Removing fixed blocks on dressage saddle

Is there any possible way to remove fixed external blocks off of a saddle? Saddle is a monoflap and was hard to find in terms of fit as I need hoop trees.

However, I was looking at some posts that has made about getting rid of blocks on saddles. I guess there’s a movement going around called #NoBlocksNoProblems where people remove their blocks or change to saddles without them and have seen improvements in their riding. It seems that the issue they stated is apparently modern saddles with blocks push the leg too far behind the girth so then the rider has to rotate the toe out and slide the leg forward to use their lower leg.

Now I’m paranoid that my blocks has been detrimental to my riding. Is it possible for a saddle fitter to remove them without the saddle being butchered? In hindsight, probably would’ve been better to get a dual flap saddle with removable blocks but I love the close feel of a monoflap, sigh.

“It seems that the issue they stated is apparently modern saddles with blocks push the leg too far behind the girth so then the rider has to rotate the toe out and slide the leg forward to use their lower leg.”

If that is the case, then the saddle does not fit the rider. Thigh blocks on a correctly fitted saddle, are not “detrimental to (your) riding.” No need for paranoia. Do you work with a trainer? Have them address any concerns about your position. Frankly, IME getting riders to put their leg far enough back is a big issue. The modern saddles with the big thigh blocks aid in correct position. My suggestion: go to the front page of the Chronicle and watch Charlotte Frye’s freestyle. She has some pretty big external blocks on that saddle. Tell us if you think her leg is “too far behind the girth.” I’m not being snarky here, just offering a great example of a beautiful rider, with beautiful position.

Many people find blocks uncomfortable and prefer older, flatter saddles. You may be one of them. But don’t remove your blocks because “there’s a movement going around.” What the heck?


Why do you think your blocks are a problem? Can you get your seat analyzed by a competent coach or post a video? I’m a no blocks person myself but everything I’ve read about them says if the blocks and seat fit your leg doesn’t encounter the block.

I’d really make sure the blocks are affecting your seat first beyond being “paranoid” because of some online grouo. Because taking off blocks is likely going to be major surgery.


If you must do it, have the saddler change the blocks to Velcro on/off ones just in case it ends up not working out the way you wanted.


Currently am trainer-less as my barn has a policy for only in-house trainers but I’ll definitely ask a couple fellow boarders on their thoughts! I’ll definitely check out her freestyle, I’ve actually been meaning to as I heard it was worth the watch, thanks for the info!

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Now that I’m trying to remember if my blocks are interfering, I cannot remember for the life of me. Definitely will have to get a recent video so I can analyze it a bit!

I have never been a fan of big blocks…then got a saddle with big blocks. I got it for another feature that allows some relief for my tailbone area which was the most important thing. You can’t ride well if you can’t stand to sit in the saddle.

At first I was cussing them but have come to quite like the blocks. I do trail riding in addition to arena work and those suckers come in quite handy on the steep hills. I have found the saddle to be extremely comfortable for riding period. I would like it if the flaps were more angles forward. My hip flexors are tight but I can always work on that.


The blocks vs no blocks debate has been going on forever on this board.

The no blocks crew tends to be very…opinionated… about blocks being a crutch and if you have a independent seat, blocks are not necessary.

The blocks are fine if they fit you correctly crew tends to be more open minded. They don’t care if you don’t want blocks - to each their own. But they get unhappy when the more…vehement… no blocks people insist that those who ride with blocks need to go back to the lunge line and learn to ride.

I’ve always said that if the blocks fit your leg correctly, they can be useful. But many riders try to force themselves into a saddle that the blocks do not fit the rider correctly. We’ll spend hundreds of dollars and hours getting saddles to fit our horses perfectly, yet ignore how saddles fit the rider.

Outside of that - I would look to a fitter to see about making the blocks removable with Velcro rather than just removing them entirely. You’ll make the saddle much harder to sell if you ever need to if it has absolutely no blocks at all. Plus you need someone who understands the structure of the particular saddle to see if you’ll disrupt the integrity of the saddle itself by removing the blocks.


I do wish more saddles came with removable or no block options, but that’s because of my own conformation. My upper legs are short enough that with many blocks my knees wedge into it instead of thighs running along the block, and if saddles fit that way they wedge you in so you can’t sit well.
I have very angled short blocks, which are the only type to really fit my build. It limits my saddle choices, and if we had a regular fitter out this area who fit well for a brand who gives no block options, I’d try them next time I buy a saddle.
But I would never consider taking the blocks off my saddle just because- it would have to be for a reason I understood.

External blocks really can’t be removed without making an absolute mess of the saddle. Think usable, but completely un-sellable.
Internal blocks are usually easy to remove and replace with velcro, however if your flap is pre-molded around the block it might not do you any good as the flap will still bulge out as if the block was under it.


Yep, there are some long threads on this board on this topic.

IMO, I like my blocks because both of my saddles have a forward flap and the blocks are short so they don’t block my knee. I’ve definitely ridden in saddles with blocks (external and not) that I either can’t keep my knee behind (I have a very long femur), or am forced into an unnatural position where I can’t use my leg appropriately. And with my younger horse who has been a bit challenging, the blocks gave me a safety belt in a few moments that allowed me to keep calm and canter on (and probably saved me from being dumped at one point).

So if you have a tangible reason why you think the blocks on your saddle are problematic, I would look for a different saddle that fits better, and not just think in black and white about blocks being Good or Bad. Like @no.stirrups says, removing external blocks will tank the value of your saddle, so selling it for something that works better for you is probably a better long-term solution.

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If you can’t recall if your blocks interfere with your leg, they don’t. That doesn’t mean your saddle fits you or the balance isn’t off, but annoying blocks are annoying.

7 Likes is owned by an individual saddle fitter with some extreme opinions. I personally wouldn’t base this decision solely on their claims as I’ve found a lot of information on their social media to be opinion (asserted as fact). A correctly fitted saddle should not force anyone into any position. If it does, removing the blocks will very likely not fix the fit or problem as the entire saddle (or more components than just the blocks) are likely wrong for the rider.

If you’d like, you could post a picture of yourself in your saddle and we can take a look at fit.


I had two different saddle fitters tell me that built in thigh blocks can’t be removed from a saddle.

But before you blame the thigh blocks you may want to think about other aspects of saddle fit.
Seat Size
How wide or narrow the twist
Location of the stirrup bars
Flap angle

Are you feeling out of position or insecure in the saddle?
If you are, there could be other causes than thigh blocks


Thanks everyone for talking me off the ledge of trying to find someone to remove the blocks off my saddle haha. I’m now out of the panic phase I was in thankfully and had two rides in the saddle after seeing the whole no blocks thing.

For the most part, I can feel the blocks against my leg but I don’t think they interfere? I definitely feel them more if my heel comes up which then pushes all of my leg up a bit. However, that’s more of an issue with me when I get tense. I do like my saddle and the model isn’t made anymore so definitely not going to try and have the blocks removed, especially since it took ages for my fitter and I to find one that fit. I think I just need to not jump the gun as often


I’ve spent the last year or so relearning my seat–which has been a much-needed thing. It’s been a process involving a new trainer, as well as a new horse, and a new saddle.

Buying the new saddle was a process–he has a short bearing surface, which precluded my favored model of years past, and I’m the Princess and the Pea as far as saddles are concerned.

I was resistant to changing to external knee blocks–partly because I’d tried him in his own custom-fit saddle which was theoretically the correct size for me but had honking great big blocks combined with a deep pocket seat that just sat me all wrong, whatever I did. His previous owner, however, loved it and rode very well in it.

But my saddle fitter persuaded me to try a couple, including the one I ended up with, which has a wider twist than I thought I would be comfortable with and a more open, but still moderately deep seat that I can sit on and hang my legs down without feeling like I’m going to damage my anatomy. And frankly, I wouldn’t know the knee blocks were there when my stirrups are correctly adjusted.

The only times I ever notice them are if I’ve drawn my leg up too much and I’m pinching–something I did when my stirrups were a hole too long, so they are a good reminder to behave myself and check my tack, or if horsie is practicing his signature reverse trainwreck spook, when they can be quite a helpful adjunct to staying in the saddle. (Hitting them now causes a reflex leg lengthening, I suspect!)


I’m glad to see people are finally getting a clue about saddles with blocks and realizing that they have no place in real, good, dressage riding (or any other discipline unless you’re an Australian cowboy).

Can you take your saddle to a saddler and have the blocks removed?

Good luck! And congratulations on wanting to be a better rider!

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Ask a local saddle or leather maker. A lot of posters on this forum aren’t fans of that particular instagram user so you might get some pushback here.

I agree with your post though, I believe she knows what she is talking about. Can you try riding without blocks on someone elses saddle sometime to see if it helps first?

Really? I say again: check out the video of Lottie Frye getting her 94% or whatever the score was. Yeah, “no place in real, good, dressage riding.” :roll_eyes:


I find anyone talking in absolutes about horses or riding suspect.

Blocks or no blocks have their place depending on need and structure. Properly fitted blocks should NOT change a saddle feel… they should be there to help a rider not contain or force a position.

I prefer Velcro blocks for myself or clients so I can put them in their neutral position and then apply the block to support their position. I’ve ridden many a horse from babies to FEI with no or very small blocks… that said I’ve ridden the same with blocks, if you ride well and the balance is correct the blocks don’t matter.

Find what you need with a good instructor and/or saddle fitter.