Dressage saddle for a banana horse

I have a 10 OTTB with a short, curvy back and a good sized wither that I’m trying to find a dressage saddle for. His jump saddle is an Amerigo HC jump but I really don’t want to spend another 7 grand on a custom saddle. The dressage saddle he has now that fits him well is a Stubben D Serenity but it fits me very poorly that I almost automatically go into a chair seat as soon as I sit in the Stubben saddle(really, any stubben saddle, wtf?).

So far things that don’t work are: Voltaire Adelaide(bridged so hard you can see lights through under the saddle), Erreplus Freestyle(also bridged slightly), Wolfgang solo MKII(bridged very severely and way too long);
With that being said, any Custom Saddlery would probably not work. What do you guys suggest?


Try Prestige - the upswept panels, and a taller pommel can work well. The question is then - what’s the lateral shape like? If more A-frame than upside down U, then I used a County in my OTTB mare with withers like this. On her, the Amerigo CC (don’t remember model) also fit her well, so that’s another check in the County box.


I think he’s probablyh more A-frame? Haven’t tried County but thinking that may be my next step

What do you think of a saddle like this?
Is very comfortable for riders, high in front, banana shaped but still a bit short and flat behind, as your horse seems to need:

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Amerigo, Equipe, and Prestige can all be found affordably on the used market.

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My horse doesn’t look like yours at all on paper - she’s a 14.2 WIDE grade pony - but she also has a very very short and curvy back. Her jump saddle is an Amerigo Vega so they might not be as different as they first appear! If I were in your shoes, I would look for a used Amerigo with the same specs are your jump saddle (if they make that model in a Dressage saddle? I’m not very familiar with their offerings despite owning one, since I got mine used from the saddle fitter).

Since you’re looking for recommendations for other brands, my girl’s current dressage saddle is a Black Country Eden. It’s built on a curvy tree so might work for your horse. We lucked into finding one wide enough for my chonker, but I think they’re a lot more common in narrower widths. I just adore this saddle. Within 10 seconds I knew it was The One, and luckily maresy agreed! In my experience, if you like the Amerigo I think your chances of liking the Eden are pretty good.


Your horse is a bit downhill in addition to the short curvy back with a decent wither. My horse’s back is also curvy and very short, with a bit less wither and I have tried oh so many saddles. The saddle I always went back to was an older Pariani which is now M. Toulouse. However, the newer ones dont work so well. Similar experience with Custom, an older Advantage was good, no newer models worked for either of us. I loved an Adam Ellis Paisley, my horse didn’t like how it hit his shoulder. The saddle I should have purchased was an Ideal Olivia

She’s not downhill at all. There’s a pretty level line from the top of her rump to the top of her withers, and while that’s not any definition of how functionally up/downhill she is, being butt-high does start to impact saddle fit and stabiity

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The Black Country Eden, as mentioned above, the Frank Baines Omni, and the Harry Dabbs Avant are all good trees for curvy horses.
I REALLY want you to want the Omni. Because I currently have four of them for sale. Two new and two used. I can’t remember anyone ever sitting in one and not liking it!

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I found Stubbens to be very curvy compared to my flat backed horse

I had a Stubben Scandica for my banana shaped horse.

I have a Stubben Roxane that worked on those backs very well.
Nice when my horses became old and their backs not as straight as when younger.

OP has indicated that Stubben saddles don’t fit her, so those are not to be considered.

I don’t actually see this back as being curvy. Once you get past the dip behind the withers, it’s actually fairly straight, it just slopes up as a result of starting from the dip. IMHO I think most “banana” trees will rock.


Especially those with the big, overstuffed, curvy “pillows”.

Why I wondered if the Crosby I posted a picture of may be a better fit.
It was built for mature run of the mill performance OTTB’s conformation and has fit many such.

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I am surprised you got an Amerigo to fit that back shape. I have never been able to get an Amerigo to fit any of my TBs and I tend to have a type just like your boy: compact back with typical TB shoulder dip and large wither. If you took this photo and made the horse bay you’d have two of my TBs (who are brothers).

Both of them go very well in a Black Country Vinici with MW Solare tree, upswept panels with BC’s “standard” gusset (which is ideal for horses with hollows behind their shoulders, AKA TBs), and serge panels. I’m on year seven with BC#1 and year two with BC#2.

It’s worth sending tracings of this horse to Patty Merli if you are interested in BC saddles. She is very good at fitting TBs. I cannot recommend her enough. I went through saddle nightmare with horse #1 before I swapped to Patty. Including having a custom Stubben Zaria made for him that never even came close to fitting. Cannot recommend Stubben at all; they were great until I had problems. The rep blamed my girth, and then my riding, for my horse’s decreased performance. When I escalated it to HQ, Stubben informed me my custom saddle is supposed to bridge and that the rocking is normal. Not according to my horse!! He hated it. I will never give Stubben my money after that.

Had this same series of comments from an Adam Ellis rep - it must be the standard go-to when they screw up a custom saddle.


Oh, it made me furious. Sorry it happened to you too! I loved Stubben’s logic: If I bothered to work my horse correctly, his back would come up into the gaps and the tree wouldn’t bridge anymore. Had I tried having my trainer ride him? :roll_eyes:

I’m sure a Zaria in the appropriate tree size would have worked. Too bad the one my rep insisted on was two tree sizes too small. :smiley:

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I love that style! I’ve had two with wither dips go beautifully in those half length front gussets from BC.


That looks like an old Passier PS Baum. I’ve had a couple over the years and wish now I’d held onto them. Great saddles for high-withered horses and fit a lot of horses very well.

A bit of a hard seat – most of the old-time types were – but sits you correctly. They wear like iron, too.

I see them on EBAY frequently.

Oh, reading on, I see that’s a Crosby – had one of those, too and loved it.


Saddle fitters who blame riders and/or current training level give us all bad names. You have to fit the current horse and talk about anticipated changes. I hate when they do that. Yes rider and horse limitations including experience, strength, flexibility and injuries do affect saddle fit. However that is a conversation to be had while trying demo and/or ordering the saddles. It is something I discuss all of the time with my riders.

To answer your questions to me that looks like a fairly normal slightly curvy horse that needs some top line development. If you were my client, I would be steering you towards a Fairfax because I would want his back to change and develop. The Fairfax would allow for adjustments as hopefully that happens. Feel free to pm me because I am very familiar with most saddles being mention and can help.