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


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.


  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!


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


  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.


  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?


  6. Thank you everyone for your feedback!!!


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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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