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I'm going to be buying a new used english saddle before summer and have been keeping an eye on ebay. I see plenty of crosby and collegiate saddle without the knee pads or knee blocks...they're also cheaper. Are they cheaper for good reason? I've always had a saddle with both so was curious what others' thoughts and experiences are.
 

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They're cheaper because less goes into making them and also less popular amongst the majority
I used to ride show ponies (UK) in 'flat' straight cut saddles and have jumped in saddles with no 'support' in the past but not something I'd want now if I had a choice
 

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Why would you prefer to not ride in one?
It's purely personal preference.
Here's my preferences, and you can get an idea of why people may like different things.

I grew up riding in flat, slick, hard German saddles with plain flaps. All were impeccably balanced and promoted a good equitation position. That was pretty standard "back then". You can't "cheat" in these saddles. You have to learn to be in the correct position, develop a solid seat, and keep your leg steady. There's nothing to "catch you" if you decide to be lazy or get off-balance. I rode solely in these saddles for 41 years. I feel secure in them, because I can really feel the horse in them (and I'm used to them).

I now primarily ride fairly rough terrain long hours on end. I've switched over to a slightly deeper seat with modest knee-blocks and slight roll. It simply gives me more support so I can relax a little more and not get tired after 4 hours of going up and down hills.

When I decide to pop over a jump now, I still go back to my 1976 plain-flap slick-as-snot Passier. I far prefer it to a saddle with rolls/blocks. There is nothing in my way, so I can get into the position I want, and it feels like nothing between me and the horse. When I jump in a roll/block saddle, I get really annoyed at all the crap in my way (but I'm not used to having all that stuff in the way). If I were jumping 4', I'd probably feel differently and prefer the additional support. BTW, that Passier has such awesome leather, whcih has molded to my butt and thighs over so many years, that it feels more supportive and secure to me than most roll/block saddles.

I still make my students learn their seat in a plain-flap saddle. If I put them in a block/roll saddle, they can often just relax and rely on the saddle to keep everything where it should be. If I take a kid who's previously learned in a roll/block saddle and put them in a plain-flap, they often just slide right off - they haven't developed a solid enough seat. I move them over to a plain-flap until it's their seat, position, and legs keeping them on the horse, rather than the saddle keeping them there. Once they're solid, I let them move over to a roll/block saddle if they want.
 

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I started riding English as a kid in a saddle with knee rolls....
When I went to really riding and jumping at a level above intermediate beginner I also went to a close contact saddle with no knee rolls.
I can tell you that it was a huge adjustment for me to lose the support of that knee roll. It was a crutch for me, a artificial leg and securement position I was locked in to.
I had to learn new muscle memory to ride with a secure leg, steady leg and it made me a better rider.
Much depends upon where you want your riding to take you...showing, trails...just for your enjoyment an could care less what the current fad is???
Those answers will dictate what and where you find your "new" saddle....
The same is true of saddles with knee and thigh blocks...they can lock your leg in to a position. The question is is it the right position and if you were to not have those blocks could you still ride effectively and correctly without it? :shrug:

Personally, my saddle is "out of style".
I could care less!! Actually, I have never cared about "the fads"
I don't need to have the designer name, look or color...
I do need a better than good quality saddle that fits my horses and I.
I need a saddle that will last through many years of use and still be a good safe piece of equipment to use daily...

Buy a saddle that fits your needs and wants.
A quality name and one that was taken good care of...you can spot well maintained saddles from across a large room against a cheap and or mistreated one..
Don't be swayed by pretty this or that...
Be swayed by it is the right saddle for you!
Buying used also many times comes with stirrups and stirrup leathers another added expense on "new", really new which comes with usually saddle only.

Happy shopping!!
:runninghorse2:....
jmo...
 

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It is a personal choice, for sure.

Polo saddles are plain flap. I don't mind a small knee roll on other english style saddles, but I hate the blocks. I'll decide where to keep my legs, thank you very much! :)
 

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I have one of each and I honestly can't tell much difference. I am, however, new to English riding so that could be my skills gap.

I do have a 17.5" Collegiate w/out flaps for sale if you're interested. :)
 

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Why would you prefer to not ride in one?
I don't find them as comfortable and these days I'm all about comfort
When I was a child/young teen I rode miles and miles on an ancient felt pad saddle and kept my nice leather one's for 'best'. I don't remember it ever being terrible back then and my pony never showed any signs at all of having a sore back but I wouldn't want to do that any more either!!!
Seriously though
Buy the best saddle that you can afford that fits you and the horse and gives you the most comfortable feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have one of each and I honestly can't tell much difference. I am, however, new to English riding so that could be my skills gap.

I do have a 17.5" Collegiate w/out flaps for sale if you're interested. :)
Thanks, I just finalized a purchase on a 17' :)
 
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