Hi all - so here is my problem. I ride in a bates cc (original, not the new weird ones) and I love it but.... (there's always a but, right?)
After years of having this saddle, i've outgrown it. I'm short (barely 5'4") and very short legged. In the past year I also started doing much more aggressive riding with a heavy focus on hunter paces held by a highly competitive fox hunt. Fences range up to 4', with all sorts of hazards from drops to banks to stone walls, to stone walls between trees with planks nailed above them for added height. Good ole traditional full-fledged english style fox hunts complete with year end awards and 2 hunt cups. No joke riding.
Well with my stirrups as short as I can make them w/o my knee coming off the front of the knee roll, I only have a few inches of clearance in the saddle. Fine for jumping in the ring up to 3'6" or so, and I can manage verticals that are higher on even ground, but when jumping the more technical obstacles especially solid ones, I am just barely clearing my horse's back. Over something large, wide, solid, and technical, I don't want to to interfere of course. It's not causing an issue and my leg is solid enough that i'm not hitting him in the back, however I have no room to go from there.
SO i'm currently looking at Voltaire saddles (friend/colleague is a rep) and interested in hearing more about them and any other companies people have first hand experience with that may work. Demoing several Voltaire models including a new Second Skin this coming Sat at HITS...
Please keep in mind the following:
- I already know the full history on the Voltaire brand and it's link back to Devoucoux and origins
- I know a great deal on saddle fit and have worked with both saddle fitters, chiros, vets, and more over the years
- for many many years I promoted Bates saddles based on my personal experience and excellent fit for my horses, however recently seeing that it doesn't fit my well muscled TB who is very wide despite the wide tree as well as it should
- I am SHORT! And I ride HARD! When not hunter pacing, we're trail riding, eventing, or schooling jumpers for fun. Height of fences isn't always huge - but technicality and width of fence and solidarity of the obstacles we are jumping is always a factor, keeping in mind a 2'6" fence may land with a drop making it 3'6"+ on the landing side...
Any and all suggestions are welcome but PLEASE keep it to FIRSTHAND experience! Thank you!