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Of Saddles and Knee Rolls and Knee Blocks

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  • Of Saddles and Knee Rolls and Knee Blocks

    I've been looking at different saddles lately. I've never owned one with knee blocks but have ridden with and without knee rolls. I always thought that the rider's leg was supposed to stay behind (or in front of) a block, and that a knee roll is for support. But just from some of the newer saddles I am looking at, I am wondering if this is true. Also, what is the block really for at the back of the flap? I'm so confused!!

  • #2
    FWIW, I bought my Prix De Nations with pencil rolls because my instructor said it would make me a better rider. It caused me to have a very secure feeling when in a saddle with conventional rolls.

    Although the first time my horse slammed on the brakes one stride out from a jump, my first thought as I sailed up his neck was: "Oh, sh*t! I shoulda got knee rolls!" The second as I cleared his head was: "I bet this is gonna hurt!" It did!

    Seriously, I never regretted the decision. I'm convinced the absence of knee rolls gave me a much better seat than I would have had otherwise.
    The inherent vice of Capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
    Winston Churchill

    Comment


    • #3
      I HATE blocks with a passion. All of my saddles are blockless, several I've had to remove the blocks myself since I usually buy demo's and everyone else seems to love them . I feel trapped in them and they def are a crutch. I have a very secure leg and it's 100% due to riding in plain saddles. When I ride in friends padded and blocked out antares/devoucouxs/whatever I feel like I'm drowning and def don't ride as effectively (I can barely feel the horse underneath me!). When they ride in my saddles they slip all over and can't maintain their positions over fences very well...or at all. I have a Tad Coffin and a Hermes, both plain as can be and they put you super close to your horse. They do have knee rolls but they are so thin that you don't even notice them.

      Anyway, that was more of rant and didn't really answer your question Sorry!

      Your knee is supposed to be behind the block I believe and your the back block (thigh block) is there if you leg slips, I suppose. I've never understood that one either, personally, since hopefully no ones leg is slipping around that much.

      Comment


      • #4
        I have ridden with and without blocks and for jumping in a ring I don't feel a whole lot of difference between the two. For XC, I do prefer to have blocks but I don't usually notice them unless I need them, which is when I am glad that they are there! I think that the size of some of them is rediculous, especially on some of the dressage saddles.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Okay, so it sounds like your knee is supposed to stay behind a block. So what happens if you have really long thighs and there is no way for that to happen? For instance, I tried this Steubben...http://www.usedsaddles.com/product.htm?id=j5333e13.

          Those are blocks, right? That is a pretty forward flap and my knee was right up on it. But yet the description says its designed for longer legged riders to ride with short irons.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by caryledee View Post
            Okay, so it sounds like your knee is supposed to stay behind a block. So what happens if you have really long thighs and there is no way for that to happen? For instance, I tried this Steubben...http://www.usedsaddles.com/product.htm?id=j5333e13.

            Those are blocks, right? That is a pretty forward flap and my knee was right up on it. But yet the description says its designed for longer legged riders to ride with short irons.
            Those blocks are crazy long! No wonder your knee is right on it...how could it not be? And that flap looks really weird to me. Here's what I think of when I think of an extra forward flap (which you will def need if your femurs are that long) and normal blocks:

            http://www.fine-used-saddles.com/sad..._48_photos.htm

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Yea, see that is probably what I need. Why can't they make those kinds of flaps on affordable saddles??

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by caryledee View Post
                Yea, see that is probably what I need. Why can't they make those kinds of flaps on affordable saddles??
                Maybe start searching ebay. It's a long shot you'll find one too far under $2K in an extra forward flap but sometimes they pop up and just need a little work, like reflocking. I'm not well versed in the less expensive saddles so couldn't tell you which models come in an extra forward flap but maybe try posting a thread on the H/J forum. Something like 'Extra forward flap on an affordable saddle?'. You'll prob get lots of good responses if you list your price range and what you'll be doing in it.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks for your help! I'm really just trying to get feelers now for what I need right now and trying to sort out all the terminology I see. Your insight on the Steubben knee blocks helps a lot though. You'd think Steubben would know how to make a saddle by now.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by caryledee View Post
                    Okay, so it sounds like your knee is supposed to stay behind a block. So what happens if you have really long thighs and there is no way for that to happen? For instance, I tried this Steubben...http://www.usedsaddles.com/product.htm?id=j5333e13.

                    Those are blocks, right? That is a pretty forward flap and my knee was right up on it. But yet the description says its designed for longer legged riders to ride with short irons.

                    No, that is called a Knee Roll.

                    If you have a really long femur then you need to buy a saddle with a long or forward flap.

                    Often saddle design will become more comfortable or less comfortable according to they type of movement or jump of the horse you are sitting on.

                    I first rode in a Barnsby Omega with a knee roll. My mare had little suspension and an easy flat jump.

                    With my new horse I often have to close my knee tightly over fences or I'll land in China. A saddle with a thigh and calf block has helped!
                    http://kaboomeventing.com/
                    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OP-the block low on the back of the flap is to help keep your lower leg in position if you rotate on your knee/drop your shoulders forward.

                      Stubben makes several saddles with extra forward flaps. They are more forward than the one you tried.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Originally posted by purplnurpl View Post
                        No, that is called a Knee Roll.

                        If you have a really long femur then you need to buy a saddle with a long or forward flap.

                        Often saddle design will become more comfortable or less comfortable according to they type of movement or jump of the horse you are sitting on.

                        I first rode in a Barnsby Omega with a knee roll. My mare had little suspension and an easy flat jump.

                        With my new horse I often have to close my knee tightly over fences or I'll land in China. A saddle with a thigh and calf block has helped!

                        How Can that be a knee roll? It is pointed on the top...am I supposed to rest my leg on that?

                        I used to jump my TB jumper in a flat Courbette with nothing under the flap. He usually jumped like a rubber ball. So I know what you are talking about!! That was 15 years ago though...I'm looking for a little more security these days.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by lesson junkie View Post
                          OP-the block low on the back of the flap is to help keep your lower leg in position if you rotate on your knee/drop your shoulders forward.

                          Stubben makes several saddles with extra forward flaps. They are more forward than the one you tried.
                          Wouldn't your leg have to swing back a whole lot before that block would come into play? I've been in some precarious positions, but can't see where that block would have ever saved me.

                          Isn't the VSG model of Steubben saddles supposed to be the best for long legged riders?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The knee block is to help prevent your knee from sliding up if you pinch too hard-the dreaded watermelon seed effect, ya know? Your knee should fit below (under) the block.

                            The back block needs to give you room to use your leg well back on the horse's barrel, so it can't be right at the bottom if the flap. The one on my saddle is pretty low, and I know it's helped me learn to ride my powerful jumping DWB, who is very unsuitable for a small middle aged adult rider like me. I used to have one of those postage stamp saddles too-can't do it any more. The Change of Life hasn't been kind!

                            Just looked again at the saddle you tried-I mistakenly thought it was the VSS. Does the Roxanne have a model with a more forward flap?.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I bought a new saddle last spring. It fits my horse very well, but not so great for me. It's not too small in the seat, it's too short in the leg so my knee sits on top of the knee block instead of behind it. I am so frigging sick of buying saddles. Isn't there a way to alter this saddle by extending the knee flap forward to give my leg more room?

                              I really really don't want to buy another saddle. The saddle has many good things going for it. Is this something you could/would do or would you recommend someone?

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                missvixen--I have the same problem with saddles! The last one that I had fit my leg, but was too big in the seat. I felt myself sliding around a lot as a result! Now the one that I have fits my seat, but my knee is very close to the front edge of the saddle. It is very annoying!! Not sure what the answer is; I don't know how I can find a perfect fit for my horses and myself without going custom (which I can't afford!)

                                lesson junkie--okay, that makes sense with the knee block!! I am riding a VERY lazy horse right now who can take a phenomenal amount of squeezing. And I DO feel my knee going over the edge of the saddle. I'd love to just try a saddle with blocks to see if it would help. What type of saddle do you have?

                                I'll look into the Roxanne...I do believe they make a VSG model.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I found that the only answer is to get custom made if you have a longer femur!
                                  ... _. ._ .._. .._

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Equibrit View Post
                                    I found that the only answer is to get custom made if you have a longer femur!
                                    And what is the cost for a custom made saddle?

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by caryledee View Post
                                      And what is the cost for a custom made saddle?
                                      EXPENSIVE

                                      Like anywhere from $3800-$5200. A well used one made for someone with a long femur like you would be the way to go if you absolutely have to go custom.

                                      But I do bet you can find something suitable that isn't custom. Just don't know what that would be!
                                      ------------------------------------------------------------
                                      Patricia Cooper, Fine Used Saddles

                                      www.fine-used-saddles.com

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Yea, that is what I was afraid of!! I used to have a Courbette that fit me pretty well, but it was hard as a rock so I got rid of it. I think you are right though; there is no way I am going to find a saddle that REALLY fits unless I go custom.

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