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The right saddle for me?

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  • The right saddle for me?

    Hi guys I need some help figuring out what type of saddle would suit me the best.

    I want to get my own saddle but I am having a hard time finding one that is comfortable for me. I am short (5'2") but I have longish legs with a really long thigh. I am looking for something for jumping and flat work, but mostly jumping and needs to be appropriate for high fences. I am usually a 16.5" inch seat but I am wondering if I need something bigger if my thigh is so long? I am not sure how this whole thing works. I am also looking for something with knee rolls and doesn't feel "bulky" underneath of me. Any suggestions? I am at a lost. Should I look for something with a more forward flap or just get a bigger seat? thanks for your help I am lost!

  • #2
    Do you have a budget for your saddle?


    • #3
      I'm similar to you, I'm 4'11" and have a longer thigh. What I finally found works for me is the 1E flap on the Antares. I have a 16.5" seat also, but mostly because 16" is harder to find. Of course now that I've finally found the one that worked well for me AND the horse that I was trying to fit (who was hard but not super oddly shaped) she has a new home and I need the money for a new horse since I haven't sold my pony yet, so I'm trying to sell it. I'm not really trying very hard though, I'm hoping to get a horse without having to do it, inevitably the other saddle I have won't fit the new horse and I will have to find another one anyway! The other saddle I have is a Berger (haven't been able to find a whole lot on the brand) but its German and very well made. I just bought it used at a tack swap for $160 and it's in great condition! We thought it had to be a 16 or 16.5 but when we measured it it was 17. It fits my leg perfectly also. I don't like that it's a 17" seat, it doesn't necessarily feel huge, but I know that it's way bigger than I need. I can get like a hand and a half behind me, but my sister said it doesn't look too bad, so as long as it doesn't look super huge than it's ok! I have found that most of the Beval saddles do not work for me. At least in the correct seat size. The newer Pessoa's seemed ok, but did not fit the horse. Older Pessoa's I think were ok also. Now when I'm looking for a saddle I'm looking for one where my knee hits somewhere around the middle to just slightly forward of the middle of the knee pad. I see so many people with their knees on the edge of the flap and I just can't ride like that. When I'm in a saddle like that my knee ends up moving in from of the flap and I start focusing more on that then riding.


      • Original Poster

        yeah my budget would be 1000$ and under. I don't need anyting super fancy but I am def looking to buy something used that is well made. Wear and tear are fine. I, too, also like my knee to be on the knee pad middle. Not over the flap but somewhere in the middle. Bevals do not work me either! I actually HATE the way they fit and feel.


        • #5
          What I did with my daughter who is built somewhat like you is have her sit in as many different brands of saddles possible. We went to a AA show to watch and she sat in Antares, CWD, Devoucoux, Butet, etc. The reps were more than happy to measure her and tell us her specifications based on their brand. I was up front that I could not afford new and were looking for a used one. My budget was $2,000 and we finally settled first on a CWD with a 17" seat because it was a deep seat. Her current saddle is a Beval Butet at 16.5", also used, that she likes now because it is flatter with less bulk. I could not find a lower end, off the rack saddle that would work. I know spending more on a saddle may be difficult, but in the end, a properly fitted saddle will make a world of difference in your riding because you won't be fighting the saddle. Also the leather is better quality too.


          • #6
            I had a Collegiate briefly that was really comfortable and put my leg where I wanted it but for some reason when I was trotting it felt like I was fighting the saddle. The flaps on those also tend to be fairly long. This was 13" from stirrup bar down and that was the regular flap. Other than trotting in it it was great. I like the older ones. Those seem to work well for me also. Up here we don't have too many good tack stores to try saddles at. We have a couple nice used stores but they still don't have a decent selection in my size. The new tack store doesn't have much either and they are far enough away that I would have to pick a saddle up Sat, ride in it Sat and Sun and take it back Sun because their 3 day trial period won't work when I'm driving that far and trying to get there after work on a weekday! But I've done my fair share of shipping back and forth from Beval. And I'm in CA so it's pretty expensive when the saddle doesn't fit! About $85 last time!


            • Original Poster

              What about an older bates? Or a Crosby? The new m Toulouse saddles look reasonable


              • #8
                The Crosby's always look like they have a straighter flap. And a longer flap. But I haven't actually tried one. I tried a couple of Toulouse saddles a few years ago and didn't care for either model I had. However the local tack store had a used Premia I think it was and I liked that one but the panel flocking (or whatever they use inside) were not even. Not that that is their fault, it may have been the horse. Otherwise I would have taken that one to try. I'm not a huge fan of movable blocks and all theirs have them. I just don't like the whole velcro thing. It bothers me for some reason. But the saddles look nice, haven't seen too many in person though.


                • Original Poster

                  I don't like the Velcro either! Would the longer,straighter flap be good for my long thigh? It might give me more room


                  • #10
                    I was told if you have a long thigh you need a forward flap or a bigger seat... I think you may just have to sit in a few things, but don't worry about the seat size, worry about the flap position. My daughter is 10 (just turned) and 4'7" and she sat in a PJ Degrange in a 16.5 and it did not swim on her. Then again she is riding in a Competition 16 and it's huge on her. So some brands do run smaller, and it makes a difference how flat the seat is as well.


                    • #11
                      I am almost 5'10 with a ridiculous amount of my height between my hip and my knee. I have an older (97) Pessoa that *almost* works for my leg but I have recently come to terms that the seat is just too small. I have an '07 Bates as well. The Bates has a good amount of pros - relatively comfy, the forward flap works for my leg as well as a non-custom is going to, incredibly durable, and I love the adjustable blocks. My only caveat is that it is not a saddle that makes you feel you are right on your horse (my Pessoa is much more close contact). If you can get over that, I think they are decent saddles for the money. The only time it really bothers me is when I am riding without stirrups.


                      • #12
                        Many of Pessoa models now come with several different flaps, in the GenX ( lower priced ) and Nelson Range ( over $2000 )


                        • Original Poster

                          yeah I think I am going to have to just sit in a bunch of saddles with different seat sizes and flap sizes in my price range and find what works for me! I am hoping to be able to get a good deal on something that is well made and comfy!


                          • #14
                            You haven't mentioned your horse in all of this - a saddle that fits you but not the horse is going to feel "off", tilting you forward/promoting a chair seat etc.

                            If you shop M Toulouse, talk to Classic Saddlery as they deal with a lot of them.

                            If you have access to a Stubben rep, try some of their saddles as they still have a good selection in their "Used" saddle sale


                            • Original Poster

                              i don't have a horse.....so I am going to be looking for something that has the potemntial to fit a variety of horses.


                              • #16
                                You might want to try Dover's Circuit Premier Special Eq - I'm much taller than you but like you all my height is in my thigh, and the fwd flap in a bigger seat works wonderfully for me, so you might be ok w/ either the fwd in your normal seat or a bigger size seat w/ normal flaps. It's a really nice saddle for the price!


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by StrawberryFields View Post
                                  yeah I think I am going to have to just sit in a bunch of saddles with different seat sizes and flap sizes in my price range and find what works for me! I am hoping to be able to get a good deal on something that is well made and comfy!
                                  Basically, that.

                                  That said, my advice would be to look for a combination of both: a moderately forward flap and a slightly larger seat size. Without knowing specifically what saddle you're looking at, it would be hard to advise further. Not only do saddles vary in the forwardness of their flaps, but they can vary in where the most forward part of the flap is located. For example, you might find a saddle with a fairly straight-flapped silhouette, but if it's cut more forward/bulgey toward the bottom of the flap it may still work for you. The schmancy French brands often call this an "AR" flap versus just a regular "A" forrward flap. Similarly, you can have two saddles in the same seat size and one may "ride" dramatically bigger than the other because of the length of the working center, the shape of the seat (U-shaped, vee shaped, somewhere in between), and where the balance point is located on the seat.

                                  The good news is that finding something used, for less than $1000, with a moderately forward flap, that works well for a horseless rider, isn't really asking for the world. I could name 15 or 20 saddles that fitting that description. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding something. I would advise you to shunt off a portion of your budget for corrective padding, though, which will give you more options for getting your saddle to work for various horses.
                                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                                  • Original Poster

                                    rolypolypony-i thought about the EQ saddle, too! It looks like its pretty well made. jn4jenny- thank you for that information! everything so far has helped


                                    • #19

                                      Maybe this one?
                                      Patience pays.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        hmmm maybe but I would really rather use my money towards a higher end used saddle