What type of saddle would you recommend? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 02:37 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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What type of saddle would you recommend?

Hey all. I'm currently shopping for a (new to me) used English saddle. What type would you recommend and why?

Here's a bit of background about me and my horse:
I'm a very recreational rider. I prefer English to Western, simply because I feel more secure in the saddle. I don't show, but I would like to be able to pop comfortably over low trees or obstructions if the opportunity came up. My mare is a large barreled, 16.1hh Standardbred mare. She has an average wither.

I've sat in all purpose, dressage and close contact saddles. I enjoy plain flap saddles simply because there's less between me and my horse, but the sales person at the tack store recommended a dressage saddle because I mentioned I'd be on the trail. I sat in a few and found them very comfortable. The longer flaps fit my leg well, and put me in a great position... or as good a position as one can get on a sawhorse with no stirrups. Heh.

However, I'm curious... could I make it over very occasional smaller jumps in a dressage saddle or should I contain my search to eventing or close contact saddles? What brands would you recommend? I sat in a Stubben dressage saddle (loved it!) and a Crosby jumping saddle (also a fan). I sat in a few others, but those two really stood out in my memory. I've now found a Crosby Olympic Works dressage saddle online, local to me and in a size that should fit both myself and my horse. If you were in my position, would you recommend a dressage saddle? Should I steer clear of a dressage saddle if I want to do a bit of jumping?

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post #2 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 07:16 AM
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Australia
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i pop over the occasional jump in my dressage saddle, no worries
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post #3 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 09:45 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Surry, Va
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Australian, they sit like a dressage saddle but give a bit more trail security.
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post #4 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 09:57 AM
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i love the older Stubbens, the all purpose saddles. I have ridden in them for years, they are reasonably priced and hold their value too. I just sold two of them 16 1/2" for $250 each. I bought them about 15 and 18 years ago for the same price. They are comfy and you can do anything in them.
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post #5 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 07:09 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Thanks! I've currently got a Collegiate A/P on trial and I'm loving it. It fits me like a glove and it fits my horse pretty well. She's kind of an odd size, between horse and warmblood size. I tried the saddle on her with the thinnest pad I could find (since I can't get the saddle dirty) and it fits pretty good. Sits nice and level on her back, no pinching anywhere and she seems comfortable in it. It fit even better when I laid my nice, thick quilted pad on her and I think it'll fit absolutely perfectly once she has a good top line (she's a pasture diva right now). For now, I might have to use a half pad on her, but I won't know for sure until I try her out with one.

I took it for a quick test ride today and it is very comfortable. It puts my legs in a nice position, and I feel very secure in it. One of the nicer saddles I've ridden in, for sure.
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post #6 of 12 Old 12-03-2011, 10:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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A comfy Barnsby all purpose, easy to find your sweet spot in that. Good luck trying to find one, they get snapped up quick.
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post #7 of 12 Old 12-05-2011, 10:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Quick question about saddle fit. When I first tried it on and rode, it seemed like a good fit, but then I started thinking a little more thoroughly. I've watched the Schleese tutorials and it covered a lot of the important things, but I'm confused about one aspect (next paragraph). The saddle has a fair amount of clearance over her withers and shoulders (nearly 4 fingers over her withers, and three over the shoulders). It doesn't appear to pinch at any point when I run my hands underneath and it follows the shape of her body well. Looking from the back, I can see a clear channel of light. The saddle is balanced fairly well - a pen rolled in the seat of the saddle settles in the center quite nicely.

HOWEVER... when I tighten the girth and start pushing on the saddle and messing with it to see how weight transfer would affect the fit, it appears that the back moves a lot side to side. It doesn't rock up and down, just side to side. The tree isn't damaged, but it almost seems like the back of the saddle is too wide. The saddle is a medium tree, and if I go to a narrower tree, I feel like it would pinch her shoulders. Is this normal? I don't normally ride with a saddle and I'm not sure if it's normal for a saddle to move like that. My gut instinct says no, but I'm uncertain. If the saddle fits well over the withers, shoulder and provides enough clearance... is it a deal breaker if it doesn't fit as well in the back? Will a half pad really fix that problem? Should I try a different size tree?
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post #8 of 12 Old 12-05-2011, 11:05 AM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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I compete in endurance, do small jumps and flat in an all purpose fairfax. It is extremely comfy, and it is very wide (if your horse has a wide back).
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post #9 of 12 Old 12-05-2011, 11:26 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ~*~ NEBRASKA ~*~
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At some of our local Dressage shows there are Capri Caprelli classes. Basically it's a dressage pattern with a couple of simple jumps....

If you are most comfortable in a Dressage saddle, I see no reason not to get one. Yest you can pop over a few little jumps and stuff occasionally, it's pretty versatile but be careful of speedy fast turns, I tried Cinny around barrels in my Kieffer and well...lets just say, those things aren't exactly meant for running barrels even at slower speeds LOL.
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post #10 of 12 Old 12-05-2011, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Hermon,Maine
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I love my collegiate senior event saddle. it is an all purpose but it leans more towards dressage. it has a slightly forward flap so you can shorten your stirrups to pop over some jumps and lengthen them for dressage schooling or trail riding. It is so comfortable too.
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