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Let's talk Bua Saddles

The just-released new saddle design has been making waves, but what do we all think of the mechanics of the new saddle? I have to say, I am a huge fan of the exchangeable flaps, if I could have a saddle for dressage as well as my jumping phases all in one, that would save me a boatload of cash. Very curious to hear about the tree and how it is fitting horses. So what do you guys think? Are you sold on the idea or not quite buying it yet?

I was waiting to hear back from people that went to the Dublin Horse Show about their reviews. Hopefully someone from the other thread will chime in here.

I think the concept is solid. I think the saddle is ugly, but I would try one!

It’s definitely on my list of things to blog about for The Saddle Geek, in fact I’ll be asking Bua to do a guest interview (no idea if they’ll say yes, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask!).

But until then, in specific reference to the “exchangeable flaps,” here’s something to think about: the flap may be interchangeable, but as best I can tell from the video footage, the stirrup bar is static and non-adjustable. Just because you changed the flap doesn’t mean you’ve suddenly put a saddle in the perfect position for another discipline. Many riders find that to truly optimize their position, they need a different stirrup-bar placement + seat architecture/balance point in their jump saddles and dressage saddles. This is a lesson that the saddle community learned years ago from the County Drespri, which had a flap that could be adjusted to various angles for jumping, dressage, etc. (That saddle is still being made, by the way! I’ve met a few people who liked their Drespri for casual trail riding.)

It’s still possible that for some riders, the Bua’s stirrup bar placement will hit a magical sweet spot that’s okay for dressage and jumping. And that’s one of my questions for Bua. For all we know, they’ve done extensive research on that topic and placed the stirrup bar “just so” to maximize the odds that this stirrup bar/seat balance point ratio will be ideal for many riders. Or maybe not. Hard to say from one little promotional video, in which much of the riding footage showed professional riders.

As for saving a boatload of cash, many eventers do that already…by riding in a jump saddle for their jumping and dressage phases, or choosing an all-purpose saddle like the Stubben Siegfried that puts the stirrup bar in one of those “sweet spots” I describe above. (Caveat here: I’m not suggesting that AP saddles are always the solution. The Siegfried is a pretty rare bird, in that regard. And of course, even the mighty Siegfried doesn’t work for all riders.) It’s entirely possible to ride competent First and Second Level dressage in a jump saddle. That’s doubly true if you’ve chosen a jump saddle with velcro blocks and/or an adjustable stirrup bar, although admittedly, those are quite rare on the market. But as recently as 10-15 years ago, it was downright typical to compete in the dressage phase in your jump saddle, at least up to Training Level. And I swear that one of the higher-level pony club ratings, maybe the B or A, requires riders to produce first-level dressage on a strange horse in a jump saddle. Don’t quote me on that last part.

I’m not saying that Bua has no place in the market or that there’s no innovation there. There’s a lot of potentially exciting things happening with the Bua saddle, and I, too, look forward to hearing the first-hand reports from people who saw it in Dublin. In a perfect world, I’d love to test-ride one for my blog. We’ll see. :slight_smile:

I don’t think the saddle is ugly. And it is an interesting concept. That said…I’m a rider who doubts the exchangeable flaps will work for me. Most jump saddles do not fit me well when jumping bigger fences.

I also currently have three custom saddles so will not be buying anything new anytime soon!!!

This is so not a “New” concept…Ortho Flex did this donkeys years ago…with Delron flexable panels and bushings and shims to create a custom fit…they also had high end saddle makers like Swains in England make the tops ie Dressage jumping all purpose…their roots were Western and Endurance. The first few generations were better than later efforts.
I just got rid of my last 2…just don t won’t work on every horse and it’s not an idea as revolutionary as some think…

Totally agree on the stirrup bar placement issue - I had a Despri years ago, and it was really only good for jumping small fences. Once I moved up I needed a more forward bar placement to really feel secure at training level.

I also don’t buy the whole “we’re saving you money because you only have to buy one saddle”. Know you’re market, we’re eventers and we’ve evolved decades to want more and more tack. The twofer isn’t a draw for most of the eventers I know :wink:

Maybe I’m sensitive or weak coming back to riding after an injury, but I feel a big difference in the stirrup bar placement between saddles, and suspect this would really not fly for me in actuality.

That said I am super intrigued by the general design and am interested to hear what more experts have to say after seeing them in person- maybe a dressage model and a separate close contact model instead? It’s the whole “adjusta-flap” that sours it for me, the idea of a “two plane tree” system is really interesting however! I’d love to hear more about that and just forget the flaps for the time being :slight_smile:

^True, I totally forgot about the stirrup bar placement, that would prove to be a bit difficult to work with. Maybe the “twofer” deal is more appealing to be since I am a college student that craves anything money saving haha

While WOW saddles don’t have the floating seat, they do have a stirrup bar with dual choices–one for dressage and one for jumping. That seems to be a truly modular saddle, but who knows if it works?

I’d be interested in seeing someone compare and contrast this with the WOW saddles. I have a WOW seat, panels are in the mail, and I’m just looking for a decent deal on a used pair of jumping/xc flaps.

Obviously the trees are different, but the modular concept…isn’t.

Reviving this thread
Has anyone had a chance to sit in one yet or put their hands on an actual saddle?

Funnily enough, I just got an email that these are available to try in Australia now.

Hubby is organising a demo trial with the jumping saddle. So I’ll report back when he tries it out.

I tried one a couple of months ago.
While it certainly has a different look I don’t find them ugly. I do think the blue and grey one looks particularly nice!
I am used to riding in a close contact Amerigo. The bua seat made me feel like I am too far away from the horse. Did like the mono flap.
The horse seemed to like it and went well in it.

Nice to hear from someone who has sat in one!! Any distinguishable details between riding in the bua versus your usual close contact (Besides the seat thing). So curious as to how they are fitting them to horses and what difference the independent panels and such are making

Reviving this thread! I just got a demo BUA saddle from Badlands Equine in Oregon (www.badlandsequine.com). First of all, Marlene at Badlands is fabulous, so if you’re interested in a trial I 100% recommend contacting her.

Also, the BUA really is just about everything it claims to be. Easily the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in (and having just gone through the saddle hunt, I have sat in A LOT of saddles!). I work at a lesson barn with 35 horses. So far we have tried it on 8 very different horses, and it has fit all of them very well. These horses range from TBs with tall, long withers, a round appendix, a holsteiner, quarter horses, etc.

But don’t take my word for it. Contact Marlene for your demo!

There are actually two options for the placement of your stirrups on the BUA tree!

EN just posted a review of one! Nice photos plus pros & cons: http://eventingnation.com/product-review-bua-saddle-from-badlands-equine/

Personally I would worry about the longevity of such a complicated article. The webbing strap holding the billets is just asking to break, as are the zippers holding the flaps on, and the suspension mechanism had already broken. I suppose that if you had lots of money and didn’t care if the saddle only lasted a few years, it would be one of the modern use it till it breaks and then replace it.

So, webbing is actually incredibly strong, and I only say this because rock climbers use it to anchor themselves to rocks (speaking from experience). I don’t know that this webbing is the same, but I will say the webbing attachment for the girth doesn’t concern me at all.