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Spinoff: Pancake saddles-those who went without

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  • Spinoff: Pancake saddles-those who went without

    At the barn the other day I was regaling some of the younger girls with the "horror stories" of old-ie: no knee rolls, old school hunt caps, full cheeks, shows packed with only TB's and more, when one of them asked me what it was like to ride in the super flat saddles. It led me to wonder, for these kids who never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard would it be for them to make the switch from big squishy couch saddle to postage stamp?? I remember eventing in one!!! I have been toying with picking up an old Crosby PDN or something equally flat (Don't tell my Childeric!) just for a bit of a tune up for me. I am kind of wondering if I'll even be able to sit in it at all it's been so long!!! So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??

  • #2
    I like switching back and forth. My first saddle was an old PDN and I loved it--it made me work, but it was such a great saddle. Unfortunately my wide QH did not love it. Now I have a Stubben, which is quite comfortable, almost too comfortable for me... I do ride in an old Lancers though at lessons sometimes, and that one is a complete pancake, and I don't find the adjustment too difficult... but again, I kind of like the flatness. (:
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits


    • #3
      i also prefer the flatish saddle...fortunately for me my centennial is quite flat...


      • #4
        Originally posted by JustABay View Post
        At the barn the other day I was regaling some of the younger girls with the "horror stories" of old-ie: no knee rolls, old school hunt caps, full cheeks, shows packed with only TB's and more, when one of them asked me what it was like to ride in the super flat saddles. It led me to wonder, for these kids who never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard would it be for them to make the switch from big squishy couch saddle to postage stamp?? I remember eventing in one!!! I have been toying with picking up an old Crosby PDN or something equally flat (Don't tell my Childeric!) just for a bit of a tune up for me. I am kind of wondering if I'll even be able to sit in it at all it's been so long!!! So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??
        I don't know.....the saddle I had for ages was a used Pariani that was ancient when *I* got it and I got many more years out of it too........flat as a pancake and seat as hard as a rock but it fit just right......me and any number of horses that it was used on. When the day finally came that it was irrepairable I was very sad. Trying to find another old Pariani like it proved to be fruitless. I still buy used saddles though. What I could not get used to was the deep seat with big of knee rolls. The 2 saddles I currently own are an elderly COunty and and elderly Passier. Even if I could afford 3k for a new one I don't want one. I *like* the older flatter ones!
        We recentlytook my daughter shopping for her second saddle. The wittle kiddie one that was her first is outgrown. She was too young to have a choice picking that one and there is not much choice in wittle saddles anyway. She was running around hopping in 15" saddles. I had mostly pulled out all purpose saddles for her to try thinking the added rolls and deeper seats would keep her butt in the saddle better: she is a good walk trot rider and working on the canter thing yet. She tried one over in close contact land and said that one was comfy for her/she wanted that one. I had her try all my "AP"s and she insisted she wanted that CC. I shrugged and said fine. It will probably teach her to ride better with the flat saddle!
        Providence Farm


        • #5
          Like an audit

          I don't think switching from a bucket to a pancake will be hard if two things are in line. First, if your modern saddle is well balanced and fits you, the position you ultimately achieve should be the same. Second, if you are riding in balance because you have taught your body where it belongs, the switch won't be hard either.

          People think the saddle is a bigger deal than it is if their are either very sensitive to its input on the rider's position or truly use the deep seat, knee rolls or those little rolls behind your leg to stay in place.

          Most of us who learned to ride in PdNs and their brethren may have an advantage in that those saddles made our position largely independent of the saddle's help.

          I'd say switch back and forth! I regularly ride in a fairly deep, padded modern saddle, and old crosby and a western equitation saddle. I'd like to add a dressage saddle to the list. But my saddles keep me tuned and honest.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


          • #6
            I still ride in an older PDN, no knee rolls and no blocks. I want to ride the horse, not the saddle.


            • #7
              Someone I worked for had a plain, flat, hard as a rock PDN (I think it was a crosby) and I rode in it a few times without much complaint. At the time I had an old(er) school Devoucoux, sans lots of frills and padding, and I would say that it wasn't a terribly far stretch to switch back and forth. The thing that scared me about that saddle was the rotting billet straps, so I tended to stick to my own saddle.
              It's psychosomatic. You need a lobotomy. I'll get a saw.


              • #8
                The riding school tack room at my barn is loaded with these saddles, including my old Blue Ribbon Avanti. The kids there learn to ride quite well.
                It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.


                • #9
                  My current saddle is not flat as a pancake (it has what I would consider to be a mid-depth seat) but has no knee rolls, blocks, etc. and I love it (it's only got a padded flap)! I've ridden in an older Ian Miller Vision close contact with knee rolls and HATED it (granted the saddle was small for me and was like sitting on rocks but I am not a fan of knee rolls). I have also ridden in saddles with blocks and didn't like them either because I felt that I didn't have the close contact feel...although it was amazing to ride in over bigger jumps/unpredictable horses.


                  • #10
                    You know, my #2 daughter seems to really like the old 'pancakes'
                    She started out on the ponies in a tiny little PDN, but then she went to a Stubbben Rex and now has a Collegiate Diploma. She tried a Hampton Classic for a little while and she loved it. I think she'd be perfectly happy in an older flat cc saddle.....

                    I go back and forth between my old Crosby Mark VI and my Bates Caprilli CC all the time. It's no problem for me.
                    Y'all ain't right!


                    • #11
                      If the saddle fits both the horse and rider I don't think most riders would have a hard time switching back and forth. The first five minutes in the saddle are the only time you notice the "bells and whistles" (IF the saddle fits correctly). I still have my old Clinton Northrup and a bunch of my old Courbettes and other FLAT saddles from back in the day where we thought even knee pads were "cheating." Now I ride in my Counties and my Devoucoux with all sorts of pads and blocks and I wouldn't trade them for anything. But when I switch back to my old saddles for whatever reason, I only notice the hard, slippery, lack-of-pad-age for a few minutes. Same as I think pretty much anyone.

                      These saddle threads seriously crack me up. It's like the equivalent of, "when I was your age I had to walk through 2 feet of snow to get to school....uphill BOTH ways!"
                      Flying F Sport Horses
                      Horses in the NW


                      • #12
                        I can see how some kids would have a tough time swapping.

                        I know I have the opposite problem. I've always had flat type saddles. My first saddle was a Devon 2000 (no knee blocks but did have a knee pad) then I've had butet's which I think are borderline flat (I had flat seat model with no blocks) then an antares (which I hated) and now a Tad Coffin (back to the flat, no blocks, etc).

                        I have a really hard time riding in friends Devoucouxs, Antares (even the one I owned for a year), etc. I just can't get out of them! I feel like I fell into a super big bean bag chair that is sucking me down. They also force my leg out in front of me a little. I have no clue if this is just a conformation thing on my end but I'll take the flat, no frills saddle any day. I like to actually feel my horse under me!


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JustABay View Post
                          So my question: If you have never had to ride in the flat saddles, how hard of a switch would it be??
                          I saved my old school Steinkraus for my kids when my butt no longer fit into a 16.5". When each outgrew their pony saddles (cushy Pessoas), I tried them in the Hermes. The whinning and complaining that went on was unbelievable. Without the pencil rolls and padded flaps, both rode with an open knee which resulted in a very inffective leg and they did not do well with the shallower seat. I tend to agree with MVP's statement: "Most of us who learned to ride in PdNs and their brethren may have an advantage in that those saddles made our position largely independent of the saddle's help". If I had it to do over again, both would have learned to ride in a truly close contact saddle.
                          Ridge Farm Inc.-full care retirement


                          • #14
                            I used to have a Hunterdon, which was super flat, and then I switched to a Delgrange when I outgrew it. My friend, who has an Antares, rode in my Hunterdon a couple times and said she hated how flat the saddle was but liked the rest of it. I felt the same way! I prefer a cushy deep seat to a pancake, but the Hunterdon was a great saddle for me to start out in at the time. I did really like how the Hunterdon made me sit though; it was a great eq saddle.


                            • #15
                              My daughter has an old flat Crump saddle and she loves it. She switches saddles depending on which horse she is riding all the time though and doesn't have a problem with it. Sometimes she is in a flat saddle and sometimes she is in one with more padding. She rarely makes any comment. In fact, the only time she did was when riding in a Nona the other day - that was the first saddle that she liked compared to her Crump.

                              Me? I still love my ancient Crosby PDN - I think I may just be grateful that I've had it since high school and it still fits!


                              • #16
                                I just switched from my old falling apart pancake saddle to a newer cushy-er model..and was a bit of an adjustment. I dont have any issues with my position in the new saddle, and I love how its so soft and grippy, but I'm finding it more difficult to really 'feel' what's under me. I'm sure I'll get used to it though, and my lower back thanks me already
                                When I first started riding a million billion years ago the lady who ran the barn gave me 'my' pony and sent me out with everyone on the trail. Bareback. With a bosal type thing. She said when I could stay on the whole ride without falling, then I could take some lessons in the ring. When I had independent hands, I could have a bridle. Then after that, I could have a saddle. The older girls were always proud to have their 'own' saddle. She was an old school cowgirl type lady and sending greenies out on the trails bareback was probably dangerous as heck. But it worked. I wish I had half the balance I had then


                                • #17
                                  My favorite saddle, and the one I felt safest in, was an old Prix De Nations, used, NOTHING much left to it, you could carry it with 2 fingers. Smoothed out, slick as glass, no knee rolls, nothing. Basically just a stirrup holder. ANd this was only 8 years ago, when I was an older adult rider after 18 years off.

                                  I just loved that saddle.
                                  "Fool! Don't you see now that I could have poisoned you a hundred times had I been able to live without you." Cleopatra VII


                                  • #18
                                    I rode my first CCI* in my flat, hard as a rock 30 year old Pessoa until I could afford a Devoucoux for my guy. I used to switch back and forth between the two (babys in the Pessoa and the broke ones in the Devoucoux) when I was riding alot. But after a few years I realized that the rock hard Pessoa makes my seat bones hurt and the
                                    Devoucoux is just way to comfy. The Pessoa now lives in the corner of shame in my guest bedroom. I can't say that I miss it at all. It was great when I was learning to ride, and I'm sure I ended up better because of it, but life is too short to ride in a less comfy saddle.


                                    • #19
                                      I used to ride in a cushiony saddle and switched to a flat crosby and LOVE it! As strange as this sounds, I feel more secure in a flatter saddle. I'm part of the "younger generation" and I know that when I have kids they won't even get a saddle to ride their ponies in until they master the bareback. That's somewhat how I learned to ride.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        It's a funny experiment though, to put kids in a pancake saddle and see how well they can ride-I had to use one after years of having a comfy saddle because my guy grew out of his saddle, man, it took a bit of getting used to and I was sliding around for the first few minutes!