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1 saddle to fit many horses?

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  • 1 saddle to fit many horses?

    I currently have two very different CC type saddles but would prefer to have only 1 that can fit multiple horses. I have an HDR Pro Show Jumping saddle that fits my very uphill (read: steep withered) but beefy backed gelding great, but doesn’t fit me right and wants to put me in a chair seat. I also have a Collegiate Convertible Diploma that, with the medium gullet it comes with, fits my high-but-not-quite-shark-withered, and slab-sided/slender TB mare with the assistance of a half pad and makes me feel *lovely* while riding on the flat. I haven’t done much jumping yet but am headed that way – so, not sure if it’ll feel as lovely over jumps or not. I also have a coming 3 year old who currently looks like she’s going to be beefy backed like my gelding, but with very little wither. However, I know her back is going to constantly be changing as she grows and starts working.

    The HDR (regular width) doesn't have enough wither clearance for the TB. The Collegiate (with the current gullet) is too narrow for my gelding. I got the Collegiate with hopes of changing out the gullets, but apparently that process is basically a 2 person job (or else I’m just inept, which could be the case).

    Is there a saddle that sits similar to the Collegiate Diploma, but will be able to be used on many different horses with different conformations?

    My dream would be to get a Tad Coffin with the newest tree, since it sounds like it’s meant to fit just about every horse. Unfortunately, that’s way out of the budget. I’ve been eyeing the Beval Artisan with interest – and at $2,500 retail that is the very max I could spend (if I could even swing that – I’m not sure at this point). I could probably go used – I know a lot of people suggest that option. I worry about that, though, because I feel like that saddle would be broken in to some other horse and some other person – and wouldn’t that potentially make it not sit right for me and my horses?

    Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions. It’s funny – I told myself I wouldn't add to the deluge of saddle threads, but here I am, struggling to make a decision and asking the wise people of COTH for advice.
    ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

    The equine love of my life: Gabriel
    4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

  • #2
    Changing the plate in the Collegiate isn't a two person job. It's a one person job that probably requires some practice. While I truly hate, hate, hate those saddles, you should be able to do it yourself in under 5 minutes after doing it a few times.

    There is no saddle (including Collegiate/Wintec/Bates) that will fit two very different horses. With a budget of $2500 you could find a very nice, used, Antares or Childeric or [insert name of fancy saddle here]. However, no matter what the saddle, it will not fit the backs of two horses with back that are as different as you describe.

    There is no danger in buying a used saddle apart from damage you can't see such as a broken tree. If you buy a wool stuffed saddle it can be restuffed for a modest amount of money. The worry you have about it not being right for your horse or you can be allayed by putting it on your horse to see if it fits and then riding in it to determine if it is good for you.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by gumshoe View Post
      Changing the plate in the Collegiate isn't a two person job. It's a one person job that probably requires some practice. While I truly hate, hate, hate those saddles, you should be able to do it yourself in under 5 minutes after doing it a few times.
      Thank you so much for replying! The practice-makes-perfect is probably my issue. I've never tried to undo the current gullet, but 1 of the screws actually fell out of it recently, so I decided to take it completely apart and give it a go - and it was a bear to get it back together. That, coupled with other people saying how tough they are, made me think this is not going to be a pleasant experience. With time and practice, that may change.

      Originally posted by gumshoe View Post
      There is no saddle (including Collegiate/Wintec/Bates) that will fit two very different horses. With a budget of $2500 you could find a very nice, used, Antares or Childeric or [insert name of fancy saddle here]. However, no matter what the saddle, it will not fit the backs of two horses with back that are as different as you describe.
      This was what I was kind of expecting to hear, but hoping I wouldn't. I hoped there was some majikal saddle that would be able to fit each of my horses without much fuss. I guess if that was the case, though, there wouldn't be all these different saddles with different trees and gullets and widths, etc. You'd just have to give your first born child to the saddle maker to get a saddle that would work for every horse for the rest of your life.

      Originally posted by gumshoe View Post
      There is no danger in buying a used saddle apart from damage you can't see such as a broken tree. If you buy a wool stuffed saddle it can be restuffed for a modest amount of money. The worry you have about it not being right for your horse or you can be allayed by putting it on your horse to see if it fits and then riding in it to determine if it is good for you.
      That was, by far, my biggest concern with buying used, so thank you so much for clearing that up for me. So, it doesn't really matter so much who it's broken in by - you just have to sit it on your horse and ride in it to be sure it works. Also good to know about the wool flocking - I'll keep that in mind if I decide to go used!

      So, I guess my challenge now becomes finding a saddle that fits my beefy-backed horses, yet puts me in a good position. That HDR has held up like a champ so far, but I never realized how bad of a position it put me in until I rode in the Collegiate. I really want a more comfy saddle for the sausage-ponies.
      ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

      The equine love of my life: Gabriel
      4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by ClassyRide View Post

        My dream would be to get a Tad Coffin with the newest tree, since it sounds like it’s meant to fit just about every horse. Unfortunately, that’s way out of the budget. I’ve been eyeing the Beval Artisan with interest – and at $2,500 retail that is the very max I could spend (if I could even swing that – I’m not sure at this point). I could probably go used – I know a lot of people suggest that option. I worry about that, though, because I feel like that saddle would be broken in to some other horse and some other person – and wouldn’t that potentially make it not sit right for me and my horses?
        There is no such thing as a saddle that fits every horse. That's a marketing ploy and it seems to work! Everyone wants a saddle that will fit every horse and the more the saddle costs, the more they want to believe it. Depending on the horses involved, you can sometimes use padding to accommodate a number of horses. The shimmed saddle pads can be very useful. However, if the shape of the tree or the panels doesn't work, no pad in the world will truly make it fit.

        Buying a saddle with a medium or medium/wide tree (depending on your horses) and investing in a good pad is your best bet. Or, get more proficient at changing out the gullets on your Collegiate.

        Also, if your HDR is putting you in a chair seat have you considered that it might be slightly too narrow? If it's pommel high, it might put you behind the motion. The other consideration is the position of the stirrup bars. Saddles where the bars are forward put you in a chair seat. It depends on the length of your femur, the position of the flap, the size of the seat and the position of the bars. If you haven't already seen them, watch the Schleese saddle fitting video series on YouTube. They do an excellent job of explaining fit for the rider as well as fit for the horse.
        Last edited by Bogie; Feb. 15, 2013, 10:23 AM. Reason: added info
        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by Bogie View Post
          There is no such thing as a saddle that fits every horse. That's a marketing ploy and it seems to work! Everyone wants a saddle that will fit every horse and the more the saddle costs, the more they want to believe it. Depending on the horses involved, you can sometimes use padding to accommodate a number of horses. The shimmed saddle pads can be very useful. However, if the shape of the tree or the panels doesn't work, no pad in the world will truly make it fit.

          Buying a saddle with a medium or medium/wide tree (depending on your horses) and investing in a good pad is your best bet. Or, get more proficient at changing out the gullets on your Collegiate.
          You're so right - everyone wants to believe that marketing ploy because it would make equestrian life SO much easier! I guess if it sounds too good to be true, then yes, it really isn't true. I've toyed with the shimmable pad idea, too, so it's good to know that's a (possibly) viable option. I'm just going to have to determine if the shims are going to work for my particular situation.

          Originally posted by Bogie View Post
          Also, if your HDR is putting you in a chair seat have you considered that it might be slightly too narrow? If it's pommel high, it might put you behind the motion. The other consideration is the position of the stirrup bars. Saddles where the bars are forward put you in a chair seat. It depends on the length of your femur, the position of the flap, the size of the seat and the position of the bars. If you haven't already seen them, watch the Schleese saddle fitting video series on YouTube. They do an excellent job of explaining fit for the rider as well as fit for the horse.
          I didn't have a comprehensive knowledge of what may or may not be working with the HDR, so it's wonderful to have that list - thank you! I figured it may be the flap or my femur length - never thought about the stirrup bars or the possbility of it being too narrow. I'll absolutely watch those videos - thank you so much for all the info!
          ~*~*~*~Founding member of the Spotted Saddlebred Pals Clique~*~*~*~

          The equine love of my life: Gabriel
          4/6/1993 - 8/23/2015 ...RIP my big, beautiful boy <3

          Comment


          • #6
            I have had considerable success with the shimmable pads. I have a beloved County Extreme that is the right shape for my current horse but too wide. I have used it shimmed without any problems but have decided to have the tree professionally narrowed this spring. I foxhunt and that's not the best discipline for multiple pads because the rides are long and the terrain is uneven. I would prefer to have a saddle that just fits.

            I also am fostering a horse for the winter for CANTER. He came to me underweight and with no muscle so it made the most sense to use a saddle on him that may be a hair too wide but which works with the right padding.

            I have my saddles checked every six months for fit and have worked with my fitter so that I understand my padding options.

            My impression is that the "pro fit" types of saddles are mostly just M/W trees that come with fancy pads. I could be wrong, but that's what I've deduced.
            Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
            EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bogie View Post
              Buying a saddle with a medium or medium/wide tree (depending on your horses) and investing in a good pad is your best bet... if your HDR is putting you in a chair seat have you considered that it might be slightly too narrow? If it's pommel high, it might put you behind the motion. The other consideration is the position of the stirrup bars. Saddles where the bars are forward put you in a chair seat. It depends on the length of your femur, the position of the flap, the size of the seat and the position of the bars. If you haven't already seen them, watch the Schleese saddle fitting video series on YouTube. They do an excellent job of explaining fit for the rider as well as fit for the horse.
              ^^^^ this

              Comment


              • #8
                I will say I have a Tad Coffin, and have leases 4 different horses in the past year and a half. I also ride multiple other horses every day. With the Tad Coffin half pads I have never seen a horse my Tad Coffin did not fit.
                There are plenty of used Tad Coffins, and even if it is an older saddle you can put the new Smartride Technology in it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Spinn View Post
                  I will say I have a Tad Coffin, and have leases 4 different horses in the past year and a half. I also ride multiple other horses every day. With the Tad Coffin half pads I have never seen a horse my Tad Coffin did not fit.
                  There are plenty of used Tad Coffins, and even if it is an older saddle you can put the new Smartride Technology in it.
                  How is that so different from buying a medium wide tree saddle and a good padding system? My point is you don't have to spend $4K+ to achieve this effect because there's nothing magic about padding up saddle that's wide.

                  And I can show you at least two horses that the Tad Coffin didn't fit as a friend of mine owned both of them while her Tad sat neglected in a tackroom. That did not make her happy! Sometimes the shape of the tree or the panels is just not going to work on a horse no matter what pad you use.

                  There are some saddles that do seem to fit a lot of horses. I have one in my tackroom that came from an obscure Austrian saddle maker that has also fit most of the horses that I've used it on. In fact it's the "go to" saddle for anyone who needs to borrow one. It looks as heck of a lot like a Roosli A/P according to my fitter. It's nicely balanced and has upswept panels that work on all but the narrowest and widest horses. Those saddles are out there but they don't have to be $$$ and they don't fit every horse. Heck, even my treeless saddle doesn't work on every horse!

                  I think that Kieffer has one of the best systems. They make all their saddles with a medium tree but those trees are infinitely adjustable using infrared technology. They still won't fit every horse, but they sure will fit a lot of them. No padding required.
                  Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                  EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    A saddle like this does-

                    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/orthoflex/Used14852.html

                    Orthoflex doesn't make any english saddles other than dressage saddles now, but there are some used all purpose like the one linked above and some jumper saddles out there. They were called UK models and they were designed by Frank Baines.
                    "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Well, as a Tad owner, if you added up the $$ I spent on pads for that saddle, I probably could have bought a spare. That said I love it for me.

                      I had a similar problem and I bought a Circuit Victory today with the rotate to fit system. Now, will this work for any horse? No, but with a good memory foam pad (I use an ecogold) to fill in any minor gaps, and being able to open up the front, I think it will work out okay. I'm not sure how it's going to work out, but I'm interested in the concept.
                      Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                      you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, as those pads sell for $250-$285 each, I can see how it could add up quickly.
                        Especially as they suggest that you might need several if your horse changes shape during the competition season!
                        Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                        EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                          Well, as those pads sell for $250-$285 each, I can see how it could add up quickly.
                          Especially as they suggest that you might need several if your horse changes shape during the competition season!
                          I have a Tad but I never liked the Tad pads.

                          That said by the time you add up a nice memory foam pad (ecogold, $175) a correction pad (Fleeceworks, $200) and maybe a shimmable thinline for the wide ones ($145+ shims) well, you could have basically bought a spare saddle for $600.
                          Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                          you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

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