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Any good saddles without blocks, for tall people?

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  • Any good saddles without blocks, for tall people?

    I'm suffering the saddle blues. (Sorry to clog the board with yet another saddle thread).

    My history:
    I bought my horse four years ago, and at the time was riding in a HDR. It didn't fit my horse and got too small for me so I sold it and bought a Barnsby Milton. After about a year, my horse had changed and didn't fit it anymore, and I was having some problems with it, too, so I sold it, and until I could find another, borrowed my sister's Ainsley Chester for the summer. My horse got injured, and so I started the saddle search the next spring when we had been working after rehab for a couple of months. I ended up buying a County Conquest that at the time I really liked and had the rep out and it fit the horse nicely. I thought I had finally solved the problem.

    After riding in the County for about a year and a half, I'm having a lot of troubles. No matter how hard I try to stay with my horse over fences, I just feel like I can't. I've tried really hard to strengthen my lower leg position, I've experimented with different stirrup lengths (in all honesty, I don't have to put them that high for my knee to go over the flap, and then when I get in two point they still look too long), I've tried really focusing on my leg and keeping it steady over the fence, and no matter what I do, it still moves a lot. Getting to the jump with a good rhythm helps, but I still fall back too soon. I cringe at pictures of myself. I'm fairly tall, about 5'8", with long legs, and I think especially a long femur. The only way for me to feel balanced just doing two-point on the flat is for me to shove my legs out way in front of me, but that puts me in a chair seat for sitting in the saddle and makes me fall back when I try to sit up to balance, etc.

    I think back to all of my saddles that I've had, and I see pictures of my riding in the HDR, and my position was best then. It's not bad in the Ainsley, and I also remember really liking a saddle (I think it was just a little Collegiate) that a H/J instructor let me ride in for a lesson. The big thing I can think of that was similar between these saddles was that they either had no knee roll at all, or it was very small, like a pencil knee roll. When I started riding in the Barnsby and now my County, my lower leg position went to pot.

    So, in short, I guess I'm wondering if there is a good eventing saddle that I could use for both jumping phases (I'm only going Novice for now, but would like to move up), that would suit a tall rider (I'm pretty positive I need forward flaps), that DOESN'T have knee rolls or blocks? It seems like everyone wants blocks these days, but I feel like it almost holds my leg off the horse and I can't get as close a contact. Or even, have any of you other tall folks found success with any saddles, regardless of whether they have blocks? I know I shouldn't blame my problems on the saddle, but I really do feel like I'm fighting it. I really don't want to have to go on the saddle hunt again, but I fear that I will have to. I just have no idea where to start.
    God forbid that I go to a heaven in which there are no horses

  • #2
    The Collegiate Convertible Diploma has a option for a lengthened flap. I have it and I am 5'9" and I fit it very nicely, it has a very very small knee roll too. It comes with the option of wool flocking instead of the CAIR panels too. Hope I helped and happy saddle hunting!
    I would also look into stubben too, they have a big selection for tall long legged riders.
    Eventingismylife
    http://www.jumpingthebigsky.wordpress.com

    Comment


    • #3
      You could try a Beval Natural. The one I've got is a deep seat (hunter deep, that is) with I think a long forward flap. It may be an 18". Great balance, and nothing to hinder your leg. If you try a stubben, try an 18" - you'll have a little more room. I fought with mine for years. You could also try a Stackhouse, depending on budget. You can get used ones.

      Comment


      • #4
        Tucker we've talked about this at the barn, but just to review...

        Your #1 problem is probably the seat size on your saddle. You're riding in a 17" and you probably need a 17.5" or 18" based on your long femur length. You're never going to be with the motion if your whole body is behind it due to the seat size. I wouldn't be surprised if trying a 17.5" or 18" County Conquest would fix all the issues (since the County Conquest, by definition, already has a forward flap). It's not easy finding a 17.5" County Conquest, but I wonder if your local friendly County rep could dig one up for you.

        If you prefer minimal blocking that's fine, but most saddlers can take knee blocks off for you without much fuss or expense so there's no reason to discount a saddle just because it has blocking. Colin Kimball-Davis in Massachusetts will do it FREE if you let him keep the blocks. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you can take them off of most saddles yourself with a seam ripper.

        Once you go over about $2300 retail, any of the saddle brands will gladly provide you with a flap as forward as you like. I can't think of a single exception to that rule. So if you want to pony up the big bucks, you won't have a problem finding what you want.

        If you're trying to stay under $2000, you'll be largely restricted to saddles that are sold off the rack with a forward flap option (ie no custom work). Some options to consider:

        Prestige Eventing and Prestige Nona Garson, both retail over $2000 but a diligent and patient shopper can find them used for less (the complication here will be finding a 17.5" which is the most popular seat size by far)

        Courbette Vision, using the eyeball method I don't think this will fit your horse, but you never know until you try. A well-loved XC saddle by many. Retails around $1700

        Stubben Siegfried VSSG, that's the very-forward-flap version. 30+ years of eventers can't be wrong about this saddle--I have ridden in a few of them and they're surprisingly comfortable. As it is not the fashionable saddle of the moment, you can pick them up for peanuts. Retails around $1900 I think?

        Stubben Roxane S, a true XC/show jumping saddle. Good alternative to the Berney Brothers Dublin Jumper which would probably fit you and your horse, but it's hard as a rock to sit in.

        Ovation 4-Star Event Saddle with Long Flap Option, a sleeper hit in the eventing world. Most people have never heard of it, but people who have it really love it. At a retail price of $1100, if it were a close fit for the horse you could pay to have it converted to wool and still be well under $2000. I have never seen it in person so can't comment on whether it would fit Tucker.

        Bates Caprilli CC or the Bates Eventer CC with the forward flap (this is what my 6'2" trainer in Michigan rides in, and it would fit your horse fantastically. The Caprilli in particular would be a good choice because if you remove the velcro flexiblocs, it rides VERY close in contact. I used to own that saddle and loved it.) Along the same lines, if you will consider synthetic, the Wintec Pro Jump is basically a synthetic Bates CC with a forward flap. The Bates models have gone out of fashion a bit too, so you can get them as cheap as $800-$1000 on the used market now. It is a bit tricky to find a 17.5" forward flap model on the open market, so if you went this route it would make sense to trade in your Conquest for a Bates saddle at Equus Now to avoid the hassle of searching for a used one....

        BdH Special XF - in my experience BdH's ride like the more expensive French and Italian saddles at a fraction of the price. The regular BdH has a pretty ho-hum flap, but the Special XF's flap is set more forward and longer. A potential steal at $1500. I think it's exclusive to Dover Saddlery.

        Used versions of Albion Kontrol XC, Albion Ultima Kontact, Schleese XC Saddle, Black Country Tex Eventer, Black Country Vinici Tex Eventer, and Devoucoux Chiberta with a forward flap option. Good luck finding ANY of those in 17.5" forward flap on the used market, but if you can find it buy it

        Finally, I hesitate to recommend these last three because in my opinion they are not "true" forward flaps and having seen your leg in person I don't think they'd be quite forward enough...but several of the Philippe Fontaine by Stubben saddles (particularly the Diana and Danielle) have fairly forward flaps, as does the Pessoa Legacy Line. Not as forward as some of the options mentioned above.

        Don't despair. You WILL find something, promise. If I were you I'd start with the Bates/Wintec stuff since you can easily get access to a demo at Equus Now and they come with moveable/removable velcro blocking, so you could really explore this blocking issue.
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          You may want to look into a monoflap. They tend to have more forward flaps and there is no extra bulk between you and the horse. The blocks that they have help your position if your leg slides quite a bit, but do not restrict you at all. This is one of the monoflaps my taller students prefer
          http://s297.photobucket.com/albums/m...1.jpg&newest=1

          Comment


          • #6
            Well, based on the above response, if you're still riding in a 17" saddle, that's the biggest part of your problem! If you are 5'8" with a long femur, you likely need at least a 17.5 if not a 18". I'm 5'7" with a longish femur and ride in an 18". Seat size in an english saddle has little to do with ass size and everything to do with length of femur! So, start there, and I suspect you will begin having a lot more success!
            http://www.chronicleofmyhorse.com/profile/MarnieCollett

            "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."-Aristotle

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with all of the posters above. Seat size is roughly equivalent to the length of your thigh, NOT the size of your rear. I'm 5'5, but I measure a little over 18" from hip to knee, so I take an 17.5" - 18" jumping saddle. I'm currently riding in a 17" Amerigo monoflap, but the only reason it works for me is because the flap is forward on it. I sat in a Black Country and definitely need the 17.5" or my knee sits on top of the block. What I suspect is happening is that your knee is pushing your seat back into the saddle, so that you're sitting behind the balance point of your saddle, which is causing you to go all cattywhampus over jumps. If you were truly in balance with your saddle, you wouldn't have to fight at all. Just an FYI.
              "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." - Thomas Edison

              So, the Zen Buddhist says to the hotdog vendor, "Make me one with everything."

              Comment


              • #8
                My 2 cents . . . I'm 6' tall with a long femur.

                The Schleese Peter Gray probably doesn't have a forward enough flap. I tried it. Nice on the flat; not so nice to jump.

                The Stubben VSSG saddle put me in a chair seat.

                Ainsley Chester (old ones) - Great saddle and when you find them used their are about $500.

                Wintec Pro XC - not the pro jump, this one is a true forward flap saddle. Discontinued model so if you find one, snap it up.

                County Extreme - This is what I currently ride in and love it. Also discontinued so they are hard to find.

                Jeffries Flyover -- nice saddle but you need to go up an extra inch over what you think you need.

                Barnsby Diablo - haven't tried it but it looks like it might work.
                Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm not sure if I can help, but I'm 5'11", and I just bought a used 19" Ashely & Clarke, made in England, at a local consignment shop. The knee rolls are very minimal. I didn't want anything that was too forward (my husband rides in a Stubben Siegfried VSSG - extra long). I tried an Albion but the flaps on the Ashely & Clarke were actually 1" longer. I'm only doing low level eventing but I love it. It was $950. Good luck in your search.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I'm 5'10" with long legs, and got my hands on an OLDER Bates Caprilli with long flaps. The blocks are held in with velcro.

                    Works beautifully for me, and the adjustable gullet is great for my growing youngster!
                    "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I don't have any brilliant suggestions, unfortunately, but I wanted to comment based on Jen's post - I have an 18" Phillipe Fontaine Diane if you would like to try it sometime. I'm about 5'7" with a longish femur and I'm very happy with it.
                      ~Nancy~

                      Adams Equine Wellness

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Just be careful with the bigger saddles. I tried that -- bought a 19" Ideal saddle. It was too long for my horse's back.

                        Fit me fine though!

                        Originally posted by juanbadcat View Post
                        I'm not sure if I can help, but I'm 5'11", and I just bought a used 19" Ashely & Clarke, made in England, at a local consignment shop. The knee rolls are very minimal. I didn't want anything that was too forward (my husband rides in a Stubben Siegfried VSSG - extra long). I tried an Albion but the flaps on the Ashely & Clarke were actually 1" longer. I'm only doing low level eventing but I love it. It was $950. Good luck in your search.
                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hey Bogie - Thanks for the piece of advice, I didn't notice the saddle being too long on him actually, I think I was really excited that it fit both of us - he's a QH with low withers, i.e. a mutton back. My husband said if I find something else I can always sell this one. What size saddle do you ride in?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I ride in an 18" County Extreme which has a forward cut flap or an 18" Wintec Pro XC. When I had an Ainsley, the 17.5" worked fine.

                            On many horses the 19" might have worked but my TB is fairly close coupled and that saddle just dwarfed him .

                            Originally posted by juanbadcat View Post
                            Hey Bogie - Thanks for the piece of advice, I didn't notice the saddle being too long on him actually, I think I was really excited that it fit both of us - he's a QH with low withers, i.e. a mutton back. My husband said if I find something else I can always sell this one. What size saddle do you ride in?
                            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Jeffries FLYOVER!!!! the saddle is amazing, everyone i know that has tried one loves it and it fits us long legged people!! I am 5'10 with a 34 inseam (actual measurement not pants length!) very secure and close contact, nothing bothers you... i use it for all 3 phases since no dressage saddle fits me...
                              owner and friend of members of the Limping And Majestic Equine Society.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I'd like to chime in on this thread because I currently have a 17" bates caprilli on trial. I used it for the first time today and liked it, but compared to my old school plain flap crosby pdn I guess it would seem pretty great. I'm 5'9 with a 19" hip to knee length. According to what everyone is saying on this thread the 17 must be too small? I just assumed b/c I weigh 125 lbs I would be swimming in anything else. I'm not exactly sure what the perfect flap length looks like. I would hate to get the wrong brand new saddle!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by equinkel View Post
                                  I'd like to chime in on this thread because I currently have a 17" bates caprilli on trial. I used it for the first time today and liked it, but compared to my old school plain flap crosby pdn I guess it would seem pretty great. I'm 5'9 with a 19" hip to knee length. According to what everyone is saying on this thread the 17 must be too small? I just assumed b/c I weigh 125 lbs I would be swimming in anything else. I'm not exactly sure what the perfect flap length looks like. I would hate to get the wrong brand new saddle!
                                  Well... I am shorter than you (5'7") and have a slightly shorter thigh than you do, and a 17.5 Caprilli CC was not forward enough for me.
                                  SportHorseRiders.com
                                  Taco Blog
                                  *T3DE 2010 Pact*

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by CookiePony View Post
                                    Well... I am shorter than you (5'7") and have a slightly shorter thigh than you do, and a 17.5 Caprilli CC was not forward enough for me.
                                    So what did you end up getting? I really liked the way the Caprilli feels. I know caprilli has a long and forward option. Which one would be better?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by equinkel View Post
                                      So what did you end up getting? I really liked the way the Caprilli feels. I know caprilli has a long and forward option. Which one would be better?
                                      As someone who used to own the Bates CC long flap, forward is probably better for a long thigh. This is my former trainer in Michigan. As I said above, he's 6'2". The saddle is an 18" Bates CC forward flap. The horse is mine, so nobody get in a tizzy about posting the horse without permish.

                                      http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w...y/IMG_5582.jpg
                                      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I'd like to chime in on this thread because I currently have a 17" bates caprilli on trial. I used it for the first time today and liked it, but compared to my old school plain flap crosby pdn I guess it would seem pretty great. I'm 5'9 with a 19" hip to knee length. According to what everyone is saying on this thread the 17 must be too small? I just assumed b/c I weigh 125 lbs I would be swimming in anything else. I'm not exactly sure what the perfect flap length looks like. I would hate to get the wrong brand new saddle!


                                        I just bought a new saddle this summer. I am 5'8 and have very long legs. My saddle however is a 16.5 inch with a long flap option. I would try and find a saddle with long flaps before looking at 18 and 19 inch saddles. I know that the seat size has a lot to do with the flap length, but it has to do with the seat size too! I would be swimming in an 18 inch saddle and so would my horse!

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