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Dressage Saddle, Short Backed Horse

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  • Dressage Saddle, Short Backed Horse

    Hey everyone.

    I posted a long time ago asking about saddles before I really knew what I was getting into.

    I have an arab/qh mix and for a while we were riding in a jaguar dressage saddle. But when in training his back changed and the saddle really doesn't fit anymore. No matter what it keeps sliding back back back and is now too wide.

    He was fitted for an Amerigo and he fit in the Amerigo Alto Pinero, I LOVED that the Amerigo wasn't so thick with all that padding but I didn't feel secure in it at all, the seat itself was too shallow. And I tried a custom saddle and it was so deep and thick that I felt stuck. So I'm searching for that happy medium if anyone has any advice.

    Someone mentioned trying a dressage CWD but I haven't heard too much about them. He has a shoulder that runs into a lot of dressage flaps, so any ideas to a saddle to fit would be appreciated!


  • #2
    I was lucky enough to find a used Barnsby "Raven" model that fits my Arabian perfectly. And it has a deep enough seat to make me feel secure, but is not too bulky.
    stained glass groupie


    • #3
      I have a Niedersuss Symphonie that fits my long shouldered, short-backed TB well. He had the same problem with saddles slipping and also hitting him in the scapula. They can be found pretty cheap usually and I consider the seat about medium deep. Good luck!
      No Trouble
      2/2/05 - 7/29/13
      Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.


      • #4
        Laser saddles are often good for the short-backed big shouldered ones. There are a few used ones, reasonable, but not cheap
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


        • #5
          I have a short backed/ big shouldered pony -with the opposite problem -his saddles slide forward. Trumbull fit him in a Kent and Masters....It is not super duper secure/ more close contact.
          However we also tried a Fairfax Monoflap (fit him but not me). The Fairfax has a very deep seat and huge blocks -maybe worth a try?


          • #6
            I was just talking to Kitt Hazelton of Trumbull Mtn Tack about this. I have a Black Country Eloquence X that was built with upswept panels to address this particular issue since I have Arabians. The saddle fits most of my horses just fine, but is still a bit too long (extending past the 18th thoracic vertebra) on my most compact Arabs so they are ridden in my close contact saddle which is shorter than the dressage model. Black Country now makes a saddle for Icelandic horses that has a cantle design that allows the saddle to have a shorter profile while still having seat room. My next purchase may well be a saddle built based on that model.

            Dawn Jones-Low
            Faerie Court Farm Arabian Sport Horses


            • Original Poster

              Thanks so much for the ideas. The icelandic saddle though looks much too shallow for dressage for me.

              I have a big butt as well so it doesn't help the short back with a bigger saddle.

              I'm going to look up the Raven and Fairfax, I have never heard of a Laser either.


              • #8
                Barnsby AVG.

                Good for short backed with moderate withers. Bought one for my Quarter Pony. It has thigh blocks, and as I remember, the seat was on the deeper side.

                Also- no slip pads are your friend!
                Unrepentant carb eater


                • #9
                  Give Stubbens a shot. I have an old Aramis that doesn't have a terribly deep seat, but other models do. Its plenty short enough even with an 18" seat for my Arab who wears a 68" blanket on a good day.


                  • Original Poster

                    LOL actually no slip pads are not my friend at all since they have not worked in the slightest for this saddle.

                    Candygirl thanks for the suggestion! I just have a personal vendetta against the Stubben saddles... most uncomfortable things I've ever sat in.

                    I'll check out the Barnsby though and Passier has a compact saddle as well.


                    • #11
                      You might try...

                      ...a Wolfgang Solo dressage saddle. I got mine through the wonderful Custom Saddlery rep here in Georgia, Nancy Bardy. My horse is VERY short backed, quite wide shouldered and I've spent so much $$$$ trying to make him happy in saddles - first time in this saddle early July, horsie was happy, and knock wood, still is happily swinging that back. I also have him in a Custom Saddlery Monte Carlo jump saddle...again knocking on that wood, cause Mr. Hot House Flower has been motoring along just fine now for over 3 months...LONGEST TIME EVER!!!! Good luck in your search - saddle woes are the WORST!
                      ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by DragonTea View Post
                        LOL actually no slip pads are not my friend at all since they have not worked in the slightest for this saddle.

                        Candygirl thanks for the suggestion! I just have a personal vendetta against the Stubben saddles... most uncomfortable things I've ever sat in.

                        I'll check out the Barnsby though and Passier has a compact saddle as well.
                        Even newer ones!? Because I'll give you the old school ones being hard (I still love them!) and potentially uncomfortable, but even my normally Stubben hating friends love my Roxane. It's only a few years old. They've changed things a lot.


                        • #13
                          I have a Collegiate Jessica on my Half-Arab. He's still young, but short backed in general and it fits him well though I do have a thinline half-pad under it as well.


                          • Original Poster


                            So I have spoken to many many sellers and fitters. He has more of a tb fit even though he's a little qh.

                            We're going to try a Kieffer Piet/ or Inzell or Lusitano
                            Amerigo DJ Dressage
                            and Prestige LC

                            None of these I have any experience with. So if anyone has please let me know.

                            I haven't ridden in a more modern Stubben so I'll give you that. I have no idea how they are now, I just know my jumper trainer had a tack room full of them and I hated every single one. But it doesn't help that no one I know has one around here. When I was up north everyone in eventing rode in Devoc. and Custom brand saddles. Down here everyone rides in Amerigo, Custom,

                            I've tried getting in contact with Custom saddlery here many times and I'm fed up with unreturned calls. I think it is very unprofessional.


                            • #15
                              The old Siegfrieds are what a lot of people don't like about Stubbens. The newer ones and dressage models are much different. My old Aramis is comfortable enough to do endurance rides in. I'd call it a half deep seat. It's deep enough to feel secure without feeling trapped, even when my Arab does silly Arab things.

                              The new styles with the Biomex seats are extremely comfortable. They're designed to compete with the cushier newer style saddles without sacrificing that close contact feel.


                              • #16
                                My short backed & sensitive ones go best in the Devoucoux Mendia. My super sensitive mare was SO much more free in her shoulders and comfortable in her back. It has a deepish seat and sizable knee rolls, but it doesn't "contain" you the way some deep saddles do -- you can move enough to modify your balance, leg, etc. but not so much you're insecure.
                                Have tried on these horses before:
                                (of course, you're horse is likely not identical to mine!)
                                Devoucoux Loreak - didn't clear the shoulders on my super horse quite as well
                                Hulsebos - many models - too much saddle, very "containing"
                                Schleese Infinity - too much saddle, slid forward onto shoulders
                                Stubben Maestoso - poor balance, slid forward onto shoulders

                                "A canter is a cure for every evil." - Benjamin Disraeli


                                • #17
                                  Dressage Saddle, short backed horse

                                  I feel your pain! I recently went through trying at least 20 different saddles and three different saddle fitters (all disagreed with each other ) for my wide, short backed horse. Add in longer than normal thighs on me (who has that??) and it was tough.

                                  I didn't try the devocoux mendia (but may at Rolex time!), and don't have a Schleese person locally, but that's about it.

                                  saddles that fit his short back,
                                  Balance (too open for me, but fit him)
                                  Niedersuss (MY FAVORITE!!!) but wide too narrow, and x-wide too wide for him
                                  Classic - Ended up buying this one. Look for a used one, I guess the company is sold and they are no longer being made in the UK. But it's a very nice saddle, good quality and IT FITS!

                                  Good luck. You'll find one. I'm happy to not be actively looking!!


                                  • #18
                                    I have found a great fit with the Anky dressage saddle. My TB is super short backed. I was frankly surprised at how well the Anky fit both of us. Love riding in it and it gives me a very stable position. Sold my custom saddle and bought this instead and it was a great move.
                                    Last edited by bathsheba8542; Nov. 1, 2012, 04:16 PM.


                                    • #19
                                      Passier Compact - designed especially for short backed horses. Amazing on my horse - night and day different. I got a year of training progress for the price of the saddle.


                                      • #20
                                        you need a deep seat with upswept panels? maybe try looking for a Prestige 2000D. it's one of their older models so you should be able to find it pretty easily used...
                                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!