So I'm getting a new dressage saddle, and here is the twist.. quite literally.
After years of riding in a narrow twist, I tried a medium twist and bought a bigger CC. The larger medium twist is a god send. My lower back does not hurt after riding anymore, my hips feel better supported. It is just ALTERING!
I'm not a skinny mini by any means. I'm 5'9 and 220ish (and hopefully loosing more weight). I have seen all the answers (and pics) about the difference between what girls need what kind of twists. I've seen the pics of the thinner ladies who have flat thighs and round thighs. But I'm NOT a thinner lady, I'm a big 'girl'. I can't tell if I have flat thighs or round thighs because well, my thighs TOUCH!
Now, I have a friend who is similar shape and size (slightly skinnier and taller) and she rides in a medium wide twist. She finds it extremely comfortable. She's offered to let me try her saddle (if I can manage to make it down anytime soon).
So here is the question, when you are a bigger lady, how do you tell if you need a bigger twist because again.. my thighs touch! I've never thought round or flat for my thighs. I have a dip in in from my hips to my thighs, even at my heaviest (290) I never got the thighs bigger than my hips thing. I've always ridden in narrower twists because I'm 'female'. The sitting in a medium twist was 'altering' for me.
Are there any bigger ladies (dressage, eventing, hunters, whatever) who have dressage saddles (or saddles in general) with a wider twist!
…So here is the question, when you are a bigger lady, how do you tell if you need a bigger twist because again.. my thighs touch!…
I don't think it's about plus-sized or not. I am short and fat (sz 22-24 dress size) and I'm most comfortable in a narrow twist saddle. I believe it's how one's pelvis is shaped that determines the need for wide or narrow.
My thighs touch and my hips also extend beyond the top of my thighs –– which makes me an apple shape. But the structure underneath all that "fluff" is such that I need to ride in a narrow twist.
So the only way to find out would be to try a variety of saddles ranging from narrow to wide.
I know its pelvis shape. I should clarify, how do you tell your pelvis shape besides trying a variety. I don't think I have access to any wide twist saddles to try! Everyone I know rides in narrows, I have for the longest time so a medium was news to me. The widest I have access to is a my friend's medium wide.
I've seen pics on 'how to tell your pelvis shape' but they are all tiny girls with thigh gap :/
I think what works as far as twists is very individual, and even includes the shape of your horse. For example, a very narrow horse fitted with a narrow twist saddle could be difficult to ride even for people who normally like a narrow twist. My personal saddle is a narrow twist; for a horse with a medium wide to wide back, I can't get my thigh on a horse riding a regular to wide twist saddle. Different saddle makers also have a different interpretation when making a saddle twist. In other words I don't think you will get a generalization when it comes to what works depending on body or pelvis size. FWIW, a good friend of mine, a doctor who rides, says that pelvises are all different and that generalizations about, say, a female needing a wide twist v. a man, are inaccurate.
I agree with the others; twist width is a highly personal thing. I am slightly overweight with short, round legs and a bad hip, and have found that a narrow twist is essential for my comfort, and that I ride better in saddles that have them. I also know that my particular conformation is just going to put me into a chair seat to some degree.
Not having X-rays of my pelvis, I just go with what is comfortable. Which means that when trying a saddle on a store saddle buck, if I get on and my hips or back start screaming at me, it's a no-go. If I want to throw my legs way out in front to stay balanced, it's a no-go.
I think what works as far as twists is very individual, and even includes the shape of your horse. For example, a very narrow horse fitted with a narrow twist saddle could be difficult to ride even for people who normally like a narrow twist. My personal saddle is a narrow twist; for a horse with a medium wide to wide back, I can't get my thigh on a horse riding a regular to wide twist saddle.
This is a very valid point in regards to the horse also being a factor. My horses are stupid-wide and riding them in a saddle with a wider twist is fine. That same twist on a narrower horse makes it much more difficult for me to effectively put my leg on the horse.
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I have an Albion Original Comfort dressage saddle, and had their general purpose GP900 which I sold to someone at the barn, who is still using it. I believe that both have a fairly wide twist, which is one thing that Albion is know for. When I first went saddle shopping I probably sat in at least 25 saddles, in some kind of pain, in a 2-1/2 hour quest for something that would fit me (size 18-20 and 5'2") until the store manager pulled out the GP900 and said try this. What a relief.
Thanks all for the input. I will just have to find a wide twist to try. I know I like the medium twist WAY MORE than I liked the narrow twists I had and have almost always had. I had a stubben scandica DL at one point, which had a wider twist (not wide, just wider than my CC at the time). I hate trying on new clothes.... trying new saddles is doubly painful.
THis is a sort of tough topic to get too into but I'm having a hard time visualizing what exactly I'm supposed to be measuring... :/
Twist and seat deepness has been a big deal for me lately. I ride in a Sommer 17.5 mw twist and the pommel KILLS me down there. There is also ab Albion 17.5" mw twist and I don't have that problem. Then the other day I tried out a new used saddle I hope to purchase, a Kent & Masters. Same size, I think same twist, I rode like a dream. The deepness of the seat is killing me with the Sommer. The twist, not so much.
I agree, not related so size of rider it's more related to your internal build, hips, length of femur and such. I sent my saddle back for a minor repair and the saddler is always kind enough to fit a saddle to my girl while repairs are done. This time though the saddle had some kind of wide twist and was BRUTAL for me to ride in. I am a narrow twist gal thru and thru.
You really need to test the saddles, as not only twist is personal preference (unrelated to your size) but each manufacturer, or even each saddle within the manufacturer can be different.
For example, my narrow twist Barnsby is way too narrow for me, and I feel like I'm sitting on top of tippy mountain. My narrow twist Black Country is way too wide for me, and riding in it is like doing Chinese split, and I can never get my legs on my horses. My narrow twist Albion fit me just right.