Horse Life

Self-Defeating Personality Disorder

I just diagnosed myself because there’s no other explanation for the madness I’m about to type next:

I need a new dressage saddle.

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Trainer J has told me the last 2 lessons that this needs to happen, but I’ve stubbornly refused to even look at saddle websites.

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Then this past weekend at Windridge, I decided to take her advice and experiment by riding my dressage test in my jump saddle. And it was heaven. Even though the judge wasn’t a fan of ours, she was even less of a fan of everyone else, including those in dressage saddles. And it was so nice not to have to fight my tack for once.

I just…have NO idea what I’m looking for. Trainer J is sponsored by Stackhouse and that’s all she rides in. I simply can’t drop $6k on another saddle, at least not this year.

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My own (used) Stackhouse is a great saddle. It’s comfy, got great leather, looks nice, fits P (not an easy thing to do)….but much like my old dressage saddle, it doesn’t fit ME very well.

When I tried it, it was miles away a better fit for me than my original dressage saddle, which was an HDR. So I mistook that for actually fitting me, and me just having things to work on (balance, leg in the correct position, etc). But I’ve made more of an effort to ride in it these past couple weeks and it’s clear now that it’s just wrong for me. My knees hang over the knee rolls and the balance doesn’t work for me- while it doesn’t tip me fetal-position-forward like HDR did, I’m constantly in front of or behind the motion. While I can get away with riding in it for a short while, like warmup + dressage test length, I’m fighting the saddle so much that it wears me out and makes my hips sore after awhile. I have yet to make it through an entire 45 minute lesson with Trainer J because I get SO TIRED.

So, there. It’s written down so I must actually do something about it now. But where to start? Do I like blocks? Deeper or more shallow seats? Wide or narrow twists? Monoflap? And I can’t even begin to think about flap length.

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I have stupidly long legs, especially from thigh to knee. I mean, who needs this much length on their legs? It’s unnecessary.

Not to mention, I don’t even know what a good dressage saddle FEELS like. So I don’t want to get sucked into thinking something fits, only to find out that it’s marginally better than the last one, like I did with dear old Stackhouse.

So if anyone has any suggestions on even where to start (or what to avoid), send them my way! I’m not in any hurry, since apprently the world won’t end if I do my tests in my jump saddle, but I am going to start browsing…maybe.

34 thoughts on “Self-Defeating Personality Disorder”

  1. Dressage saddles are the hardest, IMO. For me they all felt somewhere between awful and tolerable until I sat in what I have now, which was like… clouds parted and angels sang. But omg. It was a huge pain in the ass, and way harder than it should have been. I have no advice, only shared misery.

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  2. I’m still looking for a jumping saddle so no advice here, just sympathy. I’m going to try to schedule a time with a fitter so they can help me figure out what we both need. Maybe try that way? Ask an expert? Good luck!

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      1. I had the issue of not knowing if any of the fitters are good. However, L recommended one who has brand specific stock but will fit anything so I’m planning on getting her out for fitting. Maybe one of the brand specific ones you have can do something similar.

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  3. you feel my pain truly 🙂 I am glad i sold my dressage saddle and glad i am trying to find one saddle fits all cause i dont think i could do this for TWO saddles. You are such a special snowflake with your long legs 🙂 HA enjoy spending money (NOT) LOL that poor cat gif LOLLOL LMAO

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      1. fetal position is right. I did have one fitter come out that had different saddle brands but she only bought like two or three wides. At least i have the tracings from that for reference. Have fun. Drink more alcohol that will help I am sure 🙂

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  4. Ahhhh dressage saddles. I don’t own one and buying one is soooo not on my radar. That’s a problem for Future Megan to deal with. I wish you luck on your journey.

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  5. bleh. such sorrowful news. tho glad to hear the jump saddle is a good solution in the interim. saddle shopping blows. much luck and may god have mercy on your soul

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  6. My advice is to enlist a professional, dressage saddles need to fit well or they can do more damage. There is a lady online who will send you the kit to measure your horse, you take photos and video and send the measurements, and she tells what makes and models will work for you and your horse and she has a lot of used saddles, or yu can look yourself after you know what you need.

    My coach uses her for all her clients – and they are all dressage riders scoring high 70s and winning everything.

    https://www.fine-used-saddles.com/saddles/pc/viewcontent.asp?idpage=1

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  7. Oh no!!!! Saddle woes are the worst!!!! I am also long in thigh and love love love my Prestige Grand Dressage. I’ve had it since 2000 and have been lucky enough that it’s fit all my horses I’ve used it on (with flocking adjustments) Sadly they don’t make them anymore and I have no idea how their new dressage saddles fit. But it could be worth looking for an old Grand Dressage bc they tend to fit long legs better than short legs.
    If Sunday ends up working out I can bring my Dressage saddle and you can sit in it and see what you think. It’ll at least give you an idea!!

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    1. I sat in a Prestige when Jenny was considering working with them and there was one I really liked. But then something happened with some custom ones and having a local rep come out to fit us wasn’t an option, so I found the Stackhouse. I’ll look out for an older one, though. I hope you can come Sunday! I just talked to my other friend, Paula, and Sara and we’re meeting at 10!

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  8. i think itd be easier and less painful to give myself a brazilian than go saddle shopping again.

    i sat in my trainers dressage saddle, a devoucoux makila, and it fit like it was made for my ass. riding in my dressage saddle is like my butt met its match.

    i’d just borrow as many as you can. and like, cry? maybe? and do your dressage in your jump saddle for awhile. 1. i dont think it matters below prelim anyway and 2. someone at plantation last year did their 3* dressage test in a jump saddle. so who cares!!

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    1. Crying has definitely been taken care of. I’d rather go through house and horse shopping again than find another damn saddle.

      I’ve never sat in a Devoucoux and hear all sorts of mixed things, but I will definitely keep my eyes out for one to try. Seems people either love them or hate them.

      I was all gunshy about doing my test in my jump saddle until I realized that half the competitors were doing the same thing! So not in any hurry this time.

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      1. people definitely go through ‘fads’ – when i started eventing i feel like everyone had this hard on for devoucoux. i didnt want one bc they seemed so pricey. buuut once i found one in my size i was like nah i like this. some people do hate them. the good news is, if you’re one of them you’ll know!

        but ive owned like a million saddles and sat in even more. i think the only brand i haven’t sat in is CWD. antares and voltaire are very much like devoucoux. i sat in a county and loved it but they were just too hard to buy used.

        i’d suggest starting with the same brand as your jump saddle if you really love it (assuming they make dressage saddles).

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      2. Good to know- I loooove my Voltaire jump saddle. It’s very hard to find a used dressage Voltaire though. But that’s a good point- if I love the jump saddle, that would make the most sense to start there. Off to the inter webs I go!

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  9. I’m super interested in what you find. I officially hate my own dressage saddle now for the same reason as you: My thigh is SO LONG that finding something to fit me is the worst. And there’s nowhere around me that has dressage saddles to sit in and try. Boooo.

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    1. Me either! There’s a couple local(ish) tack stores but they only get in crappy consignment saddles. And the only fitters around here are brand specific, like Stackhouse and County. If I find something, I’ll let you know.

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