I am getting back riding after a bit of brake when my mare got sick. While riding someone else's horse I've noticed that problems with seat sizes. I'm 5'9" and a 34" inseam but in a english saddle anything over 17" I'm swimming it in, even then I can be. Instructors and trainers look at my height and put me in a bigger saddles. Same with western really, I own a 15" saddle and it's okay but would like it .5" to 1" smaller seat so my legs are more under me.
Is it the upper part of my leg just isn't that long? The only saddle I found that I liked was a thorowgood but I have no idea what size it was, other than a 12 year old was riding in it before me (she was tall for her age). When I bought my sidesaddle the woman was surprised when I said I had a couple inches behind me in a 20" saddle, I have to skoot forward to reach the up right pommel.
Guess I should point out I am 125lbs so I am not stick thin.
Is there a type of saddle that might work better, or am I just that weirdly built:-|? Would like to buy another saddle but don't want to pay for something that hinders me.
I can't understand everyone's fixation with rider height and seat size. These people obviously don't ride, or if they do they don't think very deeply.
The most important factor if you're long-legged is the flap angle, not the seat length. That's secondary and more relevant to the size of your butt (sorry) than the length of your femur.
I sympathise. You should try telling people who make you ride in big saddles that you don't feel safe in such circumstances and also that you have a fancy accident lawyer - that'll make them take notice :)
Seriously though, the problem with many smaller-seated saddles is they might fit your bottom but they won't have a forward enough flap for your legs, and that's likely the reason you're being put in oversized (for your build) saddles. They're just a not-very-satisfactory compromise :(
You're not weirdly built. Or maybe we're both weirdly built. I used to be 5'9" and 125 pounds, with a 32" inseam. My weight has since increased a wee bit...
I've always fit well in a 17" or 17.5" saddle, depending on the maker and seat depth. I've had to make many compromises over the years. Occasionally, I've ridden in a saddle that fits perfectly. These were saddles like what unclearthur is describing - they had a 17" seat with a longer flap, or a more forward flap angle, so my knee didn't wander off the flap. Usually, I've had to make do with a seat that's slightly too big or a flap that's slightly too small. When I found a saddle that fit just right (and fit the horse too), I bought it on the spot. They're out there. Keep looking.
I personally ride in saddles that fit me. I do tend to be comfy in a 15" western (don't do English so I'm no help there) but even different 15" seats sit different. You may find you like barrel saddles or cutting saddles or whatever. Just start sittin any saddle you get the chance to. You'll find your match eventually.
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Thanks to everyone.
Saddle shopping is fustrating and can't even ask for help because no one knows what kinds of saddles might work. I might look into some different kinds of western saddles too, most are pleasure saddles around here and aren't that practical for me any way. And forward flap english saddles are rare, apparently I'm not average. So it will be a bit a hunt to find the right one.
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