Any advice for buying your first english saddle?

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Any advice for buying your first english saddle?

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  • Medium range price english saddles
  • High end english saddle

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    01-25-2012, 11:30 PM
Any advice for buying your first english saddle?

The time has come to invest in my first one of my own. I was spoiled during lessons and used my instructors, but I really need to buy my own now.

I live in an area where virtually no one rides english, so it's tough to find one in person. But my instructor (for all her good and her bad points time gone by) was something of a saddle snob and mortified me about the dangers of a broken tree and ruining a horse's back, so Im a little scared of eBay too.

I want an all purpose. Maybe for some light jumping later on and trails right now. Any recommendations as far as brand, make, etc.
My instructor had an M. Toulouse, and I gather that's kinda...high end?

If it makes any difference, for use mostly on a morgan cross (read: chubby bunny ) and occasionally on a paint. I don't think either of them are particularly narrow.

Any advice to keep my eyes peeled for? I need a 17.5.
Also, according to her, and I havent heard this before, she said I might need extra long flaps. I'm 5'8" and not all legs, so does that sound usual?
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    01-25-2012, 11:50 PM
Stubben makes a lot of nice AP saddles and there are often quite a few used ones on the market.

Extra long flap? H m m I wonder. 5'8" isn't all that tall.
    01-26-2012, 12:05 AM
Take a look at Thornhill brand saddles, they are phenomenal! None of the break in discomfort, mine felt like it was broken in from the very first ride. I love it!
    01-26-2012, 12:17 AM
I recently got my first english saddle and was in nearly the same situation. Just like you I was worried about hurting my horse's back and knew next to nothing about english saddles because I had been using my instructor's. Small world!

If you don't mind my pimping a book, The Horse's Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book by Joyce Harman helped me tremendously. It answered all of my questions and then some.

As for M. Toulouse, It seems to be a very popular brand right now and I think their saddles are actually on the cheaper side. I ended up with a Duett and like it very much. It nearly solved the chronic saddle slipping problem on my rolly-polly mare.

Good luck in your search!
    01-26-2012, 08:10 AM
MT are not the high end saddles. I'd say they are medium range (price and quality). I have CC by MT: love it (very grippy). 5'8" + not all legs should be easier for search (I'm 5'9" and all legs, so hard to find something forward enough to accommodate my legs). IF you plan on bigger jumping I'd recommend getting CC over A/P (as A/P unless it has forward flaps are not good for jumping really, at least from my experience).

Personally I'd look into Stubben and Collegiate (I'd suggest MT, but I don't remember seeing A/P saddles by MT). Those probably will be on lower price side used.

My strong advice though: don't buy those cheap starter packages. They are junk, and usually a bad fit for the horse.
    01-26-2012, 08:22 AM
Bates saddles come with replaceable gullets to fit different width horses and do general purpose saddles.

My preference is for an Ideal general purpose event saddle - but that will need to be adjusted by a saddle fitter to get a good fit.
    01-26-2012, 09:07 AM
I love my wintecs (synthetic bates) changeable gullet, sit me beautifully decent price all Mine are off eBay just message the seller before.
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    01-26-2012, 09:13 AM
I just got an HDR and I love it! I've also ridden in a few Collegiates and I love them. Don't skimp out and get a cheap no-name saddle, look at reviews on different sites as well as on here, there have been a few discussions on saddles :)
    01-26-2012, 09:56 AM
Originally Posted by Dreamcatcher Arabians    
Take a look at Thornhill brand saddles, they are phenomenal! None of the break in discomfort, mine felt like it was broken in from the very first ride. I love it!
I second it. I have a dressage one, but I tried A/P and it was very comfortable (and deep, which is great to the trails).

They are hard to find used though. And they also designed towards wider horses (as well as Duett).
    01-26-2012, 01:00 PM
I'm 5'9" and 140 pounds. I ride in a 17" Passier AP from 1977. The seat actually measures more like 17.25". I do not have extra long flaps. I've ridden English for 40 years, and this is the best position I've ever been in and the best contact I've ever had with the horse. It's as close contact as can be, as many of the older Passiers are, but the older ones also are available with more padding and blocks. The Passier trees are generous. I have a Medium tree that fits a chubby bunny purebred Morgan absolutely beautifully. He's about 14.2 hh and built like a draft-horse. I also use it on a TWH with hollow shoulders and high withers. The cutback allows for his withers, and a correction pad fills in behind his shoulders, and he seems really comfortable, even though the fit isn't ideal.
I use the saddle for arena-work and some really steep trails with lots of obstacles.
I mention the older Passiers because you can find some really good deals on them. I paid $250 including shipping. Then I had it reflocked for an additional $250. The saddler who reflocked it was pretty stunned by what I paid for it: "I bet you jumped on this one! It may have a lot of miles on it, but it's good as new and ready for plenty more". Take a look at this one on eBay as an example. I know you're looking for more of a jumping than dressage style, but just as an example to show what you can get for what price: tree is checked and flocking is new:
Passier Patron 17 inches Saddle - Havana Brown semi-custom. Excellent Condition | eBay

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