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Dressage saddle help--typical TB issues

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  • Dressage saddle help--typical TB issues

    So, my fitter completely nixed my dressage saddle yesterday. I was hoping the fit could be fixed, but apparently not at all. (It was an older KN). Horse has TB withers, a flattish (but not super flat) back, on the N side of an M tree. The KN was both too wide and too curved.

    I am trying to find something affordable, fairly quickly, since shows are underway. He had some great suggestions that I have been googling, but they seem to be fairly obscure for the US used market, and at 2-3K new are more than I can swing, so I wondered if anyone knew if there were some common saddles that might fit similarly?

    The Ideal Suzannah and Jessica both fit fairly well in a M, he also suggested I look for a Prestige Milan, Kieffer Freestyle, Albion Platinum, Passier Antares, or possibly a Hastilow or Kent and Masters. EBay and used tack sites are not really littered with these, though I will keep looking and contacting, wondered if anyone knew of similar, maybe more common models that might work? Was hoping to stay ~1K, as my KN is going to have minimal "trade in" value.

    Thanks for any suggestions!

  • #2
    Over your budget and not sure what seat size you are looking for

    Rick's Heritage has a good selection of saddles. They have the Platinum too in a 17.5 but for $3,000.
    Since I am local to Heritage my saddle fitter will take wither tracings of a horse and then go through the website to make suggestions on what she thinks will fit. Since Rick's has such a large selection would your fitter be willing to look at their website and suggest ones that she thinks will be worth trying?
    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)


    • #3
      Thorowgood T-8 maybe? I have their high wither version. It is 1/2 leather and 1/2 synthetic but I don't think anyone can tell it isn't all leather from a few feet away.

      It is comfortable and affordable.

      The Hastilows and the Kent and Masters use the same adjustable trees.


      • #4
        not very helpful but i'm 90% my kieffer is a freestyle, as it doesn't seem to match up to other DR saddles. it fit my VERY difficult to fit horse (TB as well, with SI issues and MW but needed wider clearance for the spine) beautifully with minor adjustments. had it for 3 yrs and it has been very lovely. still looks the same as when i got it, and i believe it is an older model.
        AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


        • #5
          I've found the Prestige 2000 fits a lot of TB types well and you can find one for close to $1000 on EBay. I'd look for a 33 which is a medium or a 32 which is about as narrow as you'll find. The tree can be adjusted up to 2 cm by VTO Saddlery.

          As long as the shape is good, you can pad it up so I'd recommend a 33 for a typical ottb who will likely fill out to fit a 33 with muscling.


          • #6
            I really like Stubbens-- just got a used Scandica for $400.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Highflyer View Post
              I really like Stubbens-- just got a used Scandica for $400.
              Hear hear. I agree and you can flock these to fit. I'd look for a 30?


              • Original Poster

                Thanks all! Appreciate the ideas as well as the approach--figure out what is out there and see what of those would work. I do see a ton of Prestiges and Atubbens in the budget, many more so than the Ideals. I will keep an eye out for the Thorowgood T8 too--that is on the fitter mentioned.

                ETA--thoughts on the BC "Original Eden?" There is one on ebay


                • #9
                  I find the Ideal to be uncomfortable to sit on. Very wide twist. But I know others who like it.


                  • #10
                    I found a used County Connection - M/N with skid row panels - for $1200. Your guys sounds a lot like mine and the fit is quite nice on him. I have a Trilogy for sale -fit the horse great, but the seat was too small for me,only it's over your budget.

                    Check out the Hastilow site - they have a bunch of used saddles - http://www.hastilowusa.com/second-ha...e-saddles.html
                    Last edited by MontanaDun; Sep. 4, 2013, 06:05 PM. Reason: adding info


                    • #11
                      Don't know how the Kieffer Freestyle compares to the other models, but the local sporthorse/ back specialist vet recommended one for my TB. I picked up a Wien on his recommendation for something like $700 and my fitter declared the fit "practically custom." The nice thing is that the Kieffer trees can be widened to match a template -- so when my guy bulked up, it only cost me $80 to have that done by Dressage Extensions. :nods:


                      • #12
                        often a horse with a flat back and a high wither is a M or N in the wither area and a W in the back area.
                        That's how all of my horses have been...even the warmbloods.

                        I just make a make-shift gusset and have a Wide saddle.
                        As long as the saddle doesn't bridge I'm good to go.

                        The only saddles I've had bridge are those with wider weight bearing panels. I have great luck with the up-swept panels (banana shaped panels) because most of my guys are quite short coupled.
                        Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                        • Original Poster

                          I think I might be using the term flat back incorrectly--I mean he has high withers, but not a ton of curvature up toward the SI. He is not particularly flat across the back from side to side. The panels of the KN curve too much lengthwise, so it rocks front-to-back, kind of the opposite of bridging.

                          The County and Kieffer suggestions are great, thanks. I saw only a couple (and very $$) Freestyles but tons of Wiens out there, so that is encouraging.

                          WD--thanks for the feedback on the Ideal. I didn't even ask to sit in it as it was new.


                          • #14
                            I have a Kent & Masters for my OTTB, who sounds like he is about the same shape as yours. Adore that saddle, worth every single penny if you can find one in your price range. Sits on him like it is made for him with incredible wither clearance no matter what!

                            Also, Kent & Masters was previously Fairfax, so if you see one of those, same saddle. Some do have external knee blocks, which I hate, but that's just a personal preference thing.

                            I'll second (third?) the Thoroughgoods, they use the same trees, IIRC and they look super nice. I'd love to buy their jump saddle as soon as a money sack falls from the sky!

                            For my other horse, I have the BC Eden -- I don't think you want that for your horse. It's exactly the opposite shape, with a curved tree from withers to cantle, great for my curvy Appendix with wither hollows, not good for the OTTB!
                            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

                            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
                            We Are Flying Solo


                            • #15
                              Did your fitter give you an idea of what fitting features your horse may need? Some Tbs need features like a full front gusset, dropped or K-type panel, and so on. Most UK saddles can be ordered (and some come standard) with these features.

                              The BC Eden is usually built on their "dippy" tree, which works for the type of back the name suggests. You might contact Annette Gavin at Hastilow USA and see if she has anything used that might suit - she has Hastilow, BC and Kent & Masters/Thorowgood, and she's a very good fitter.
                              Kitt Hazelton
                              Saddle Fitter


                              • Original Poster

                                Kitt, he felt that dropped or gussetted panels would help. Also a smaller mouth in front (one of the ones he tried on him, a Frank Baines was too open), as well as the less curved tree.

                                My Albion Kontact jumping saddle fits him acceptably, without gussetted panels, so it may depend on the overall shape?

                                He actually suggested contacting Annette, and there was a saddle on her site that looked like a possibility, so I emailed her some photos/tracings--that's a good reminder to follow up, thanks.