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Curvy back saddle fitting on a budget - success!

What can I find, ideally around the $1200 and under price point, that will work for a curvy, borderline swayback horse?

Complicating this: she is solidly medium wide for tree/gullet. I am a shortlegged rider needing an 18”.

I adore my Wintec Pro Dressage but as my horse ages and gets curvier and curvier, I can no longer make it work for her.

Once a horse starts getting borderline swayback, you likely need a 6 shim saddle pad with the middle shims in use. There isn’t a saddle around that will fit this conformation even with customized flocking.


Ok. But there are still brands that are better for curvier backs period. Do you actually know any in the $1200 USD price range?


My morgan mare had a back a lot like what you are describing. She went well in a Takt TSD-037. It is outside of your price range unless you can find a well used one. I am consigning my TSD-037 but the person I am consigning with has recommended it be listed for more than $2000.


That’s what I’m afraid of: only getting options well outside my budget.

The money is NOT THERE to invest anymore in this, especially not at my mare’s age. Her most productive years are behind her, but I’d like to be able to keep her going.


I hear ya! Working with a saddle fitter will be your best bet. They can help find the best fitting saddle and if needed help you with the shimming that will likely be needed if her back continues to get softer. Perhaps a bareback pad for now? That is what I used while waiting for the saddle ultimately ended up getting for my mare as nothing else I had at the time fit her at all.

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I can help with this, after 5 years of swaybacked medium-wide quarter pony.

Ultimately I ended up with a custom ordered Stubben 1894 31cm, but depending on the specs you need you might be able to find a used one close to budget. Mine fits without the need for shims or special pads, but it has larger rear panels.

Prior to that, I had good luck with older (due to budget) Prestiges, a Top and a 2000D - but avoid the foam paneled ones. Other saddles recommended to me by fitters, but that I didn’t have a chance to try, would be Jaguar, Roosli, Dominus, all possibilities. Frank Baines was also suggested but I never did find one even remotely close to my budget at the time, which was around yours.

Just as an example, there is a Prestige Top 18" 33cm on ebay right now: https://www.ebay.com/itm/204395830832

It doesn’t say whether it’s wool or foam, but just based on the panel depth as best I can tell there’s a pretty good chance it’s wool.


In terms of inexpensive and curvy, I’d be looking for older Stubbens, Niedersuss, or Prestige. If you pick something up in the 800 range, that should leave enough to get a good swayback correction pad too.

Alternatively, you could investigate the pad first, and see if a bigger one makes your current saddle work.

My go to would be Skito because they do a really excellent job with shimmable pads, although most are custom now. You might find a used one though.

If you want cheaper, I’d either go with the Cashel Swayback cushion, or go DIY: buy a thin cotton half pad, a roll of iron-on/stick-on velcro, and a yoga mat (to make cut to size shims to velcro in the center).


Thanks for the brand suggestions! This gives me a jumping off place.

I know for a fact I tried Niedersuss on her years ago and it didn’t work for me- put me in a position that re-aggravated my low back injury. I want to say we have also tried Prestige without success in the past, but my memory is foggy.

Stubben is probably a good place for us to start as I think I can probably find older used models in our budget, they wear like iron, and generally fit me.

I have no firsthand experience with Jaguar and Dominus but will also check them out. I have never even heard of Roosli so thanks!

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Prestige isn’t so much a curvy tree, as the upswept panels put the saddle out of the way faster, and the whole thing makes it a lot “curvier” than the panels on the Wintec Pro, so find the widest Prestige you can. That 33 may not work, not if she’s solidly MW in the Wintec. If I had to guess, I’d say you’d want a 34 or 35cm. I say that because when my WB grew out of the W gullet of his Bates (and at least back then, bates and Wintec gullets were the same), he needed a 37cm Prestige. he didn’t have a curvy back - not flat, but not what I’d call curvy either, but it was short and he needed upswept panels to not interfer farther back.

And then yes, you may well need some central shims to bridge the gap in her back

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We’ve found older Passers can work, but they do differ a lot.

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The Black Country Eden is on a fairly curvy tree. You may be able to find a used one in that price range.

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Chiming in to say that a saddle fitter told me that would be the BC model to look for for a curvy backed TB.

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I would love a Black Country as they usually work really well for me. But the Eden looks to be well outside my budget, even used. :frowning_face:

I’ve seen some older ones pop up in that price range occasionally. There’s a Facebook group called 2nd Hand Black Country Saddles USA that may be worth joining.

ETA - Also saw this in a quick google search…


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Kent and Masters open seat or s-series with a velcro block to accommodate your shorter leg. right there in your price range. My sway back horse brings his back up a lot when he works so beware of going too curvy I already made that mistake.

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I was curious about this. Do they truly accommodate a curvy back?

She is very curvy; when she was younger/fitter with better top line, a straighter tree could still work for her. But she is telling me loud and clear that is no longer true. She is 18, so I don’t think she’s going to trend back to being significantly straighter with any amount of work. If I can keep her working correctly, hopefully I can maintain her where she is or maybe improve slightly. But it’s more likely things will go the opposite direction.

Mine that fits it has always been too curvy for a 18" Wintec.

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Thanks! I was asking because I didn’t know if it was more of a recommendation for a horse who has good lift through the back when engaged, or if they were indeed well suited for curvy backs. :slightly_smiling_face:

Because I really like their S-Series surface block. I also appreciate their adjustability, as I appreciate it with Wintec.

If you want to give Niedersuss a try again, DM me. I have a MW 16.75 Niedersuss Symphonie I’d be happy to give you if you covered shipping. I love it but it doesn’t fit any of my current crew, and I hate to see it collect dust. It was given to me, so it would only be right to pass it along.

(As an aside, a die hard BC fan here. Love all of mine and agree they can fit curvy - but I agree you may need to supplement with shims.)