Saddle shopping trials

Does anyone out there ENJOY saddle shopping? I’m not talking about idly clicking through the gorgeous gleaming images of new saddles, imagining yourself riding oh-so-much-better because now you have the perfect saddle. Of course if I have the saddle of XYZ Olympian I will ride like him or her! I will look like this and my horse will also be transformed:

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Or sometimes my Diva side comes out and I am attracted to the blingy fancy saddles. Oh, I’m not going to buy one, but gosh, they are pretty, aren’t they?


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Yeah, I kinda want one, I admit it. But I know my trainer would kill me. Not to mention my husband.

Meanwhile, what to do? Well, the only saddle I own, a wonderful and comfortable Lemke dressage saddle, does not fit my new horse, Starlight. Tragedy! That saddle is so comfortable. So I am riding in a borrowed Ansur dressage saddle, which is a flexible tree so it fits (almost) anything. It’s a ย Godsend and my mare really likes it, but she’s wide, so my hips don’t like it on such a wide horse.

I need a saddle wide enough for her, but with a narrow twist for me, and that will require a tree. It’s possible, but it is not easy.

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The Wow Competitor Dressage Saddle

Enter the WOW saddle, a modular saddle which I am explorin. I have just tried their basic model (the Classique), which my horse LOVED but I wanted a different seat. Loved the narrow twist but the seat didn’t quite work for my seat bones (not soft enough). So now I will try a custom assembled WOW with different seat, flaps, knee rolls, etc. Since these are modular saddles, a custom one can be assembled in just a couple of days and shipped to me to try.

If you are interested in information about the WOW, which is really a different concept for a saddle, here is the website: ย I’ll have another review of it after I ride in it more, but my first ride did impress me and my horse and I had an initial “WOW” experience. Unfortunately, they are expensive new and though they’ve been in Britain for years, they are fairly new here so they’re difficult to find used. That’s the bad news.IMG_0124.JPG

Here is Starlight, modeling the WOW Classique. Note the lovely sock protective covers for the stirrup leathers (keeps the leathers from damaging the demo saddle). Star’s coat is improving but is still changing from sun-bleached to black/brown as she sheds her winter coat. One month into our work together, you can see the muscling in her neck and topline beginning to develop, but it takes years to build the muscle needed for dressage so this will be a slow and careful process. This is a wonderful mare and I love working with her.

Our next demo saddle will be the WOW Competitor. Let’s hope it’s “the one” and I can stop spending hours on the computer looking at saddles and researching saddles and wondering if this saddle or that saddle MIGHT work…



3 thoughts on “Saddle shopping trials

  1. Sigh, saddles. Yep, hate having to switch them out. I need a wide, with a narrow twist, too, so following along in your shopping story, taking notes ๐Ÿ™‚
    I also have a Really long femur, which gives troubles in many saddles with large rolls. It’s a pest sometimes…
    Side note, saddle in picture looks tipped back (?) Perhaps just the angle, but it looks like it a bit?


    • Yes, that is the “before” picture (before I got on). The saddle squashed down (and slid back some) after I rode and turned out to be too wide. Go figure. It was very, very new, so the Rep warned me that it would look perched like that to start, but not to pay attention to looks and to try it and see. Very soft flocking, so it really did squish down with weight in the saddle. Amazing saddle, I have to say. The twist is VERY narrow; I just found the seat part behind the twist where your seat bones rest to be a bit too narrow for my seat bones. I need it to widen out more there. So now I have to try the customized version (they are modular so it will be quick – and returnable), which of course is much, much more expensive. Of course. I will say, the different saddles are making Star go VERY differently, so you might want to try a different saddle on your mare to see if some of your canter problems are…saddle related…hate to suggest it because it’s the start of a painful process, but why be stuck if you don’t have to be?


      • Well that is cool! (It’s a wow saddle in all ways ๐Ÿ˜‰
        I’ve had a hard time to find one that seems to ever have a too narrow twist – amazing.
        From road cycling, I DO know that my actual seatbones are placed far apart. SO, it would have to be the strange combination of having a Wide tree saddle, with a narrow twist, yet not too narrow.

        Oh, and of course – you always have to fit in the most expensive option ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s just how it works haha.

        From what I can tell, Valiosas canter is not much better on the lunge line versus with me on, so I’m not yet convinced she’s ready for the saddle shopping jungle. Probably soon though. Sometimes she seems better cantering under saddle than on the lunge, however that is possible. But then again, I’m just flattering my self ๐Ÿ™‚

        Very cool new saddle there though – hoping the customized version will do the trick!!


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