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Can you handle one more saddle thread? Please?!

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  • Can you handle one more saddle thread? Please?!

    I have been following every saddle thread on here and have found the information so helpful that I couldn't help but give it a go myself. Bear with me... First things first I have about 3,500$ to spend realistically (although if you have a suggestion for the perfect saddle that's only flaw is its price just say so and I will keep saving! Lol) I am 5'10, primarily legs and thigh but I wouldn't say ALL legs/thigh. I am a permanent working student (no other way to describe it!) riding a wide variety of horses every day - which pushes me towards wool flocked I think? I recently sold my Passier military saddle which is a fairly old school xc saddle, deep seat forward flap etc. I have the opportunity to ride in a Stackhouse dressage saddle (which I ADORE) but have no experience with their jump saddles. I have a strong preference for a monoflap simply for convenience as my barn is primarily monoflap/short girths and as I say I must accommodate horses of several different shapes and sizes!

    Is this impossible? I love the look of the Voltaire Lexington... Rational help required please and thank you!

  • #2
    I HATE the Stackhouse I occasionally ride my employer's horses in, but I have been told that if the saddle wasn't made for you, there's a good chance it won't feel good. So, sit in a few, if you can.

    Since you ride many different horses, I would be very picky for YOU. It is easy enough to fix minor fit flaws on different horses with pads, so get what is best for you. When I was riding LOTS of different horses in a day (from draft crosses, to TBs, to ponies) I always just rode in a medium tree saddle and padded as needed for each horse. If the horse was wickedly hard to fit and particular, I would ride in what it liked. Some high end come with panels that are meant for pros riding many horses every day. CWD comes to mind...I have a trainer friend who has a CWD with "pro panels". That thing fits EVERYTHING.

    Like me, you have a decent budget, and can probably get a decent saddle, new or used, in that price range. Not much else to say, other than good luck. I'm finding the process mind numbing!


    • #3
      Interestingly, some of the older saddles are great if you sit on a lot of horses. If you can find an older Kieffer with a forward flap, I'd say go for it http://www.kieffer.net/jumping/norbe...f-fl/?start=0/. Obviously, with your budget, you can look at everything. I wouldn't do Devoucoux, which tend not to fit a lot of horses, nor something that is primarily done custom. You might try riding in some of the Black Country or County saddles and look at what www.hastilowusa.com has. Also agree on the CWD with pro panels. Good luck
      OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


      • #4
        My Luc Childeric DAC dressage saddle fits everything, I mean everything. I just don't know how that can be possible, but it has been. It is a MW and it fits my 3/4 TB and my big fat wb/connemara.

        I don't know about their jump saddles, but if they are built on the same panels, then I would look at used Childerics. I ride in a monoflap jump saddle and don't like what the Childeric looks like in that style (it looks funky to me), although I've not sat in one. But their dual flap jump saddles are lovely to sit in.


        • #5
          Did you find the Passier to be forward enough for you? I had one and the flap was too straight for my leg. I am 6' tall and have very long femurs. I went through a phase where I really liked the monoflap saddles but in the end decided it didn't make that much difference.

          I've done better with a County Extreme (the new version of it is the Conquest, I believe). I really, really like that saddle.

          I had a Stackhouse for awhile and initially it worked very well for me. Sadly, the newer ones are mostly foam (I bought mine used, I'm sure you can order them with wool) and it stopped fitting my horse after about a year and a half. For that reason I would stay away from the foam panels. My wool flocked saddles are a lot more adjustable (yes, I know the newer foam is nicer than old foam, but it still made me sad when I had to sell on the Stackhouse. It had been my dream saddle).

          There are some Black Country models that look very nice for the $$. I would like to try the Wexford.

          I also like Albion saddles. The Kontact is one that I would try if I were looking now.

          Some of the old xc saddles are also an interesting option. I like the old Ainsley Chester a lot and the Ainsley Pro National is a decent option, too. You can pick those up for short money.

          I had a Schleese eventing saddle for awhile and that was a monoflap -- nice saddle but didn't quite work for me.

          I also tried the Jeffries Flyover (monoflap) -- If I could have found that used in a size that worked for me and my horse I would have bought one. That's a saddle where you typically need to go up a seat size for it to fit. Those are more commonly available with foam panels but I've also seen them with wool flocking.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


          • #6
            I'm the opposite. I dislike wool panels. I find they get hard and require you to adjust them too often. Most higher end saddles now are with good memory foam which conform some to the horse and generally hold their shape. When riding multiple horses....I like a saddle with a nice wide gullet that will allow me to use pads to adjust the fit if needed. But what your really need is that the basic tree shape works well. I've never bought a saddle fitted specifically for a horse as all horses change.

            I have a pretty long leg, so finding a jump saddle with a forward enough cut can be hard. Most stock saddles lose their balance if they just shift the flaps more forward. My stackhouse saddles are really good in their balance for me and were made to fit a wide assortment of horses. But for the OP...I'd recommend trying a Wise saddle. For the cost, they have a very good balance and are nicely made. With the adjustable gullet, you also have a better chance that it will work for a wide assortment of horses but of course no saddle will work for all horses.
            ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **


            • Original Poster

              Hmmm this pro panel concept is interesting.... The Passier military is alright as far as the forward flap but I certainly feel there is room for improvement - at a certain stirrup length I run into the knee block and find my seat sliding back in the saddle behind the ideal balance to accommodate which is already a weak point in my position... Thanks for the ideas, I am lucky enough to be able to take my time and find just what I want ... I have been saving for a long time for this! (Not to mention clipping till my arms fall off... Lol)


              • #8
                I would also suggest CWD because of the pro panels. You can find some barely used ones in your price range that will have flaps to help with your long legs. I would not buy the calf leather though. It wears out quickly and if you are a working student I am guessing you want something to last a while.


                • #9
                  I love love love my Stubben Roxane. It's a 32cm tree. It fits just about anything I toss it on. It's a bit wide for a lot of horses (my Arab is WIDE), but a thick pad generally does the trick.


                  • #10
                    I have always been told that if you are riding many horses with the same saddle, to go with foam panels. They will retain their own shape - and conform to each horse, while wool flocked is a better idea for a single horse, as the wool panels will conform to that particular horse over time.

                    I would look for something with foam panels, medium wide, with plenty of wither clearance / wide gullet. This way you can narrow it with pads, or accommodate some of the wider horses.

                    WAY back when I was a working student riding many horses, I used my Crosby Hunterdon on everything, and found it fit most horses well. It had a high pommel that accommodated withers, and foam panels. But that was also back when most eventers and h/j horses had mostly TB blood – and tended to be a bit narrower than today’s beasts.
                    APPSOLUTE CHOCKLATE - Photo by Kathy Colman


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Appsolute View Post
                      I have always been told that if you are riding many horses with the same saddle, to go with foam panels. They will retain their own shape - and conform to each horse, while wool flocked is a better idea for a single horse, as the wool panels will conform to that particular horse over time.
                      I'm not sure that holds true. I have two saddles that I use on several horses -- both are wool. I had my saddle fitter evaluate them today and they fit all the horses I'm using them on fine.

                      My experience has been that for horses that are done growing and are in a maintenance program (so not gaining or losing topline) my wool saddles often need no adjustment (I have them checked every six months) so I don't find them to be high maintenance. There is one horse in our barn who is 20 and her saddle has needed some adjustment over the past couple of years as her body shape has changed.

                      As I said previously, I was far more upset that my foam Stackhouse didn't fit my horse after a year and a half . . . but I have a County that I've used on many horses and owned for more than 10 years . . . a Roosli that I've owned for 12 years . . . and an A/P that I've owned for four or five. It's the "go to" saddle in my barn and gets used by several people on their horses.

                      I will likely need to have the tree adjusted on my County but that's a pretty simple thing to do and will probably mean I get another 10 years from it.
                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                      • Original Poster

                        So what exactly is the pro panel? I mean I love the term... Their marketing is working beautiful and I already want one just seeing the phrase but can anyone describe for me the exact features/composition of it?


                        • #13
                          I have a Wise-Air that I use on multiple horses and it works great.


                          • #14
                            "pro panels" are just regular panels not fit for a specific horse. This allows you to "adjust as needed" but for the most part fit most horses 90% of the time maybe with a little help from a good pad.

                            Good Luck in your search. I agree with the poster sit in everything you can get your hands on.
                            Discover the Delgrange Difference


                            • #15
                              I think $3500 is realistic for what you’re trying to buy. It won't make the world your oyster, but you'll have ample choices on that budget.

                              Consider trying Stackhouse’s off-the-rack $3000 Legado monoflap. It’s designed by David Stackhouse and built in Argentina to his specifications, and it’s a very nice serviceable monoflap for someone like you who needs a generic foam-panelled fit suited to a lot of different horses.

                              People pick on Devoucoux, heck I pick on Devoucoux on many COTH threads, but there’s a reason that the Devoucoux Chiberta monoflap is among the hottest saddles on the market today: it fits a lot of horses passably and it fits a lot of tall, longer-legged riders beautifully. This also means it doesn’t usually fit any one horse spectacularly—but you’re a working student, “passable on a lot of horses” is the name of the game. You see these on the used market all the time in your price range. If you go this route, please consider pairing it with a half pad to help lift the Devoucoux recessed stirrup bars up and off the horse’s back. Also, plan to buy bigger in the seat than you’re used to; because of the seat architecture on the Chiberta, it tends to ride a little small, and folks often go up ½” in this saddle from their sizes in other high-end French tack.

                              The Voltaire Lexington is a lovely saddle, designed to compete with the Devoucoux Chiberta but built on a very different tree with a much narrower twist. It’s a nice piece of tack, and if you can find one that suits you and meets your budget, definitely consider it. But if all you have is $3500, don’t hold your breath. These do come on the used market occasionally but they are rare since the Voltaire brand is only three years old. Calling Voltaire directly wouldn't hurt; CWD Used Sellier seems to get these in trade sometimes too.

                              While we’re on “competitors to the Devoucoux Chiberta,” the Dutton RZ monoflap from Wise Equestrian has lots of “shades of Devoucoux” in its design. No surprise there since it’s designed by Phillip Dutton who is a longtime Devoucoux-sponsored rider. Between the adjustable gullet and the fairly inviting price tag, the Wise Dutton RZ monoflap is an option I’d take really seriously if I were you. They’re having a holiday special that’s worth checking out too.

                              As for your other options, virtually every high-end French, British, and Italian brand is making a monoflap. A lot of them are lovely products. They’re also a very diverse set of products; for example, a wool-flocked Black Country Vinici Tex Eventer Monoflap and a Luc Childeric Monoflap are going to ride like night and day. Some monoflaps have gee-whiz technology, like the Barnsby Xtreem Eventer’s carbon fiber tree, that are going to be hard to “get a feel for” without sitting in them. Most of the British monoflaps are going to retail at $3500 and under; most of the French/Italian monoflaps will retail above that mark, although that is a pretty gross generalization. (In fact, just to be fair, I’ll note some exceptions: the Italian Prestige monoflaps tend to retail around $3300. The Pessoa Monoflap, which is made in Argentina but is arguably very French in its design, is attractively priced at about $2050. The British Black Country Vinici Tex Eventer retails at about $3380 but the Custom Saddlery Monte Carlo monoflap retails at over $3800.)

                              Some things to think about as you select a monoflap:

                              1. Evaluate the saddle for durability, especially the workmanship and leather type. Someone who owns one or two horses might get along nicely with, say, an Amerigo monoflap with its thin calfskin seat and knee rolls. A working student who pounds their saddle pretty hard on multiple horses a day might prefer something more substantial, like or Black Country monoflap that’s built of a thick grain leather or a buffalo leather Devoucoux Chiberta.

                              2. Think about resale before you pull the trigger. Some monoflaps hold their value better than others, and some monoflaps are easier to find in demo condition with the depreciation essentially already taken care of.

                              3. I would never, ever buy a monoflap without trial riding it first. Because monoflaps typically have unmoveable knee and thigh blocks, it is way too easy to buy a saddle that seems to fit fine until you get on a horse and realize that your leg interferes with the knee or thigh block—maybe not all the time, but perhaps as you come off a drop fence or the horse spooks/shies etc. Always trial ride a monoflap, and it’s a good idea to close your eyes and have someone move your leg into a true 90-degree angle to see if your leg truly will be accommodated by that monoflap’s flap angle.

                              4. Consider what’s easiest to get in your region. For a lot of buyers, it simply comes down to what you can get on trial in your neck of the woods.

                              Good luck! Have fun shopping!
                              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Bzzy18 View Post
                                So what exactly is the pro panel? I mean I love the term... Their marketing is working beautiful and I already want one just seeing the phrase but can anyone describe for me the exact features/composition of it?
                                I have witnessed first hand the magic about this panel. The panel is a standard panel with no extra padding. This allows you to either leave it the way it is or use a pad to lift it up in the front or back. I have put this saddle on many horses that don't need a pad but I have used pads to make it fit the other horses better. You can buy the cheap foam riser pads and make it fit your horse because the panels aren't rounded! I was very impressed with it. The horses seemed to like it too.


                                • Original Poster

                                  This has been so helpful!!


                                  • #18
                                    Stackhouse is a decent saddle but I do think that a wool flocked saddle is more versatile when riding multiple horses. Black Country does make monoflap jump saddles and they tend to have a more forward flap and are around your price range.
                                    Jay McGarry
                                    sms trained saddle fitter


                                    • #19
                                      FWIW, my dearly departed Berney Brothers, that went on everything from giant Irish horses, draft crosses, TBs, and ponies, was a medium tree with wool flocking. In the 8+ years I rode in it, on multiple horses a day, there was maybe ONE horse it was uncomfortable on, and it was because she was super, duper narrow.

                                      I wouldn't suggest a BB monoflap (because I HATE mine...the one I mention above was a dual flap piece of heaven), but my point is that it was 1) wool and 2) a medium tree. Food for thought when considering what will work on many horses.


                                      • #20
                                        Consider trying Stackhouse’s off-the-rack $3000 Legado monoflap. It’s designed by David Stackhouse and built in Argentina to his specifications, and it’s a very nice serviceable monoflap for someone like you who needs a generic foam-panelled fit suited to a lot of different horses.
                                        I love this saddle & am surprised that there isn't more discussion about it - maybe VTO needs to oil it up & do a photoshoot

                                        (or send one off to FUS )