Saddle Shopping: More Saddles

When I told Trumbull Mountain that I hated the twist in the Largo, their next suggestion was a Prestige 2000. I was pretty skeptical about it because it’s a 17″ and I have a long femur. In my research I read that Prestige doesn’t make half sizes, so the 17 is sometimes said to be equivalent to a 17.5. There are lots of good general reviews of them as nicely-made, long-lasting saddles; lots of people who have them love them.

Prestige 2000 – 17″ 34cm
For Poe: Hollows between his shoulders and the panels under the tree points. Spit the pad back while I was riding.
For me: Seat was definitely too small. It has substantial thigh blocks and is fairly deep, so my knees were jammed into the blocks and I was posting off the cantle a bit. I felt very pinned in.

I’ve ridden in a couple now that have spit the pad back; I need to find out more about what could be causing this. I asked Trumbull Mountain and they said the saddle could be too wide or not the right shape, causing the saddle to shimmy side to side and work the pad out.

Thornhill Vienna II – 18″ 33cm (34cm?)
For Poe: Okay?
For me: Twist felt wide. Also felt unbalanced left to right — not sure if I just got it tweaked a little when I was mounting up or if it’s how it’s flocked or what. I was kind of tipping around on it trying to find my position, and felt like the flap was too straight for where I like my leg.

Friday I picked up three more to try from St. Croix. I was going to take out a Bates close contact, but there was an issue with the screws on the gullet plates, so I ended up with a Wintec 500 instead, which is marked as an AP saddle. Que sera, I knew I would be making a return trip anyway, so what’s one more?

Bates Classic Dressage – 18″, wide gullet plate
For him: Shape seemed in the ballpark, but lowest point seemed to be more back toward the cantle than where it should be. He did not want to back up in it and just generally didn’t seem thrilled. He wasn’t naughty, but also wasn’t really relaxed and willing.
For me: The twist was on the wider side, but it was the least barrel-feeling and most secure of all the wider twists I’ve sat in. The stirrup buckles were directly under my thighs, which was super painful. Definitely a no from the buckle placement alone.

County Competitor – 18″ W (newer)
For him: Balance point too far back? Felt like it shimmied side to side while I was riding. He was more willing to back up in this one vs the Bates.
For me: I couldn’t find my sweet spot in this one. I felt like I was tipping around and couldn’t get comfortable — behind the motion, rise felt steep, etc. Sitting trot was more difficult than usual — I had trouble keeping the stirrups, even when I’d pulled them up two holes. I definitely didn’t like it, which was weird because I Loved the one from a couple weeks ago.

Wintec 500 – 17.5″ MW gullet
For him: I felt like the back of the panel looked too pointy for him — like it was going to jab into his loin.
For me: No. I was posting off the cantle and just generally not the right balance.

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