The Hunt for a New Saddle

After struggling with lots of fitting issues, I ended up buying a new saddle. Teddy has high, narrow withers and huge shoulders. So that made saddle fitting quite a challenge. I really didn’t want to buy a brand new, custom saddle. But my CWD 2GS, which was fitted for Champ, did not fit Teddy and I could not in good conscience continue to ride in a saddle that wasn’t comfortable for him. That’s when the hunt for a new saddle began. At that point, I was getting very frustrated with CWD. I spent over $10k on two saddles for Champ that ended up causing some issues. Not to mention it was very difficult to get a rep out. When I asked what they could do to help make my 2GS fit Teddy, all they could do was widen the panels, which would only make the saddle sit down on his withers and cause him severe pain. So CWD was out of the question. I’m very fortunate to be riding at a school barn where all the horses are fitted with high quality saddles including Tad Coffin, Voltaire, and Stübben. So, I tried some of the school saddles to see if anything fit better than my CWD, and low and behold, one of the Stübben’s ended up working out until I could buy one for Teddy. Meanwhile, I was also looking into Amerigo as I have a great relationship with the owner of a local tack shop in Bedford, Massachusetts, who just so happens to also be the Amerigo rep for New England. It was a toss-up between going with an Amerigo or a Stübben. Eventually I chose a Stübben and I’m so happy that I did. While Amerigo is a great company and the rep is wonderful to work with, I felt there was more Stübben could do for Teddy.

If you asked me two years ago if I would have ever bought a black and white monoflap saddle, I would have said “No way!”  Being at hunter/jumper barns where everyone had some type of French saddle like CWD, Antarés, Voltaire, or Devoucoux, this was quite a change. Stübben saddles ride very differently, and now I know it’s because they hone in on even the smallest details to make sure it fits both horse and rider. Looking back, I was very uncomfortable in many of the French saddles, often getting thrown back and then thrusted too far forward. Now I know it’s because the saddles did not fit the horses it was supposed to, nor were they balanced correctly on the horse. If I had to go back and do everything over again, I would have bought the Zaria Optimum a long time ago for Champ as well.  It is, hands down, the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever ridden in and (in my opinion) the best close contact saddle on the market. Stübben has a great reputation with very knowledgeable fitters. Their saddles are known for being able to fit just about any horse due to their wide range of options for tree sizes.

Huge thank you to Andrea Manley and Stübben for their expertise and high quality saddles. I don’t think Teddy has ever had a saddle as well fitting as this!

Teddy (pictured left), a 16hh Nokota, and Sunny (pictured right), 14.2hh Morgan, were both ridden in the same Stübben Portos. As you can see, this saddle fits quite well even though these two have completely different builds.

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