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"Deeper-seat" close-contact saddles

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    "Deeper-seat" close-contact saddles

    Hi, all

    I'm back in the market for a close contact saddle after the vet did an eval of mine and pointed out some stuff indicating a poor fit (and they're things that I'm a little embarassed I missed!). Ah, well. He was bound to grown and change as he went from a skinny 4 year old to a fairly built-up 9 year old...

    I plan on working with a professional saddler fitter, and I think I've got some resources to tap into (but I'm always open to suggestions for people in/will travel to the WNY area!).

    But, one thing I think I already know about myself is that I think I am prefering a seat that runs on the deeper side. I've got some physical weakness (I took a LOT of time off for school) and psychological weakness (I'm a little nervous about jumping after a bad series of falls a few years ago that he seems to have forgotten about altogether, but I haven't yet), and a pancake-seat isn't really giving me the mental security I'm hoping for. Of course, with time and fitness I'll hopefully be back on my game, but I'm trying to be realistic about my needs. For reference, I tried out an all-purpose County Eventer today, and it was a little too deep.

    I did a search on here, and saw some references to the Stuben Edelweiss being a bit deeper, and I will be inquiring about that.

    So, if I can get some names of other "jumping"/close contact saddles where the seat runs a little on the deeper side, I can start researching them this weekend before I start making calls on Monday to fitters. I'm already planning on going the wool-flocked route, and I don't mind paying for a higher-end saddle (I really don't want to pay more than 3k, though, and even that is kind of a stretch for me).

    *Obviously I will be fitting to my horse, first, and me second. And, of course, I'll be asking the rep I go with for their suggestions about seat depths, etc. But it's always nice to start with some preferences/ideas

    Thanks for any suggestions!

    Dunno about deep seat and all, but I'm a little gunshy after 3 fractured vertebrae, and when I tried out a Nona Garson Prestige a couple years back, I fell in love.

    Hacks became fun again. No longer worried about sticking to my aged Passier; I could ride out the "I feelgood" or "omygod that's a wild turkey we just flushed" without worry that I was going to be a lawndart.
    "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

    ...just settin' on the Group W bench.


      Original Poster

      Thanks, Ghazzu! That's exactly the kind of effect I'm looking for. I know a saddle is not a miracle cure for weakness, but it doesn't have to contribute to the problem, lol! I'm adding it to my list of saddles to research


        My new County Stabilizer XTR just arrived on my doorstep yesterday (hurray and thank you UPS driver/bringer of all things new, shiny and equine). I come from a background of FLAT, no-padding-on-them saddles (old style Crosby PDNs, Crump Prix de Saute, etc.). After numerous back surgeries and other physical issues, I finally decided that I needed a little extra 'cush' and support from my saddle.

        I tried various models (Prestige, Butet, PJ, Devoucoux, Pessoa) and found the I liked the County models the best. The seat is just deep enough and wide enough to give me the extra security and stability that I now need without being so deep that I have to struggle to get out of it. Being that this is a custom saddle, I could decide exactly what features/options I wanted either included or omitted (knee rolls, knee block, thigh block, extra forward flap, leather choice, gullet size, etc.) to make it as much like my old saddles as possible while still providing the best fit for myself and my horse. I am taking it to the barn this morning to try it out, and the County rep will be out next week to make any flocking adjustments that might be needed to get the fit just right.

        I have waited a long time (my whole riding career) to splurge and spend this much on a saddle. I don't think all the saddle I have owned up till now - combined - cost as much as this one, but after pulling it out of the box and actually seeing it, built to my specifications, it is so worth it.
        ~*Friend of bar.ka*~


          Some warnings and questions.

          Warnings first. Whatever saddle fitter you can find (especially in WNY) will have limited access to and experience with different saddle brands. You may get lucky with what they offer, but you may also find yourself too limited if you turn all of this over to a particular rep.

          Your $3K ceiling (plenty high IMO) will limit you in terms of what you can buy. Take a new custom Frenchie off the table. Same for a modern County you would like. Black Country may be what you want. Smith-Worthington may be able to build a saddle for you for that price.

          Questions: A County Eventer doesn't strike me as especially deep. At least that's in comparison with saddles like the Original PJ made by DelGrange. But seats have both depth and longer or shorter balance points.

          Deeper saddles like well-padded french ones tend to have a bucket-like look and feel. Their pommels are traditionally pretty steep. Black Country, on the other hand, creates deep (as in their Wexford Tree) but with a more sloping angle up to the pommel and a longer "valley" in between pommel and cantle. You may not see what I mean by looking at pictures, but you will feel it when you ride. In any case, the BC has an open feel. You have the boundaries you need but can move your booty around within them.

          Best wishes for your saddle hunt. May you bag a big one quickly and without too many wasted bullets/dollars.
          The armchair saddler
          Politically Pro-Cat


            Saddle fitting is very individual, so take this with a grain of salt if you like. But I would caution you against getting a *really* deep or eventing type saddle if you are planning on just doing standard issue H/J stuff.

            A deep seat on something like a Devoucoux or Butet (definitely available used in your price range) will not be as deep as the seat on a saddle built to handle jumping into a water complex out eventing, but should still provide plenty of security for the typical work required of a hunter or jumper. And IME, you can get something that is TOO deep and actually makes you feel less secure - you will hear riders say they get "locked" in the tack and can't easily get out of the seat to jump. I'd definitely try the Prestige that Ghazzu mentioned, and similar saddles.

            As an aside, for three grand, I would want one that fits BOTH you and the horse equally well.... and don't fall into the trap that only wool can be fitted to your horse. That is a common refrain among saddle fitters (who get paid to do the restuffing/reshaping) but there is a reason that so many of the high end saddlers use foam, and that reason is that it instantly conforms to the shape of the horse that it is placed on. It can therefore accommodate the little changes in topline that are common as the horse is in work over time.

            Foam isn't going to make an ill fitting saddle work, of course... but it can be very nice to have that instant adjustment. I'm not against wool flocked saddles either, just saying that foam is not the low end material that some people would have you believe. Foam gets used in pressure management applications (like hospital mattresses for people who are on bed rest) because of it's ability to conform to a body's shape and to rebound and re-conform to a different shape repeatedly over time... which is not a bad property to have in flocking.

            That sai
            We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


              Black Country Ricochet

              I had originally tried a Wexford, and it was a little too restricting, so the Ricochet is a newer model with a combination of the Wexford and Quantum.



                LOVED my Butet with "deep" seat. Sold it to a client because it fit her (oddly shaped) horse so well. I still ride in it occasionally, and compared to my CWD which I bought to replace it, it feels Soooooo deep! You might be able to find a lightly used one? Do know people who say they have trouble fitting the Butet to certain horses, but you could always see how it fits your guy.
                Best of luck!


                  My DD had a second-hand Bates (paid around$600) that had such a deep seat it felt like you were riding with a seltbelt! You were not coming out of that baby. On the downside, it was REALLY hard to get out of when you wanted to jump anything.

                  OP: Have you tried the stuff in the orange can to improve your 'security'? It's awesome!


                    Originally posted by Tegan View Post
                    Black Country Ricochet

                    I had originally tried a Wexford, and it was a little too restricting, so the Ricochet is a newer model with a combination of the Wexford and Quantum.

                    The Ricochet is built on the Wexford tree. The position of the flap, however, creates the difference in balance and feel. Do pay attention to flap shape as well. It will determine how long or short a stirrup will make you feel secure and "helped" by the saddle.
                    The armchair saddler
                    Politically Pro-Cat


                      You should consider the Luc Childeric Model M. You can find a new ''used'' one for 3k or sometimes less, depends on if you can find a good deal or not. If I drop my stirrups 2 holes then my jumping stirrups, its pretty deep, but with my jumping height stirrups its very easy to get out of. Plus where the knee and thigh blocks are, are absolutely perfect for me, and gives me a lot of security over fences! Just another saddle to consider.


                        I really like the original PJ. I find the seat to be quite deep while still maintaining the ability to move around. You can also get it with front and/or thigh blocks, which might make you feel more secure. These are pretty easy to find used in decent shape.

                        I've heard the Beval BZ natural is quite deep as well, although I've never sat in it. A few people have mentioned the Butet, which is a nice saddle for sure, but I've never sat in one that I felt particularly secure it. Saddles are so personal, so take that with a grain of salt.

                        I really like a very secure feeling saddle, so the three things I pay attention to are size, seat depth and blocks. I see more than a few people sitting in saddles that are too big (and many that are in too-small saddles as well) which isn't going to help you feel secure.


                          Originally posted by mvp View Post
                          The Ricochet is built on the Wexford tree. The position of the flap, however, creates the difference in balance and feel. Do pay attention to flap shape as well. It will determine how long or short a stirrup will make you feel secure and "helped" by the saddle.
                          That's a really good point. I bought my Prestige (Meredith) with an extra, x-long and forward flap and when I am flatting with a long stirrup it does not give me the secure feeling I get when I take the stirrup up a few holes to jump.

                          My prestige fits a wide variety of horses and the tree is adjustable, BUT if I had my "forever horse" so to speak, I would probably opt for a wool flocked saddle custom made to that horse. I have heard excellent things about Black Country (as a creator of well-made, but more reasonably priced custom saddles).

                          Random, but I rode in a Frank Baines the other day and man was that a comfy saddle.
                          DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette:


                            I would suggest Duett if you are on a budget or have a horse that is hard to fit.


                              I love the Vegas or Amerigo saddles. I like deep seat but hate to feel trapped, to me it should be easy to get out of the saddle over the jump as well as giving you a good place to sit in between. These work well for me.
                              Shop online at


                                Originally posted by TrotTrotPumpkn View Post
                                ... I have heard excellent things about Black Country (as a creator of well-made, but more reasonably priced custom saddles).

                                Random, but I rode in a Frank Baines the other day and man was that a comfy saddle.
                                Black Country has a very good thing going. If they'd build "hunter pretty" more often, they'd be The Man.

                                On Frank Baines being comfy? Not random at all. In fact, FB might better be called the inventor of the good-fitting, well-made fairly priced (wool-flocked) saddle. He does a nice job with off-the-shelf saddles and tend to feel balanced to a lot of people.
                                The armchair saddler
                                Politically Pro-Cat


                                  Originally posted by mvp View Post
                                  Deeper saddles like well-padded french ones tend to have a bucket-like look and feel. Their pommels are traditionally pretty steep.
                                  I disagree with this. I'm just sayin' - my personal experience so I wouldn't make a blanket statement like that.

                                  As someone else mentioned, saddle fit is highly personal and while $3K seems like a lot, it will limit you from new in a lot of the higher-end, custom saddles.

                                  I have a PJ and on the surface, it looks deep. But I've let a lot of friends try it and not one of them said it was TOO deep, quite the opposite, in fact. The PJ improved my riding tremendously. I also like the Antares and CWD.


                                    Original Poster

                                    Thanks so much for all your suggestions. Some of them are saddles I probably wouldn't have even thought of, so I appreciate that!

                                    I'm no expert, but based on the education I've been helping myself to (like reading the blog that belongs to the lady from Trumbull Mtn), I don't think my horse is going to be wildly difficult to fit. He may benefit from a trapezius (?) panel, but that's about the only thing my very uneducated eye has noticed so far in my very early quest for understanding. His withers seem fairly normal (not too sharky, not too low), his back is neither overly "table-y" or "roofy", and though he stands fairly large at 17h, he's quite proportionate. Of course, I'm sure that lady's blog is using kind of "extreme" examples to help illustrate her point, but still.

                                    One thing about my current saddle fit is that his withers are not centered underneath the pommel. They plopped a different saddle on him for comparison, and that one did sit right (in that one specific spot- it didn't fit well overall for other reasons). Now, either the foam in my saddle is uneven, or he may be uneven in the shoulder (aren't we all), but that's one of the reasons I'm leaning towards a wool-flocked saddle. If it's him, and he evens out, I can get it re-flocked (or if he doesn't, they'll take care of it with flocking, to).

                                    I'm going to call them on Monday to do some research, etc, but I'm thinking that sending a tracing to the people at Trumbull Mtn might be a good investment. Perhaps they can at least point me in a solid direction, and whatever fee they charge would be an investment in my time and shipping costs if I have to try saddles that are not local. But, I'll call first and find out if that is an idea that works for them, and if their suggestions would be limited to just the stock they carry, etc.

                                    And, again, thank you all SO much for your time and experience. I really appreciate the support you have given me, both in terms of education as well as wishing me well on my endeavor.


                                      My advice is to definitely work with Trumbull Mtn. Tack. I am about 10 hours away from then and so did everything via phone, mailing tracings, and emailing photos. And the Black Country Saddles are AWESOME. I'll never go elsewhere after my experience with that tack shop and those saddles.

                                      One of my horses, who is a normal shape.... the first saddle they sent based on tracings/pictures fit him PERFECTLY and over time eliminated some riding issues we were having, which I now know was due to discomfort. And I feel SO secure in this saddle and it's SO comfortable. Two acquaintances who own County saddles and have ridden in mine said they'd definitely be looking into the Black Country Saddles in future. I've gotten tons more confidence from this saddle. I do not notice the deep seat or the knee and calf blocks.... until something goes awry... and then this saddle is there helping me stay on!

                                      My other horse is extremely wide and they sent a XXW and and XXXW and whatnot and finally they said that I'd need a custom saddle for the horse. It was a bit scary but I already knew I liked the model I got for my other horse and so I got that one custom made for the wide boy. They even made it in a different color leather which looks nicer on this particular horse. I sent detailed tracings and pictures and the saddle fits wonderfully.

                                      Both saddles are a year old now. Still look and feel great. And they were soft and easy to ride in right out of the box. The leather is awesome. Both of mine are Wexfords, and I know many people find them too deep, but I don't jump big jumps and I wanted something really comfortable and secure feeling for me. I have jumped up to about 2'3" in it and I have no worries about going up to 2'9" or so in it and I don't have any intention of really ever jumping higher than that. They have other models which are more suited for jumping more than small fences and aren't so deep.

                                      Good luck!
                                      But really, Trumbull Mountain made saddle shopping easy and a pleasure... instead of the headache it usually is!!
                                      2016 RRP Makeover Competitor


                                        Take your time--

                                        If you can demo 2 at atime go back and forth.

                                        I have had medium to deep seats all the time.

                                        Beval Natural

                                        I currently ride in a Richard Castelow Flat and that is better for me I feel more secure. But it takes time to know what you are after.

                                        If I went back to a deper seat and it fit my horse--- BUTET Deep for sure.

                                        ANd i agree from all these years bucket seat describes it well.