.

    Best of the lot: Passier Corona II BUT flaps were miles too long, and panels were too long for horse. But the seat was brilliant for me.

    my budget is now shrinking also owing to shipping fees for trials, and vehicle repair emergencies lately. I would really like to stay under $2000 now if at all possible.

    Some saddlefitters are telling me get an upswept panel because of her short bearing area, others are telling me it is ok to go past 18th (17th in her case) vertebrae. Ummm who is right?

    help please???!!!
    arabsrock

  • #2
    I rode my old little 14.3hh arab in a Passier Grand Gilbert. Fit her the best out of any saddle I've ever tried on her, and fit me well too. Liked that saddle so much that I just got a Thornhill Vienna II for my new horse because it is based on the Passier- but without the price tag

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      mypaint
      how do you feel about the quality of the thornhill? I am reading mixed comments some are very happy others aren't. I wouldn't expect it to be as nice as passier leather but how is it generally? and how does the seat feel compared to the passier? this is good to get feedback from someone who has had the original and the copy.
      thanks
      arabsrock

      Comment


      • #4
        I got the thornhill after I rode in Coreene's- she really likes their saddles, and I can see why! I just got mine, but it began to feel really broken in after the 3rd ride. The leather is nice, I have been conditioning it with Lederbalsam and it is getting very supple. The seat puts me in the exact position my old Passier did. I wanted a Passier, but just couldn't fork out another 2k for a saddle right now, the Thornhill I got on eBay for $800, but it rides like a $2k saddle. I'm very happy with it- I don't know if it will be a forever saddle, but for my needs now it works just fine. I have heard more good things about them than negative.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          mypaint
          thats good to hear you are so happy with it. do you find the leather grippy or slippery? and do you have any idea how long the flaps are? on the original grand gilbert I understand they are quite long (and I am short), also how much or how big of a knee block does it have?

          did you buy from netfilly?
          thanks
          arabsrock

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by arabiansrock View Post
            mypaint
            thats good to hear you are so happy with it. do you find the leather grippy or slippery? and do you have any idea how long the flaps are? on the original grand gilbert I understand they are quite long (and I am short), also how much or how big of a knee block does it have?

            did you buy from netfilly?
            thanks
            arabsrock
            The leather is grained, so it is becoming fairly grippy with the applications of lederbalsam. The flaps are just right for me- I'm 5'4" and had the regular flap on the Passier. Knee block is very similar to the Passier, not overwhelming but just enough. I got it from Windswept Horse and Hound, but Netfilly also has them I got it on special with free shipping which is why I ordered from that store

            Comment


            • #7
              I bought a Thornhill Pro Trainer Le Monde this past January for my Arab/QH cross. I LOVE it. They don't sell that particular model any more, but you may be able to find one used. It has a smooth leather seat (I'd call it grippy) and grained leather flaps. I'm 5' and the flaps fit me fine. It's also very comfortable- fairly cushy seat. It has minimal knee rolls.

              While it's not top of the line leather, it's not "cheap" leather either. We like it well enough (especially how it fit the horse) that my daughter searched for a used Thornhill jump saddle to use on her. She found one and we like it too.

              Ours are both 34 cm trees by the way.

              Saddle fitting is not easy. Good luck!
              Last edited by myLittleArabPony; Mar. 26, 2010, 02:19 AM.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                thanks mypaint, if the ones i have on the way don't work, i may give them a call about the thornhill. sure can't beat the price! and gotta love that lederbalsam. I bet they could make a mint if they put it in small containers with a pretty label and marketed it as "intense conditioner for hands and cuticles".
                arabsrock

                Comment


                • #9
                  Depends on if they have a wither or not

                  Mine has a wither AND is shortbacked but is in between a wide and regular tree ugh!

                  I ended up trying used and new saddles out until one fit

                  NOW, darn horse is getting more muscle and its pinching Ill have to change again soon so let me know what you decide I may follow suit
                  ~~Member of the TB's Rule Clique ~~
                  http://www.off-breed-dressage.blogspot.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I love my Passier. My horse likes it too = ) He's 15 hands and very short coupled. I ride in a 17" but I bet an 18" would still fit him fine. Mine is a GG, but from what I can tell, the Corona is similar.

                    If you don't mind going used, I shopped around for a bit and got mine for just a touch over $1K. It was in fantastic condition. Just something to think about before you decide you can't afford one. As far as the flaps, you can get them altered, or if you get lucky, you can find someone selling a used one that has shortened flaps or was ordered with short flaps. I actually saw quite a few of those while shopping, and they were often less expensive since there's a smaller market for them.

                    If you really want a Passier, my advice would be to shop around for a bit (I know it's hard to avoid being impatient when tack shopping), but I found saddles in the same condition priced from $1k-2K, so it's worth it to spend a little extra time until the right one comes along.

                    I never tried out the Thornhill, but it certainly looks nice = )

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had to compromise my seat size considerably and get a 16.5" Prestige Galileo with point billets and a really wide tree, custom fit to my horse. I could get away with the smaller seat because their seat was so open. I am 5' 9" and really need a 17.5 or 18", but I had to make due for the horse. We could not get a saddle to fit him. The longer saddles were just too long for his short back. Good luck, it is a challenge!!
                      RIP Mydan Mydandy+
                      RIP Barichello

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Ohh Puddin Pie that sounds painful although I understand why you chose to protect the horse over your own comfort. I don't mind squeezing into a too small saddle, but for my son to try it is extremely painful (and I really do want grandchildren!). I hope we don't have to go there for this girl, am anxiously awaiting 2 more trial saddles, they should be here monday. if they don't work, well... I've luckily gotten lots of ideas here to try!

                        thanks everyone!
                        arabsrock

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Have you tried an Albion? Most everyone at the barn I worked at loves them, here is a rep I know personally--

                          http://www.helmsaddles.com/index.html

                          Great gal and very informative

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Doesn't Albion make a saddle where you can switch out the tree as well?

                            I have an Albion SLK, I love it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My friend bought a used Custom Saddlery saddle for under 500 and had it repaired and fitted by Custom Saddlery, works great for her and her 15.2 Arab mare. I think that one is a 17.5 or 18: seat. www.mysaddle.com (I have a used Custom Saddlery Victory for my mountain withered TB -- they have great saddles, and great service.)
                              "Reite dein Pferd vorwärts und richte es gerade.” Gustav Steinbrecht

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Libera View Post
                                Doesn't Albion make a saddle where you can switch out the tree as well?

                                I have an Albion SLK, I love it.
                                Yes, it's adjustable? I haven't heard anything negative about Albion. I LOVE their tack cleaning and conditioning products too

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  County

                                  I use an old County Warmblood on my 15.1 Arab. I believe it is a 34cm tree, 17 seat, and the it is more "banana-shaped" so it helps with short backs. My horse has tall withers, sway back and is a nightmare for saddle fitting, but the Countys are wool flocked and their reps are really good saddle fitters, so she made it fit with some custom flocking. I got mine used for under $1K (it is a 1987 model) from one of the saddleries on the East coast. Countys are really good saddles, but pricey if bought new.
                                  ___________________________________________
                                  "Another member of the Barefoot Eventers Clique"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    My older Neidersuess has been a good fit for several of my Arabs.
                                    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      I am not sure how well a county would work for my girl she has a pretty level back, has real withers with a drop down to a level back. Now my other mare IS swaybacked and I have been advised to keep my eyes open for an old county competitor or passier for her.

                                      ghazzu - how does the neidersuss feel to ride in? that is one saddle that seems to be a love it or hate it type..
                                      arabsrock

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Well, I love mine.
                                        Got it years ago, before I'd even heard of them.
                                        Went to pick up a used saddle to try, and the person with it said I should "try this one too--might as well, as long as you're taking the other one to try". Figured it was a chance to ride in an expensive saddle, why not?

                                        Well out of my price range, but the Niedersuess fit the horse, and the other one didn't, and it was wicked comfortable to sit in.
                                        So I scraped up the cash and did it.
                                        "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                        ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                        Comment

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