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Saddle balance - or why am I sitting on the pommel?

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  • Saddle balance - or why am I sitting on the pommel?

    This is a new one for me. I have a jump saddle on trial because my current jump saddle is too narrow - as horse has confirmed with the way he's going in the trial saddle. He's going well and jumping well, and no more ear pinning or tail swishing at canter. I'll take all of that.

    The saddle is very comfortable for me except in one respect: the place I naturally sit in it is just behind - almost on - the pommel. Definitely not in the middle of the saddle. This is a new one for me. It looks level - fitter loved how it looked on him, but she had to leave before I rode, so didn't see this. (I'll talk to her about it tonight, but this is bugging me no end!)

    Seems to me that it's too wide, and therefore low, in front. Going to try shimming it tonight to see if that helps without ruining the stuff that's working.

    Any thoughts? Hard to know if what I'm feeling is normal - from swapping a no-blocks pancake hunter saddle for a cushy saddle with small blocks, so it's just going to feel weird - or whether I should just call it a day because it's not going to work. But it's strange.

  • #2
    Depends. Some saddles do want you to sit there, generally they are Italian or French. What saddle is it?
    Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
    you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


    • Original Poster

      Well, you nailed its nationality: it's a Butet. But that's what my dressage saddle is and I've ridden in a friend's jump saddle and didn't have the same feeling. However, both were narrower than this one. It's definitely a little extreme. My instructor commented on it last night, even (she liked it, though, and suggested shimming).


      • #4


        • #5
          If fitter loved how it looked on him, and horse is happy, I wouldn't shim it before you talk with her. Could be just the point of balance is wrong for you for the way it sits on him; could be the seat is the wrong size or the flap not forward enough; could be the shape of the seat doesn't work for your pelvic shape. There are also some jumping saddles (I want to say Amerigo and Prestige?) that are made to have a forward balance point.
          Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!


          • #6
            The Buter dressage saddle would naturally have a less forward balance point.

            If you shim the saddle to change the balance for the rider then you will wreck the fit for the horse.

            If this is a bad fit for you then it's not the right saddle. Take your coaches word on whether it is helping or hindering your riding.


            • Original Poster

              Of course no pictures yet. Will see if I can get one tonight. Saddle balance depends on so many things. This saddle ticks all the boxes - the flap seems just right, the twist and seat are awesome, if anything it's big (but still smaller than my D saddle and my other jump saddle, so meh). Oh, and I love my dressage saddle, which is partly why I was keen to find a Butet jump saddle.

              hmmm, wait. I wonder if the seat is enough wider than my other saddles (the D is an old butet so much narrower) that I'm unintentionally migrating to the narrowest place, which is right behind the pommel.


              • Original Poster

                Ah, Scribbler! Coach said keep it! Should say that my other jump saddle is an old Beval Natural, so also pretty forward.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
                  Ah, Scribbler! Coach said keep it! Should say that my other jump saddle is an old Beval Natural, so also pretty forward.
                  I think in the age of saddles with padding and blocks everywhere backing us off the pommel that we are forgetting that is where saddles like the good old Hermès Steinkraus has us sitting. These saddles put you more over your feet than another might. If you are finding it difficult, try shortening your stirrups one hole and see how you feel about it.

                  I personally love a saddle that lets me sit right down behind the withers and really sit into a horse. I find I have so much more control from that position and my lower leg is quieter. I myself love a good Butet or prestige so I think the saddle is doing what it’s supposed to, you just have to get used to the feeling of sitting there.
                  Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                  you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


                  • #10
                    The only advice I can add is, don't try to convince yourself it fits "good enough" if it doesn't really fit you well. If the balance is off, it's off. You shouldn't have to shim a new saddle. It either fits or it doesn't. When you sit in the right one for you, you'll know it right away.
                    "Do what you can't do"


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks, all! Completely solved the problem last night. Hacked in the saddle and did some trotting and cantering on terrain and was still lukewarm, so thought if I was thinking of buying it I'd better put my stirrups up a couple of (half) holes to see how it'd be for steeplechase, and BAM. Sweet spot. Soloudinhere nails it again!


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
                        Thanks, all! Completely solved the problem last night. Hacked in the saddle and did some trotting and cantering on terrain and was still lukewarm, so thought if I was thinking of buying it I'd better put my stirrups up a couple of (half) holes to see how it'd be for steeplechase, and BAM. Sweet spot. Soloudinhere nails it again!
                        Good luck! Enjoy your new saddle!
                        Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                        you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.