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Update #58-Dressage saddles that WON'T make me feel like I'm being split apart?

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  • #21
    What does your trainer say about this? Does s/he think your particular shape doesn't work for the saddles you have tried or that you're feeling this discomfort because you are not accustomed to riding with longer stirrups and in a different shaped saddle?


    I'm asking because if you have not yet been comfortable in any dressage saddle it's possible that just like a young horse needs to fill out before you buy a custom, you might be in a place where dressage saddles generally feel funky and it will take a few longe lessons with no stirrups to get it figured out.

    Have you had a saddle fitter out to see how you ride in various saddles and comment about what you might need? My saddle fitter doesn't only look at the horse but also the rider in the saddle we're trying or adjusting.
    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
    Ms. Brazil

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    • #22
      It would be helpful to see a conformation shot of the horse you're trying to fit. Much easier to make comprehensive recommendations that way.

      There are tons of saddles out there with narrower twists, and if your horse is a Tb, you probably can find one without too much trouble. Working with a good fitter is often the best way to go.
      Kitt Hazelton
      Saddle Fitter
      www.pantherrunsaddlery.com
      www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com

      Comment


      • #23
        I also have this sense with many dressage saddles. I really liked the Hastilow I had. I also like the Jeffries, both of which can be had at reasonable prices. I also completely love my Antares, but it is more expensive. If you had a sense of your knees going over the flap, don't go to a smaller seat size. With the straighter flap of a dressage saddle, the seat is where you get the extra space if you have a long femur.
        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!

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        • #24
          Everyone who has sat in my County Connection loves it. (I ride TBs.) It has moderate knee rolls. The one minus I find is that, for me, the stirrup bars are too far forward but I have remedied that by putting rubber rein stops on the bars to push the stirrup leathers back a bit.

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          • #25
            It is definitely true that if you aren't used to riding in a dressage saddle they will all feel funky, but that particular feeling of being split in half is probably about the twist.
            I ride in a size larger (seat) dressage saddle than jump saddle (although the jump has an extra inch on the flap for my leg) -- it's not always a one to one correspondence. I think you need to sit in some models that have a narrower twist and the right tree shape/size for your horse to see what works before committing to buying ANYTHING that you can't return.
            The big man -- my lost prince

            The little brother, now my main man

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            • #26
              Anyone who knows me knows dressage is not my favorite thing. I love my Voltaire monoflap dressage saddle. It has a great balance for me and a nice narrow twist. I will even hack a horse out in in it....and me, putting a dressage saddle on without my trainer yelling at me is not common! Plus it is fitting most of my horses well.

              You do need to find a saddle that fits you and your horses....but yes, there are saddles out there that will not make you feel like you are split in two.
              ** Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip. ~Winston Churchill? **

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              • #27
                I second the recommendation for an older Albion. I love the SL, if you can find a used one. Older Albions also usually have a tree shape that is better suited to a TB build, and you really need to focus on what fits your horse as well.

                Sorry you haven't had a good saddle fitter experience. I try to stay away from those selling a particular brand. If you can find one and they are properly credentialed, they are worth their weight in gold, IME.

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                • #28
                  Originally posted by TBFAN View Post
                  Sorry you haven't had a good saddle fitter experience. I try to stay away from those selling a particular brand. If you can find one and they are properly credentialed, they are worth their weight in gold, IME.
                  While most fitters do sell one (or more) line of saddles, a *fitter* (as opposed to a straight-up rep) will be more concerned with helping you find the right saddle, whether it's one they sell or not. They can make recommendations regarding fitting features for both horse and rider, and offer some suggestions on what saddles would be best to try. I don't tend to put a lot of stock in letters behind a fitter's name, since frankly, not all certified fitters are good, and not all good fitters are certified. IME, a fitter's reputation and "street cred" are a lot more important; if the general consensus is they're good (or the opposite), there's usually a reason.
                  Kitt Hazelton
                  Saddle Fitter
                  www.pantherrunsaddlery.com
                  www.saddlefitter.blogspot.com

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Kitt View Post
                    While most fitters do sell one (or more) line of saddles, a *fitter* (as opposed to a straight-up rep) will be more concerned with helping you find the right saddle, whether it's one they sell or not. They can make recommendations regarding fitting features for both horse and rider, and offer some suggestions on what saddles would be best to try. I don't tend to put a lot of stock in letters behind a fitter's name, since frankly, not all certified fitters are good, and not all good fitters are certified. IME, a fitter's reputation and "street cred" are a lot more important; if the general consensus is they're good (or the opposite), there's usually a reason.
                    Yes, this. Our local fitter does not represent any saddle company but has seen so many horses and so many saddles she can recommend the right model for most people and horses and adjust to fit. I don't even know what initials she has. In my book her initials are W.F.E. -- works for everybody.

                    Asterix and others are absolutely right that there are some saddles that will be better regardless. I'm on Team Narrow Twist myself and like my 2002 County Competitor.

                    I'd also add, though, that your fitter is an important piece of the puzzle because even the right saddle can do funky things to your position if it's not balanced correctly. Your saddle fitter might suggest changing the stuffing or s/he might recommend shims. You'd be amazed by how different the twist feels on a saddle that's pitched back compared to when it's properly balanced.
                    Shut up! You look fine! --Judybigredpony
                    Ms. Brazil

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Agree with Kitt, however, I'd be cautious about reputations too - I have known a "rep" several years ago who everyone loved and raved about how great he was. I had a bad experience as did some friends of mine. This guy really had no business "fitting" saddles. Although he was a good marketer.

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                      • #31
                        Meredith -- make sure you sit in ANYTHING you are going to buy first -- so I'd be careful of Ebay unless you've had a chance to sit in one. I agree with everything Kitt says, but even if the saddle fits the horse, if the twist is too wide for you, you will be miserable.

                        I hated, hated, hated my Albion SL. Ben is very wide, and even some narrow twist saddles, when made wide enough for him, were too wide for me. I was told by my trainer that I wasn't used to riding in a dressage saddle and I just had to do it to get used to it.

                        After one too many lessons ended with me trying to hide the tears that were sliding silently down my cheeks, she finally threw her hands up and said "Fine. You are clearly right. You need a different saddle." Ha!

                        Ben ended up in an EW Albion SLK which I still think is a bit on the wide side, but nothing as bad as the SL was. I'm still riding in it for the moment, while I'm waiting on the test ride Frank Baines that is coming for me to try. Sit in as many as you can -- I rode around in a Custom Saddlery model and it was "ehhhhh, ok" and then when Catherine pulled the Baines out of the truck and I sat down in that one, the angels sang from the heavens, and I've never been happier! Seriously.

                        I've always preferred a jumping saddle, but just the few minutes I spent in that one were so spectacular that I was stunned. My leg was perfect, my seat felt perfect, everything was all right with the world. We are going to get the test saddle in the 18" to make sure we have the right placement of the knee blocks and then they will build one to fit my mare, who is a tough, tough fit. (and all of this for under 3k! )

                        I have another Frank Baines dressage that I'm not riding in at the moment, as it is too narrow for the Princess, but I love it too. I was very fortunate in that at Rolex in 2008, I got to spend a couple of hours with Frank Baines himself in his tent in the trade fair -- it was early in the morning and rainy, and the trade fair was pretty empty. We talked saddles and construction and he had me sit in everything he brought with him on the saddle trees and we were able to choose a saddle that worked for me. Once I was ready to invest in one later that year, he was able to construct a saddle to fit my horse and it worked beautifully. My experience working with him and his daughter has been so nice, and they are a family run company, and have a very nicely made product for mostly under 3k.

                        In this country, they are represented frequently by tack stores, but there are also some fitters that are reps and I wish more folks were able to try them. But, then, maybe not, because I don't want them to get so busy that I can't get my new saddle

                        Anyway, make sure and sit in stuff -- otherwise you'll never know and even if the saddle is perfect for your horse, if it hurts you, you won't use it, and then what's the point of that?

                        Good luck!

                        Libby
                        I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                        Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          I cannot stand when people say, "You have to get used to riding in dressage tack." I believed that for SO LONG. I came from the hunters, and did all my phases in Eventing in my County Stabilizer. Decided I wanted to get a dressage saddle and start doing my dressage in that. Tried SO MANY, and all felt odd. I really fought the tack. I knew I needed a narrow twist, but that wasn't the only thing. I got with Lynnda at Classic Saddlery and told her all my woes. Told her about all the saddle I hated. Told her I guess I just needed to "get used to" dressage saddles. She totally disagreed, she said I should feel comfortable from the first ride if the saddle is right. She suggested a new MT model saddle, one of the Platinum line (I specified I would only go wool flocked). Sent it my way to trial and it was heaven from the first ride. So keep sitting in saddles!

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Another option to consider (though not a terribly popular one) is a saddle which is not necessarily a dressage saddle. One with a more forward cut flap which allows your legs to hang at a more natural angle can make a big difference. There are plenty of options, especially older saddles, with fine balance and a range of seat depths, which work just fine for dressage. The book Riding Logic, by Wilhelm Museler, contains photos of earlier dressage masters riding in saddles which today resemble all purpose saddles (the HORROR!), and they all seemed to be riding rather well. I know these types of saddles aren't in vogue now, but if a rider can't find a reasonable fit in a modern dressage saddle, they are certainly worth considering.
                            "There is always another day. Get a little, add it mentally to the plus column, go for a walk, try some more tomorrow." - Denny Emerson

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by Inclined View Post
                              Another option to consider (though not a terribly popular one) is a saddle which is not necessarily a dressage saddle. One with a more forward cut flap which allows your legs to hang at a more natural angle can make a big difference. There are plenty of options, especially older saddles, with fine balance and a range of seat depths, which work just fine for dressage. The book Riding Logic, by Wilhelm Museler, contains photos of earlier dressage masters riding in saddles which today resemble all purpose saddles (the HORROR!), and they all seemed to be riding rather well. I know these types of saddles aren't in vogue now, but if a rider can't find a reasonable fit in a modern dressage saddle, they are certainly worth considering.
                              Hehehe. Yes. My "dressage saddle" is actually an old dark brown Courbette Magic AP (GASP!). It looks like a dressage saddle ( I would NOT jump in it!) , fits my horse, it's very comfortable to ride in and doesn't split me apart like so many dressage saddles. Before this saddle I had an old Passier dressage that didn't have a narrow twist and was very uncomfortable to me.
                              Ottbs - The finish line is only the beginning!

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                              • #35
                                I also ride my dressage on one of my horses in an AP. I ride him in an Albion K2 Legend. Love that saddle!

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #36
                                  I actually just started riding with my new trainer, I took a 2 year break from serious riding. She told me what I hope is true "when you find a dressage saddle that fits you and your horse you'll LOVE it".

                                  I'm nervous following my trainer, or anyone too blindly, considering my old trainer was the one who told me to buy the Passier that NEVER fit me and wasn't a great fit on my horse.

                                  Originally posted by gr8fulrider View Post
                                  What does your trainer say about this? Does s/he think your particular shape doesn't work for the saddles you have tried or that you're feeling this discomfort because you are not accustomed to riding with longer stirrups and in a different shaped saddle?


                                  I'm asking because if you have not yet been comfortable in any dressage saddle it's possible that just like a young horse needs to fill out before you buy a custom, you might be in a place where dressage saddles generally feel funky and it will take a few longe lessons with no stirrups to get it figured out.

                                  Have you had a saddle fitter out to see how you ride in various saddles and comment about what you might need? My saddle fitter doesn't only look at the horse but also the rider in the saddle we're trying or adjusting.
                                  http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by Kitt View Post
                                    It would be helpful to see a conformation shot of the horse you're trying to fit. Much easier to make comprehensive recommendations that way.

                                    There are tons of saddles out there with narrower twists, and if your horse is a Tb, you probably can find one without too much trouble. Working with a good fitter is often the best way to go.
                                    This is a picture of Juice from this fall: JUICE

                                    Not sure if that's what you're looking for!
                                    http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #38
                                      Originally posted by Kitt View Post
                                      It would be helpful to see a conformation shot of the horse you're trying to fit. Much easier to make comprehensive recommendations that way.

                                      There are tons of saddles out there with narrower twists, and if your horse is a Tb, you probably can find one without too much trouble. Working with a good fitter is often the best way to go.
                                      This is a picture of Juice from this fall: JUICE

                                      Not sure if that's what you're looking for!
                                      http://www.clarkdesigngrouparchitects.com/index.html - Lets build your dream barn

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        OP- I see you are in Elkon. A trip up to West Chester isn't that bad and Rick's Heritage has a ton of used dressage saddles. You can at least start by sitting on a bunch.
                                        http://www.saddlesource.com/dressage.html
                                        There is one employee that is very helpful and knowledgeable about the saddles but I cannot remember her name.
                                        I am sure if you call Rick's and you let them know that you will need some help with the saddles they can let you know when she will be there.
                                        I don't know if you brought wither tracings and pictures if she can help you narrow things down further. But you can always ask before you make the trip.
                                        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)

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Bruno Delgrange has 3 models. All have narrow twist. The syracuse is the deepest. The Babylon is shallower. The Olympia is the monoflap and is on between the Syracuse and Babylon
                                          Discover the Delgrange Difference
                                          www.selledelgrange.com
                                          https://www.facebook.com/186984224707491
                                          www.ecogold.ca/

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