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What's a good, versatile/'adaptable' saddle?

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  • What's a good, versatile/'adaptable' saddle?

    I'm currently searching for a well made saddle that can, in essence fit a variety of horses, to a certain degree at least. I am a college student, and I ride many different horses over the course of a semester, and generally exercise several different ones at my barn/for friends over the summer. Most of the time (though not all of the time) there is a saddle available to use, though not one that necessarily fits me (especially true with the ponies I ride) and I would like to just get one of my own for comfort/convenience.

    I had a TC before I left for school, and, with the use of pads, it was a great for many of the horses I rode, but I'm on my own now financially, and most of the used TC saddles out there aren't exactly in my price range, so with that in mind...What saddles are out there that are known to fit a wide range of horses?

  • #2
    There's no saddle that will suit all horses, but for a horseless rider like yourself, something with a moderately curvy tree and an adjustable gullet is ideal. And fortunately, the market has caught up with that in the last 2-3 years. The Collegiate Convertible Diploma, Collegiate Convertible Alumni, and the Ovation Competition Showjumper with XCH changeable gullet system can all be had for less than $1000 retail. The Bates Caprilli CC can be had for $800-$1100 on the used market (retails at $1800). IMO the Pessoa GenX with XCH changeable gullet system is overpriced at approx. $1300 retail, but that's another option.

    Barring that, the "old fashioned way" to outfit a horseless rider before the adjustable gullet came along was to find something in a medium-wide or wide tree and pad it up appropriately. Nothing wrong with that school of thought either.

    If you were really gaga for your Tad Coffin, you could try finding an older Crosby Equilibrium. Early in his career, Tad Coffin designed the original Crosby Equilibrium and Equilibrium DSL (deep seat version). Crosby has recently updated the Equilibrium and changed its design, but there are dozens of the older ones on the used market.
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


    • Original Poster

      I was actually looking at a Crosby Equilibrium the other day, though I wasn't aware it was designed by Tad Coffin. I my saddle a lot b/c it was a wide tree, but with the right pads I could make it fit practically everything.

      Thank you for your suggestions, I will definitely look into them! What are the best sites online to buy used saddles? My local tack shop didn't have anything close to what I was looking for :/


      • #4
        I know alot of people hate Pessoa's and complain about the quality, but I love my Pessoa Rodrigo Stadium. I am also horseless and currently ride any one of 4 different horses, from slender and high withered TBs to an extremely wide-load Hanoverian. It "works" with all of them. Granted if I owned the wide load, I'd probably find something wider, but it does work for now. I bought it on ebay about 4 yrs ago (it's probably a 2001 model) for $800 and it's been worth every penny. Used ones can be found easily and inexpensively.


        • #5
          Originally posted by rumblepony View Post
          Thank you for your suggestions, I will definitely look into them! What are the best sites online to buy used saddles? My local tack shop didn't have anything close to what I was looking for :/
          Based on your email address, the semi-local shops (translation: less than a 3 hours' drive) that would be worth your drive would be...

          Dover Saddlery in Lexington
          VTO Saddlery in Broadway, VA (www.vtosaddlery.com)
          Middleburg Tack in Middleburg, VA (a 3-hour drive but a HUGE selection, www.middleburgtack.com, and you could hit several other tack shops in that area on the same trip)
          M&M Tack Shop, Raleigh, NC (www.mmtackshop.com)

          If you're going to mail order from afar, then it makes sense to go with a shop that has a really big selection and a very generous trial policy. That way you can have several saddles sent at once, have plenty of days to compare them, and choose the saddle that you like best.

          www.trumbullmtn.com (10 days to ride the saddle as hard as you'd like)

          PS, I forgot one more adjustable saddle: the Ovation Evolution. Usedsaddles.com has one in 17.5" used for $650, which IMO is a steal.
          Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


          • #6
            What's your price range? Before my TC, I had a wide-tree Beval Devon. Reminded me a lot of the Tad, fit-wise, but was a little bit harder in the seat. Used ones pop up fairly regularly and they're pretty affordable too.


            • #7
              There are loads of closeouts & older stock clearances that wlll get you a new saddle at used prices, you just need to keep looking until you find the seat/tree combination (not sure what your seat size is but hopefully you're remembering to check last rib if you use your own saddle on the ponies).

              There are lots of Bates to be had as they release new models annually ...

              VTO has a lovely new/old Crosby Centennial


              • #8
                Ok....please don't ridicule me, and I am NOT suggesting this as an option but I just picked up a wintec with the changeable gullet. I have a Shark Fin pony with wide ribs but a narrow chest and this saddle is the first one that fit him. I tried about 9 saddles.

                Now, i got this for a song and this pony was a rescue who we are trying to get in a place where he can find a job. BUT, if I were going to buy something, I would go with a Bates. It is similar to the wintec but leather and does have the adjustable gullet.

                In picts, I have trouble telling the bates from the wintec close contact. The one I grabbed was an AP, which has its advantages on this particular pony. I am not suggesting the wintec as an option BUT I am pleased with the saddle for the peice (which was less than a months worth of feed for the pony)
                Save a life...be an organ donor! Visit www.Transplantbuddies.org


                • #9
                  I bought a barely used County Stabilizer for $1300 a few months ago. Not sure what your price range is, but that saddle is the most comfortable ever and fits almost all the horses I have ever ridden in it (with exception to the extremely hard to fit, nothing ever fits ones!)

                  I shopped for one for a couple months and finally came across one that wouldn't break the bank. Check out ebay, they have some good deals that come through there as well.


                  • #10
                    I have a Beval Gladstone that fits a wide variety of horses, just not my current horse. According to Beval, its a favorite of the Intercollegiate riding programs; I would guess that is because they seem to fit many types of horses. If you are interested you can PM me, I just went through a saddle search and I can tell you what I have recently found, I've seen some listed on vaequestrian and actually on the COTH sale ads that might work too.
                    Equus Doth Indeed Makeus Brokeus. Or Brokeus Meus -- when you have a baby warmblood, it could be either one!