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$1,000 dressage saddles?

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    $1,000 dressage saddles?

    I'm making a run at my $1,000 dressage saddle search while on vacation next week, and would love input on anything available new in that price range. (Ideally I'll find something high-quality and used that fits my horse, fits me, and my budget ... but living in a rural area and not having a year's worth of weekends to spend looking, this may be a distant dream.)

    Here's what I've come across in the $1,000 range:
    -Marcel Toulouse
    -Henri de Rivel
    -The Dover Saddlery Circuit dressage

    My horse is a medium-wide TB/WB cross with a defined wither (but not shark fin). He's not particularly hard to fit, though I have found that thicker gusseted panels are best for his shape. I'm a slender 5'3", prefer a medium-deep seat (not super-deep banana seats), and a narrow twist.

    I'd prefer leather but I'm open to synthetic if the fit and ride are right. Any specific feedback on these or other brands to consider is appreciated. Thanks in advance for the help!

    Where are you going on vacation?
    “There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women." And more so for women who try to control other women's choices


      My TB is built like yours and I got a used medium Passier GB in perfect shape for $1000 off craigslist. It fits him very well. I don't know about the what kind of twist it has.


        I have a Collegiate close contact, and it's for a witherless, flat-backed type. If the dressage saddles fit similarly, I'm guessing that wouldn't be the saddle for you!

        I borrowed a friend's Circuit for a couple months while waiting for my saddle to be available. It is flocked, and she had a narrow backed sharkfin, so it didn't fit my horse exactly right, but could have width-wise. The problem I had is he's built pretty uphill, and the saddle is much more meant for a level or even downhill horse. The balance was off, so it put too much pressure at the back of the saddle - not enough to really bother him as we were working on getting him fit, but enough I didn't consider buying it.

        The saddle I have now is an Ovation. It's a wide width, and just slightly too wide for my TB, but will likely fit him perfectly as he builds more muscle. I'm guessing if it would fit your horse depends on the uphill/not uphill factors, but it sounds like back and withers would work. I really like my saddle - I find some of those deep seats super comfy, but as if I can't ride in them. My Ovation puts me in the right position (and leaves me sore since the borrowed Circuit definitely did NOT!) but my saddle still lets me move as needed. My horse has been doing some aerial displays lately, and despite the fact I don't have an impression of myself as super secure, I'm easily able to go with him. The first time I tried the Ovation on him, I realized after a few minutes of trotting that I wasn't posting - it just fit us both so perfectly that sitting the trot was *easy.*
        Here's a pic of my guy for an idea of his build so you can see if he's similar in shape across the back to your horse. I don't know what was wrong from camera angle/positioning on him, but he's about 2-3" higher at top of his withers to top of butt, for perspective. (I think... he's also about 7" taller than me, so the height difference may seem larger than it is because of my viewing angle!)
        If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


          [QUOTE=carolprudm;4930072]Where are you going on vacation?

          Not going anywhere - just to the barn to ride!

          I live in VT and have gone to Trumbull Mtn since I was a kid. Actually talked to them today - they don't have much in my price range unfortunately, just the Wintecs and a couple of used saddles. I might make the trip down to try those, depending on how things work out.


            Originally posted by netg View Post
            The saddle I have now is an Ovation. It's a wide width, and just slightly too wide for my TB, but will likely fit him perfectly as he builds more muscle.
            Thanks for the input on the Ovation. There's a dealer a few hours away from me, I think. Your horse looks like he's about the same size and shape ballpark as mine, probably a little narrower. So maybe the Ovation would be a good choice for fit. Good to know that they ride well!


              Thorowgoods have a good reputation. I've ridden in Thorowgoods and enjoyed them, a lot more than Wintecs. The T6 range look really smart, too.


                I have a thornhill that I really like. It was $800 brand new including shipping off of ebay, the leather is nice and it fits my horse well. Might be another brand to consider.


                  I have a wintec dressage pro that I really like. It fits a real wither well (although I did replace the CAIR with wool). I think I got the whole thing with fittings for about $500 on sale. Good balance, comfortable, nice and open (which I like), durable, easy to clean....what more can I ask for?
                  Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                  Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                  We Are Flying Solo


                    thanks for the advice - I haven't tried a thorowgood before but Trumbull Mountain carries them, so I could get a demo there. Haven't found Thornhill anywhere nearby yet, I'll keep looking.

                    The new Wintec pro fits my horse (the older model did not), but the one I tried - admittedly far too big for me - felt wide in the seat and made me feel like I couldn't "find" the horse. I've been looking for a smaller one to try and figure out if that effect is just the saddle or the size.

                    I picked up two Collegiates, a Wintec 500, and a used Circuit to try from my local tack shop yesterday. The search begins!


                      I LOVE my M. Toulouse Vienna (now called the Venice) and I've sat in the Verona, and it was just heavenly.

                      I think the leather quality is SUPERB for the price, I've had mine for 6 months in regular use and it still looks BRAND NEW. It's very soft and supple, and sticky, almost like buffalo. It's the only saddle that fit my horse off the shelf, it has thicker shoulder panels that you are looking for, which actually were a problem for my horse because he has rounder shoulders, but I got an X-Wide and it fits him very nicely.

                      They are definitely in your price range new, and I think they are really nice saddles for the price.


                        Originally posted by equiclick View Post
                        Thanks for the input on the Ovation. There's a dealer a few hours away from me, I think. Your horse looks like he's about the same size and shape ballpark as mine, probably a little narrower. So maybe the Ovation would be a good choice for fit. Good to know that they ride well!
                        I should add - I'm also 5'1", but use the same length stirrups as my 5'3" trainer, so your legs will be fairly likely to fit well in the saddle.

                        The Circuit I tried was an ok saddle, but it was made for and broken in by someone much taller, so with the balance issue plus size issue, my knees where nowhere near where they were supposed to be - I think that was all fit, not a saddle problem. They're flocked and very adjustable, so would work for you. The leather was very nice for a saddle which was somewhere around $500 new. (My friend had a hard to fit horse and looked at saddles for thousands of dollars... it was only the inexpensive one she found which actually fit him well, before he passed away.)
                        If Kim Kardashian wants to set up a gofundme to purchase the Wu Tang album from Martin Shkreli, guess what people you DON'T HAVE TO DONATE.


                          last try, for some reason my replies to you just aren't taking!!!

                          Skip the wintec/collegiate/bates line. pm me if you want to know why.

                          thorowgood is definitely worth a try. I bought a t4 as a temporary saddle and will be keeping it for my other mare and selling her collegiate leather saddle. I would try to get a t6 for the better "fake" leather though.

                          M toulouse are comfy, have grippy leather, but are foam flocked so they either fit right away or htey don't fit. period. just keep that in mind if you try one, It won't settle in.

                          Thornhill Vienna II is a passier copy and many really like it. You can order from to try one.

                          Never tried Ovation but probably worth a look.
                          good luck.

                          pm me if you have any question on the thorowgood.


                            I was looking at this thornhill page, and with a high withered TB/Hanovarian cross (Oldenburg) and after looking throught the page it looked like this Vienna II would do me well. Price new was 895.00

                            Airborne? Oh. Yes, he can take a joke. Once. After that, the joke's on you.


                              Stubben's website has a "web saddles" section which has (basically) new saddles for a fraction of the price. Here's a link to their current page, sometimes they have good deals. I found my Tristan BRAND NEW for $450 plus shipping about a year and a half ago...



                                You need to look for a used Windsor Elite in probably a 3.5 or 4 tree. I've come across several that were just like new for $1000 or less, and one for $1200 that still had the plastic on the badge with barely creased billets and all new Stubben fittings included. EXCELLENT saddle and great quality for the money.


                                  The newer M. Toulouse dressage saddles are all wool flocked now. Still not sure how easily they can be adjusted, so with any saddle try to get the best fit without having to get adjustments.


                                  You can get pretty nice used saddles in the $1000 range also, so if you're not dead-set on new I'd definitely go to your local tack store and take some used ones on trial. At least you'll learn a lot about what style of saddle fits you and your horse better without being stuck with a new one you couldn't try out thoroughly and doesn't turn out to work for you. I did the same thing, I tried everything from Passiers, to Smith Worthingtons, to Winsdors, but it just happened that my M. Toulouse (which I bought as used even though it was new) fit the best for me and my horse.


                                    Have you looked at the Thronhill saddles. There are two in your price range. The Vienna and Germania. They are great saddles and all leather. Many of my friends have them and love them. Check them out.


                                      I would recommend a used top of the line saddle over the "economy" models. Saddlerys such as Trumbull are very knowledgeable about the soundness of the used saddles they sell. Another source is Pelham Saddlery I think it's The hyphen is important. Also Rick's Heritage Saddlery in PA and NJ.

                                      Going on ebay and elsewhere is fraught with risk. A student got seriously stung.
                                      Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                                      Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


                                        I really recommend used. Good dressage saddles last for a very long time and you can usually get much higher quality at the price point by going used. I also have a TB/WB cross with a defined wither and generally medium, but needs a flat gusset and really like the fit/feel of the E. Jeffries I got (wool flocked, wood spring tree, lovely leather) used for $600.
                                        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!