Saddle Shopping


I quake in fear.

My beloved Harley Apollo has been has been sent to the tack closet in the sky. This saddle has served me well since I bought it used in 1980. What can I say, I hang onto things. After its most recent restuffing, the saddler warned me that was the last time. There’s nothing left to sew back together. Plus it was the saddle worn in both meltdowns [Universe]. So, retirement.

When I look at saddles these days, I am appalled at the amount of padding. The seats look like buckets. The knee rolls look like pillows. I want a soft, flat saddle that doesn’t tell me what to do. Sure the Hermes saddles are nice, but I don’t feel like mortgaging the house for a saddle.

I have the Wintec [New Equipment]. What is the likelihood that either horse will wear this as a forever saddle? Both Rodney and Milton will need jump & dressage saddles. What is the likelihood they will wear the same size?

I have stuck my head in the sand over the whole issue.

12 thoughts on “Saddle Shopping

  1. I bought my saddle used back in 80s, and it served me well as an all-purpose saddle. I wasn’t riding at the level you were, so I used it for dressage, jumping, trail riding…I still have it, I don’t know why, it’s unlikely I’ll ever ride again, but I can’t bear to get rid of it.

    1. You rode in my saddle when you took Priney on her first successful event. Do you remember what it felt like? It was a lot of years ago now. I still have the pic of you with your legs hanging down below her belly.

  2. My first saddle was a Hartley Galaxy which I bought in 1974 with babysitting money! You can still find flat saddles and they are generally priced very well because not that many people want them. Check and some of the Facebook groups. There are plenty of old Crosbys around and I’ve seen County, Beval, and Passier saddles that would fit the bill.

    1. My saddle is a very old Crosby Olympic, and very comfortable if i ever ride again. It was re-stuffed shortly before my spine got to bad to even climb on my horse, and he was only 14.1 hands. [I’m 4’10”] I’m the 4th person that I know of to own the saddle, and I’ve had it about 30+ years. Still can’t bear to part with it, clean and oil it regularly…I guess sometimes you need a dream to hold on to….

  3. Another way to look at is that technology has made very positive changes in many areas of equestrian products. Saddles are now built much more with the comfort of the horse in mind. As for what might appear to be exorbitant amounts of padding, well, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, or at least peeked underneath it. There are mono-flap saddles that might look like a lot of saddle (maybe with a large thighblock if you are talking dressage), but, there’s less between you and your horse than in your old standby.

    I absolutely GET the issue with how much it all costs; remember I’m fussing because I don’t want to pay real $ for a temporary saddle waiting for my young one to grow up. But, the saddle world has changed dramatically since the 1970s, with the most important outcome more comfortable horses. I would highly recommend trying a wide range of products before you dismiss anything out of hand. It’s worth it to find at least one saddle per horse that fits right, and you might be surprised at what you find helpful when you up yourself up to try something different.

  4. Wish we lived closer. My beloved flat saddle and hugely comfy but only slightly more padded forward seat (both 80’s vintage) are slowly dying in m y basement. I’d hand them over for you to try in a heartbeat.

  5. D&T: Amazing how long saddles last.

    LG: 10q. (Your comment got temporarily rerouted.)

    EB: I have tried other saddles, that’s how I know I don’t like them. I never found a dressage saddle that didn’t make me feel as if I needed to send a telegram to make contact with the horse. OTOH, I am willing to admit that things might have changed since I last looked. Still dreading it.

    Thank you CBB, I guess it’s time to move into the 21st century, saddle-wise.

  6. Cynical take: after sitting in those saddle-seat thingies for the past two years, just about any dressage or all-purpose you try is gonna feel like a wet dream.

    Unless the Lane Fox type thing has improved dramatically from the last time I sat in one of those.

  7. My Apollo was so flat, the saddle seats weren’t too much of a shock. I loathe knee rolls & blocks & padding in all forms. Except the Steuben Siegfried. That one I like. Go figure.

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