Another saddle thread (I'm sorry!): Different Stubben models

Hey all! I’m a hunter/jumper person getting past the “dabbling” phase in dressage and want a dressage saddle, mostly for the help with position and feel. I like my foam paneled, relatively simple close contact saddle (a L’Apogee) and feel very secure in that, so the big “couchy” dressage saddle are a no-go for me. I tried a Kent and Masters, an Ideal, and a Black Country and felt perched on the horse in all of them, even properly fitted.

I just had a Stubben Genesis CL on trial and really liked the feel, but the thigh blocks weren’t right for me, and I think the seat isn’t the exact correct shape for my pelvis…I had trouble sitting “in” the saddle and struggled to keep my leg really under me, so back it goes.

I’m not stuck on Stubben as a brand, but I have a TB with a pretty typical back shape (decent wither, short back with some curve, med to med-wide in the tree) and I know they tend to fit that type and have a more minimal feel than a lot of other dressage saddles.

I’m short–5’3" with very average proportions, not a particularly long femur or anything. My behind is ahem not small at the moment, but I usually feel good in a 17.5" with the deeper seat.

I’m thinking of having a Stubben Serenity with short flaps and a velcro block (which I don’t love the idea of because I think the velcro looks cheap, but I think I’ll like being able to move it around or take it out completely) out next. Anyone have experience with this saddle or others? The other Stubben I’m considering trying is the 1894.

I’ve considered just getting a L’Apogee DL to try since I love my close contact so much, but I know I’ll need to shim it to get enough clearance over the withers, which isn’t ideal. Turns out that trying to find wool flocked saddles that I’ll actually like isn’t easy, sigh.

I love my 1894! Has some structure and blocks for stability but I’m definitely not locked in.

If you can, get a rep to bring you saddles to sit in- I liked the 1894 the minute I sat in the demo, but there were others that I had the literal opposite reaction to :wink: I don’t specifically remember which other models I liked or didn’t so unfortunately can’t offer any comparison.

Thank you! That’s helpful. I haven’t had luck getting a response back from Stubben to get a rep out. :expressionless:

Also…I’m so mystified by the tree sizes. The Genesis I tried was stamped 27 but supposedly widened to 29 but Stubben (according to the seller). The Serenity they also told me might work (after looking at photos of my horses’s back and knowing what saddle he goes in now) is a 28. I’m a little worried the tree points won’t be angled correctly, and I’m very loathe to keep shipping saddles back when I have to pay the return shipping…

I have a custom 1894 with short flaps (among other things) and am very happy with it. I didn’t sit in any other demos though, so I can’t really compare to the other models!

I made the transition from a Stubben Sigfried as my only eventing saddle into a Stubben Parzifal for dressage. A Parzifal in good shape sells for about $500 today. Take a look at one on line and see what you think .

Long time lurker here, who had to make a new username after too many years of browsing incognito. You came to the right place - I learned a ton from COTH when doing saddle research!

I’m built similarly to you, with a high-withered TB. My Serenity was a lifesaver, my horse loved it and they’re lovely saddles. I also had luck with County, Albion, and Hastilow. My fitter also recommended a specific Amerigo tree, however I was unable to find one locally to try. Wool flocking was a non-negotiable for me, given my horse’s build, but it is limiting when shopping.

I can’t seem to PM you, but I do have the 27cm short flap Serenity for sale. In sticking to forum rules, feel free to PM me if you’re interested. Good luck on your search! I don’t wish saddle shopping on anyone.

If you can get a Stubben rep out it’s invaluable for trying different models.
They will do semi-custom also.
I ended up with a Maestoso with a pencil roll & no thighblocks.
It was probably the 4th saddle I tried & fit me & my horse imnediately.

My experience is Stubben does not fit the “typical TB” backshape well. Their tree points and tree configuration tend to struggle with the “typical TB”, which in my head is a broad shouldered, high withered horse with wide barrel, flatter and shorter back.

I know you mentioned not being married to Stubben, so I’ll say this – I have found their customer service lacking. Make sure you find the right rep, and remember reps are not synonymous with “certified saddle fitter”. They are trained to sell you a saddle, not anything else.

I bought a customized Stubben Zaria on behalf of a Stubben rep. It didn’t fit my horse. Stubben HQ handwaved off my concerns about its poor fit and bridging, as did the rep. Stubben HQ actually told me my custom saddle was supposed to bridge.

My horse clearly disliked it and it is now my most expensive unused saddle - I just loved how it fit me but it never came close to fitting the horse.

Also, on the topic of Stubbens and fit specifically – beware anyone that tells you your “typical TB” is a narrow (28cm or narrower). My experience is the reps like a tight fit and tend to fit much narrower than the horse actually is - and my experience is, the horses hate it. I’ve had a few experiences now where my MW and Wide (some even needing a hoop tree) were seriously suggested a 27/28cm tree which would have never worked.


I love the Voltaire Adelaide. I have used mine on 2 OTTBs and an appendix QH that most people mistake for a full TB. My friend just picked up a used one for her OTTB. They do come with a few thigh blocks sizes. I normally ride in a very flat 16.5 jump saddle but my dressage is 18". I am 5’3" but with a longer femur. The used one I have is a long flap but has a slightly shorter block than the one I borrowed from my trainer. Everyone that rides in mine and in my trainer’s loves them.

You might want to send pictures and wither tracings to Pelham Saddlery. They have a huge selection of used dressage saddles. They may be able to help you figure out a few to try. They frequently have Patrick Saddles. I loved my 2 jump saddles by Patrick. I have seen his dressage saddles and they are gorgeous. However those tend to be fully custom. They are wool flocked so you may loose that close contact feel that you are looking for. But the wool can be tweaked to fit your horse if the saddle is a decent fit to start. Some of his have an adjustable width.

I join you in feeling perched in a dressage saddle. I have an el-cheapo Thorowgood that does the trick for the price but dang do I feel high up there. I tell myself that someday I’ll buy one that lets me feel like I’m down in the horse instead of up on them. Till then, perched it is.

Thanks for all of that detail and knowledge. I’m well aware of the pitfalls of using reps to buy a saddle. I actually prefer NOT to use them, I had just hope to find a cost-effective way to try a bunch of different models. I’ll have my non-Stubben fitter do any adjustments to fit (said fitter will fit any brand, but they also rep/carry a bunch of English saddle brands that my butt clearly doesn’t agree with) so I’m not worried about being misled by a rep on fit.

The tree size info is especially helpful. The Genesis stretched to a 29 seemed perfect on my guy–I know when my fitter measured him, she said he fell basically between a M and MW.

Right now I’m considering ordering a 1894 from Smartpak through their Test Ride program to try risk-free. They only carry 28 and 30 (no 29s), but I’m thinking a 30 might be ok…

Ok, I’m glad it’s not just me! I though it was my fault for not being able to sit in the correct “dressage” position (longer stirrup, knees pointed down, etc) by I was told by my dressage trainer that the right saddle will make it feel easier than it is now. But yes, the Kent and Masters (basically the same saddle as your Thorowgood but leather) was really comfy but…yeah, I felt like I had 6 inches of saddle between myself and the horse.

Cannot agree enough here on the customer service and making sure the tree shape is correct for your horse. I TRIED to buy a new saddle - and ended up feeling like I was chasing around a rep to take my money. The saddle I ended up with fell into my lap, and was signed off on by my independent fitter as the correct shape and size. My TB happens to have a curvy back, with high withers and big shoulders, but is truly narrow in build - the Serenity tree was correct for him, but the Euphoria would never have worked, for example. I likely would have ended up like you, had I ended up ordering the custom saddle I intended to!

I think, like with any saddle, your best bet is an independent fitter and trying a multitude of saddles and brands. His Serenity and Zaria are both 27cm trees, but his Hastilow is a heavily-flocked MW. I have yet to find a French saddle that fits his back shape. Find yourself a good fitter, and narrow down the options from there - not all TBs are walking 2x4s and the Stubben fitters do have the tendency to treat them as such.

I would love a Voltaire! Unfortunately, even used they seem to run about 1K over what I would ideally like to spend. And sadly for me, the thin foam panels on the French saddles don’t get me enough wither clearance without shimming on my guy. I shim my jump saddle on him for now, but would prefer not to do it in a dressage saddle as well. He doesn’t have crazy high withers, but even when I think I have plenty of wither clearance when tacking up, I can feel his withers bumping into the gullet if I feel down the front of the saddle once I’m on and we’re moving. I just need more volume in the front.

Amerigo dressage saddles tend to fit TBs pretty well and aren’t too bulky. So do Bates, Kiefer and Tad Coffin, which are very plain dressage saddles.

If we’re getting into other brand recommendations I do like my Passier.

I believe you can have the thigh blocks removed on the Genesis (or replaced with velcro ones). I have an older Genesis deluxe with moveable blocks. Took them out entirely because I just like the freedom (also a H/J convert). That saddle is a perfect fit for my TB with large withers (not just high, they go wayyy back). I also tried a K&M that fit my horse so well, but my seat was horrible in it and it made my horse a little irritated with me. Ditched it for the Genesis and haven’t looked back.

See if you can find a Stubben Aramis II to try. The seat is very comfortable and the flap is a smidge forward compared to other models. It is easier on my old hips and may make a good “bridge” saddle for your journey from hunter/jumper to dressage.