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Worth it to get a new saddle?

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    Worth it to get a new saddle?

    I tried out a few CWD saddles the other day and I really liked one in particular. I felt more anchored in the saddle and my body, especially my hands and lower leg, was much quieter (one of many things I'm working on).

    I have two hangups, however:

    -Price tag (at least $3,000 for a used one)
    -Seat issues (see below)

    Can a better saddle "mask" issues with one's seat that would normally be exposed in a "lower quality" or less fitting saddle? Put another way, shouldn't a competent rider with a solid seat still be solid, regardless of saddle fit? Am I doing myself a disservice by picking up a fancy saddle without first rectifying my seat issues?

    #2
    You are doing a disservice to yourself as a rider by trying to force yourself to function in a saddle that puts you out of balance in a way that makes you struggle with your position.
    A loose lower leg indicates that you are probably in a saddle with a twist too narrow for your build (CWD has a wide twist). Getting the right twist isn't cheating, it's basic, frankly. Would you argue that a person with exceptionally long legs should learn to ride with knees hanging over the edge of the flap before cheating and getting a properly fitting saddle? I doubt it!
    If you were a dressage rider and asking if it's cheating to get the biggest blocks and deepest seat on the market to hold you in place instead of learning to sit the trot I'd have a different answer for you.
    Buy the saddle!
    www.TheSaddleTree.com
    www.TrainingTree.net

    Comment


      #3
      A well fitting saddle makes the world of difference. It doesn't mean you are cheating. It means you are no longer fighting against something that either didn't fit you or the horse previously.

      Comment


        #4
        You definitely don’t need to pay $3,000 to buy a used one. Figure out what you need size wise and shop around!
        Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana
        www.saradanielhaynes.com

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          #5
          A well fitting saddle that puts you in a balanced position is not cheating. You shouldn't be fighting your tack every time you ride. Do you need to spend $3K to accomplish that? Probably not, but you might have to try a number of different brands/models to see what works. The twist, the position of the stirrup bars, the seat depth and panel position all influence your balance.
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

          Comment


            #6
            A well-fitting saddle is always a better choice than a poorly fitting saddle. The right size and configuration of saddle is always worth pursuing.

            There are definitely riders out there who have a philosophical preference for “old school” saddles, flatter and much less padded than newer styles. CWDs tend to be super-cushy in the seat and blocks and I see a lot of med-deep seats on them. If you get accustomed to that newer style and then you borrow an old pancake of a saddle, or even just a modern saddle with a flat seat, you’re going to feel really unstable until you adjust. Some of those riders might argue that a cushy saddle is cheating, but you can feel free to ignore them. :-). Life’s too short.

            ETA - there are about 4 million used CWDs on the market these days. You probably don’t need to spend $3k (as much as their original owners would like it). At the very least, get all of the specs of the one you like and look around for an older model or one in less pristine condition.

            Comment


              #7
              Wouldn't you rather ride in a well-fitting saddle than fight your equipment every time you ride?

              Riding in an ill fitting saddle is not a penance to teach you how to ride better. It's a disservice to yourself to use equipment that doesn't serve you.
              "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Sport View Post
                A well fitting saddle makes the world of difference. It doesn't mean you are cheating. It means you are no longer fighting against something that either didn't fit you or the horse previously.
                When you sit down in a saddle that's right for you, you go "AHHH!". You can tell immediately--your body just falls into a balanced position, and it's no work to maintain it...and it makes working with your horse so much easier.

                Comment


                  #9
                  First, fit the saddle to the horse.

                  Second, get the saddle that feels best to you! There is a reason why so many French brands come at a premium beyond the quality. They are designed to "put" you in place and keep you there for the most part.

                  I had an Antares that I LOOOOOVED because of how secure I felt, but alas, my horse's back is a barrel. So I got a Tad Coffin and am lreearning how to keep myself in position a bit more than I used to have to. (I'm not letting go of that Antares, though!)

                  But the flip side is that if your saddle fits your horse first, it will be much easier for you to keep your balance because your horse will have an easier time feeling balanced his/herself.

                  I also agree that you should be able to fine an older still nice CWD for less than 3k. My saddle budget is rarely over $1700 and I've been able to find fantastic older models for that price.

                  Good luck!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    First, you need to fit the saddle to the horse. So until you have at least a long term lease horse, buying a saddle might be pointless if you are riding 5 different lesson horses and it only fits one of them.

                    Second. When I went back to adult returning rider lessons I rode in whatever saddle fit the lesson horse. Honestly it did not make much difference in my seat and position then and I secretly thought, well that's nice, I'm very adaptable.

                    When I got my own horse I got good quality (used) saddles that fit both me and horse. I currently have a Passier Optimum dressage saddle and a Passier jump saddle both reflocked for my horse. I feel very very comfortable and secure in them. Also now I ride well enough that a really bad saddle fit *will* make a negative difference in my seat!

                    Now, my coach can ride in any saddle and not lose her excellent equitation even if the saddle us hurting her! She is also a person who I once saw drop her stirrups when a horse felt humpy because it was easier to balance a buck with no stirrups. In other words she is way beyond me.

                    So, no. A saddle that fits you well won't magically fix your seat problems but it won't create any additional problems either. If you had one horse to ride I would definitely say go shopping.

                    Comment

                      Original Poster

                      #11
                      Thanks for the input everyone. I definitely don't need to spend $3k and it was just one saddle, there are other brands out there I can try.

                      Scribbler You bring up a good point. I won't be riding just one horse for the foreseeable future. I will most likely be riding a few to several different horses.

                      The current saddles I use aren't necessarily bad and they're not uncomfortable (depending upon which horse I ride, some don't work on specific horses). But I tend to have similar issues in all of them which weren't as evident when I rode the CWD.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Centaursam, the problem with buying your own saddle is that it may not fit all the horses you will ride, now and in the future.

                        When I got back into riding I could no longer ride my own horses since they were spirited horses who KNEW I could ride since I had broken/trained them and they could not understand why I did not want to "play" anymore like I could several years in the past.

                        I started back on lesson horses, using my old saddles (Crosby Wide Front PDN, Stubben Siegfried). Creative padding "helped", as in no back sores. Then I bought a Corrector pad (now called the Protector) by Len Brown and the horses liked it so much better than my earlier padding up.

                        I even tried a treeless saddle. That did not work well for me because of my balance problems.

                        Then I inherited some money and for the first time in my life I could get a GOOD saddle. I researched to find out it there were any saddles that were usable on several different horses with different shaped backs. I researched the Tad Coffin saddles (could not afford one), the Bua saddles (probably too long for the horse I was riding mostly then), and the Pegasus Butterfly saddle, which is cheaper than the Tad Coffin saddles and only a little bit more expensive than the Bua saddle. The last time I looked they went from the low $3,000s to the mid $4,000s, depending on which one you want. There are sometimes some used ones on E-bay too.

                        The Pegasus Butterfly saddle, combined with a Contender II BOT/ThinLine shimmable saddle pad is what I finally decided would work best. I've had the saddle for years now, when I change horses I either add or subtract the shims in the saddle pad, and I have not had any problems keeping the horses more comfortable. There are some challenges I had to overcome to ride in this saddle, mostly because of my absolutely horrible side-to-side balance. The front part of the tree is on hinges, and it expands/contracts to fit the horse's shoulders when girthed up, it can fit narrow horses AND it can fit the WIDE horses up front. One of the challenges of riding in the Pegasus Butterfly saddles is that the horses are so much more comfortable up front that they gladly extend their strides in response to my leg aids, and I had to tone my leg aids down. My 17" Pegasus Butterfly Claudia jumping saddle fits me just as good as my 17" Crosby that fit me like a glove (well, almost.)

                        I would NOT buy an expensive saddle with a regular tree and expect it to fit every horse you may ride now and in the future. Life just does not work that way with horses, unfortunately.

                        My riding teacher did not know what to think about the Pegasus Butterfly saddle at first (it looks a little different) but now she appreciates that I can ride most of the horses in her stable in a saddle that fits me and, at the same time, is comfortable for the horse.

                        Good luck finding a saddle you like. There are lots and lots of threads here on saddle fit from people who are desperately trying to find a saddle that fits their horse.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          There's a limit to how much adapting is realistic for you. If you have to think about fighting the saddle, that only makes your job of learning a good seat harder, and that might cause another set of bad habits. The best saddle is one that fits both you and the horse. But having a saddle that is balanced on the horse doesn't mean it works for your conformation. For example, if you are put into a chair seat, you will have trouble with your balance--you are not able to sit in the correct balance point for that saddle. If a saddle is far too small or too big, that will also mean it isn't made for you to put your leg and seat where they need to be.

                          Talk to your trainer about the saddles you are using and the horses you are riding. From what I remember of your video, you might need a larger saddle than the one you were riding in, or at least one with a longer straighter flap so you could lengthen your stirrups more comfortably. Then look at which model of CWD you liked best--is it a flatter or deeper seat? What size? What is the flap? How does the tree on that one compare to the trees on these other saddles?

                          For a taller rider, you might do well having your own saddle if it would be possible for it to reasonably fit some of the horses you ride with a fairly standard setup to the panel (so you don't pay a lot of money for a saddle that is a very specific fit for the horse when you don't own or at least lease the horse).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            If you have your own horse or lease one that the saddle fits then I say it’s worth it to spend 3k on a saddle. Even if you don’t own or lease you can still buy a nice saddle. There are plenty of older and nice quality saddles of various French brands that are more affordable but if you’re in love with the CWD and you can shell out the money for it then I say go for it!

                            The nice thing about CWDs is that they hold their value and if you buy a newer one then it’s *typically* easier to sell later on if you sell your horse or it doesn’t fit your new one (but it also depends on seat size, flap length, gullet, ect).

                            Comment


                              #15
                              A good fitting, well balanced saddle is well worth the money and as far a I'm concerned, that is an extremely reasonable price for a good fitting saddle. Some will turn their nose up at the idea of a "fancy" saddle but they do hold their value for a reason.

                              For what it's worth, I bought a well used, decent priced high end saddle on FB that seemed to work well for me and it got me along for a few years. But when I started leasing a new horse, I couldn't even get him to canter. Now, I'd been riding at that point for 23+ years, start my own under saddle, been around the block, jumping up through 3 foot with success. So not by any means incompetent. But that saddle put me so out of balance, I couldn't get a simple canter out of the dude, let alone lead changes or keep my balance over fences. I bought new and it still isn't perfect, but my god the difference was unreal.

                              I totally agree with those who say fit the horse first, because I'm fighting that now. But DO NOT skimp on fitting yourself. Human saddle fit will make or break you. It is by no means cheating, buying a "fancy" saddle that works better for you. Riding in a saddle that isn't a flat slick pancake doesn't make anyone less of a rider. A balanced saddle makes you more functional, which in my mind is more humane to the horse. Why would anyone want to be dysfunctional and ineffective in the tack? Granted there are the occasional exception but saddles to me are one of those things that you get what you pay for.

                              If you have the money to spend and it fits the horse, buy the saddle!!
                              *I have a pinball machine of a mind. I apologize in advance if I leave someone behind. Sometimes I can't even keep up*

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Hi! So exciting. I do not think $3k is unreasonable for a used, high-end saddle. In my opinion, Butet is the “magic” saddle. I’ve been a groom and a rider and have ridden in Voltaire, CWD, Butet, Tad Coffin, etc.

                                if you’d consider trying different brands, I’d at least throw Voltaire and Butet into the mix. As a groom, when picking up saddles I noticed how hard & heavy CWDs were. Voltaire’s are soft and Butet is somewhere in between.

                                Of course there are many top riders in the world who swear by CWD.

                                I bought by Butet because my boss had one and after riding in it, I never went back to my Tad Coffin (not saying that’s a bad option either, just was old and not for me anymore!). We had a variety of horses at that barn (30!) ranging from GP warm bloods to OTTBs. We would change out the half pad depending on the horse, but overall their backs were all great and the saddle was able to comfortably fit all the horses.

                                Some brands have PRO panels & I am assuming that’s what I got with my Butet as the panels I have are the most common combination. If you’re interested, PM me and I’ll shoot you a picture of my stamp.

                                Good luck and congratulations on your exciting purchase! Definitely worth every penny.

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Sorry, the saddle needs to fit the horse before it fits the rider. This hunter/jumper mindset where people buy one medium tree foam flocked French saddle and then stick it on every single horse they ride is ridiculous and needs to stop.

                                  Then they are all convinced that the saddle fits when they have no idea what a gusset is, or a K panel, or why you would want either of those, or any of the myriad things to consider in assessing whether the saddle actually fits the horse.

                                  In dressage barns, each horse gets its own saddle, or select horses with particular back shapes share a couple of different saddles among them with specific pad configurations as assessed per horse. It is a completely POSSIBLE cultural phenomenon when dealing with high end luxury pets to ensure that each luxury pet works in a well fitted saddle, but for some reason the h/j world is willfully oblivious to this point.

                                  Don't buy one saddle and stick it on every horse you ride.
                                  Just do not.
                                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by meupatdoes View Post
                                    Sorry, the saddle needs to fit the horse before it fits the rider. This hunter/jumper mindset where people buy one medium tree foam flocked French saddle and then stick it on every single horse they ride is ridiculous and needs to stop.

                                    Then they are all convinced that the saddle fits when they have no idea what a gusset is, or a K panel, or why you would want either of those, or any of the myriad things to consider in assessing whether the saddle actually fits the horse.

                                    In dressage barns, each horse gets its own saddle, or select horses with particular back shapes share a couple of different saddles among them with specific pad configurations as assessed per horse. It is a completely POSSIBLE cultural phenomenon when dealing with high end luxury pets to ensure that each luxury pet works in a well fitted saddle, but for some reason the h/j world is willfully oblivious to this point.

                                    Don't buy one saddle and stick it on every horse you ride.
                                    Just do not.
                                    While I understand what you’re saying, in my case it just isn’t feasible to have a custom saddle made for every horse when many of the horses in our barn don’t have owners that actually come ride them.

                                    We had a variety of half pads to help the saddle to fit (big ugly foam things for the OTTBS, and think line or Ogilvy for warm bloods). We also had a well-known vet ride with us who would routinely check our horses backs. Found a couple horses with custom made saddles actually had sore backs. So, I think it’s really hard to definitively say what is right.

                                    I suggested PRO panels because they’re designed to be universal. Arguably most horses of the same breed are built similarly, therefore a general saddle should fit most horses the same and you can adjust with a half pad to compensate for conformation.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by Rumorhasit93 View Post

                                      While I understand what you’re saying, in my case it just isn’t feasible to have a custom saddle made for every horse when many of the horses in our barn don’t have owners that actually come ride them.

                                      We had a variety of half pads to help the saddle to fit (big ugly foam things for the OTTBS, and think line or Ogilvy for warm bloods). We also had a well-known vet ride with us who would routinely check our horses backs. Found a couple horses with custom made saddles actually had sore backs. So, I think it’s really hard to definitively say what is right.

                                      I suggested PRO panels because they’re designed to be universal. Arguably most horses of the same breed are built similarly, therefore a general saddle should fit most horses the same and you can adjust with a half pad to compensate for conformation.
                                      The owner of the horse should buy it tack that fits it for you to ride it in.

                                      Do you provide the bridle and halters and lead ropes and blankets too?

                                      When I was riding professionally, I told the owners to buy their horses saddles that fit, and then I rode in those.

                                      And if you must buy the tack for your clients' horses, would it kill you to buy more than one saddle so that as a professional you have a couple available for the different back shapes in your barn?

                                      Guess what, I own multiple saddles, too.

                                      It's just a cultural thing. The trainers PREFER to ride in the one saddle that is THEIRS, but you don't see them buying the reins and bridles they like or the matching blankets they want or the matching monogrammed tack trunks they want. Clients can be asked to buy all that stuff but the trainer quietly prefers to ride every last horse in their old butet whose technology went obsolete 7 years ago, so then all of a sudden the owners are buying everything for the horse EXCEPT a saddle that fits but make sure that McGuinn tacktrunk comes in posthaste so the aisle can match.

                                      And you dont need to have a "custom saddle made for every horse". You should have a saddle that has been professionally fitted for every horse. Two horses can often share a saddle, with minor differences in the half pad used, etc. But no, my one jump saddle does NOT fit the horse I currently ride, so I ride that horse in the OWNER'S jump saddle, or my dressage saddle, both of which were deemed suitable fits by a certified professional.

                                      You could probably have two or three saddles and a selection of half pads and do fine, with a professional fitter coming out every few months to see how every horse in the barn is doing fit wise as part of your care program. Tell your clients this is the standard of care in your full training program and bill the clients accordingly.
                                      The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        So I had originally decided not to purchase the saddle as I won't be sticking with just one horse.

                                        But the CWD sales rep recently brought a demo saddle with her when she was dropping off other saddles at the barn and left it there for me to try out. I tried it out on different horses and I definitely felt a difference in my riding. It's an amazing saddle and it made me realize that I'm doing myself a disservice by riding in "lesser" saddles.

                                        I was going to buy it on the contingency that I could put down a deposit and then pay off the rest over the course of the year. Sadly, they don't take any payment plans other than larger, short-term payments and they have an abysmal financing option complete with 14-20% interest

                                        So I went online to see if I could find something used from someone else and found the same saddle being sold on eBay. Just from the photos it looks to be in great condition, same year as the one I tried (2017) and I can make an offer so I might be able to save a few hundred bucks compared to the one directly for CWD.

                                        Problem is I've never bought something that large off eBay and I don't know of any risks of buying a used saddle off the Bay.

                                        Thoughts?

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