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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug. 9, 2015
    Posts
    1

    Default Need help with 1st saddle choice. First post and new rider!

    Hello, I am new to this forum and to riding. My instructor has suggested I get my own saddle, as the one she has been letting me use is too small for me. A family member gave me an old Stubbed Siegfried VSS 18.5 31cm. It is a beautiful saddle and fits the horse well. However, my instructor said the flaps are on the short side, and my knee is right at the forward edge of the knee roll. I can put about 2-3 fingers behind me when sitting properly. Also, I hit the pommel when I post. I am a 5'9 200lb male. My riding aspiration is fox hunting, so I'd like to get a saddle that will grow with me. I am open to new or used and am flexible with price point. I'm willing to invest in something nice (ex. Antares, CWD, Smith Worthington, etc). How do I go about trying saddles and narrowing down choices? Do I have to order a trial saddle of each one? My most local saddlery no longer sells new saddles, and has very limited options in my size range. Thanks in advance for your help and recommendations!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 28, 2009
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    2,386

    Default

    Saddles should fit both the horse and rider. If I understand your OP correctly, you are riding a lesson horse and the program didn't have a saddle to fit you. You were able to find a saddle that fits you better, but not perfect.

    If I were you, I would look at getting a similar used saddle with a longer or more forward flap, or a larger seat size in the same tree shape and size you are now using.

    I would wait until I had purchased a mount before I dedicated $$$$ to a new/used saddle. When you decide to go this route, get in contact with a local saddle fitter who would be able to help you find the right tree shape for your horse and a seat style that you find comfortable. Some fitters are independent of brand, some not. Even if the fitter is not independent, it can be helpful to have them come out (pay for their time of course) and have them bring lots of different models for you to ride in to see if they feel right. It is amazing when you get in the saddle that fits your horse and you. It puts you in the right spot....no fighting to find it and stay there.


    Good luck shopping!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan. 25, 2014
    Posts
    110

    Default

    I agree that you should hold off on spending much for a saddle until you have a horse of your own. People who ride a lot of different horses tend to own a lot of saddles for a reason. That said, there are many older, well-made saddles in the $500-ish region that make great starters. The other place to invest money now is in a couple of corrective saddle pads (at least one with shims) and in education on fitting a saddle. The right padding can make a 'close enough' saddle fit the horse. And you'll use them later when you're hunting, as a horse's back can change shape quite a bit over the course of a hunt season.

    You really need to find someone local to you who is knowledgeable about saddles and saddle fitting. He or she can narrow down good options for you, help you find some for trial, and make adjustments/reflock/etc. If you end up using a pro, it won't be free/cheap as they need paid for their time, but the results should be good. If your barn does not schedule a traveling saddle fitter to stop by periodically, check good barns in your area. Everyone using the service splits the cost of getting the fitter there, so an additional appointment is usually very welcome.

    A final caveat: I think you know you're at the point in your education where you can't really tell who is actually knowledgeable and who talks a good game. This is one of those areas where the more YOU learn, the more it will help your future riding. This is a good place to start: http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/prelaunch/ Even better--she's a regular COTH poster and a good teacher.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2001
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    7,081

    Default

    Agree on finding a saddle to fit both horse and rider and using a pro saddle fitter at that point.
    My husband had trouble finding a saddle to fit him as well (we had a horse and a saddle fitter) - we have had luck both buying used (a very nice older Stackhouse clearly made for a man hunting a big horse) and with the Thorowgood, a well made and well balanced line of part-synthetic saddles recommended by my fitter.
    When you are ready to buy and a fitter has given you some specific ideas of what might work, you can do some remote shopping with Trumbull Mountain Saddlery, which carries lots of used saddles, many good new lines, works with fitters, and has very knowledgeable staff. One of their fitters is a regular COTH poster.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,836

    Default

    It sounds like you have long femurs -- the Stubben Siegfried VSS is a reasonably forward flap for a Siegfried, but it was never forward enough for me, either.

    Saddle fit is extremely personal. I have long femurs and I prefer saddles where the stirrup bars are set back under my body and the flaps is long and forward. I am almost 6' tall and have saddles that range in seat size from a Kieffer 1 (17-17.5") to a County (18"). It's very hard to tell what YOU will find comfortable until you've ridden in a lot of saddles. There are a lot of "off the shelf" options now so it's easier to find something that will take up your leg than it used to be. Keep in mind that while some people tell you to go up a seat size to accommodate your leg, a 19" saddle is pretty long and it may (depending on the horse) extend past the last rib to a non-weight supporting part of your horse's back. I did try that once and the saddle was simply too long for my TB's back.

    I would take the opportunity to try as many saddles as you can beg, borrow or take on consignment. Since you don't own a horse right now, you can concentrate on finding what fits you and puts you in a balanced position.

    If you are taking lessons and want a saddle that is comfortable for your build, you can probably find a good used saddle that will tide you over until you get a horse for $500-$700. If you buy used, you will almost always get your money out when you resell. If you are really lucky that saddle will fit the horse you buy.

    Good luck and have fun trying saddles. You will find one that puts you in the "sweet spot' and makes riding easier!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2011
    Location
    Wish I knew, but the journey is interesting
    Posts
    721

    Default

    As you are new to riding and have yet to hunt, how about giving the hunting a try before you make any decision about a saddle? Ask your local hunt sec or master to see if there is a local someone with experience and a horse to rent/loan who could help you.

    A saddle, IMHO, is a big investment to make when you lack knowledge on which to make it.
    "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2005
    Location
    Unionville, PA
    Posts
    3,973

    Default

    I saw this County saddle at Rick's and thought it was a great deal for a man's saddle (if you need a wide tree). Probably because of the kind of ugly color. (No, not my saddle ).

    http://www.saddlesource.com/cons00001952.html
    Delaware Park Canter Volunteer
    http://www.canterusa.org/



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    7,021

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Kodiak View Post
    A final caveat: I think you know you're at the point in your education where you can't really tell who is actually knowledgeable and who talks a good game. This is one of those areas where the more YOU learn, the more it will help your future riding. This is a good place to start: http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/prelaunch/ Even better--she's a regular COTH poster and a good teacher.
    Thanks for the shout-out, Kodiak! I'm flattered, and of course very excited to get the blog rollin'.

    I just saw this thread. BGAndrea, you've gotten some thoughtful advice from others. I'd add a few more things:

    If you want the so-called "short answer," many foxhunting dudes who don't jive with the Stubben Siegfried end up looking at Berney Brothers as an alternative. The Berney Brothers Dublin Jumper, for example, has that same sturdy build BUT it has a more forward flap and a more shallow (but still supportive) seat. Keep in mind that different saddles will measure differently when you break out the measuring tape, plus a shallower saddle will have more room for your behind and pelvis than a deeper seat like the one on your Siegfried VSS. So even though this is an 18" saddle, I still think it's worth your time to call the nice folks at Pelham Saddlery and discuss it. They have a saddle fitter on staff, and many horses who fit well in a Stubben Siegfried also fit well in a Berney Brothers Dublin Jump. Do measure the length of your Stubben Siegfried's flap before calling so that you can compare that to the length of this Berney Brothers' flap. Pelham may also have something else that's worth your time, but I didn't look super duper closely at their inventory.
    http://www.pelham-saddlery.com/allpu...18382used.html

    2. If you decide to get something "nicer," I strongly encourage you to get something that meets these parameters:

    --Made of a nice, thick, durable leather that will stand up to the rigors of foxhunting + the shaky lower leg of a beginning rider. Many of the high-end brands like CWD, Antares, etc. are making seats and knee rolls (and sometimes the entire saddles) with luxurious calfskin leathers. And while those are a lovely choice for showjumping riders and the like, and you can theoretically order those saddles in a more sturdy leather like buffalo, it would not be my first pick for a beginning foxhunter. You may also struggle to find a French saddle with a sufficiently large seat and a sufficiently forward knee roll; these saddles tend to run "small" so an 18.5" in Antares/CWD may give you the same seat-squeeze issues that you've got in your current Stubben.

    If you decide that you really truly want to go high end, look at some of the British brands that build nice, sturdy tack that's very suitable for foxhunting and tends to accommodate men of your size very well. Brands like Albion, County, Black Country, etc. would fit the bill. If you tell us what part of the country you're in (state and/or nearest major city), we may even be able to recommend a saddle fitter who travels to your area and carries a selection of such saddles.

    --Buy something with high resale potential. Some brands don't resell very easily or require you to take a huge loss, either because they have low brand-name recognition with buyers or because you've ordered a product that isn't their main squeeze. (Example: it's not hard to resell a Bates Caprilli Close Contact saddle, which btw is another popular saddle with tall male riders esp. if you order it with the "more forward flap" option. But woe unto you if you're trying to resell a Bates All Purpose saddle. That saddle speaks to a much smaller market and is much less popular.) There's also a limited market of buyers for 18.5" and 19" seats. So the buyer pool is limited to taller/larger people (aka "not girls who are 5'4" and wear a size 6 dress) who also have big, rangey, or long-backed horses. Not a big market, that.

    My point is, be careful, get good help, don't buy anything without a trial, and don't buy anything that you can't resell. Ideally you'll have your "starter saddle" for years to come, but stuff happens. Even if you adore the saddle, you might buy or lease a horse who doesn't fit the saddle, or your riding position might change, or whatever. "Nice" and "quality" are relative concepts in the saddle world, and you'll find that many folks in your local hunt field are thrilled with their Stubbens, Passiers, and Berney Brothers. Just because you can pick them up used for less than $1000 doesn't mean they aren't quality. I know several foxhunters and eventers who still use their Stubbens and Passiers from the 1980s. Now that is quality!
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog, Launching September 2015 http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 16, 2015
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    231

    Default

    We sell a lot of saddles to gentlemen who fox hunt and event. Jn4jenny is absolutely correct with a lot of her points!

    The saddle market for larger saddles is limited, and I have also found that as saddles have become more "supportive" (larger blocks, more padding etc), that fitting men is a bit more complicated than it used to be.

    I do not know where you're located and thus cannot recommend a fitter, but I do recommend a fitter and or someone you can work with via pics and tracings to get what you need.

    Saddle fit is important for the rider as well as the horse. You both deserve to be comfortable!

    Good luck in your saddle search! I am happy to recommend an independent fitter if you want to PM me your location!
    Amanda K
    (Booger and Penny's mom)
    www.indyequestrian.com



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
    Posts
    2,631

    Default

    Another British company that makes really nice saddles for foxhunting is Ideal Saddlery; I have one I have hunted with for several years, and it still doesn't show any wear. And, the saddles are comfortable.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 2, 2000
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    1,205

    Default

    :: edited to add: this is in response to clicking the link kcmel provided and taking a gander at the saddles ::
    I wonder who thought lime was a good choice, and does that person still have their job? Because I've got my pack of 96 Crayolas (with the built-in sharpener!) and I could use a part-time designing job...
    Last edited by CarrieK; Aug. 13, 2015 at 07:35 PM. Reason: cause it's good to let folks know what you're talking about
    Proud Member of the League of Weenie Eventers
    Proud Member of the Courageous Weenie Eventers Clique


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 12, 2002
    Location
    north carolina
    Posts
    388

    Default

    I tried to sign up for the saddle blog but the sign up wouldn't take.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    7,021

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by walkers View Post
    I tried to sign up for the saddle blog but the sign up wouldn't take.
    Will send you a PM. Don't want to distract from the main content of the thread.
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog, Launching September 2015 http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2000
    Location
    Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
    Posts
    20,639

    Default

    The Stubben Roxane S worked for me foxhunting and also for a male friend who is about your size but a bit thinner. It was ordered with a 19" seat, has a deep seat and some blocks. Flap comes forward and extra forward. Craftsmanship was decent, it's wool flocked, and has gone through two reflockings and still is as good as new. It's now 12 years old. I found that it put me in a very balanced position, as did my friend who used it.

    Stubben was very good to work with, and put some extra D rings on the back for foxhunting equipment. It was bought new and only built after I bought it. It wasn't terribly expensive, but nowhere near as cheap as a Berney Bros.

    I've always been told that men need larger seats than women FWIW.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2010
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,763

    Default

    Smith Worthington also makes some saddles that are quite suitable for hunting and several are available in a forward flap configuration. I ride in their Mystic saddle, which is a less expensive saddle made in Argentina. But three years in I'm extremely happy with the quality, and the leather is a sturdy grade that holds up well to outdoor riding. They have a Mystic with a forward flap, or their Danzig saddle, which I believe is English made, also has a forward flap model.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2010
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,763

    Default

    And by the way, Stubben is having a saddle sale, and they have this forward flap Siegfried
    http://stubbennorthamerica.com/produ...gfried-deluxe/



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