On the hunt for a dressage saddle!

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On the hunt for a dressage saddle!

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  • Toulouse aachen chair seat
  • Dressage saddles with hoop tree

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    01-31-2012, 10:53 AM
On the hunt for a dressage saddle!

Hi all! :) So last night me and my coach were talking about how it'd be worthwhile for me to buy a dressage saddle sometime in the future. In the winter we ride in a pretty small indoor arena that's just a bit too small to comfortably/effectively jump in, so the winter months are pretty much exclusively dedicated to flatwork and improving how we ride, and - for me this winter - teaching my guy how to better carry himself in a frame and use his whole body, as opposed to being a giraffe pony, LOL. With this in mind me & my coach thought it'd be a good investment for whenever I can afford it.

So my question to you guys is - what would you recommend? :) I'm a student planning to buy this in a few months when I have a bit of my own money, so there's a little bit of a limit ($1000-$1500, give or take), but I'd still like something that's definitely quality - I'd rather invest a lot at the beginning then have to buy 2 because the first was crap! I'd prefer something wool-flocked, and ideally one with an EasyChange gullet system...sometimes my guy's weight can fluctuate a bit when it's not as easy to ride in the winter because of weather.

Right now I own + ride in a 16" Collegiate Diploma Convertible, which fits my wide, witherless pudgy pony perfectly. I'm only 5'1, but I've got pretty long legs for someone my height...they're the same length as my dad's, whose 5'6-5'7! Made for ponies, haha.

So if any of you have any advice for what's fit horses of a similar build, what's fit you, etc, let me know! I'm all ears! :)
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    01-31-2012, 01:18 PM
I am currently on the hunt for a new saddle as well and have tried 5 or 6 different ones in that general price range. Here is what I have tried and my opinions:

M Toulouse Aachen - wonderful saddle. Has this great gullet system that requires an allen wrench (provided) and the saddle has endless options as you slowly turn a dial from narrowest to widest. The leather was beautiful and soft. The saddle really seemed worth twice as much. My picky broad backed Arab mare was super comfy in it. The twist is wide though and I need a narrow twist for my body type to be comfortable. Had it been narrower for me I would have bought it in a heart beat. Free (no shipping charges either direction) trial through Smartpak makes it worth the try.

Duett Fidelio - another nice saddle. The leather is nice and sticky. Has removable thigh blocks with molded outerflap in 3 sizes. Not a changeable gullet system though. I dealt directly with the duett dealer in the States and she was very rude and hard to work with. Go through Trumball Mountain or a different source. Sent me the wrong tree (way too narrow) even with tracings and pictures and never apologized eventhough I spent $125 in shipping charges. Mare was comfy in it. I felt off balance, but that was due to it being very narrow for her. Will be trying a wider gullet soon. Probably will end up with this saddle.

Wintec Isabell - Channel was too narrow for my mare and made her very unhappy. Even with the widest gullet the channel stays narrow so make sure there is enough spine clearance. Suede seat was secure and sticky. The one at my barn I tried had been well used and the suede didn't look so great. Doesn't leave much room for freedom of motion. Did not think it was worth the price.

Wintec Dressage Pro - much wider channel. Again is suede. I really liked the external thigh block and felt very secure with still having room to move. Thought it would be great except the overgirth strap couldn't be made tight enough to not bang her front legs when she trotted and it made her very angry in a short time. Yes, I could cut it off but I don't want to spend that much money and immediately ruin the saddle. Probably worth the money, but I would just find a good condition used one instead.

The others were not dressage saddles. Good luck and happy hunting!
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    01-31-2012, 04:01 PM
Thanks so much for that post! That gives me a few to think about, especially since my guy's a really wide part Arab. :) I appreciate the help!
    01-31-2012, 06:14 PM
It's hard to suggest anything without knowing your horse. As said, whatever fit the horse!

If you have wider horse you may look into Thornhill Vienna: under $1000 and very good for the price (wool flocked). M Toulouse is another nice brand (also around $1000, wool flocked). It runs more narrow though.

If you prefer synthetic you may look into Wintec or Thorowgood. Personally I'm not a fan of either, but given a choice I'd go with Thorowgood.

And you can always look into nice used one: Stubben, Kieffer, Albion, Passier.
    01-31-2012, 07:01 PM
My wool-flocked Courbette Luxor is a very comfortable saddle; I would look into that brand. I'm selling mine because it's too big, so it probably won't fit you, but just another option to look at.
    01-31-2012, 08:26 PM
Thanks everyone! Keep the posts & suggestions coming. :)

@kitten_Val: Definitely more of a leather girl, but I think when the time comes if I can't find a good leather one I'll look into a synthetic. My Collegiate fits him like a dream so I'm thinking I might give the Collegiate Convertible dressage model a try. I've loved every Collegiate I've sat in...I'm a bit of a fan girl LOL.

@equiniphile: Thanks! I'll keep that in mind :)
    01-31-2012, 09:26 PM
Oh, yes, I forgot. Collegiate too: they run around $1000 and seem to be a nice saddle (my A/P was very comfortable).
    01-31-2012, 10:26 PM
I adore my Diploma <3 So comfy...got it for an absolute bargain, too!
    07-11-2012, 02:46 PM
I had a Collegiate Intellect with the changeable gullet. It was pretty good, and the changeable gullet was a plus, but it blocked the shoulder of my Trakehner mare. I am short with a long femur, and most saddles would put me in a chair seat, including a custom Schleese. I have had great luck with Albion SLKs, especially the Brentina (which are impossible to find used). If you like a wide twist, the Albion orginal comfort in a wide tree is more of a hoop tree saddle and can fit those arab crosses well.
    07-11-2012, 04:02 PM
I have dressage saddles of varying widths: medium (kieffer), wide (stubben) and wide (albion). All three are lovely saddles that I found for under $1000 which left enough $ to have them professionally flocked/fitted to my horses. I would suggest going that route if you can.

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