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Saddles for Short People

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  • Saddles for Short People

    Hi everyone,

    Right now I have a 16.5" Pessoa Gen-X, and I think that the flaps are interfering with my contact with the horses I ride (it comes to the bottom of my calf muscle ).

    I need a 16" saddle with significantly short flaps (I'm only 4'11" - 5'). One catch is that I ride some pretty big horses, so I can't use a pony saddle or anything.

    Do I have any options besides a custom saddle? What are the best saddles for short people?

    Also, I know that Beval saddles are on sale right now.. I know some come with short flaps but do you think they will be short enough?

    Antares? CWD? help! I would rather avoid custom, but I think I might not have a choice.

  • #2
    I know lots of petite types (myself included) who have done well in the Amerigo Vega. Most of us are 5'3 or so. It seems to have a short flap (and I'm pretty long-legged for 5'3"). Fits a lot of animals also.


    • #3
      Being a shorty in a saddle-fashion moment that favors forward flaps creates a problem. You are supposed to have an adult-length femur, and adult-sized wallet and jump adult-size oxers.

      If you aren't or don't do any of these, than my advice is to look for a saddle with a straighter flap so that you can find the pocket with your knee. A saddle that's short (horizontally, from knee pocket to the center of the seat) may help you find the supportive "sweet spot" in a saddle where you can hang out in a two-point without too much effort.

      Among these are:

      Tad Coffins- an expensive, soft and minimalist saddle.

      The Crosby Victory- very hard to find of late-- their wool-flocked, slightly deeper answer to the County Stabilizer)

      The Exselle Axcess- Exselle is Walsall Riding Saddle Co., the original makers of Crosby saddles; the Axcess is built on the original Tad Coffin tree he built with Crosby in the Miller's era.

      The Toulouse Padgette, or at least the first generation of those.

      If you like the Pessoa (and it is a very well-balanced saddle), you might look for a wide tree 15 3/4-- the junior version of an A/O or GenX that may work for horse-sized horses.

      You can save considerable coin by looking at kiddie saddles, though you must make sure that the small seat/tree doesn't imply too narrow for most horses.

      If I didn't have an adult-sized butt, honey, I'd shop for one of these in an instant.
      The armchair saddler
      Politically Pro-Cat


      • #4
        You can get a Black Country jump saddle and they will customize the flap for you, no extra charge. If you need the forwardness of the flap, but not the extra length, they can remove that (that's what they did for me). Sometimes a short flap will move the entire thing up, which may then not be the right spot for your leg. How long is your femur?


        • #5
          I strongly suggest a Verhan. I'm 5'2" with pathetically short legs and my Verhan Futurity was fantastic. It was semi-custom with short flaps and a flat seat. It was a beautiful saddle, held up fantasitcally with all the abuse I put it through. Unfortunatly I outgrew that saddle (I bought it in my early teens) and I miss it dearly. If I could afford a new saddle right now I wouldn't buy anything else.


          • #6
            My very short legs love my CWD! I am the same height as you, and the little bit of height that I have is all in my upper body. My CWD is custom, though, with a 0 flap.


            • #7
              My whole barn is full of shorties... my trainer and best friend are 5 ft. on a good day and I am 5'1. We all have Bevals and we love them. They have butets and I have a natural. Everyone at my barn has all different types of Bevals and we all love ours. We also all ride in jeans at home and none of our saddles show any wear. Beval is great about allowing you to try out different types. I would suggest trying them! Good luck and if you have any questions let me know


              • #8
                I am only 5' and have a 16.2 hand WB and a 15.3 TB. Each have an Antares. I got both of them used for under $2000 each. My WB has a 16" x-wide tree with a 0A flap (Short flap). My TB has a 16" wide tree with a 1D flap (Short flap, but not as short as the 0A and not as forward). I love both of them. I got one on Ebay and the other from the Antares dealer at the WIHS. I have had the one saddle since 2002, and it has held up amazingly well. I wanted a saddle that would hold up and I couldn't be happier with the Antares.
                I had a pessoa A/O, and I also noticed that the regular flap was too long and screwing up my leg position.
                Happy Hour-TB
                Cowboy Casanova - Brandenburg


                • #9
                  Tad Coffin will custom make a saddle for you if you have the money. I am 4'11" and I happen to have and older Devoucoux with short flaps, and love it.
                  "Riding is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down, like a game of solitaire. It's a great passion." Ralph Waldo Emerson


                  • #10
                    I'm barely five feet tall and I searched for a long time for a saddle. I also had the Pessoa GenX 16.5 and it was terrible for me. The flap positioned my leg too far forward so I was forever tipping forward with my upper body to try and balance. I didn't realize how bad it was until I finally found "the" saddle (after almost a year of searching and trying Antares, Devoucoux, etc). The perfect fit for me was a 16" Butet with a short flap (size 0 flap). It's like it was made for me - and my position has completely changed. My leg is much more solid and effective and my upper body is where it should be. I was lucky enough to find a fantastic, like-new Butet on ebay, so I saved a lot of money. Good luck with your search!


                    • #11
                      If you don't want to go broke buying a "shortie" saddle I suggest

                      Bevel or a Courbette Alpina (Aplina known for NOT fitting the longer legged riders)


                      • #12
                        Im short (5') and I love my Antares. I have a 16.5 Antares with a 1L flap on it. It fits my very short leg great.

                        To advoid the custom prices you could try to buy used. I had the Antares Rep come out and fit me. I rode in some of the demo saddles, but he also had a used saddle that was just my size (the same saddle I would have bought if I ordered new) and only about a year old. So thats the one I ended up! So a custom saddle at a discounted price!


                        • #13
                          I had a Beval Devon 2000 with the short flap. Fit well, well balanced saddle.


                          • #14
                            I'm 5'2" (college student) and I have a Beval Gladstone 16" I like the somewhat flatter seat and feel like it doesn't interfere with my positions, lets me go where I need to be. My friend who is 5' has the exact same saddle and she likes it too. The leather on my seat did wrinkle some not sure why but it's barely noticeable and you can't feel it at all. Beval has saddles on sale right now, you can get this one for less then $1,000 right now I believe. My horse is a 16.1 WB and could probably go wider with the tree but he seems alright so far, my friend rides everything from 17h to 15.3h in hers. The regular flap is sufficiently short for me, but they will do it in a short flap for you if you need it.

                            ETA: really my favorite saddle is a 15" Dover Circuit pony saddle. The envy of every kid at the barn! (of course now that I'm selling it all the kids have finally bought saddles) *sigh* if it came in 16" and wide tree I would have my WB jumper in one. I don't like the Dover horse sized saddles as much (the older ones are better than new).


                            • #15
                              I'm just a little over 5' and I love my County Stabilizer.
                              Blacktree Farm
                              Lessons, Training & Sporthorse Sales.
                              Blacktree Studio
                              Graphic Design, Web Design & Photography.


                              • #16
                                I'm 4'10 1/2" and ride in a Stubben Rex. It fits my quarter pony and I can use it on many of the lesson horses as well, even larger horses... not that I generally get put on massive huge WBs or anything, but it's a wide tree, so it might work on some.

                                My suggestion is get a child's saddle, and start riding smaller horses. (:
                                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                Graphite/Pastel Portraits


                                • #17
                                  You can also look at the Albions - they don't charge for changing the flaps. I'm 4'10" if I, stretch up and ride a Mustang that needs an extra wide saddle. Went for an Albion Kontrol and some are under $2500 made to fit you. Course I think the saddle makers thought my fitter was nuts when she sent in the requests as they kept double checking.
                                  PS I love how it fits me - the twist is more narrow without feeling like I'm being split in two- so I can really get my leg around him.


                                  • #18
                                    Antares Spooner w/short flap.


                                    • #19
                                      With customs

                                      All I'm saying is that once you order the saddle, it's (usually) yours, for better or worse.

                                      This stopped me in my tracks with County (it's all yours) and Black Country (I was told I'd get 80% o my money back from Trumbull Mountain IF I hate the saddle but had worked diligently with them to get it right).

                                      The tough part is that many saddle reps don't carry short flaps so we pint-sized are asked to take more risks than are the tall-drinks-of-water.

                                      Sit in many off-the-rack saddles first. Start getting crazy with your measuring tape (as I did) if you think you want to discover the geometry and dimensions of the flap (or whole top-side of the saddle) that will fit you.

                                      If I hadn't found a Crosby Victory that made me very, very happy, I would have designed my own.
                                      The armchair saddler
                                      Politically Pro-Cat


                                      • #20
                                        I saw this one while tooling around the net last night.
                                        its a 16" calf antares med tree short flap there asking 2500 and it looks like it's in awesome shape!
                                        Might be worth checking out.=D i think its saddle number C260
                                        heres a picture of it on their site.