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Need jump saddle shopping advice for flat back and high withers

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  • Need jump saddle shopping advice for flat back and high withers

    I recently had a saddle fitter out, who told me my current medium tree Marcel Toulouse jump saddle doesn't fit. She said my horse (a thoroughbred) has a flat back with high withers and needs a MW tree. She recommended I look for a Black Country with a classic tree, an Albion Legend, or maybe a Passier. She also said we need wither gussets and/(or?) a K panel.

    My question is this - does anyone have recommendations for some less expensive brands that would have a similar shape? Or recommendations on what models to look for? My first priority is that it fit the horse. Secondarily, I am pretty tall, have a long femur, ride with my stirrups short, and am currently going prelim. I would also prefer a monoflap if possible. I'd like to stay around or below $1,500 (preferably below - wasn't planning on a saddle purchase), but I'm not sure how realistic that is since the Black Country monoflaps look to be about $3k used on Ebay.

    I'm sure this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find any posts that were exactly what I'm looking for, so I was hoping some of you saddle aficionados could help me out. I know very little about the different saddle brands and saddle shopping, and am feeling pretty overwhelmed by all the options. Thank you in advance for any advice!
    Last edited by aycaramba; May. 10, 2019, 12:53 PM.

  • #2
    OK so I own a BC saddle and I just have to warn you that the trees can be very custom so I would not count on it having flat panels. You would have to try and track that information down on a case by case basis. I would look for a Pessoa, they may fit the bill. Not entirely sure but worth a look - they have great balance IMO.

    I basically had your exactly saddle built non-monoflap though (I am not a huge fan of monos). I did not have much luck - everyone suggested Stubbens but they are not flat, curvy. The best other option was a Voltaire however they are quite expensive. Trainer rode her in an older Devoucoux but I think that is the only one of those ever put on her back that fit her.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Thanks goodmorning ! I didn't realize there was so much variability in Black Country saddles -- that's good to know. I'll have to check out the Pessoas, I haven't looked at those yet. I'll add used Voltaires to my list too, but will have to get lucky and find a deal. Thanks for your advice!

      Comment


      • #4
        Try adding Prestige to your list too. I just bought a new one last year (dressage), and I've got a similar-sounding TB with wither, hollows under the wither, fairly flat back, and big shoulder. The fitter measured him, ordered it, and it arrived fitting like a glove right out of the box.

        I know a new one won't be in your range, but I've seen quite a few used ones popping up lately around here (Ontario).

        Actually - put Amerigo on your list too. That's my jump saddle for this same horse. I'm 5'9" with a long femur, and I happened to find a used DJ with a long and forward flap which is perfect. It might be tough to find a forward flap used, but you never know. Also, I think the "CC" model has a more forward "normal" flap than the DJ.
        I've spent most of my life riding horses. The rest I've just wasted.

        Comment


        • #5
          I have a horse with a similar build and I found a County monoflap Solution works well for us. Not sure what is available in that price range. I paid about 3K for a very lightly used on on eBay, but I'm sure they must be out there!

          Comment


          • #6
            I am really happy with my Jeffries Elite for my flat-backed horse. They made it to my tracings for the same price as a stock size. It was about $1500 then, and it's $1800 now: https://www.daviddyersaddles.co.uk/c...ffries/saddles

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            • #7
              You might be able to find an older used Passier close contact in that price range. Just check with your fitter before you buy one to make sure it isn't so old that she can't adjust the tree if necessary. then she can alter the wool flocking to suit your horse's flat back. Does your fitter have any suggestions as to where to find one? I have a Passier Hoy that I use for showjumping and love it, but it is actually a cross country model so you could look for one of those. Or find an old Passier Military (a mono-flap saddle)

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              • #8
                I think the Albion (Legend, K2) she suggested should suit your horse well- and you'll definitely be able to find some used ones in your price range. I'm pretty sure all of them come with the k-panel/wither gussets.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just bought a used Pessoa A/O with the XCH adjustable tree and Alto panels. My horse doesn’t need the wither clearance, but it’s definitely there. She has a flat more A than U shaped back and fitter said it is right on for her. It’s a secure ride and you can find them used for under a grand.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks SolarFlare , I'll look into Prestige and Amerigo!

                    Thanks TBFAN , I wasn't sure if County was similarly shaped to Black Country, but I do have some friends with Countys that seem to like them a lot, so I'll check those out!

                    ​​​​​​​Thanks Mango20 , I don't know much about Jeffries but honestly that sounds like a great price for a new one made to your specifications... Did you get it through Jeffries the company or through that David Dyer Saddlery? Looks like they have a huge selection!

                    ​​​​​​​Thanks ace** for the Passier suggestions! I didn't realize the old ones can't have their trees adjusted. My saddle fitter did recommend a tack shop about an hour away from me with some consignments that sometimes gets Passiers, but I haven't found one yet that would work. It's really helpful to know that those are good models to look for!

                    Thanks woodstock , that's good to know the Albions often have the wither gussets! Do you know the difference between the Legend and K2? I did a quick Google search and am somewhat confused on what the K2 means versus the Legend (or if they're the same?).

                    ​​​​​​​Thanks jonem004 , do you find the adjustable tree to be heavy in the front? I haven't ever tried a Pessoa but I've tried an adjustable Marcel Toulouse before and it just felt so front-heavy. Not sure if that's a legitimate problem but it surprised me.

                    Seriously THANK YOU all for your advice, I really appreciate the help and also just not feeling alone in this process!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aycaramba View Post
                      Thanks SolarFlare , I'll look into Prestige and Amerigo!

                      Thanks TBFAN , I wasn't sure if County was similarly shaped to Black Country, but I do have some friends with Countys that seem to like them a lot, so I'll check those out!

                      Thanks Mango20 , I don't know much about Jeffries but honestly that sounds like a great price for a new one made to your specifications... Did you get it through Jeffries the company or through that David Dyer Saddlery? Looks like they have a huge selection!

                      ​​​​​​​Thanks ace** for the Passier suggestions! I didn't realize the old ones can't have their trees adjusted. My saddle fitter did recommend a tack shop about an hour away from me with some consignments that sometimes gets Passiers, but I haven't found one yet that would work. It's really helpful to know that those are good models to look for!

                      Thanks woodstock , that's good to know the Albions often have the wither gussets! Do you know the difference between the Legend and K2? I did a quick Google search and am somewhat confused on what the K2 means versus the Legend (or if they're the same?).

                      ​​​​​​​Thanks jonem004 , do you find the adjustable tree to be heavy in the front? I haven't ever tried a Pessoa but I've tried an adjustable Marcel Toulouse before and it just felt so front-heavy. Not sure if that's a legitimate problem but it surprised me.

                      Seriously THANK YOU all for your advice, I really appreciate the help and also just not feeling alone in this process!
                      I haven’t noticed the gullet making the saddle feel different to carry, but I go between that an an Albion SLK so I just notice it’s lighter than the dressage saddle. The gullet plate is substantial, but the saddle fitter commented that she likes the XCH system better than the bates/wintec setup because if how the plates are shaped. Between the gullet plates and flocking adjustments I’m not planning on buying a new jumping saddle for a while.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Definitely check out County - I forget what the name is, but they have a tree that's specifically built to handle sharkfins. They also have options with skid row panels. Their monoflap is likely going to be outside of your budget, but if you're open to regular flaps, there should be tons of used options. I'm like you and have an absurdly long femur and jump with weirdly short stirrups but have been happy and balanced with my 17.5" conquest from them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by aycaramba View Post
                          Thanks SolarFlare ,
                          Thanks woodstock , that's good to know the Albions often have the wither gussets! Do you know the difference between the Legend and K2? I did a quick Google search and am somewhat confused on what the K2 means versus the Legend (or if they're the same?).

                          I *think* it used to be the Legend K2 and now it is just the K2. As in, there were different models of the Legend saddle (jump, ap, dressage) and K2 was one of those models. If you can find one to try-- you may want to try the Kontrol as well. They fit fairly similarly for the horse I think, and a bit differently for the rider (at least I think so-- I found the Kontrol put me a bit behind the motion; more balanced in the K2...but that could just be me).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by woodstock View Post


                            I *think* it used to be the Legend K2 and now it is just the K2. As in, there were different models of the Legend saddle (jump, ap, dressage) and K2 was one of those models. If you can find one to try-- you may want to try the Kontrol as well. They fit fairly similarly for the horse I think, and a bit differently for the rider (at least I think so-- I found the Kontrol put me a bit behind the motion; more balanced in the K2...but that could just be me).
                            I was going to suggest the Albion K2 jump saddle as well. I am about 5'11 with very long femur and I have an 18.5" K2. (Probably could have gotten away with an 18" but that's the one I found on ebay!) They do run narrow, so my not-very-wide WB takes a med-wide tree. (To compare, he goes in a medium tree county dressage saddle and I have to shim it as it is a hair too wide.) So your guy might even need a wide tree in this one.

                            This is the one I have (the older style version):
                            https://www.ebay.com/itm/17-5-18-Alb...0AAOSw6PtciPZ6

                            If you buy from eBay-UK, you can find some great deals. It fits fairly flat along the back and has an extremely generous gullet with lots of wither room. It was actually too flat for my round little short-backed TB, which was a bummer.
                            where are we going, and why am I in this hand basket?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Passier, as others mentioned, although there aren't a lot of the used jumping saddles floating around.

                              Prestige can work well too, not for super flat backs but I've liked the jump saddles on my wide-ish TBs (and on the narrower TBs I've ridden as well). Just beware that some of the jump saddles are foam, others are wool-flocked. They don't do K panels but seem to work well with a sheepskin pad on horses with a 'dip' behind the withers. For a MW ish horse, I'd look for a 35cm Prestige. Tree width can be adjusted a bit but you have to send them off. The dollar is pretty favorable to the euro at present, so you could look someplace like the link at the bottom of my post (haven't bought from this specific place myself).

                              Albion, Ideal, County, Frank Baines, and Kent & Masters/Hastilow all make saddles that can have fairly flat trees and fit the TB types well, but as noted, look for one with wither gussets (this will depend on individual saddle). Many of these can be found used on UK ebay for better prices than in the US, since they're UK-made. Just note that not all sellers will ship to the US, but I've had good experiences buying a couple of saddles this way.

                              I have and love a Black Country, but it was custom and even used would likely be out of your budget (that said, check UK ebay as I've seen some good deals on Black Country saddles there too, though more of the all purpose style).

                              Also keep an eye out for a good used Barnsby. Not sure how many of them are around any more, though.

                              Finally, you can search UK ebay for XCH used saddles, and there are a couple brands that seem to stay in the UK but have good reputations. Even with an adjustable tree, though, I'd look for wither gussets and confirm wool flocking.

                              Good luck!
                              ROMA JUMP is a saddle with an average depth seat. The panels are made of wool, so perfectly adapt to even the most unusual construction of horseback. Originally shaped knee blocks protect the rider’s legs while riding and jumping. The saddle is made of two types of leather. Flaps and finishes - from cowhide leather, while the blocks and seat from calf leather, which is characterized by delicacy and softness.
                              Custom and semi-custom washable wool felt saddle pads!
                              http://www.etsy.com/shop/PellMellFeltPads

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by ace** View Post
                                You might be able to find an older used Passier close contact in that price range. Just check with your fitter before you buy one to make sure it isn't so old that she can't adjust the tree if necessary. then she can alter the wool flocking to suit your horse's flat back. Does your fitter have any suggestions as to where to find one? I have a Passier Hoy that I use for showjumping and love it, but it is actually a cross country model so you could look for one of those. Or find an old Passier Military (a mono-flap saddle)
                                Or another Passier possibility is a used Passier Wellington. My ottb is a slender type with a flat back (well, was flatter in his younger days ) and the Passier Wellington fits him really well. It's a cut back and has recessed stirrup bars, wide channel and gusseted panels.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  We have a nice County saddle that was used on a TB. It has gussets and is a 17.5, if that is of any interest to you.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I just bought a Passier Ingrid Klimke Event saddle at Dover new for $1,999 - honestly besides not being a mono flap, its everything you are looking for. Amazing wither clearance, tree is better suited for a flat back. I didn't particularly like the looks of the saddle, but from the moment I sat in it, I knew it was THE ONE for me. I have a SUPER long thigh, and then to hang off anything not extra forward flap - this flap fits my leg incredibly well. I really like the balance, seat sets me right in the middle where I need to be.

                                    Panels are gusseted, synthetic wool flocked with a foam layer against the horse. I wasn't shopping for a Passier, I remembered always being fond of their dressage saddles in the 90's but honestly their jumping saddles had never been on my radar.

                                    Couldn't believe my luck with how well it fit my mare without any adjustment. The leather is lovely, the tree is well thought out and adjustable. I expect to have this saddle for many many years.

                                    Perhaps keep an eye out for used ones - or call around Dover stores and see if they have any on the floor on sale. Mine was $900 less than the online "sale" price ($1,025 less than SmartPak's price).

                                    https://www.doversaddlery.com/pssr-i...e/p/X1-150022/
                                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman

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