I'm hoping to start doing some eventing next year, but I believe the next step in the process is to stop trying to ride dressage in my Stubben Edelweiss saddle. It is so frustrating trying to keep my leg back when my saddle wants my leg forward. I have a fairly easy-to-ft 16.2 TB (he inherited the Stubben from my 14.2 Arab, and it fits fine ... see, easy!), and am looking for a used dressage saddle. Does anyone have any recommendations on saddles they liked/didn't like? I'm looking for that magical saddle that will put my leg -- automatically! Magically! -- in the correct position for dressage and balanced seat work. And, since I'll probably be buying used from cyberspace, it would be nice to narrow down what I'm looking for.
I just went through the used saddle search and it was frustrating! I have a 16.2 Oldenburg that people are always mistaking for a TB because of her build, and the saddle that I finally found (after trying out 8 used ones from Pelham Saddlery, an hour's drive away from the barn... and you can only have three at once...) is FANTASTIC. It is a Euroriding Diamant, 17" (I am 5'2") tree size 3. I love it, two trainers of mine love it, and it does just what you said you are looking for... puts my leg in that magical place.
It's a midrange saddle to begin with so you should be able to find a decent price on it. However they are harder to find in the US because they are mainly used in the EU. It's worth the search, though.
Since you know Stubben's fit, you might first look at Stubben Dressage saddles. Stay away from the Tristans, they have a more forward stirrup bar, so that won't help you any. I'd look at the Maestoso, Scandia, and Romanus. Look for a saddle with a good front knee block, like this Romanus:
Other brands to consider: Passier (older models fit like Stubbens), Wintec Innova (really lock you in to place), and Courbettes (fit slightly more narrow than Stubben). Older County saddles are a good find too, and ride well.
I would try to find a web site or local shop that allows trials, so you can make sure the saddle is right for you. Make sure to note the tree size of your current Stubben, so the shop can compare that with the saddles you're interested in.
Thanks for the advice. We don't have many used tack sources in Connecticut, but I've found a few possibilities online. I'm convinced that there are about 10 used saddles on ebay just rotate through different sellers as they buy/try/relist. I may be joining that group soon!
If you want a dressage saddle that will put you in the correct position like magic, I highly suggest an Albion. I have an Albion (sadly doesn't fit my horses or me anymore) that I absolutely love. It puts me in a great position and is very easy to ride in.
I have a Wintec Isabel that I use for everything. It sets your leg in the correct position and keeps it there. No fighting at all. I use it for trailriding too as the synthetic material keeps your buns in the saddle.
Love it! Em