First/Starter Dressage Saddle

You sound a lot like me. I bought my first dressage saddle last year. I have a tight budget and I’m new to dressage, but an experienced rider. Specifically, I’m from the old school hunter world of plain flap, flat seat saddles and I cannot stand being forced into a position with blocks and super-deep seats. I ended up finding a good deal on an old Miller’s Klimke saddle. It is comfortable, has allowed me to develop a correct position for dressage, and fits a reasonable variety of horses. They can be found relatively easily because they are built like iron. Here is an old thread about them: Miller Klimke Saddles?


This might be your best bet. Find a forward thinking fitter who sees you as an up and coming client, not just for what you can afford right now.

If that is not an option, I have had good luck with Pelham Saddlery-they will let you trial saddles so if something doesn’t work you can send it back. They are also very helpful, so will be happy to talk to you about what you are looking for.

Brand wise Stubbens are good TB type saddles and have been in production forever and a year so you should be able to find an older model. Frank Baines makes a good saddle, and I would never steer anyone away from a County(unless I wanted it for myself).

And ask around in your own backyard, there are probably saddles gathering dust in your neighborhood right now owned by people who just don’t want to deal with the ebay/facebook/craigslist experience. Doesn’t hurt to ask.


Time for new glasses? “35 years of saddle making expertise in Walsall.” I remember selling them many years ago when I worked in a tack shop before 1995.


Agreed, but especially the Wintec Isabell or Pro (which have already been recommended on this thread). It is worth trying them out though because as others have mentioned different riders prefer different saddles.


I second Pelham Saddlery! I’ve bought 2 saddles from them and they’ve been great.

1 Like

Pelham Saddlery is great. We have had good luck here during pony club years and first years of riding dressage with the Barnsby line and Keiffer.

I also have used Pelham, but for a jump saddle.

I really wanted the Albion I tried. The flap was wrong for my leg. I bought the other saddle I tried from Pelham though. I was very pleased with their service. Saddles were exactly as described. The trial period was fantastic

1 Like

I saw a Neidersuss on Facebook Marketplace for $315. And it looked in good shape.

Good luck.

1 Like

I have become a total Wintec convert. They definitely aren’t the cheaply made saddles they once were.

I ride in a Pro Dressage. The Isabell also works well for a lot of people.

Overall, dressage saddles in general are a lot harder to fit both horse and rider. What works for once horse or rider definitely doesn’t work for all.


Wasn’t there another saddle brand that started with Thoro…something? I can’t find anything on Google but I have this vague memory of riding in something in the late 90s early 2000s with that name.

@soloudinhere, @eightpondfarm , here’s the response from Thorowgood themselves:

Hi "Endlessclimb"

Thanks for your message. Thorowgood has indeed been making saddles for around 35 years. The company came under new ownership in 1994, but it is entirely feasible that there are some of the much older saddles still out there in circulation. They will, of course, not bear any resemblance to the saddles we make today that feature SimaTree changeable gullet bars, English wool flocking etc.

Best wishes


So, @soloudinhere, would you like to apologize for being unnecessarily rude on a topic you had no intimate knowledge about, or… ?


LOL… thanks endlessclimb :wink: That was nice of you :slightly_smiling_face:

i already knew two things:

  1. i had a Thorowgood saddle and gave it away to a nice young new horse owner after riding on it for 35 years. Which is my main point, that they are really durable synthetic saddles.

  2. soloudinhere’s opinion of me is not important


Dutchmare433, you may be recalling Thornhill saddles. They were bought out by Intrepid International. I rode with a trainer in the early 1990’s who was a distributor; They were quality, wood stuffed saddles at a bargain price, especially suitable for growing juniors.

Would you go with an older model Passier or an older model Albion. I’ve found a couple of each that I’m interested in that are in my price range. Specifically the Passier Nicole Grand Gilbert vs Albion Legend 5000.

It really comes down to fit. Ride in both if you can. Both are good quality saddles, but personal conformation plays a huge part in how a saddle will work for each individual.


I know that many Passier are a good fit for my older mare so I trend that way. But they really don’t fit the new horse. The Passier trees are just a little too curved front to back for the new horse. She needs a flatter tree.

I don’t know anything about the your horses back or these particular saddles. Both are quality brands, you need to figure out if either fit.


Kent and masters? Leather saddles with an adjustable gullet at an affordable price point. Probably more affordable if you can find one used. Very horse friendly.

I adore my Passier GG and it fits my saddlebred (who is built like a TB) quite well. The way it is shaped just works for his back and as a h/j convert it works for the way my body works right now too.

I hated the Albions I tried, but others love them, so really I have to say it’s probably a personal thing, once you determine that it fits the horse.

I have an old, non-blocky dressage saddle. It is a Falcon which is an English brand. It fit my thoroughbred beautifully. It does not fit my dressage cross. If you are in the Massachusetts - NH area, you could try it. I will let it go for less than your price point. It has been reflocked and it has new billets. I haven’t ridden in it in years, because, again, it doesn’t fit my wide body draft cross. Also, because of the price point, you can beat on it and not feel guilty.

So you don’t have your own horse? I’ve had 3 TBs of varying shapes: shark fin wither (could not roll all the way over) who took the MN Wintec gullet, MW (could share saddles with shark fin) who took the medium Wintec gullet IIRC, and big shoulder guy who’s in the orange Thorowgood gullet. I started with the shark fin horse in a Wintec 500 dressage circa early 2000’s. Decided to get a leather saddle, a Kiefer Ulla Salzgeber with the Excellent seat and passed the Wintec onto the MW mare. When I got her a leather saddle it was a Arthur Kottas Vienna no. 4 fit which seemed to be a MW fit. The Kottas was a $2000 saddle on clearance for $1000 when I got it. So maybe you could find one of these used for a bit over your budget if you don’t want to go the Thorowgood route. (Most Kieffers are adjustable by a saddle fitter too.) While I got tired of the Wintec synthetic material, I’ve been riding in Thorowgoods almost exclusively for 4+ years and still like them. I bet the leather/leather-like parts help.