is it REALLY the right size for me? saddles :/
OK so long story short, I've been riding in two saddles for the past year and a bit. One, my dressage saddle, fits me nicely - or so I feel. The other, my all purpose, is too small.
BUT, I now have 10+ people on another forum telling me it's fine, and I should be riding in a smaller dressage saddle, not looking for a bigger AP or jumping saddle. Like I'm some totally new rider who doesn't know what they're feeling. So I'm wondering if I'm REALLY lacking feel that much, or if these living room experts think they know more than they do?
I have saddle fitters telling me my dressage saddle is perfect and that I shouldn't go any smaller and my instructor is pretty much telling me my dressage saddle is perfect too (his exact words, "nice saddle like that and you're not using knee rolls?" - and I figure if he will mention that, he would mention size)... I feel like I should trust the qualified, trained people who have SEEN me ride in my dressage saddle, over the people over the internet who I don't know from Adam, who have only seen photos.
And then there's the matter of my AP... My stirrups are 6 holes shorter for jumping than for flatwork and STILL longer than I would like them (another 2 holes would be nice) but with the 6 holes my knees are already miles over the edge of the flap. I can't MOVE in that saddle unless my stirrups are at flatwork length or only 2-3 holes shorter. I have sat in that saddle with no stirrups on it and still, with legs hanging, felt like it was too small.
The actual size of my AP is fine for the size of my butt, because I'm pretty tiny, it's just that my legs are so long, they make my "seat" quite large.
...you see the problem? People are at me because they're heavier than me and taller than me and they ride in the same size saddle as my AP so shouldn't I be able to as well? But I can't ride as effectively in my little AP as I can in my dressage. Isn't that the important thing?
Guess you guys want the pictures the 10+ other forum people were working off?
and this one in particular... excuse his hollowness and my position, he was very nearly bolting and feet forward is just something I do on a bolting horse, because I've had a couple of horses that would bolt and then stop within half a stride. I used to go flying on a regular basis until I started doing the legs-forward thing.
So you do not measure a saddle by how big your butt is, it's more a matter of how long you are in your femur, if your comfortable jumping position puts your knee off the front of your saddle, it's too small. And honestly, to me, it looks to small because I (as a trainer) would like to see your stirrups shorter. All-purpose saddles tend to be "big" and chunky, but they're not necessarily big in the right spots, it's got a wide flap, but not a very forward one (which is needed for jumping). You've got a long leg and need a saddle that fits you right in that aspect. An all-purpose saddle is a good first saddle but once you get into regular competition it's neither practical for dressage or jumping. I would suggest selling it and getting yourself a nice close contact saddle with a forward flap to accomodate those long legs of yours.
And as for your leg going forward when a horse bolts, I always tell my lesson students "feet on the dashboard" and pully rein. So it's exactly where I would expect it to be if you were riding with me. It puts you in a position to use your body weight and leverage to stop your bolting horse rather than just your arms. Good job :)
That last picture is the only one where it is even possible to see the 'fit' of the saddle on you, and since you say he is about to bolt and your feet are forward, it's not a fair picture to judge by. If you want a good, honest evaluation, we need pics of you at halt, trot, and canter, straight on from the side. Can't tell anything by these pics, but your horse is lovely!
What yourcolorfuladdiction didn't really make clear enough is that for a petite rider with a long femur flap angle becomes more important than seat size. Too big a seat and (i)
(i) you'll tend to slide about and (ii)the saddle will be too big for your horse. Your existing GP/AP looks plenty big on him to me.
Think about it this way - just because the angle at your knee is more acute, should you be moving your backside further back in the saddle? No, you still need to sit in the middle; it should only be your leg position which changes.
Oh, and I'd suggest that unless you're diong high-level competition, you don't really need a dedicated jumping saddle (unless you really want one - no problem with that!). And if you do decide to look for one, and you're getting rid of your AP, try to find one that fits properly because true close-contacts have a small panel area so are not so good for hacking/trail-riding etc. Foam panels are the worst; they rarely fit anything very well and can't be easily adjusted.
If both you and your horse are happy with what you have, don't be persuaded to change just because other people are nagging - listen to the opinions of those you trust. I always say 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.'
I would like to see my stirrups shorter too YCA!! I shortened them another 2 holes, but that's as absolutely short as I can take them and they're still too long :/ there are a couple of nice jumping saddles I'm eyeing off at the moment that would be perfect but are too expensive. Only reason I'm still riding in that feral thing is that I don't have $500-$600 for a second hand Wintec jumping saddle which probably wouldn't fit Monty... yet the living room experts tell me to get one anyway.
Uncle, yes that's my experience too, 18 inch dressage is WAYY too big (mine is 17.5) but I sat in an 18 inch jumping saddle in the shop and with my legs how I like them for jumping, it was perfect. Barring the massive seat size of course, but I was in the middle of the saddle and very comfortable. A more forward-cut jumping saddle than that one, I was comfortable in a 16.5 inch.
edit to add; it IS broke, that's the problem! And so-called "experts" from other forums are telling me that it's fine, though I could have a better saddle for jumping in. I am actually jumping a LOT higher than those jumps, that was eventing and cross country scares me so I kept it small for my confidence. Showjumping, we'll easy be competing 3'+ by the end of the year and I'm actually hoping for 3'6" if my horse is capable of jumping spreads that big.
You need a saddle with a more forward flap for jumping. You are so slender that that is your only solution to the flap problem. Sell that AP and buy a close contact saddle for jumping. The Wintec Pro Jump or 500 Jump are the deeper seat Wintec ccs. The flaps are very forward on the Pro Jump, and the equisuede is grippy. But the one that I had was a 16.5" and actually measured 17". So, a Wintec cc may be too large in the seat for you. There are lots of plain flap leather ccs out there for $250 or so, and some have knee blocks or knee rolls on them. You can have a saddler add Velcro for about $75 and then use any brand of Velcro knee blocks on it, too.
I do yes! There are a few I'm looking at but it's not easy to find forward flap plus straight enough shape for Monty's back (have looked at the Wintec ones, they are too curved) and they're all outside budget.
$250? You guys pay a LOT less for saddles than we do! I've never seen a close contact for less than $500 here and that's including Wintec and other synthetics.
Granted, having a bigger seat isn't always the best thing, as uncle said, but sometimes that is the better option than having your knee climb over the knee roll or your leg too long and swinging (because, let's face it, we can't all afford those $4000 perfect-for-you saddles even when they're on consignment for $2000). Your first best bet is going to be a very foward flap, like more of a cross country saddle but any close contact would be an improvement over the AP.
So I'm just going to put it out there, I HATE wintechs, I was jumping my pony in one until I could get a new saddle and it was the WORST. Unlike a leather saddle, you don't get the "stick" of leather like the fake plasticky stuff of the wintech has. They also (again) tend to be chunky, and I had a problem with mine catching me in the butt over the fence (which had never happened to me before). Granted, I've never ridden in their equisuede so that might be stickier and easier to ride in but I do enjoy my saddles fitting like a glove on my horse. I actually spent a lot of time looking online, going to consignment sales, and such to find the right saddle.
Don't even bother with a new saddle, you're better off getting a nice used saddle for your price range. You'd also be better off selling your AP first and taking a little time off of jumping (or jumping bareback, which is what I opted for after 1 ride in the wintech), and use the money you make from selling the AP to put towards a new saddle.
I hope this helps, it's going to take a lot of digging and searching to find the perfect saddle for you and your horse, but by the looks of it that AP is not doing you any good.
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