Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Red's Mom
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Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Red's Mom » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:04 pm

A few years ago, I was thrown from my horse and got a huge hematoma on my coccyx area, low back. It didn't go away for at least a year, and actually, it never has gone away completely! I had low back pain before that as well, having been thrown more times than I can remember. I am 60 years old and have ridden since a child.

Three weeks ago, I was thrown, and fractured my pelvis. I got a CT scan and one of the findings was "severe low lumbar facet arthropathy" Basically, I have severe arthritus in the lower back and hip. before this I had diagnosed myself with low back pain and sciatica. The horse I have now is a very nice calm horse, and this last time I came off was really not his fault. He shyed and jumped sideways to the right. I came off slowly, holding his neck as I came off.

I should not have come off, but my right leg did not have the strength to help reposition me back in the saddle. I want a dressage saddle that will help me stay in the saddle!!!! I don't want to come out again if i can help it. I just can't stay in the way I used to be able to. I will be speaking to doctors about what to do, and i will be looking into proper exercises to help strengthen my muscles, but I think the right saddle construction could help also.

I am thinking larger knee rolls, and a deeper seat would help. I have been looking online at the N2 saddles, and Custom Saddles. I would love any suggestions and I would also like to buy used but in good condition. My current saddle is a Kieffer that was bought in Germany. It is pretty old and has seen better days. It is comfortable, and I like it, but the seat is not deep, and the knee rolls are quite minimal.

My horse has a regular/medium width back. He is a well built TB. Many people think he is an appendix quarter. I am 5'5", I have small hips, and long legs. I read another topic similar to mine where Redsox lover said short knee rolls were better for a long leg. Like I said, any suggestions, and thoughts are welcome. If you know a good saddle fitter in the Los Angeles/Ventura Calfornia area, any saddles for sale that fit the description, please let me know. Thanks, Marianne

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Hayburner » Mon Oct 01, 2018 7:20 pm

Love my Wintec Isabell, single strap stirrup leathers and break away stirrups! I also ride in leather full seats.

I am also the 60 year old rider that wants to be secure on my horse. I haven't been riding as long as you, so I need a sense of security on my green bean horse.

I feel very locked in to this saddle and it's comfortable!

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Ryeissa » Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:53 pm

Get a suede seat and big rolls
I just got a custom saddle and love it

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Sue B » Mon Oct 01, 2018 11:20 pm

My County Perfection doesn't fit me all that well, but it is "impossible" to fall out of due to the deep seat and enormous blocks. Rudy can pull some pretty amazing shies, I have yet to be unseated. Otoh, I thought the same about my L&R, but Tio did manage to send me flying after an exuberant celebration over not falling. :lol: I was using the short blocks though so that I could jump him more easily and I was so not expecting that buck. Rudy, doesn't buck so I've never fully tested the theory of large blocks keeping one in place.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby kande50 » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:43 am

I'm riding in a Wintec Contourbloc now, for the same reasons you feel like you're ready for more saddle now.

Two of the horses I ride are spooky, and I felt like I'd already had enough close calls in my flatter saddles that it made sense to get a saddle that could help me more *before* I came off, rather than after. I've had plenty of close calls in the Contourbloc too, but the giant thigh blocks saved me.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby StraightForward » Tue Oct 02, 2018 3:03 pm

I'm having similar thoughts since I'll be starting a tall, big-moving baby next spring. The top of my list are Hennig Sofa monoflap with 3/4 blocks, or one of the Customs with external blocks. Also, I've switched to riding in silicone fullseat breeches, and they really help. Mine are the Smartpak Piper Knits.
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Red's Mom
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Red's Mom » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:24 pm

Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I now realize I don't have to just be looking at Custom Saddles. And it sounds like the big knee rolls do help. I haven't put much thought into thigh blocks. Thigh blocks are in back of the leg right? I have never really understood their purpose. I have another month before I am back in the saddle, so I can't try anything until then.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby StraightForward » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:12 pm

Red's Mom wrote:Thank you everyone for your thoughts. I now realize I don't have to just be looking at Custom Saddles. And it sounds like the big knee rolls do help. I haven't put much thought into thigh blocks. Thigh blocks are in back of the leg right? I have never really understood their purpose. I have another month before I am back in the saddle, so I can't try anything until then.


A thigh block is a block that is in front of the thigh only and doesn't extend all the way down the flap. Often preferred by long-legged riders who get blocked by a long block.

Here they're referred to as 3/4 block: https://www.fine-used-saddles.com/saddl ... Category=3
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby silk » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:33 pm

Go and do a clinic with Peggy Cummings.
Will change your life with respect to how to sit securely and safely and in balance.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby kande50 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:27 pm

Red's Mom wrote:And it sounds like the big knee rolls do help. I haven't put much thought into thigh blocks. Thigh blocks are in back of the leg right?
.


I've been calling the ones in front of my thighs "thigh blocks" because they aren't just knee rolls because they extend higher, although my knees do contact them, too. But maybe they aren't actually thigh blocks?

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Red's Mom » Thu Oct 04, 2018 2:21 am

Kande, see Straight Forward's explanation. I thought they were called knee rolls, You are right, they are called thight blocks!

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Rosie B » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:22 pm

I'll second a wintec isabel for security. I used to have one years ago and it really locks you in with the suede, deep seat, and huge thigh blocks. Plus it's also economical.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby musical comedy » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:05 pm

The deep seat, big knee roll saddles are helpful for typical riding and especially sitting big gaits. However, I do not think any saddle is helpful when a horse spooks sideways and swings around. Centrifugal force will get you off in any saddle.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby kande50 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:13 pm

musical comedy wrote:The deep seat, big knee roll saddles are helpful for typical riding and especially sitting big gaits. However, I do not think any saddle is helpful when a horse spooks sideways and swings around. Centrifugal force will get you off in any saddle.


Depends on the size of the spooks, as I've survived several spooks in the contourbloc that I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have in the flatter saddle I was riding 10 years ago (back when there was still some hope that I could develop better balance and a stronger seat). But you're right that if they spook hard enough or buck high enough even the giant thigh blocks aren't going to keep me in the saddle. And the reason I know that is because I've come so close to coming off several times since I started riding in the contourbloc, and I know that both of my squirrelly horses can spook a lot harder and buck a lot higher than they have--which is why I do my best to keep them out of the situations that might provoke such reactions!

Every time I've almost come off in the last few years it's been due to "double spooks". IOW, I sat the first spook and then they spooked again and that's when I knew I was past the point of no return, and if the saddle hadn't somehow ended up back underneath me I would have been off.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Kyra's Mom » Fri Oct 05, 2018 3:02 am

I am with musical comedy. Nothing would have saved me when I've gone off of Kyra. She teleports :lol: . Literally, the horse has disappeared out from under me. She has either literally zagged sideways about 6 feet or drops (about a foot) and spins. I personally don't like the deep bucket dressage saddles. I have had tailbone issues and the shape of the seats of those I have tried has been very detrimental to butt comfort.

You might want to look some physical therapy and a strengthening program. As we age (I'm 63), all that strength that we took for granted in our younger days has to be worked on (as I am finding out coming back from a couple of back issues :P ).

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Red's Mom
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Red's Mom » Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:42 pm

I agree that no saddle can keep you in with the big spooks. The good thing about Red, is that he doesn't spook often, and when he does spook, they aren't too big, and they don't last very long. Never say never though, right? I think bigger thigh blocks will help with the type of spooks I have experienced with Red. I have stayed in the saddle when he has spooked before which is not very often. If he was high strung and spooky, I would not have bought him. This is the first time I have come off with him. It was a wake up call, because I have been ignoring the sciatica pain in my leg. It has created my right leg to have very little strength. My leg just automatically can't help me stay in the saddle anymore. If that makes sense. I think if my leg hits a barrier (thigh block), it might still be painful, but it will be enough to help me stay in.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby kande50 » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:31 pm

And even if the saddle doesn't actually help anyone stay on, if believing that it might help gives them enough confidence so that they continue to ride, then it helps. :-)

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Moutaineer » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:16 pm

I like my Trilogy Amadeos. Deep seat, moderately narrow twist so my hips don't take a beating (I have arthritis in my SI joint with subsequent sciatic issues) and not a lot between me and the horse under my thighs. Relatively available used and my experience with their saddle fitters has been positive.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby khall » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:55 pm

I would agree with MC on the spook spin thing since that is Rip's MO and he has gotten me off a few times with my BC Vinici that has big thigh blocks and fairly deep seat. The oh shit strap can help some there and I have been known to avail myself of it when he is feeling that goofy.

But try riding in a synthetic like one of the Wintec saddles (i've liked the Pro or the Isabelle) in full seats, NOT going anywhere!! Can hardly even post. Unfortunately none of those go wide enough for Rip who is in a hoop tree. Full seats don't really help me either, though I tend to not ride in them in the summer just too hot here.

Kyra's mom Yep I have had Rip do the same to me, just disappear out from under me literally at the canter. Felt my foot drag across the saddle and landed on my feet with him 6' to my left. Wished I had that on film! How on earth they get that low (he is a big 16.2 hh big bodied WB) would make a cutting horse proud. I saw him do it on line one clinic with Mark, he was literally about dragging his belly as he sat and went sideways, Mark was giggling up a storm and I was saying my prayers climbing on him that day! Wind was blowing about 35 and he can get very high in those circumstances.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Keysfins » Wed Oct 17, 2018 10:16 pm

I have a Custom Icon Flight with short rolls. I had used my trainer’s icon Flight and liked how it felt, and it fit my horse well.

So I found one that was made in the same year. The short roll gives security without locking you in place. On my leg, the roll ended just above my knee, so I could still use my lower leg independently. I am 5’6”, with a long femur. I would say it has a deep seat. The tree is also adjustable. It has the buffalo leather that adds some grip, but isn’t toooo sticky. I had one ride where my horse tripped and stumbled to her knees, and then hopped back up. Those knee rolls kept my legs where they needed to be, and I just sat up and continued.

I am glad I got an older model year, because at some point Custom made changes, and the newer Icon Flight rode like a completely different saddle. The short roll model is hard to find. PM if you’d like more info. (I am actually going to sell mine, because I am now using a different saddle.)
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby StraightForward » Thu Oct 18, 2018 2:47 pm

This is good info, Keys. I've heard good things about the Icon Flight. Do you know what year they changed that model? I'm not in the market yet, but collecting data. :)
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Keysfins » Thu Oct 18, 2018 11:28 pm

I know I wanted the one made in 2011, which is what I have. My trainer’s saddle had more use than mine, so the seat on his was not as cushy as mine. Mine looks new, because it had very little use.

I’m not sure when CS made changes, but I know there were some issues with Custom for a while. Fitter would come out, Rider might try a saddle and like it. Rider places an order for that saddle with the fitter, and by the time saddle arrived there would be changes so the saddle didn’t ride like the demo saddle a Rider tried. Sort of hit and miss.

That’s why I was so glad to find the Icon Flight that I bought, it was what I had been riding in using my trainer’s saddle, just newer because it had much less use.
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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby Hayburner » Fri Oct 19, 2018 1:16 am

Along with leather full seats maybe try the stirrup wraps with the nubs. I can't use mine right now as I'm using safety stirrups with my super quick girl. I really love my isabell as the seat is deep and synthetic. Maybe you can try one a demo from Dover. I have a frank Baines elegance model and I really don't feel as locked in to that saddle so I just stick with the Isabell while we are learning to ride.

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Re: Need the most secure dressage saddle!

Postby redsoxluvr » Wed Nov 14, 2018 5:39 am

Given that you have significant arthritic changes in your back, I think you need to ride in a saddle a few times to see if it hurts your back. One ride or to is not going to tell you what you need to know. I have some significant remodeling in my thoracic area and some saddles absolutely kill my back after a ride or two. I cannot ride in the saddles with long thigh blocks and a deep seat. However, I have short, high ones and they have been a godsend to me. I have two geldings. One is a huge mover and the other one is huge with a HUGE teleport spook. Neither of these are good with a bad back! I do need a bit of a more open seat because of the booty. It's big, and it needs real estate!


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