05-26-2013, 10:16 PM
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Hi, I'm new here, but I thought I'd weigh in on this question.
First, why are no longer happy with your current saddle? Is its fit bad on your horse? Are you just interested in a different saddle style, as in going from a CC saddle to a dressage saddle? If you're not very knowledgeable about dressage saddles, I'd suggest talking to a local saddle fitter who can guide you through picking out a saddle for your boy that fits both him and you well.
Second, if you don't have any saddle fitters nearby, talk to a local tack shop for recommendations. Most good tack shops have a saddle expert that can help you, once you tell her your horse's build. Of course, she'd only give you a few saddles to try on your horse, she wouldn't be able to guarantee that any of those saddles would fit your boy and you. You'd have to try all of them on him first, and ride him in them next.
Without help from a saddle fitter, buying a new saddle is tricky. Buying a book about saddle fit is a good idea. I have one called THE HORSE'S PAIN-FREE BACK AND SADDLE-FIT BOOK by Joyce Harman, DVM.
But after all of the suggestions, plan on trying a lot of saddles in order to make sure of the fit. It makes no sense to buy a saddle that fits your horse if it doesn't fit you, nor does it make any sense to get a saddle you love that causes your horse to pin his ears when you walk up with the saddle in your hands. Or worse.
Along with buying a saddle that fits, a saddle's fit should be checked every six months. A horse's musculature can change if you ride him more or less, or do different exercises, or even change as the horse ages. My CWB mare had to have the panels of her saddle changed due to age and fitness, and new panels would have cost nearly as much as a saddle, so I elected to get her a new one.
Good luck on your saddle search.