Fitting saddle to rider - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By unclearthur
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post #1 of 6 Old 07-17-2012, 11:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2012
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Fitting saddle to rider

Hey everyone! I need some advice from the saddle experts here! So here's my problem:

I'm short. Short, and even though I'm super fit, I have a booty. This is making finding a saddle a nightmare! I have a lovely dressage saddle that is a size 17.5" that my rear fits into wonderfully, but the flaps are a touch long for me. My dressage saddle doesn't bother me much, I can work with that and am quite happy with it. My jumping saddle is the pain. So, I need a bigger seat to fit my rear into, but a shorter flap for my legs. Frustrating! The saddle itself is a size 17, but my leg length would need more of a 16.5" (amazing how half an inch can make such a difference!) I need to crank my stirrups up so my ears and then sit in a chair seat just so the saddle supports me. I feel like a jockey and can't really use my legs effectively. And I feel way out of sorts! I've ridden in a friend's 16.5 close contact and it was nicer, the seat was a bit restrictive. I did feel a heck of a lot more balanced in it. I've also had the chance to ride in a 16" ap saddle for jumping - loved it! I felt so secure and balanced. But I swear my butt just about hung off the cantle!

So what would you do? Would you opt for the smaller seat? Or would you stay with something that fit your rear better than your legs? And of course, I'd never forget about my horse in the fitting process.
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post #2 of 6 Old 07-18-2012, 12:24 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
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A saddle maker may be able to trim the flap on the saddle but not if there's a knee pad. Have you thought of a hunt seat saddle? The flaps might be trimmable.
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post #3 of 6 Old 07-18-2012, 06:11 AM
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You really could do with a decent saddle fitter taking a look. I'd suggest there's far more going on here than just the length of your leg relative to the seat size, but too many variables to make an accurate judgement from what you've said.

For example, the chair seat/short stirrup problem suggests an out of balance saddle more than an issue with flap size. I had a short lady customer recently with a big horse (17.5 AP saddle) who found her lower leg slipping forward on the flap. The saddle looked fine - until she rode on it - because the horse's back profile changed under load. It took about 2 hours to adjust the flocking to suit both her and the horse, allowing for three tweaks and test-rides in between.

I realise it's often difficult to find someone trustworthy but it can be the most economic way in the long run. Best of luck :)

The battle that never ends is the battle of belief against unbelief - Thomas Carlyle
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post #4 of 6 Old 07-18-2012, 07:46 AM
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custom made saddle is in order. you can be a trendsetter. girls are becoming more and more built as you described..............which is a good thing
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post #5 of 6 Old 07-18-2012, 09:33 AM Thread Starter
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I wish there were a saddler down here. I have yet to find one. I do agree that the saddle isn't very balanced. It looks balanced on the horse, but is awkward for me to sit in. In a suitable jumping stirrup length, my knee just sits along the edge of the pad and then doesn't come close to the block (which I do like to use). The block is tiny and set high. Even when I crank my stirrup straps up for cross country, I still don't benefit from it.

The saddle is quite new for me too for jumping. I'm used to using all purpose saddles for jumping and cross country. I enjoyed using the old 16" wintec lesson saddle most, even though it was slightly snug. But it looked so awful (it was old and used quite a bit). Students were always fighting over it!

I've been considering the thorowgood t8 gp saddle. But I'm a bit aprehensive about the buying one because the smallest seat size available is 17.

I don't even know where to begin with close contact saddles.
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post #6 of 6 Old 07-18-2012, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: South Wales, UK
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If you're comfortable jumping in a GP/AP then stick with one. There's an awful lot of rubbish talked about 'having' to use a dedicated jumping saddle. Often, using a more forward cut GP (often called 'Event' cut) is a better bet as they're easier to use for general riding.
I've only ever competed up to 1.10m but never used a dedicated jumping saddle and I know plenty of riders the same. If you're intending to compete at higher levels, though, a specialist saddle does help.
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The battle that never ends is the battle of belief against unbelief - Thomas Carlyle
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