View Full Version : dressage saddles - what do people prefer
28-11-00, 01:20 PM
Im thinking of buying a new dressage saddle and was interested to hear any opinions from others on their saddles and what they like or would have liked to have changed on them.
Has anyone tried the 'flair' system saddle?
I'm thinking about getting rid of my current dressage saddle bates preueix (sp?). I used to really love the deep seat, lately it's really starting to annoy me. I'm getting riding lessons currently and I'm finding it difficult to regain my balance once I have lost it. The saddle seems to just lock you in, I guess that might be ok if you can achieve a perfect seat 100% of the time. I have found it be be a difficult saddle to ride in. I'm currently just riding in my bates wintec all purpose. It has a fairly flat seat and I find that once I have lost of position it's not as difficult to find and rebalance myself. So I think personally a saddle that isn't to deep would be the way I go next.
This subject always seems to attract alot of attention.
I personally believe that a saddle is like an armchair and is a personal thing, you may love others that others may hate etc. I personally love the KN Dressage saddle, that was excellent for my positioning. Most of our top dressage riders are endorsed buy the manufacturer of the saddle and they are paid to advertise there brand. They may compete in one saddle and ride in another for their general riding and training.
My advise is try a few that appeal to you and see how you go. I have friends that ride in various brands and swear by them so just suss out whats available, what feels comfortable and what helps best for your positioning.
28-11-00, 03:50 PM
from personal experience, i would reccommend an Ainsley Vanguard. I realise everyone is different and has different preferences, but you should definitely include it in your "try out" list.
the website is
www.ainsley.nl or email me if you want a contact person in NSW!
28-11-00, 04:02 PM
thanks for your replies.. maybe i should ask around my friends and see if I can try out their saddles to get the feel of a few different brands...I forgot to mention that I currently ride in a Keiffer Grand Prix which I bought second hand years ago and is now looking rather tired. I like riding in it but it really doesnt hold you in your position at all, and I dont believe you can buy this model saddle new anymore anyway.
And don't forget to ask your horse!
28-11-00, 05:33 PM
Ummaa - a top rider not riding in his/her sponsored saddle. Did anyone see this at the Olympics?? You would think that they would have had more sense but then again ?!?
If you like the Kieffer's but want more security, have you tried the Kieffer Lech? It has blocks on the front of the flap that keep your legs in place. It feels a bit funny at first, but is really effective in putting you in the right position. It also gives a bit more security on young horses. I really love mine.
I have sat in an Isabel saddle on a rack in Horseland (haven't actually ridden in one). With the maxiblocks fitted, it feels a lot like a Lech. I reckon the Kieffer would outlive a Bates if you use it all the time though, and the prices are quite similar.
I am actually on the hunt for a dressage saddle as well. And I dont know what to buy.
I have spoken to a few saddleries and it seems as though alot (not Horseland) arent very impressed with the new Bates saddles and dont tend to stock them. Has anyone heard similar or had any problems with the new Bates?? Caprilli's in particular??
I did have a sit in the Windsor Dressage at Saddleworld on the weekend and found it to be just devine!! to sit in. Has anyone used this saddle or heard anything about it???
I used to have a Kieffer Aachen. At first, I loved this saddle and my seat really improved. However, as my seat improved, the width at the front used to rub on my crotch (this was actually sitting ON my seat bones...so I wasn't actually leaning on my 'fork'). And now, in hind sight, I realise that it was just too small for me. But a great saddle, all the same and it fit my horse really well.
I went on a big search. The saddle I tried in the store was the County 2000 dressage saddle. Felt fantastic on the plastic pony at H'land, but didn't fit my horse. I could have had that custom made though and brought in from England (same price).
I finally settled with a custom made Peter Horobin. It's a 17.5 inch and initially I thought I was swimming in a BIG ocean, but this was probably thanks to a too small Keiffer. But, alas, no crotch rubbing and I am finding my seat. I am beginning to love it.
And re: the person who said that her deep seat wasn't any good for her anymore. That's right, as you get better and develop an independent seat, you don't need to be seat belted in <g>.
I have heard the KNs are good, but I could not locate a distributor in Queensland and I was NOT buying one off the shelf not knowing if it my horse like it.
I did try the Ainsleys. Now these are lovely, lovely saddles, and if they had fit my horse, I would have bought that. The dealer, Linda Foster was extremely helpful and their service fantastic.
And all the saddles I looked at were around the same prices...so that wasn't really an issue either.
But I do have a Kieffer in excellent condition - probably a 16.5 to 17 " for sale. Brisbane area. Contact me by email if you're interested.
29-11-00, 06:55 AM
I have an old bates precieux and love it.
I have heard (on an american bulletin board) that the leather in certain areas of the KN saddles does not wear well, but this was one person's experience.
I like a flatter seat so that you are not locked into place and can move freely when required. A slightly bigger saddle can provide the same effect.
As has been mentioned before, as your seat improves and becomes more independent, deep seated saddles can hinder rather than help.
I have sat in a few stubbens and would be my first choice (top of the wish list LOL). I also like the idea of a single flap rather than two (separate) layers of leather under your leg.
Good luck :-) I am going through the same thing with of all things, stock saddles!
I wouldn't give up my County Dressage for anything. I've had it about 15 years and it's just so comfy.
Good luck with your choice.
I've a Kieffer Lech Professional and love it. Wouldn't swap it for anything.
One girlfriend has a Bates Precieux (spelling???) and likes it but as mentioned above, doesn't really enjoy the deep-seatedness (is that a word?) anymore as she feels clamped in. But comfy to ride in...
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