Looking for a Saddle

I have two saddles that I use on Dressy sort of alternately. Neither fits her perfectly. But we sort of skate along doing almost okay by changing them back and forth.

The first is the Barefoot London. It’s a treeless dressage saddle. It fits her very well, and she seems comfortable in it. But, after about 25 to 30 miles, she gets welts under the stirrup hangers (the rings that the stirrup leathers are attached to under the seat). Even the welts don’t seem sensitive when you put pressure on them, but she did end up with some white hairs for a while after the last time. I’ve tried a whole bunch of engineering tricks to overcome it… heavy leather plates under the rings, double layers of closed cell foam in the therapeutic pad, etc. And it only delayed the appearance of the welts. So it’s obviously not going to work for her in the long-term.

The second is my Australian saddle. It was custom fitted for King, so it’s really not the right shape for her.  She’s actually fairly similar to King in how she fits a saddle (amazingly, as they really are very different types), since her withers are the same size, and they are approximately the same width across the shoulder. Dressy has a longer and narrower back though (and is 2 inches smaller in the girth LOL!).  The Australian saddle is a pretty good fit in front, but is rubbing the hair off her loin area. It moves around at the back more than it should. When I use the Grandeur pad from the treeless under the Australian saddle, it’s actually pretty good. But I am unconvinced that she could go longer distances.

I have an old english saddle, called an “Olympia Competitive”, made in Walsall, England, that fits her beautifully. However, it’s in really rough shape. I think it must be 40 years old anyway. The stitching is rotten, and the leather is shredding. I don’t think it will last much longer if I put it into regular use.

So I’m researching saddles. And I’m soliciting suggestions. Does anyone have suggestions for a saddle that has good security (she umm… has an amazing “prop and wheel” when she spooks… who knew Standardbreds were that agile?), plenty of shoulder freedom for her big movement, lots of wither clearance (moderately high withers) but still a medium/wide tree, and would not cost the Earth?


3 Replies to “Looking for a Saddle”

  1. I think it can be amazing just how much work can be done to rejuvenate an old saddle, as long as the tree is sound. Take it to somebody good, and let them take a look at it, see what they say about getting it functional.

  2. I love-love-love my Specialized–I have the Euro and Jim has a very old but quite servicable Trailmaster. I’ve put tons of miles on mine, and you can change the fittings on the “horse side” with a pair of kitchen scissors. They are expensive new, but if you watch the used tack sales (IRL and online) sometimes you can find a used one.

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