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Oops. No-purpose saddle.

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  • Oops. No-purpose saddle.

    It is a truth almost universally acknowledged that all-purpose saddles can turn out to be no-purpose.

    And yet budget and the starry afterglow of finding the perfect horse (see, e.g., COTHer parody in which Judybigredpony writes a flawless impression of my "yes you are the best grey pony yesh you are who da best pony yesh, gooood grey ponyyyy) blinded me to this wisdom that is older than Xenophon.

    I am in a no-purpose saddle. It fits Ms. B okay; saddle fitter is coming to size some shims for while she fills out. It was $600 used and is in perfect condition. It's a well-made Passier that will last 30 years if I take care of it.

    BUT: I can't ride in it. On the flat it puts me in a chair seat and when I shorten my stirrups I can't get my leg where I want it. The imbalance below the belt screws up everything else. With short stirrups in a half seat my knees flap.

    I know I have a decent seat. I was riding a big moving, sensitive, complicated horse very well in his owner's saddle this winter and looking great as far as position. Got an 8 on position in a dressage show. I've got a good seat, even on a greenie trying to figure out where her body goes.

    And I don't in this saddle. Not by miles. I don't ride her as well as I did in JBRP's saddles this summer.

    I know that it's the right seat size too. (18", verified by many smart saddle fitting folks).

    Crap, crap, crap.

    I'm on a tight budget, working on a modest fellowship stipend (love this job, $$ isn't anything) and I know buying a saddle for a horse who's going to change shape but I'm not doing myself any favors riding a green horse incorrectly.


    Crap, crap, crap. Suck it up and buy a modestly-priced close contact saddle? Get an ultra-used Wintec Pro dressage saddle (my favorite model) so I can do the flat work correctly and try to suck it up over fences?

    I know at a molecular level the saddle ain't right and if I tried to figure out how to ride in it I'd be building a bizarre crappy seat that did not translate over to other tack.

    Crap, crap, crap.
    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
    Ms. Brazil

  • #2
    I've been in this saddle situation before, and kind of still am. I could not find just the "right" saddle for my lovely Canter TB last year within my budget.

    Thanks to some great advice from this BB, I ended up with an older Wintec Pro Jump. The only problem is that it is just too big for me and I now I want the same saddle in a 16.5 (unless of course a Black Country Quantum magically falls out of the sky within my measley budget!)

    But, my gelding has changed from last year, and the Wintec has been a blessing, I just changed the gullet again. If I had spent more money, I would either be stuck with something that did not fit him or be trying to reflock, etc. It sounds like you might be in the same situation with a horse that is going to change in the coming year.

    As far as cheaper close contacts, etc. I went last weekend and sat in a bunch of lower end close contacts, hoping I might find something I liked better than the Wintec. I didn't care for anything I sat in, and of course the quality was not that great. I'm going to keep looking at used close contacts and hopefully hit on a better quality for a good price. In the meantime, the Wintec is really doing the job for not much money.

    Comment


    • #3
      I would try to sell the Passier and get a good close contact saddle (since it is pretty easy to flat in a cc saddle, at least at the lower levels). Too bad you need an 18, or I could lend you a dressage saddle (since I have a ridiculous number of them). There is a 18 Wintec pro on ebay now for $550 if you want to go that route instead, but I would suggest the cc
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

      Comment


      • #4
        I would get a CC saddle with a modest flap, like the Pessoa A/O or the Circuit Close Contact. I find both of those models very easy to transition from flatwork to jumping in and they both allow you to keep a correct seat and position.
        "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"

        Comment


        • #5
          Sent you an email
          Intermediate Riding Skills

          Comment


          • #6
            Does this saddle fitter deal in used/consignment saddles as well? - if so, hopefully you can figure out something that will work better for you & still fit your fabulous grey girl.

            You can go with an open seat, minimal block dressage saddle over fences
            or
            flat seat, minimal block cc saddle for dressage - both work out about the same (assuming you're not jumping over 3 feet ): just choose the one that suits you the most.

            It sounds as if your current saddle is just not for you - a different AP saddle may be fine.

            Comment


            • #7
              I sense an E-Bay jettison coming on!

              FWIW, I've never sat in a Passier or Kieffer in my entire life that I was willing to ride across the pen in. Dunno whose butts they're made for, nobody's I know!

              Comment


              • #8
                I vote for suck it up and buy a modestly-priced CC or AP saddle. If you buy the dressage saddle, you face three potential problems:

                1. What if your fabulous greenie goes through a phase where she'd benefit from hopping over a fence or two, even on a "flatwork day"? Yes, it's possible to jump in a dressage saddle, but most people don't enjoy it--especially if your greenie is going through an "OMG I'm a little unbalanced!" stage.

                2. You'll just have to suck it up and buy another CC or AP later.

                3. I know you don't even want to think about this, but it's a young horse. She will grow out of whatever you buy, and you'll probably be in a huge hurry to resell to finance a bigger badder saddle purchase. CC saddles have a much wider resale market than dressage saddles.

                If you prefer, you could approach the problem backward. Figure out what CC saddles might work on the horse, either by consulting your fitter or relying on collective COTH wisdom. Once you have some models in mind, you'll be able to compare a more tangible alternative to the Wintec Pro dressage.
                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  I believe horse is 6 so shouldn't change all that except for muscling - saddle fitter should be able to offer a decent prediction ... if you buy something in vogue that you can more easily sell later on, you'll likely also pay a bit more.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Or go on E-bay and buy a big ole mooshy Stubben that at least you won't come out of--or need a chiropractor after!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Did you already ask all of the people who have worked with her their opinions about what sort of saddle they might recommend? I know from the videos that Eric rode her with a CC saddle--perhaps he could name drop a few brands that might work. Same goes for JBRP--find out what brands of saddles you rode in that you and maresey liked and go from there.

                      BTW, there are a few crack E-Bay shoppers here that seem to be able to get saddles at great bargains--perhaps some might volunteer their expertise.

                      Good luck.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Bummer about your saddle, but I wouldn't write off all AP saddles just yet. I happily went prelim in an AP (old Stubben Siegfried), and often flatted in it. Sat through many an "AP = No Purpose" lecture at fancy clinics - but all were directed at other people, never at me. Hope you find something that works for your horse, you and your wallet!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by betonbill View Post
                          Did you already ask all of the people who have worked with her their opinions about what sort of saddle they might recommend? I know from the videos that Eric rode her with a CC saddle--perhaps he could name drop a few brands that might work. Same goes for JBRP--find out what brands of saddles you rode in that you and maresey liked and go from there.

                          BTW, there are a few crack E-Bay shoppers here that seem to be able to get saddles at great bargains--perhaps some might volunteer their expertise.

                          Good luck.
                          E-Bay saddle-hunter here. I can give you some pointers:

                          Know ahead of time, by sitting in saddles you like sourced locally and trying them on your horse (or otherwise from experience), what seat size, style, and tree size work for you; a lot of E-bay purchases are not returnable!

                          Have your E-bay account and PayPal set up before you start. Bid on a few knicknacks or small-ticket items to be sure you understand how the auction system works with respect to bidding and counterbidding before doing it with a saddle.

                          Always ask the seller any questions you may have about condition, fit, suitability, etc. Many of them will e-mail you more pictures on request. Keep it on your "watch list" until you see if anyone else is bidding--early bids tend to flag an item as desirable and tend to run up the price.

                          Know the fair market value of the object you like, and decide in advance whether you want it enough to exceed that, have a cap beyond which you won't go, or need to get it for a bargain-basement price.

                          See when the item will time out, and unless you want to bid early and so high no one will follow you there, try to arrange to be in front of your computer when the item times out--to bid at the very last minute. Remember you'll have to click "confirm" as well so leave yourself time. I tend to zing it in there at T-minus 20 seconds, which doesn't give the opposition time to react!

                          And the best advice of all--plan to do most of your E-bay shopping and buying over big holiday weekends like July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas; you'll have far fewer people bidding against you (maybe you'll have no one!) as they are all busy with travel and other distractions.

                          Happy Hunting!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            There a ton of older Stubben's out there. I believe the VSS flap is the most forward in the Seigfreid. Maybe some else can correct me? I rode for years in a now 15yr old Stubben and also a (approximately) 30yr old Stubben. Great saddles that last forever and great for sticking out the baby shenanigans.

                            If Stubbens fit the lastest pony, I would be all over it. Instead I wound up in a new County...ouch!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MtyMax View Post
                              There a ton of older Stubben's out there. I believe the VSS flap is the most forward in the Seigfreid. Maybe some else can correct me? I rode for years in a now 15yr old Stubben and also a (approximately) 30yr old Stubben. Great saddles that last forever and great for sticking out the baby shenanigans.

                              If Stubbens fit the lastest pony, I would be all over it. Instead I wound up in a new County...ouch!
                              The CS is either the same forwardness or a little more forward than the VSS, but they're both still quite forward. Stubbens are great--but on the tight budget the OP is talking about, do carefully examine the flocking and seat/knee roll condition on any older Stubben. The Stubben trees and leather wear like iron, but the last thing you need is to buy a $500 Siegfried only to discover you need a $350 strip reflock of the wool or a pricey seat or knee roll repair. They can still be an incredible bargain, though--the Siegfried is undoubtedly one of the best values for lower-level eventers on a budget.
                              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Saskatoonian View Post
                                Bummer about your saddle, but I wouldn't write off all AP saddles just yet. I happily went prelim in an AP (old Stubben Siegfried), and often flatted in it. Sat through many an "AP = No Purpose" lecture at fancy clinics - but all were directed at other people, never at me. Hope you find something that works for your horse, you and your wallet!
                                I went up to Training in a great Barnsby AP. Did dressage clinics, events, jumpers shows, local eq/hunters shows (it was black, gasp) whatever. It was always comfortable. It may not put your leg in the *exact* spots you want it for each discipline.... but for the average rider at the lower levels on a green horse it's not exactly the kiss of death.
                                A quick tutorial on interval training: Conditioning your horse for eventing

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  One more vote for selling the Passier...

                                  I, too, have had this dilemma. Happiest day of my life when I sold (expensive name brand here) A\P saddle that I couldn't get a good jumping position in to save my life and bought the $600 used Toklat Passport that I'd been borrowing for lessons. Honestly, I think a lot of alleged A/P saddles are designed for looking pretty on the flat and nothing more.
                                  The Toklat was supposed to be a stopgap measure, but I rode in it for 2 years and still use it on my youngster (other horse has outgrown it). It has foam panels, so can't be reflocked, but I've sure gotten my money's worth!

                                  I subsequently bought a Barnsby dressage saddle and a Black Country Quantum, both used, which I currently event in. The Barnsby I happened across at a show, and the Quantum I hunted for until I found it on Tacktrader. Love them both, and they fit my competition horse well (he is medium wide tree, medium-prominent withers). I say figure out what fits you and your horse, and then patiently hunt for a used version at a good price, buy it when you see it. No doubt you have friends with various & assorted saddles - that's a good way to try without any commitment.
                                  Rachel Kosmal McCart
                                  Equine Legal Solutions, Inc.
                                  www.equinelegalsolutions.com

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Thanks for all of the good ideas. JBRP's Stubben was a better for me but still not perfect. I don't know if the saddle fitter has used for sale (Suzie Coffee- anyone know?).

                                    She's already filling out, oh happy day. Will hang in there until Suzie the saddle fitter comes and near these suggestions in mind. Hadn't hear of Toklat.
                                    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
                                    Ms. Brazil

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