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I need a saddle recommendation plz!

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  • I need a saddle recommendation plz!

    I am in the market for a NEW saddle. I am on a budget and have some requirements, but I'm not sure which brand to look at because I'm fairly new to the Jumper scene, but plan to actively compete this spring.

    I am currently riding in an all purpose with a more dressage-y type flap, but the seat kind of dumps me forward, which makes finding my balance quite difficult. I originally bought it to get through the winter, but I dont want o sacrifice my riding and have to start all over again in a new saddle trying to perfect my position and balance.

    I am partial to Stubben (I like the way they feel and they seem to hold their value if well cared for should I decide to sell it), and I've sat in a few Pessoas. The instructor I am riding with has mentioned Antares and Devoucoux which is definantly out of my price range for the time being, but I might be able to swing a USED one in my price range if nothing else fits me.

    I have TB mare, coming 5, who is of course going to be changing in shape over the years and thru conditioning, but I'm more concerned about fitting merather than her as she's pretty average...meaning a medium tree fits her perfect and have never had any issues with saddle fit from a saddle straight off the rack. Lucky I Guess??

    Anyways, I currently ride in a 17.5 in seat, but my upper leg measures closer to 18.5 inches, and my lower leg measures closer to 16 inches, which makes flap position and stirrup length/bar placement an issue. I prefer a deeper seat, but anything will do as long as I can get up out of it to get in 2 point or jump. I need something that will get my legs under me and keep me away from the "chair seat" (particularly with my long upper leg) that some models are infamous for.

    I'm on a budget of $2000.00, would like to buy new to put my "mold" in it, and this will be my everyday saddle and my show saddle...thats just the reality of my financial situation.

    I plan to spend the next 2 years doing the lower jumpers, maybe making it to the upper 3' with my mare, and there is always room in the future to increase my budget and go bigger.

    Anyone have suggestions on which brand to try? Maybe something that has several options to choose from as far as flap position and length? Which models hold their value longest and which hold up the longest, and break in the easiest with good care?

    Should I have a few saddle fitters out and see what works best for me first before picking a particular saddle brand?

    I dont want to make the mistake of dropping a couple grand on a saddle that might ride well in a trial, but get out on the course or start really doing some work and its just not for me

    thoughts appreciated!!
    Crayola Posse~Aquamarine
    Love vs Money...for the love of my horse, I have no money!

  • #2
    I really love the Prestige saddles. I find that they are very comfy, although personally I don't like Stubbens so maybe the Prestige won't be comfortable to you. Almost everyone at my barn rides in a Prestige and some people's are around 20 years old. They hold up really well, even when they get wet without getting water marks/ sweat marks or fading. I also like the feeling of where they place my body position, yet it has enough flexibility for me to change when I need to. Prestige also works really well with developing horses. My trainer gets a lot of OTTB's that they train who are constantly changing shape due to the different muscles they are usuing. The prestige sits nicely at every stage of the TB's training. My advice would be to go to as many tack stores as possible and try on as many saddles as possible. I even traveled out of state to sit in a few brands that were not carried in my area. Good luck with the saddle search!


    • #3
      Find a reputable saddle fitter in your area, preferably one who is not solely a rep for a particular brand. Have them bring you out new and used models to try. Based on what you like and didn't like, he/she should be able to narrow down your needs (and by looking at your horse, also make sure she is as easy to fit as you think she it).

      I also recommend borrowing anyone else's jumper saddle you can find in your barn to get acquainted to how differently different saddles ride.

      I just realized you're in Virginia. Call Bill Woods (google him for information). You absolutely can't go wrong.


      • #4
        If I wanted to spend most of my Two Grand on a saddle and not shipping or fitting, I'd first spend lots of time sitting in stuff at tack stores. Then I'd take home few good (but different looking) used saddles for thorough *in vivo* trials. This way, you'll just spend time rather than money figuring out what you like.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat


        • #5
          I wouldn't necessarily plan on X brand saddle - the most important thing isn't really the brand/make (good quality is good quality) as much as I would focus on fitting your horse, fitting you, comfort for both you and your budget. I got my horse when he was coming 4 - needless to say over the past several years, I've had to go through 3 saddles. I would be keen on a couple of makes (having worked in a tack shop it was easy to sit and decide on which ones to try) only to find out they didn't fit the beast. I know of a very good tack shop which does a great job fitting saddles to bodies (human and horse) as well as being sensitive to your budget. I also wouldn't necessarily rule out any used saddles - sometimes you can find them barely used. Where are you in VA?


          • Original Poster

            I'm in northern Va outside of Middleburg so I'm fairly close to several tack shops. I'm not familiar with any saddle fitters, and I board at a private barn, only 1 of 2 boarders and I'm the only one who rides, so borrowing isn't an option unless from a tack shop an my work hours make it hard to get back and forth during store hours. There's another student who is upgrading and may be selling her Pessoa, but I don't know if it will fit me but that's an option too.

            What do saddle fitters charge for a session if you are committing to order a saddle right then and there?
            Crayola Posse~Aquamarine
            Love vs Money...for the love of my horse, I have no money!


            • #7
              The most important thing is not buy name but what fits your horse and you. I agree with sitting in everything. I have a horse that is a tough fit and I went to Rolex several years ago and sat in everything form 500 to 5000 dollars..BUT i had templates made of my horses back as a reference and narrowed it down to 2..When I got home I had them sent to me with my fitter, who does not represent anyone and we decided from there. I did spend a bit more then I wanted but have no regrets. My horse has done well and it feels good when we ride....
              Good luck saddle shopping stinks though....
              I did wind up with a L'Apogee...so no one had ever heard of it but it works for us!
              Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
              Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
              "And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"


              • #8
                Here is a link to Bill Woods. He is very reasonable and your area would be close to him (I think). http://www.thesaddlefitter.com/

                You should also visit Middleburg Tack exchange for access to lots of used saddles for you to try. They're open on Saturdays . . .