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Uh oh, saddle woes - refit or move on?

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  • Uh oh, saddle woes - refit or move on?

    I'm on jumping saddle #3 in a year, and I am pretty sure I'm now looking for #4. Had one slightly too small, got another model, same brand that ended up too big. Then came the current saddle, saddle #3.

    It is a Prestige Jumper R that I was on the fence about until I saw video of myself riding at a clinic in January. When I get tense, I'm clearly jamming my leg forward, which is putting my balance too far back - and the saddle is making it worse because it's balance point is too far forward for me.

    Since the saddle seemed to be fitting the horse ok, I decided to try moving the leathers further back on the stirrup bar (this saddle has generously long ones) and seeing how that went (all the while with the saddle for sale just in case).

    Here's where the twist comes in - used a light colored pad last night and found that the saddle is clearly bridging. UGH. I feel awful that I didn't figure this out before and am considering sainthood for my horse.

    So here's the question - do I spend the money to have the tree widened even though I'm about 95% sure I want to sell it or do I use pads and shims until I get rid of it?

    It has proven to be pretty tough to fit both the horse and I well, as she is 15.3H, compact with big shoulders and I am 6' tall and all leg. Will take any and all suggestions at this point - just want us both to be comfortable and balanced.

  • #2
    Ainsley Pro Nat!

    For your long legs, try the Ainsley Pro National, and there's also another model, but I can't remember the name right now. I'm 5'11" and ALL legs and this thing is the best balanced jumping saddle I've ever ridden in for my body type.

    It is not a super fancy calf-skin/velvet and whipped cream saddle...its a hard wearing, thicker leather saddle, but that suits me just fine. You can buy them new for under $2K, but there are a lot of used ones out there for $1K or less.

    There are many threads on here about them...just search.

    As to fitting your horse, if you're on saddle #3 or 4, maybe you should take the time to check out some custom fitted ones, or at the very least have a pro check the fit on the one you're looking at buying...after all those saddles, it probably would have been just as expensive to get something custom.

    I feel your pain though as there are MANY custom saddles out there that do NOT understand the dilemma of the truly long leg!
    Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc


    • #3
      Consider County saddles, you can find them reasonably used and they seem to fit the big shouldered type well. Also, Black Country
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


      • Original Poster

        Thanks everyone. I've been looking at all of those brands, actually - but after the prior saddle goofs, I am adamant that I must test ride before I buy this time.

        Not looking for anything fancy - just balanced. The prestige was bought b/c the flaps were supposed to be further forward and the balance point set back, but it's not right for me.

        In the duration, do you think it's worth it to widen the saddle I have or just shim it?


        • #5
          shims work less well when saddle is too narrow than when too wide, but I would be moving on asap and not spending a bunch of money on a saddle you are selling. Plus, the medium tree likely easier for resale.
          OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


          • #6
            I agree, I wouldn't spend money on that saddle if you don't like the balance point. And the medium tree is definitely an easier sale.

            I wouldn't recommend EVER buying a saddle that you haven't test ridden in!! That's just asking for trouble. I never understand how companies or ebay sellers can sell a saddle without a test ride! It's not a sweater for god's sake!

            When I bought my Ainsley used, it came with a 5 day test ride. Almost all consignment places that I've found do that. You may have to wrap the leathers, but definitely worth it. You can coordinate with your fitter to come out on day 2 or 3 of your trial if youlike the saddle to see if it's working for your horse.
            Thoroughbred Placement Resources, Inc


            • #7
              PM'd you


              • #8
                After many saddles woes I finally contacted Trumbull Mountain Tack and worked with them. Within a couple weeks I owned a saddle that fit one horse and me perfectly. The other horse was trickier and they had a saddle custom made for him and it is awesome.

                By far the most painless and least expensive saddle shopping experience ever. The saddles may have been a bit more expensive but if I think about all the time and money wasted previously by trying/owning saddles that were not right for us, the value in it becomes huge! And the saddles are super nice quality. I will own them the rest of my life.
                2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com


                • #9
                  Originally posted by echodecker View Post
                  I agree, I wouldn't spend money on that saddle if you don't like the balance point. And the medium tree is definitely an easier sale.

                  I wouldn't recommend EVER buying a saddle that you haven't test ridden in!! That's just asking for trouble. I never understand how companies or ebay sellers can sell a saddle without a test ride! It's not a sweater for god's sake!

                  When I bought my Ainsley used, it came with a 5 day test ride. Almost all consignment places that I've found do that. You may have to wrap the leathers, but definitely worth it. You can coordinate with your fitter to come out on day 2 or 3 of your trial if youlike the saddle to see if it's working for your horse.
                  I bought one off of ebay. No test ride. Saddle fit horse the best of the 10 or so that I tried locally. Horse is hard to fit, too. Shark finned with slight hollows behind withers. I was willing to take the chance since I got it for about $375. Same saddle locally was listing for about $550-$700. I figured if it didn't work I would be able to sell it and at least break even.

                  I would be a lot more hesitant doing this with a higher priced saddle or one that I wasn't getting a "good deal" on.
                  Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


                  • Original Poster

                    Sounds like if a few leads don't work out, I will be contacting Trumbull Mountain. Thanks for the info - I definitely need help with this process.

                    And in the interest of good karma for all long-limbed saddle shoppers, here's what I've heard to try:
                    Black Country
                    Ainsley Pro National
                    Barnsby Diablo
                    Jeffries Flyover
                    Any french maker with a 3-4 AA or AAA flap
                    Ovation 4 star event