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Saddle Suggestions Needed Please! Also added pics of saddle I am trying!

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  • Saddle Suggestions Needed Please! Also added pics of saddle I am trying!

    So I am in the market for a new saddle for my young boy. My current saddle fits him alright but I have noticed lately it is sliding back a bit, and this saddle is being split between him and the leaser of my mare - so ultimately I am just wanting to get him his own saddle. My current saddle is a '03 Collegiate, bought it when I got my mare 10 years ago and fits her like a glove. No blocks, very close contact feel - very hard seat.

    Some Background:

    My Horse: 5 year old 17.2/17.3 Warmblood gelding. Very nice level topline - longer backed. Low/average wither (not withery at all) and quite a large shoulder. He still has some filling out to do, but he is fairly round.

    Me: 5'6" 160 pounds - I don't have long legs, but I think I have a fairly long femur. I feel comfortable in a 17.5" seat.

    What I am looking for:

    A mid-range saddle new or a higher end saddle used. I am not looking to spend a ton right now as he is a baby, and I am thinking a couple years down the road I will want to find something different. That being said I want something fairly nice quality. I like a very close contact feel - so far on anything I have tried I absolutely HATE knee and thigh blocks. They make me feel trapped and my legs hurt - is this normal?! lol. I prefer to ride in a light half-seat so no 'chair seat' type saddles. And I would like something fairly comfy

    So far I am trying some new mid range saddles to see if I like anything. I have 2 new pessoas at the barn to try this weekend.

    Other brands I have looked at and am thinking of trying are:

    Beval Natural - any thoughts on this one?

    What used higher-end brands should I look at? Childric/CWD/Antares? Hoping some of you experts can help me as so far I feel very anxious about saddle shopping and committing to a new saddle...feels like I am getting married again! LOL.
    Last edited by Hunter85; May. 17, 2013, 02:51 PM. Reason: Add Info

  • #2
    I would consider a saddle that is best for your horse first, then yourself second. I'm a devotee of Tad Coffin saddles. Sadly mine doesn't fit my horse so I had to by something else for him, a County Stablizer which I like as well.

    I personally have not had the best of luck with the current midrange saddles, so I elected to go for high end saddles but used. I have never ridden in the Beval Natural but have heard the Butet is like riding in a couch. I would check iselltack.com and mdtackexchange.com. Both ladies can help you out quite a bit. Nicole at MD is wonderful and really helped me out.


    • Original Poster

      Ok so I took some pics at the barn yesterday of the Pessoa I am trying, let me know what you all think of the fit.

      Just a picture of his back & shoulder:

      Pessoa Side View:

      Pessoa Front:

      And for comparison - my current saddle and how it fits

      Collegiate Side:

      Collegiate Front:

      Please let me know what you think of both saddle fits. In the pics it looks like maybe the Pessoa tips back a bit? I didn't notice it as much in person, but my horse has his head down in the pic...so not sure. I just keep thinking he has a huge shoulder from looking at these.

      HELP Please!


      • #4
        I'm not crazy about the fit of either of them, but the Collegiate is far better than the Pessoa. The Pessoa doesn't fit in any way at all.

        Actually, just had another look. Does the Collegiate bridge? It looks like it might.


        • #5
          It doesn't look to me like either saddle fits.

          The side pic of the Pessoa isn't great because the horse has its head down but that saddle looks like a party hat on the horse's back! It's perched up there and looks too narrow. Looking at the front view the shape of the tree isn't working either; the bars are digging into his shoulder.

          The Collegiate is a slightly better fit but it's still pommel high (too narrow).
          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


          • Original Poster

            Thanks gumshoe! That's what I am feeling too - I havent ridden in the Pessoa yet, just tried it on him.

            Sorry...what is bridging? Is there where it has contact in the front and then sits down in the back but doesn't touch in the middle? Because yes I noticed space in between when I did this and that worried me!


            • Original Poster

              Thanks Bogie - Yes he has big shoulders - and I don't think either saddles allow the him the freedom to really use his shoulders. And he is such a big mover, so I don't want anything impeding that!

              So I am going with a big no for the Pessoa. Can I ask what you would suggest for him now that you can see his topline and his large shoulders? Any recommendations would be much appreciated - time to start used high-end saddle shopping I guess as I haven't been happy with anything in the mid-range!


              • Original Poster

                These are both Medium Trees - do you think he needs wide?


                • #9
                  I have very expensive dressage saddles that I love and I paid a lot for them because I had them fitted and don't plan on changing saddles on current horse but I do a little of jumping on the side so I went with a cheaper jump saddle. I bought a courbette magic spring tree. It's not as high quality as my dressage saddles but for what you want maybe you could look at one of these types since you don't plan on keeping the saddle for a long time. I bought mine new for 600 and it hasn't been a bad saddle and just about fits anything I put it on which was a plus. I used it on my retired horse that I had a dressage saddle for then my new horse didn't fit that dressage saddle bought the new one and saddle fitter said that the courbette actually fit the new guy well as well and also used it on my DDs fat little pony.
                  Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                  • #10
                    Also the magic is cc and has very small knee rolls. Not much at all to hold you on the saddle except yourself. Lol
                    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Hunter85 View Post
                      Thanks gumshoe! That's what I am feeling too - I havent ridden in the Pessoa yet, just tried it on him.

                      Sorry...what is bridging? Is there where it has contact in the front and then sits down in the back but doesn't touch in the middle? Because yes I noticed space in between when I did this and that worried me!
                      yup, saddle forms a bridge.

                      I feel both saddles are too narrow (the perch); also look at the gullet channel width vs his spine.

                      Do you have a local County rep - they tend to be good with wide shoulders - if possible have the rep out for a fitting demo so you can see what a good fit looks & feels like on your guy.
                      I'd be looking for wool panels &/or adjustable tree (if you can manage both, score!).

                      Find out who is really local to you in terms of saddle fitters/saddle reps: try to get a saddle you like from the companies with strong local presence - depending on the horse, you may want/need an adjustment every 2-3 months so if you have to ship saddles out for adjustments, this will get really old, really fast.

                      Unfortunately most french saddles are going to be med tree (& not great for that wide shoulder) so this makes finding used much harder.
                      Vega has the adjustable tree & should be able to find a foam/wool panel (I've only seen foam/wool panels on Vega/Amerigo), Equipe offers some mid-price saddles with adjustable tree, foam panel in the $1600 - $2600 (new) range (you could order the flap/block/tree width configuration you want).

                      Murphy's Sporthorse always has a decent selection of reasonable priced saddles.

                      Note that in County you'll likely prefer the Stabilzer for closer contact (standard no blocks, minimal or no knee roll depending on age BUT less forward flap compared to current models - unless the old Stabilizer was ordered with a forward flap etc: always check serial numbers on used saddles to confirm flap, panel etc customizations off the standard "demo-kit" models).

                      Anything Beval, you'll need a wide tree (& there ain't many of those on the used market). The Artisan is in the $2600 price range & you should be able to order what you need.

                      Check with High End Used Saddles, MD Tack Exchange, Fine Used Saddles

                      Ann at Equestrian Imports if you want to talk Amerigo/Vega


                      • Original Poster

                        Thanks Alto! Great suggestions!

                        We do have a local County rep - that was my original choice if I was going to go custom, or new high end with him. And your right my preferance with County is definitely the Stabilizer.

                        I believe Pessoa actually does make models with the wool and adjustable trees. The tack store where I picked this one up is going to order in the wide gullet so we can switch it and just see the difference with the wide gullet. She agreed it looked much to narrow.

                        We also have a local high end tack store that carries lots of nice high end used saddles. They will pack them all up and bring them out for a day to fit them to your horse and for you to ride in them. So I am thinking of doing that as well!


                        • #13
                          County's are great for horses that need room to use their shoulders. I have an older Stabilizer that I love. Have the County rep out and see what configuration works for you and your horse and then see if the rep can find it in a demo or if you can find it used somewhere. If you find it used somewhere let your County rep know the numbers and he/she can check with the office to get the configuration for you. If the configuation is right the rep can adjust the flocking to fit you and your horse and then come out every few months to adjust as your horse muscles up. County's have great resale value so when you are ready to get a new saddle selling the old one should be easy.


                          • #14
                            OH MY GOODNESS I JUST WENT THROUGH THIS!!! Same EXACT issues!

                            In February I bought a 4 yo Han/TB gelding. I had a Crosby Centennial Internationale and it slid down his back TERRIBLY. We are talking over 6" throughout the course of the ride. So I switched over to using my mother's Pesso A/O with slightly improved but basically the same results. I did a TON of research regarding saddle fitting etc. Our horses seem to have the same issues: a long (not necessarily high) wither that extends into the back, a depression behind the wither that the saddle slides back and settles into, and a bit on the narrow side. Am I correct? Additionally, I am about 5'5" but most of my height is in my femur.

                            I ended up buying a used Beval Natural after trying a few things. I learned that for horses with longer withers that extend into the back (like ours) you need to search for a saddle that has a longer seat to extend pas the withers. I had ridden in a Beval Butet that seemed to work well but the price for even a used Butet was out of my budget, since I am fairly certain with the growth, weight, and muscle my horse was going to gain over the next year I might have to replace the saddle to begin with. Apparently the Beval Butet and the Beval Natural have a similar twist and desgin, so my thought was the Natural was the way to go. I got a decent quality used one for a *very* reasonable price.

                            Before you go buying anything I would recommend you try this pad I recently picked up at Dover. It filled in the space behind my horse's withers that the saddle kept sliding into. It's $35 and might do the trick without a new saddle purchase. http://www.doversaddlery.com/roma-wi...15fq55huouod55
                            What I found is that almost regardless what saddle I put on my horse the fact that he is concave behind his withers the saddles kept sliding back into that spot in the middle of his back halfway through the ride, and I was hunched over and unbalanced. Getting the Beval Natural which runs more on the narrow side until he muscles up and fills out more, plus that pad, really solved my problem. But to be honest, I think if I had just bought the pad I might have even gotten away with not buying a saddle too! PM me if you have any questions!


                            • Original Poster

                              tua37516 - yes it sounds like they are very similar except I think my guy is actually wide, not narrow. Makes sense since he is 17.3, but you are very correct his wither is long and runs into his back!

                              I would definitely give the pad a shot but unfortunately I need to buy him his own saddle now that he is in full work anyways. My current saddle is being shared between my two horses and it makes riding times hard as my leaser uses that one on my other horse alot. So time to get this boy a saddle anyways

                              When I read up on the Beval Natural it seems like it would work and has the close contact feel I am looking for.

                              I found a used Crosby Equilibrium, basically brand new for a super price - what are everyones thoughts on those??


                              • #16
                                I don't really see a wide Pessoa being any better.

                                Look for wool and try medium/wide. Something like a Stubben 31 tree might work if you're looking for used.


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Hunter85 View Post
                                  When I read up on the Beval Natural it seems like it would work and has the close contact feel I am looking for.

                                  I found a used Crosby Equilibrium, basically brand new for a super price - what are everyones thoughts on those??
                                  If he truly has a wide shoulder, my experience with Pessoa, Crosby, Barnsby was that even moving to a wide tree (horse needed a med tree at the time), the shoulder was still too narrow

                                  For price consideration, you might try the Kent & Masters or Tekna's for a "right" now saddle - I suspect you won't love either, but if horse has only been doing light work & that will be increasing + horse maturing, you might do better to wait 6-12 months before spending 2K & upwards on a saddle.

                                  If the shop has a good fitter on staff, absolutely have them come out with every possible saddle - you might do some wither/back tracings & bring those in to see how many of those lovely saddles are a realistic possibility.

                                  When considering saddles with synthetic wool flocking (pessoa, collegiates, non-CAIR bates/wintecs etc), check that your local fitter is set up to adjust these.

                                  If you really like the Bevals, contact the company & speak with their saddle specialists (they should be able to recommend models based upon back conformation photos)

                                  Used Stabilzers can be found in the $!500 - $2500 range, limitation may be the tree width & panel configuration for your guy.

                                  Try to arrange for minimum 5 - 10 ride trial periods, initially horse is likely to go better in any saddle that fits better than what you've been using, then as he gets used to the "new" saddle, he may change his mind a bit


                                  • #18

                                    I use a Stubben Artus and I love it! It fits my horse well and it makes me feel extremely secure. It does have big knee rolls, but I have a young horse-she just turned four- and they have kept me in the saddle many times when she has decided to throw a fit. My friend has a M. Toulouse Prima and she LOVES it! I've sat in one and it is extremely comfortable. Stubben no longer makes the Artus, but you should be able to find it used for around $700-900. the Prima new is around $1200. Hope this helped!


                                    • #19
                                      I agree that a new wide Pessoa is probably not going to work. I have two horses that are w/xw. The only Pessoa that worked is an older - like 15+ years - model. It was comfy, balanced, and the wide tree was actually wide enough. The new models don't even come close.

                                      On my current competition horse, I ended up with an Amerigo CC in an XW (luckily found used, as that size is not stock) and an XW Black Country Eden for dressage.

                                      For my other horse who is leased out to a kid, he got an XW Thornhill. Decent saddle for the price - I got one of the higher end lines. I didn't want to splurge on it because I know I will be reselling it when the lease is up as it's not the right saddle for me.

                                      Check out Hastilow and used Black Country. They are wool flocked, have good options for the really wide horses, and different panel configurations.


                                      • #20
                                        It is really hard to tell the fit if the saddle is not girthed. It is also helpful to see the saddle from the back and how the panels rest on the back and follow the lateral shape of your horse's back.
                                        Then, the rider's weight will influence how the saddle fits so it is useful to see that as well, from the front, back and side, girthed.
                                        Last edited by jaybird660; May. 20, 2013, 10:57 AM.
                                        Jay McGarry
                                        sms trained saddle fitter