Best saddle for a New Forest?

Marigold4

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 May 2017
Messages
979
Is there a particular type of saddle that suits NFs? Companion pony is now 3 and doing groundwork. I'm planning to get her used to wearing a saddle and to have a little sit on her at the end of the , then turn away. She's 14 hh and has a reasonably long back - but very short neck!

I will of course be also consulting a saddler, but it's useful to have some ideas of what works well on them as a starting point. Here's a pic to give an idea of shape as I think NFs come in different "styles".
 

Attachments

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
5,339
Location
Suffolk
If you get the tree and panel right, and a really good fitter that knows natives, slightly forward cut is seldom half as much of a problem as people think, and if you have long legs then it allows you to ride a little shorter. If your knee is on the block instead of behind it it generally leads to an unstable lower leg and other issues.

Have a look for a specialist brand/fitter.

Thanks The Fuzzy Furry *blush* :cool:
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
5,339
Location
Suffolk
IME the Pony Club shouldn't carry all but the very lightest adult riders, and the Cob isn't usually flat enough for truly flat shapes, and it too much saddle for the sportier types - perches and rolls. It will work for some, and glad it works for you and yours because it's an easy and inexpensive option. Of course the tree and panel must fit now, and once a horse has changed 1.5-2 widths they usually need a different tree/panel/both anyway. A used leather saddle can be more useful for many, and I would definitely recommend used wherever possible, and as you say, definitely several checks a year for the first 2-3 years.
 

Kizzy2004

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 October 2010
Messages
247
Location
New Forest
Ive been quite fortunate with my last few foresters as they’ve all had a slight wither, makes life a bit easier.

IME the Pony Club shouldn't carry all but the very lightest adult riders, and the Cob isn't usually flat enough for truly flat shapes, and it too much saddle for the sportier types - perches and rolls. It will work for some, and glad it works for you and yours because it's an easy and inexpensive option. Of course the tree and panel must fit now, and once a horse has changed 1.5-2 widths they usually need a different tree/panel/both anyway. A used leather saddle can be more useful for many, and I would definitely recommend used wherever possible, and as you say, definitely several checks a year for the first 2-3 years.
 

Marigold4

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 May 2017
Messages
979
IME the Pony Club shouldn't carry all but the very lightest adult riders, and the Cob isn't usually flat enough for truly flat shapes, and it too much saddle for the sportier types - perches and rolls. It will work for some, and glad it works for you and yours because it's an easy and inexpensive option. Of course the tree and panel must fit now, and once a horse has changed 1.5-2 widths they usually need a different tree/panel/both anyway. A used leather saddle can be more useful for many, and I would definitely recommend used wherever possible, and as you say, definitely several checks a year for the first 2-3 years.
Ive been quite fortunate with my last few foresters as they’ve all had a slight wither, makes life a bit easier.
I think I'm leaning towards secondhand leather with a flat tree. Think she might be able to take a 16.5 seat. Looks like she's a wide from the template I have made. I'm keen to keep weight and cost down and wondered about a Fylde Ray just as a starter. Would that be an option - love AH and BC but twice as expensive secondhand. Considered a T4, but the pony version is TINY, though Cob version would probably do if only it was made in a smaller seat size.
 

Kizzy2004

Well-Known Member
Joined
18 October 2010
Messages
247
Location
New Forest
My thorowgood is the compact version which they do in a 16.5, the cob was always to long for mine and I didn’t like riding in the pc. Worked for my latest but it was regularly checked. My mare has an ideal H&C which works well for her now and the gelding has a k&m dressage and optimum performance jump saddle. My current foresters switched from wide, wide x wide, x wide and back again when they were growing depending on workload and time of year, I’m glad they’ve stopped growing.

I think I'm leaning towards secondhand leather with a flat tree. Think she might be able to take a 16.5 seat. Looks like she's a wide from the template I have made. I'm keen to keep weight and cost down and wondered about a Fylde Ray just as a starter. Would that be an option - love AH and BC but twice as expensive secondhand. Considered a T4, but the pony version is TINY, though Cob version would probably do if only it was made in a smaller seat size.
 

Pinkvboots

Well-Known Member
Joined
25 August 2010
Messages
13,217
Location
Hertfordshire
I think I'm leaning towards secondhand leather with a flat tree. Think she might be able to take a 16.5 seat. Looks like she's a wide from the template I have made. I'm keen to keep weight and cost down and wondered about a Fylde Ray just as a starter. Would that be an option - love AH and BC but twice as expensive secondhand. Considered a T4, but the pony version is TINY, though Cob version would probably do if only it was made in a smaller seat size.
I wouldn't use a Fylde for every day they are not meant for general riding really as the panels are really thin and they are foam not flock, I have seen a lot of horses with sore backs because of those saddles, they are brilliant for the showring but not everyday use.

Me personally would do this if you like the look of showing saddles get a black country poppy or classic they can be used for everyday and are really popular in the ring, yes more expensive but you would only need 1 saddle then.
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
5,339
Location
Suffolk
I think I'm leaning towards secondhand leather with a flat tree. Think she might be able to take a 16.5 seat. Looks like she's a wide from the template I have made. I'm keen to keep weight and cost down and wondered about a Fylde Ray just as a starter. Would that be an option - love AH and BC but twice as expensive secondhand. Considered a T4, but the pony version is TINY, though Cob version would probably do if only it was made in a smaller seat size.
An expensive second hand saddle in a desirable brand will hold its value, if you buy wisely you might even make money. The panels on ultra close contact saddles are pretty unforgiving on young backs, look at the backs of many ridden ponies when stripped, can you see an outline of the saddle in their back? As Pinkvboots has said they really are "show ring" saddles rather than showing saddles, though arguably the Ray is far from the worst of them. It does have a very short, upswept panel in most cases though and frequently tips back (mind you so do most other models!). I would argue the BC saddles are often incredibly flat in the seat and often have very little flocking in them so well fitted they will be better but I keep seeing the very flat (Euro?) tree fitted, with minimal flocking in them compounding the incorrect tree shape, to horses with some shape to their back by a particular BC fitter and it's doing these horses and ponies no good.

The Cob would swamp most smaller animals, it's just not the right shape for a true pony saddle. Synthetic saddles often aren't a great idea for a heavier rider on a short back, in this case you can add in a narrow seat and small flaps, as you've found.

I'd not worry about weight, your weight can fluctuate as much within weeks if not days as the difference between a leather and a synthetic saddle, unless you're at the limit for pony or saddle. In which case I'd be building muscle like stink before backing, lots of postural work, and of course looking at my weight too.
 

onemoretime

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2008
Messages
1,929
She's lovely. I. love the Andrea Hicks saddles and have one for my wide mare. Lovely quality for the money and very comfortable for rider and horse.


Is there a particular type of saddle that suits NFs? Companion pony is now 3 and doing groundwork. I'm planning to get her used to wearing a saddle and to have a little sit on her at the end of the , then turn away. She's 14 hh and has a reasonably long back - but very short neck!

I will of course be also consulting a saddler, but it's useful to have some ideas of what works well on them as a starting point. Here's a pic to give an idea of shape as I think NFs come in different "styles".
l
 
Last edited:

Baywonder

Well-Known Member
Joined
26 November 2018
Messages
1,840
Just to clarify regarding Fylde Saddles.

Ray Symonds has made the Fylde 'Ray' Working Hunter saddle personally for the last 35 years. All of the 'Ray' saddles have the dual Symonds Saddlery / Fylde Saddlery name and logo on each saddle.

Symonds only make the genuine 'Ray' close contact WH - other close contact Fylde saddles are made by other saddle makers, therefore the materials and methods used may well be different.

As with any decent saddle, they need to be suitable for the horse in question, the rider, and also fitted correctly. :)
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
5,339
Location
Suffolk
Just to clarify regarding Fylde Saddles.

Ray Symonds has made the Fylde 'Ray' Working Hunter saddle personally for the last 35 years. All of the 'Ray' saddles have the dual Symonds Saddlery / Fylde Saddlery name and logo on each saddle.

Symonds only make the genuine 'Ray' close contact WH - other close contact Fylde saddles are made by other saddle makers, therefore the materials and methods used may well be different.

As with any decent saddle, they need to be suitable for the horse in question, the rider, and also fitted correctly. :)
And the Ray IS one of the better options than some others, and yes, the quality is consistent, but people don't understand the panel shape and so often it's fitted tipping back. I agree the quality of the others is variable, but the fit issues can be similar.
 

onemoretime

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2008
Messages
1,929
No she is WB x ISH but has big shoulders and her spine below the wither is quite wide. This saddle allows her freedom of the shoulder which she finds much better. The saddle is a VSD (very slightly dressage) I call it a working hunter saddle because you can jump low level in it. We do dressage affiliated in it. I am waiting for a new AH Affinity dressage saddle to come in. for her.
 

Marigold4

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 May 2017
Messages
979
AH saddles without a doubt. Fits my 14.1 connie like a glove.

Currently wallowing in self pity as I desperately want an AH dressage saddle but 1) Sbloom has selfishly decided to up sticks to Scotland and 2) I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant and the size of a small whale so not riding.
Poor you! You must be hating this heat.
 

onemoretime

Well-Known Member
Joined
12 April 2008
Messages
1,929
AH saddles without a doubt. Fits my 14.1 connie like a glove.

Currently wallowing in self pity as I desperately want an AH dressage saddle but 1) Sbloom has selfishly decided to up sticks to Scotland and 2) I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant and the size of a small whale so not riding.
Oh dear never mind, when your baby is born you will be able to get a new AH saddle for your horse. I use Sam Wiltshire to fit for me but not sure where you are. We are in Kent and he covers Kent Surrey & parts of Sussex I believe. Good luck with your baby.
 

sbloom

Well-Known Member
Joined
14 September 2011
Messages
5,339
Location
Suffolk
AH saddles without a doubt. Fits my 14.1 connie like a glove.

Currently wallowing in self pity as I desperately want an AH dressage saddle but 1) Sbloom has selfishly decided to up sticks to Scotland and 2) I’m currently 38 weeks pregnant and the size of a small whale so not riding.
:D:p I'll do my best to keep visiting (and if you can travel north then that will increase our chances!).
 
Joined
31 May 2017
Messages
51
I've had Ideal's on my flat backed, no wither, very wide, big shouldered Foresters and Forest crosses and they (with appropriate width, length, tree shape, panel fitting and flocking) have worked well and do hold their value being a quality saddle. However, it can be a bit of a challenge to fit a saddle to a typically short backed Forester depending on your hip to knee measurement as that dictates the length of seat you will need although if you're able to compensate with your stirrup and saddle flap length you can come to an equitable compromise.
 

Marigold4

Well-Known Member
Joined
17 May 2017
Messages
979
Thanks for this. I am short with shortish legs so can squeeze into a 16 ins seat, which is what she will need. Which type of Ideal suits best do you think?
 
Joined
31 May 2017
Messages
51
The models do change over time but I guessing you might want to go with something with a flattish tree, a wide gullet and a VSD type of panel which is fine unless you're planning to be jumping over 1.10m. Have a look at their website to see what models they have on offer currently. Personally I wouldn't necessarily go down the route of 'made to measure' (unless the pony in question has very specific needs) as it will literally fit the pony as measured on the day and by the time it is delivered it may no longer fit. Wider is usually better as you can pad out while the pony fills out/develops more top line but too narrow is a welfare issue (think of shoes - too big=extra socks etc, too small - nothing makes them comfy). Hope this helps and that you can find a good saddle fitter local to you. As you have a Forester are you local to the New Forest?
 
Joined
1 July 2008
Messages
8,257
Location
Wiltshire
I had an Ideal saddle which was a beautiful fit on a few of my ponies. Regularly checked by saddler sadly it was stolen.

I have 3 ridden foresters, my mare is 14.1hh, "perfect" weight according to weighbridge and has a wide tree 17" saddle. It was an unbranded buy off ebay when trying to find something to fit. Son's 13hh pony in a 16.5" medium wide tree, unbranded english leather bargain from NFED when the Ideal was stolen. Other pony, 13.3hh in a heritage 16" medium tree.
 
Top