Saddle Shopping Hell

Well I’ve begun the search for a fancy French saddle, used plz k tx. I tried numerous saddles yesterday, and I did find one that I like, but I didn’t really love….

Let me back up. Here’s what I am looking for in a perfectly ideal world that is full of sunshine and unicorns:

  • Devoucoux, because I can’t seem to sit improperly in them
  • A wide twist, because I can actually use my inner thighs with it
  • Buffalo, because calfskin is apparently not as durable (right?) and sometimes I ride in jeans/chaps (which will allegedly scratch the leather), and grain is too slippery
  • 17.5″, because I have a 22″ long femur
  • A medium tree, because I lease/ride many different horses
  • Front and back blocks, because Parlanti’s don’t look good swinging
  • Less than 3k, because I’m not made of money but thank you tax returns

I’m surprisingly (or maybe not) having trouble finding something with all these things. I would say the most important parts for me are that it’s 17.5″, medium tree, front and back blocks, with a wide twist. I can live on ramen for 6 months if the price is higher, and I can be super nice to my leather if it cost me an arm and a leg to repair. I can even live without the Devoucoux brand, if another brand is similar enough.

So basically the sizing, and some blocks are most important. Again, surprisingly hard to find right now.

Here is what I’m demoing now:

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“2013 Antarès jumping saddle in VERY GOOD condition. Light brown, French calfskin leather seat and knee rolls with grain leather flaps. Blue Antarès logo on each side of the flap. EVO4 tree allows the horse to move more free in the shoulder. Ideal size for a variety of riders and standard panels for a variety of horses.

17.5″ half deep seat with regular twist measures closer to 18″.

Flap 3N measures 14″ from the top of the stirrup bar to the bottom of the flap. Flap width measures 13.5″ across at its widest point.

Tree measures 4.75″ from dot-to-dot under the pommel. Medium-wide tree.

Front and back blocks.

Standard panels. Will fit a variety of horses.”

http://www.frenchusedsaddles.com//ON-TRIAL–175-Antars-Evolution-A13-876-Flap-3N-Grain-EVO4-Tree_p_1014.html

It’s grain leather everywhere except the seat and knee rolls, which are calfskin, so at least I wouldn’t have to get calfskin stirrup leathers. It’s a 17.5″, but looks a bit bigger to me. It’s a medium wide tree, but I’m honestly not sure if that’ll work with most of the TBs I seem to ride. The flaps are spot on. The regular twist is a step up from a narrow twist, but not as wide as I’d like. Still saves my ass (literally) over fences, which is nice.

I’m just very on the fence (pun intended) about this one. I’m able to get the price down to about 3k, which is perfect, but I’m still struggling because I just don’t *love* it. I feel like if I’m going to drop 3k on a saddle, I should probably love it, right? I should feel like superwoman and like I can ride anything in the world in it, right? Or is this one of those BS things people say about saddles but doesn’t really matter as long as my legs stay put over fences?

Basically I’m in saddle shopping hell, and desperately need some help! Any advice? Are my priorities wrong? Should I be looking for a different tree size? Does calfskin really damage that easily? Is there a big difference between Devoucoux and Antares? Are wide twists super hard to find used? Have I been living my life wrong all this time???

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15 comments

  1. What a predicament… Have riden with both Devoucoux (mine) 16.5 dressage saddle and Antares 17 dressage…. Both super comfy, Antares gives a bit more support…. All boiles down to if it fits the horse, if it puts you in the right position and whatever feels best… Keep shopping, the best one will find you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As someone that just got their first brand new saddle last year (mine was custom so the price was higher than the budget you have, obviously), I absolutely LOVE my Antares. I never realized how much I was fighting other saddles until I sat and rode in mine. I belong to the school of thought that while a saddle probably won’t magically improve your actual riding ability overnight, having a saddle that fits you and the horse well can never hurt your riding…if that makes sense. Yes, the best riders should be able to effectively ride in any saddle they sit in, but having a saddle that fits you and the horse really well is priceless.

    In conclusion, Team Antares all the way. Plus, their leather conditioner smells amazing, if that helps tip the scale in any way 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • I thiiiiiiiiiiiink mine is calfskin? Possibly? I’m pretty sure it’s calf.

        In any case, I haven’t really had any issues with scratching my saddle. I clean it after every ride and condition it about every 2-3 months, so even after a year, my saddle still looks brand new. *I use Higher Standards to clean it and the Antares conditioner to condition* Of course, I’m very cognizant of where/how I put my saddle down and make sure it’s covered as much as possible. I also got some nifty stirrup covers (link below, I also have a 10% off coupon) that have really helped keep my saddle scratch-free, especially because I have the cheese grater pads. I personally don’t think calf is hard to maintain, but I want my saddle to last forever so I take really good care of it. Let me know if you need any more info!

        https://www.etsy.com/listing/215666040/made-to-order-squares-print-reversible?ref=shop_home_active_2

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Good luck – saddle shopping blows. Thats a good price for that saddle,tho. Highly suggest Cori at Highendusedsaddles.com – shoot her an email and she may have something in the pipeline not listed on her site yet

    Liked by 1 person

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