Picking a Saddle

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  panache 3 years, 10 months ago.

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  • khenderjazz Original Poster khenderjazz
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    I am looking for advice on what saddles I should try. I grew up riding quarter horses and competing on the AQHA circuit doing all around classes. I recently decided to begin taking hunter jumper lessons, and I am searching for a quality used close contact saddle. I had taken a saddle on trial from CWD and unfortunately it was too narrow for my horse. I asked that the representative continue to keep an eye out for a saddle that would meet my needs but they have proven to be extremely hard to contact. That was the first time I had ever sat in a CWD but since it did not fit my horse correctly I am not able to decide if that is the brand I would like to pursue.

    So my questions are: what close contact hunt seat saddles do you recommend (and why) and what companies have you found to offer the best customer service?

    SmartPaker Sarah SmartPaker Sarah
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 24

    As a fellow rider who has migrated from AQHA to the H/J world, I can sympathize with feeling a little out of sorts at first! If you can tell me a little bit about your horse (breed, build, etc.) and what exactly didn’t fit about the CWD saddle (too wide over the back? withers too high?), I might be able to make some suggestions (I’ll poll the other SmartPak riders, too!). – SmartPaker Sarah

    Rider, Runner, Stuff-Riders-Say-er, SmartPaker

    khenderjazz Original Poster khenderjazz
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 2

    I have a quarter horse, he is not registered as an appendix but is kinda built like one. He is 16’1 and is lighter boned than the “traditional” quarter horse. His withers are not very prominent but are kind of wide. I am thinking when we measured he was medium wide to wide. The saddle I had taken on trial ended up being too narrow through the tree.

    I appreciate any feedback you are able to give!

    SmartPaker Sarah SmartPaker Sarah
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 24

    OK – I polled some of the other SmartPakers with wide-backed horses, and here’s our collective advice:
    – We’ve had a few people who’ve had success with CWD for wider horses, so it may have been the particular model you were trying. Additionally, one of our buyers noted that the New England CWD rep just stepped down from his position, and the rep from the New York region had been helping out, so that may explain some of the gaps in service.
    – If you liked the fit of the CWD for you, but it just didn’t fit your horse, you may want to consider a Devacoux or Voltaire, both of which are quite popular among our H/J friends looking for wider-tree saddles. Country saddles also have a wider-than-average tree, and they’re wool-flocked, which makes customizing to your horse much easier.
    – There were a couple votes for Antares saddles (http://bit.ly/1e3Mstf), which you can get custom made. I personally have had success with my custom Antares (just has custom flaps, the tree is standard) on my 16hh AQHA gelding (he too is more Appendix-looking, even if his papers disagree!).
    – M. Toulouse has a lot of great options with their Genesis system that offers an adjustable fit basically on the fly! That’s a good advantage because then you can adjust the tree if your horse muscles up as you’re competing more. The Denisse has the Genesis: http://bit.ly/15RjnRN, and the less expensive Annice does not (but it does still have a generous wide-tree option): http://bit.ly/15RjpJn
    – Last but not least, a super-affordable brand that you may want to consider is Wintec: http://bit.ly/15RkFw7 Their saddles are quality, and look quite nice, but they aren’t as serious of an investment, especially if this is a first purchase for you.
    If you do decide to try a new saddle, don’t forget that SmartPak offers free shipping on all orders over $75, free returns on all sized items (including saddles) and a generous, risk-free test ride program – check out the third tab on our saddles page: http://bit.ly/1e3MEc3

    I hope something in there is helpful! Give me a shout if you have any other questions, and good luck! – SmartPaker Sarah

    Rider, Runner, Stuff-Riders-Say-er, SmartPaker

    FadingTwilight FadingTwilight
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 18

    I have a 23 y/o QH. He has the round and bulky QH build, but also has some dips behind his withers from age. I have had great luck with passier for his dressage saddle. I found a dominus CC (pre weatherbeeta days) that fits ‘ok’. I work with a fitter, and we’re still trying to adjust it properly for him. I’m not loving the dominus on me, so I’ve got my eyes out for a passier CC.

    In my experience, saddles like the toulouse and the wintecs do not always fit the QH builds correctly as the gullet/panels tend to be too ‘A’ framed for their more rounded shoulders. However, If you have a QH that has strong thoroughbred lines, this type of fit may work. My guy is beefier, but another QH at my barn is thinner and might fit the more ‘A’ framed type panels. It really just depends on the horse.

    How is his back, is it pretty straight or is he curvy? If he (or she ๐Ÿ™‚ ) has a curvier back, you may want to check out county, passier, and I believe stubben, as they have curvier trees.. If I remember right, thorowgood saddles also fall into this category (there’s a few others). You’ll want to stay away from saddles that tend to be flatter, such as toulouse, wintec, and pessoa. Although the wintec CC trees are curvier than their dressage trees, so you might be able to make it work if a wintec fits in the shoulders. Of course if your horse has a flatter back, then reverse the advice here! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Is the horse pretty symmetrical (not that any horse is EXACTLY symmetrical ๐Ÿ™‚ )? If they are, then foam panels may work for you. However, if the horse has some issues asymmetrically, I’d recommend wool flocked panels. The panels can be adjusted to fit your horse whereas foam panels cannot be adjusted. If you get a saddle with foam panels, you’ll have to correct for issues with pads. Of course you can use pads on wool panels too, but I personally like the saddle to fit without needing extra pads. Foam panels have really come into style, so newer brands/models, Pessoa for example, tend to focus more on foam than wool. Sometimes you can convert foam to wool, so keep that in mind as you search around.

    Sorry for the small novel, but I hope this helps!


    Sweeter_than_Sugar777 Sweeter_than_Sugar777
    Topics Started: 1Replies Posted: 6

    Pessoa is the answer. I have a Pessoa and it us so soft and comfy. It is a little pricy but once you sit in it, you will never want to get out.

    When Pigs Fly, Sweeter_than_Sugar777

    Topics Started: 7Replies Posted: 29

    Pessoas are the best, they have a nice seat thats deep without hurting the horse. They fit well on almost any horse, i bought one on sale and it fit my high-wither mare perfectly. Some also have an easy way to adjust the tree. They are really popular in the hunter/jumper world.

    Life is not about waiting for the clouds to pass, its about learning to ride in the rain

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