In reality, French saddles are not shaped like British/American ponies (she's welsh/quarter horse). Not even a little. Shiny here, is basically a wine barrel with legs and a neck attached. Even this extra wide Butet isn't really quite wide enough for her. An extra wide Butet is only 5" wide. For reference, below is Pammon's wide Butet (4.5" tree) that I plopped on her to look at how the flaps hit her:
|It's like the Lincoln Tunnel... You could drive a dump truck through there!|
|This has a slightly forward flap, so you can see where that's not ideal.|
So I've been casually looking for something that would fit her. I mean, with all of our issues lately, I can't help but wonder if saddle fit is part of our problem. My realization was that nothing I like would work for her. 'Cause I love me some French saddles. The bright side to that is the saddles that would fit her tend to be a lot less expensive. So, bright side I guess?
What I needed was something round, with a 17" seat for my lady size butt, but nothing with long or forward flaps. Not exactly easy to find. I really had hoped to find something with a short flap, but also, near impossible with a 17" seat.
I've been stalking used saddle pages on Facebook and the internet in general, and following along on all the ISO's that people post for anything similar. I promise I'm not a poacher! I only inquired if OP's passed. And finally, this past weekend, I think I've found what we've been looking for. It's not exact, but I'm hoping it will work. It's a county with 6.25" tree.
Do you have any experience with County saddles? It seems like they mostly do dressage and all purpose type saddles, but this is obviously a close contact. Hope I don't hate it. But if it fits her, I'll learn to love it, amiright?!
As someone who's bum also has expensive french saddle taste, I do still like County Saddles. I especially love their dressage saddles, but my friend has had one of their close contact ones forever and I really like riding in that too. I tried to buy a new monoflap but had some issues with it and ultimately it went back (customer service wasn't impressive) but I think they make a great quality comfortable saddle overall especially to find a nice broken in used one.ReplyDelete
The only negatives I've come across regarding County was customer service based and not about the saddles themselves. So hopefully it will work out!Delete
I tend to agree that saddles fit more horses than the internet often thinks! It's a huge bummer that Shiny is not cooperating with the French saddle program, though. :(ReplyDelete
I've ridden in County saddles before and they strike me as perfectly fine. Then again - I don't have expensive saddle taste! I ride in a very used Albion that has a tear in the seat, and a 40 year old Passier that is rock hard, so...ymmv.
Right? Silly pony and her not fancy taste?Delete
I was riding in a 17 year old saddle until recently, so hopefully I'll agree that it's perfectly fine!
Totally paddling in the same boat with you guys (and some other commenters) - every horse needing a custom saddle is a marketing ploy of the saddle companies to sell expensive saddles, more often. Usually the saddles aren't even truly custom, just that they have more options they can slap together than off the rack saddles.Delete
There are always exceptions tho, sorry shiny is one of them lol
i've loved every county jump saddle i've tried, tbh (and LOTS of eventers in my area seem to jump in counties). actually really REALLY loved one while i was shopping for my arab mare, but it wasn't anywhere close to a fit for her. so idk if county will do better for your own pony mare Shiny, tbh, tho that tree and esp the gussets in the panel definitely look worth trying. good luck!ReplyDelete
She's a little different build from an Arabian, so hopefully it will work out!Delete
Great to hear that you like them! Hopefully I will too!
so I have a county conquest that I jump May in. Is it my FAVORITE saddle I have ever owned? Nope. Is it the best fit for her after trying A LOT of saddles across price ranges? Yup. So I like it, and I recommend it for those of us riding barrels with legs. :-)ReplyDelete
Oh that's good to hear! I think Shiny and May have a very similar shape, so that brings me hope!Delete
When I was a teenager (ahem, a long, long time ago) no one was obsessed about saddle fit. I am sure saddle fitters existed, but no one, not even at the super fancy show barn where I worked, used one. If the horse seemed uncomfortable, the solution was almost always some sort of half pad. So I totally get what you are saying.ReplyDelete
Yes, exactly! I'm 40, so it was the same when I was growing up. All the crazy fitting stuff seems like just a lot of marketing to me. Not to say some horses need something special. I just think most don't.Delete
So I rode (and still do) with trainers that tend to follow the most saddles fit most horses mentality and unless the horse is actively objecting, chances are it fits and/or is good enough. I had to change a little with Subi as he had some issues at one point but we found good enough, Batt needed wider but Subi's saddle fit without the pads (Subi objected to one saddle, not the other). Nay however? He's the first horse that told me after a while that something wasn't right. He got heavy and strong and his demeanor changed (even with a padding/shimming that we used while hunting for the right saddle). We found something better and first ride? He was light and happy. So I think some horses are more sensitive. Is it perfect? No, but he's happy and it works for us with the half pad with shims (he is uneven so even the "perfect saddle" will need shims).ReplyDelete
Well yes, like I said, there are always exceptions. Most doesn't mean all!Delete
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your Shinypants needs a hoop tree. Doesn't matter how wide of a saddle you get, it's the shape that's the issue. FWIW County makes a great saddle, but I really think you should look at something with a hoop tree.ReplyDelete
Deep down inside I know this to be true... But I also know that I won't be able to ride in something as wide as a hoop tree. My hips cramp up terribly even riding her bareback. So fingers are crossed this is something that will work for us both. And if not, I'll explore further. I've already bought this one so too late to not to try it.Delete
I have found that the issues nowadays is not fitting the horse - it is fitting the horse AND rider. For example, when I went with a custom Hastilow for Annie, the "custom" part of it was moreso for ME than it was for her, lol! I have exceptionally short legs, so to have 13.5" flaps was warranted and needed.ReplyDelete
Yes, that is true! It's tough to find exactly what will work for both horse AND rider that's for sure! I'm short but my legs are pretty average length making me the easier piece of the equation at least.Delete
Oh the fun of wine barrel ponies! Hopefully it fits and can work for you both! I was wondering if you know anywhere that still stocks the bridle your herd has been sporting? I've looked everywhere and it's always sold out...I'm a dressage rider but would love a decent looking cheaper bridle for my jump tack rig...ReplyDelete
I haven't seen it without the padding in awhile, but Schneiders has one a mid range one on sale for super cheap that is comparable:Delete
Omg thanks! What a steal!!! Ordered!Delete
I have a County and love it! I know it's not the most common in h/j land, but it fits Peebs well (who is a slightly larger wine barrel!.ReplyDelete
Oh that's great to hear! I'm really hoping it will fit her and I can stop looking at saddles all the time.Delete
I love County! I currently ride in an Innovation and have also liked the Symmetry. The wool flocking has been so great for Niko as he’s grown and changed over the years!ReplyDelete
Love hearing all these happy first hand reviews! I have no idea what model this one is... Maybe it will say on it somewhere when it gets here.Delete
My new to me saddle just arrived in the mail today (an 03 Butet). It was really hard for me to find anything I liked that wasn't French since Dexter didn't have a French saddle shaped back at all. I went through a couple saddles before I found one I liked: a Pessoa saddle with an exchangeable gullet. It wasn't my dream saddle but worked well for us. Another one that worked well for his slightly wider back with bigger shoulders was a Tad Coffin and he really liked it. It was just out of my price range at the time. I have ridden in an older County Symmetry (which I believe is now discontinued), but I liked it. The nice thing about County is they do make some really wide trees, so if you're between needing a more normal tree and a hoop tree they can work. I hope you and Shiny like it!ReplyDelete
I'm hoping really hard that she'll fit in it and not have to hunt for a hoop tree which I think I would hate riding in.Delete
I saw a Tad online that looked like it could fit her, but it was flat as a board! I like a deeper seat, so I passed on that one.
I rode in a Pessoa for years and it turns out that saddle was what was wrong with my riding all that time... I thought I had a terrible eye and no actual talent. Turns out, that saddle pitched me so far forward it was messing everything up. Once I got out of that thing, I could see the jumps a mile away. So yeah... I didn't even consider them this time around.
Congrats on the Butet! I hope you love it! I love mine!