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  • Sophie Austin

My Favourite Saddle, how times change!

I have been riding for some time, since I was 4 years old to be exact. I dont really remember being that obsessed with saddles until I was around 15 years old. I had a small purple patch with one horse and we had a very successful season jumping young rider classes. My trainer at the time said to me it would be a good idea to get a better fitting saddle for my horse. My parents did the duty of finding out where to get the best saddle from and I was very lucky to have been bought a Stubben Roxanne in dark brown. It was beautiful, stylish, had a deep seat to help with my position and my horse absolutely loved it. I had many good shows with that saddle and even rode for my country. Everyone had stubben saddles and I didn’t want to part with my saddle when I went to university so it sat at home collecting dust. Nowadays Stubben saddles aren’t the market leaders that they once were.

During and after university I spent some time riding out for a racehorse trainer. Racing saddles were basically somewhere to attach your stirrups onto. They were hard, flat and very minimal. The good thing was you could feel the horse‘s movements and exactly what was going on underneath you. I went back to showjumping after some time riding the racehorses. I did struggle to go back into a jump saddle after that. I had a saddle fitter come out to me and the only saddle I could ride in was a Harry Dabbs extremely flat seat and small knee rolls. I loved that saddle and she did me well for many different horses.

I started jumping a horse for a lady a few years later. I was riding in her saddle which was an older stubben. This chap I was riding was quite a round big shouldered hunter type. As the horse got fitter and more muscled it was apparent the saddle was rolling side to side quite significantly. We found ourselves in a saddle predicament again. A saddle that we found to suit both me and this horse was an equipe expression monoflap. This was back when Equipe was quite new and revolutionary in their design and technology. My horse absolutely loved it and I did too. I liked it so much I bought one for myself and my horse too.

Now I am lucky enough to be a saddle seller for Prestige saddles. I have very detailed knowledge of all the jump saddles. If I’m allowed, I have 2 favourites of the Prestige range. The X-Breath and the X-Advanced. Both of these saddles are monoflaps which I love as I feel close to the horses (maybe this goes back to my days riding racehorses). The X-Breath is an amazing saddle for sharp horses. A few reasons for this. It’s a very light saddle 4.6kg. The hole in the seat allows your coccyx to sit in, and thus makes you slightly rotate your pelvis back and gives the horse the feeling that you are more relaxed. This saddle is also really good on a young horse and I spent most my time riding young horses. My second favourite saddle is my X-Advanced. This is probably the comfiest saddle I ride in. Ive gone away from the flattest seat I can get and this saddle has a semi deep seat. It givea just enough freedom to not feel restricted but enough security that if one‘s horse spooks you don’t come out the side door. Its super stylish and it was made for my favourite horse princess.

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