Early Days

Saddle Search

Sprinkler Bandit‘s comment on a previous post, plus another friend’s comments over the last several months, have helped me recognize how much I think my jump saddle just isn’t setting me up for success. There’s been a small voice in my head, whispering that its time for a new saddle. But the other voice in my head that cares about my checking account promptly puts its hands over my ears and sings la-la-la. Plus for a little while I got self conscious about my riding skills and focused on improving my position.

My position could be improved, sure, but there comes a time when you realize your saddle sure ain’t helping. I’ve been using a lift pad and that has helped somewhat, but ultimately I need a saddle that fits me correctly and helps to put me in proper position. That is the whole point of saddles anyway – improved balance and position as compared to bareback.

So, time to share all your saddle shopping tips, tricks, and preferences for yours truly, please! I’m trying to stick to $1,500 or less, so in terms of new saddles the brands seem to be:

  • Bates
  • Collegiate
  • Ovation
  • HDR/Henri di Rivel
  • Marcel Toulouse
  • Pessoa

Thoughts?

10 comments on “Saddle Search

  1. I have a collegiate diploma for sale. 18 inch seat, has the changeable gullet system, but not CAIR. Comes with leathers, irons, girth, two gullets, and the saddle carrier for $800 shipped within the US.

    I would stay away from Toulouse. I actually just wrote a review of them in my blog: http://maggiebright.blogspot.com/2012/11/toulouse-saddle-review.html basically, they look and feel good new, but the leather does not hold up to the test of time.

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  2. I have a Courbette Alpina which is close to your price range on eBay. Not sure you want to add yet another brand to your list, but I like it!

    Aside from that the only saddle from your list that I really don't like is the Bates saddle. It might have just been that model, but it felt way too big and bulky to me. Just my opinion though!

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  3. I have a Frank Baines and I LOVE it… i bought used. Just an idea :)

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  4. I can't comment on which kind of saddle to buy, but I will say that in my experience a better saddle can better your riding. I joked to someone the other day that my saddle is better than I am. I started with the cheapest Wintec possible and then moved on to a better Wintec. I then bought a really nice saddle, the Custom Revolution, and was shocked at how much better I felt in the saddle. A good saddle won't make you a good rider, but it certainly helps! Good luck on your search. I would go for used if you can; you'll get more value for money.

    You might try this link for a good variety: http://used.cwdsellier.com/saddle/ – I bought my Custom from them and was VERY pleased. They're in Burbank, I think. They shipped fast, and the saddle arrived looking better than it did in the photos.

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  5. Bates and collegiate use the same tree/seat, so if one works for you, the other will too. On the other hand, if you're me, neither will work at all. The Collegiate Diploma is a lovely saddle in that price range. If it works for you, go for it!

    I am underwhelmed by Ovation, but I haven't seen their saddles. I just don't like their paddock boots or bridles all that much. :-/

    What are you riding in now?

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  6. Thank you everyone for your feedback!!!

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  7. I'm riding in an older HDR, not sure what model but its not very comfortable and doesn't really put me in a great position.

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  8. I have a Crosby Excel which I bought used for $750 (an uprade from a 17 yo Hampton Classic!). It is in really good condition and super comfortable. Check out:www.yoursaddles.com They have nice, used saddles and were awesome to work with. You can also take on trial. I think they are in so cal, too.

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  9. Thanks so much for the offer and for the Toulouse review! I'll try and see if there's any Collegiate Diplomas around for me to sit in – I'd hate to pay for shipping just to see if it will position my seat the way I need.

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  10. Thanks for the tip! Taking on trial is a must for me, since I'm not experienced enough to know on “first feel” so to speak.

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