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Stonewall Living Bar saddle opinions

I’m a horse trainer, just started doing it full-time in the past couple of years, and having trouble with saddles. It’s impossible to get a custom saddle for every horse so I make do with the few I have + shims and pads. I mostly ride in English saddles but I’ve been looking for one or two western or endurance saddles (for those horses that, no matter how much groundwork and preparation you do, still want to give a buck or something) and came across the Stonewall living bar saddles. I do prefer something without a horn. If it really does fit nearly every horse without manually adjusting it every time, that would solve that issue. I’m also looking for something secure (I’ve seen a few for sale with bucking rolls included) and is comfortable for me of course. I have I very wide pelvis. In many saddles (especially the ones made more for men) my seat bones tend to rest on the “corners” of the seat. And like many women I need a narrower twist. I used to need as narrow as can be but since I’ve lost a little weight I’ve noticed I am comfortable in ones a little less narrow. My Collegiate Intellect is the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever sat in for reference, for those with experience with that saddle.

So opinions on fit for the horse, fit for the rider, and security for the rider.

long time lurker on these forums here, just made an account to reply as I had a tough time finding reviews for the Stonewall living bar saddle when I was saddle shopping. I got mine in 2019 after struggling to find something that fit my Arab.

As far as fit for the horse goes, I’m very happy!

My boy is slightly downhill and has a sort of combination back - wide in the shoulders but otherwise medium. We tried Thorowgood, Wintec with adjustable gullets, a Pandora, and a Specialized, but could not shim + pad enough to compensate for the actual trees of those not fitting great. I’m a weekend warrior that does trail rides on hilly terrain and the occasional camping trip. We’ll be out 4-5 hours on a longer day. The Stonewall has been great and it’s been wonderful not worrying about re-fitting as he gets fitter in the summer and chubbier in the winter.

I’ve put the saddle on a couple of other horses where I board and it really can accommodate most of them – the two exceptions were a petite Arab with a very very short back (her owner hasn’t found a saddle yet) and an older, mostly retired dutch warmblood. The warmblood’s wither pockets were deep & concave enough that that stonewall’s pommel was not high enough. A thicker pad might’ve been able to fix that.

As far as fit for rider goes, tbh it’s not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat in and actually feels like one of the least secure saddles. If I ever do get a new saddle it’ll be because of this - I’d probably have switched already except it fits my horse too darn well.

The flip side of it molding itself to the horse’s back is that if your horse is a little downhill, you’re going to feel that slope. There’s also 0 padding whatsoever under your thigh or knees. For me on my horse it feels less secure than an English saddle with knee rolls. It kinda feels like like sitting at the top of a playground side. I didn’t get mine with bucking rolls. I ordered some awhile ago but haven’t installed them yet.

It is very configurable though. The leather part of the seat is screwed + velcroed on to the carbon fiber chassis. Right now I have a bunch of towels stuffed between the chassis and seat to create a narrower twist but it’s still rock hard. I’m hoping & wishing they make new seats as that’s really my only complaint.

I’d suggest reaching out to Stonewall to see if they can connect you with someone in your area who has one you can try. It’s a very small company and they were really helpful when I was shopping. As a trainer, you probably have a better seat than me so you might find it to be more secure :sweat_smile:

MoreCookies do you know if your saddle has the old or the new chassis? In my search, I’ve found they’ve made a new and improved one, a couple of years ago maybe. I’ve read people do like it much better. I do think I’d get one with bucking rolls, or add them. Have you tried a front riser or shims to see if that feeling like you’re sliding downhill changes? I recently trained an extremely downhill horse and felt like that until I leveled out the saddle. Thanks for your reply. It is difficult to find reviews.

I think I must have the older chassis. I got mine towards the end of 2019. I just peeked into an an old Facebook group and looks like there was a change for the 2021 model (that started shipping Nov 2020) that was supposed to improve pitch and wither clearance. Sounds like the rider-comfort issues might’ve been addressed then, at least in part.

I tried one of those wither relief pads that has the extra padding in the shoulders, and I tried adding a center shim to my Skito pad. The center shims especially did help with the downhill feeling but both experiments ended up creating pressure spots around the shoulders so I ditched them. I only use the Skito pad now.

The towels I have in the seat have helped a little with the downhill-ness. I have one washcloth folded into a triangle at the pommel as a sort of diy bolster and a second folded kitchen towel running the length of the seat. It also helped to move the stirrups as far forward as they could go and move the seat back. When I was looking at Specialized saddles I was circling in on a 15" seat, but in the Stonewall I need to be almost at 17". I was worried I was putting myself in a chair seat, but I think the Stonewall might just run small.

Look into the public, political statements of the company before choosing to spend your money with them. Your money, your call, but I’d hate it if I didn’t know and bought from them.

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