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  1. #1
    Just backed
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    150

    Default Saddle woes and decisions

    So I am wanting a new saddle, my decision making at the best of times is not the best and saddles seem to be a total mind field!

    Currently have a T4 GP. This is not doing anything to help my position and since having this saddle you can notice in videos and photos how my position has changed and not for the better!

    We are at the very early stages of eventing and feel that a jump saddle would benefit us XC and give more support whilst improving my position, making me safer in mine and ponies wobbly moments. But as we are only at very early stages thinking maybe it is not worthwhile at this stage and jumping saddles are meant for bigger heights.

    Would love love love a dressage saddle to be able to work on the flat with but then can not jump in it and would look for it to be all singing and dancing to really help me work towards a better riding position. But then my GP would have to be kept for jumping/ XC

    I am in a situation where i could *possibly* afford one of each depending on the cost of each of the saddles. But then I have fallen for the most expensive of them all Voltaire and Wow saddles. So if anyone has any reviews? I understand the fitters of each brand need to be spot on to make them good. Plus there are also no local stockists of these brands and I would have to go direct to the companies so therefore could be a bit of a wait for any follow up checks or alterations. Although if these were to be my final decision then it would be either dressage or jump not both.

    I have tried a Fairfax dressage saddle with a local fitter to me but although It felt good to ride in, from watching the videos back it did not really effect my position too much, I know this is also a joint work in progress from me and that I would have to learn to ride in the dressage saddle. But I didn't have an instant like for the saddle and felt like the fitter was giving me the sales patter to buy it. It fitted my horse fine, just not sure it was the right saddle for me, which is the same as the issue i currently have

    Argghh... I've no idea. How did you go about getting and fitting your saddles? My local fitter has lots of stock but mainly of all the same brand / make / saddles from the same/ similar company. Not sure where else to turn to, to get further ideas.

    Help!

  2. #2
    Not slacking-multitasking
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Cambridge
    Posts
    39,244

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    There seems to be a big push towards the childerics/voltaires of this world which I don't get at all as they are , you can only try one brand at a time usually, and they have foam panels which mean later tweaking just isn't possible (as my YO found out when her mare changed).

    It does sound like you would rather locate someone with whom you can try a few options but I do think these fitters are getting fewer, could you travel to one if need be? You might be better to find someone with good second hand stock in the first instance as they might have more of a range than someone that stocks new and then tends to have only one or two brands.

    For my saddle shopping I got a local saddler who sells rebranded ideals out and ended up with a VSD because the GP was a bit much on his shoulders. This meant that later when I decided (probably a bit like you) that I really rather wanted a dressage saddle I just got an ideal on the same tree.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I wouldn’t get hung up on brand and I would get a saddler out with a decent range of good quality second hand saddles, and see which ones feel right.

    If you are talking WOW/Voltaire type budget then you could easily get a decent jump and dressage secondhand in the 600-1000 bracket each - the plus side being if it’s not right and you need to resell then the bulk of depreciation has already happened.

    If you end up in a position whereby you can only get one saddle then I’d opt for a jump over a GP or dressage.

    If you know what you want from a WOW then let me know your spec as when I get my backside in gear I’m going to sell mine

  4. #4

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatework View Post
    I wouldn’t get hung up on brand and I would get a saddler out with a decent range of good quality second hand saddles, and see which ones feel right.

    If you are talking WOW/Voltaire type budget then you could easily get a decent jump and dressage secondhand in the 600-1000 bracket each - the plus side being if it’s not right and you need to resell then the bulk of depreciation has already happened.

    If you end up in a position whereby you can only get one saddle then I’d opt for a jump over a GP or dressage.

    If you know what you want from a WOW then let me know your spec as when I get my backside in gear I’m going to sell mine
    This, one of my liveries recently bought a decent cc jump and an old but vgc dressage for well under 1k for the pair, I agree that getting a good jump saddle is a better investment at this stage.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I had similar thoughts and opted for a good jump saddle. I actually am more of a dressage rider but could only afford one new saddle at that stage and while you can do dressage in a jumping saddle you can't jump in a dressage saddle.

    You will find it far easier to do flatwork in a well-fitting jump saddle than your GP

  6. #6
    Sport horse
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Posts
    468

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I would always go down the jump route. I personally really dislike GP's as I don't think they're quite right for anything.

    You can do dressage in a jump saddle a lot more easily that you can jump in a dressage saddle, and you can save up and buy yourself a dressage saddle in the future if you move up the levels and don't feel the jump saddle is giving you enough support for dressage.

  7. #7
    Sport horse
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    North East Lancashire
    Posts
    470

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I had a similar dilemma last year and decided in the end to go for a new jump and then save up for a Dressage saddle.

    Sadly horse had other ideas and went for vets bills instead 🤦*♀️

    Has your horse finished changing shape? A few years back I bought my youngster an Amerigo... she changed shape and there was no room for any changes to the saddle as it was foam.

  8. #8
    Veteran
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Devizes
    Posts
    1,349

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    Another one who says do not get hung up on the type of saddle. I used to ride in a GP but tried a friend's Albion K2 jump saddle on my horse and he loved it. We barely jump at all these days and mainly do dressage but we still use this saddle for everything. It puts me in a good position and the horse loves it. His canter transitions have never been better. Find someone who can bring lots of saddles for you to try. I knew immediately when we put this one on that it was 'the one'.

  9. #9
    Veteran sbloom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Suffolk
    Posts
    3,016

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I always advise potential eventers, if they're serious, to start with a jump saddle. Starting with a GP usually means a trade in and resulting financial loss, and then the further purchase of a dressage saddle. There are plenty of other brands out there that aren't the same as all the others (though I think if you like and trust your local fitter why not try what they have to offer, never prejudge) but are cheaper than the two you've fallen for, and really good quality too.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Saddle woes and decisions

    I used a GP up to BE 100. I didn't get a dressage saddle until I stopped jumping/ eventing and went to pure dressage.

    Having had endless problems with saddles I can honestly say it's the fitter which is crucial.. not the make of saddle. Thankfully I have now got a great saddler who is also MD of the saddle company. This is the first time in over 20 saddles that my horses haven't got a bad back from a poor saddle fit! I wasn't allowed to pay for the saddle until I was happy with it.. absolutely thrilled with it and my 'problem' horse is now really making progress. I agree an absolute minefield.

    The expensive saddles are no good if they don't fit and not every saddle will fit every horse. I've had devoucoux, wow, amerigo, albion etc and all didn't fit so I had to sell at a loss, plus my horses got bad backs.

    Get a decent saddler who can check the suitability of the tree shape if possible.

    Good luck.

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