Temporary fix to lengthen and widen close contact seat?

I ride in a 17in, Barnsby Milton close contact saddle. I’ve had it for 15 years (I know…too long to trust its tree anymore), and I need to bite the bullet and buy a 17.5 seat now. My younger years, 15yo seat certainly measured differently than my current 30yo seat bones!
I’ve been looking at an Acavallo Ortho Coccyx Gel in Dri-Lex Seat Saver (https://www.doversaddlery.com/dvr-sddlry-debut-saddle-wrtf/p/X1-150059/) because it looks like it makes the seat wider, but it also looks like it decreases seat depth. Thoughts?
So now I’m looking for a temporary way to make my current 17in seat slightly wider and longer while I shop for a new saddle. Suggestions? Ideas? THANKS!

I don’t think that’s possible. It may make it feel a bit roomier in theory but you aren’t going to increase the actual surface area for your seat. Most seat savers also make a seat ride a bit smaller.

no there is nothing you can do to correct the situation, as Grace says anything you put on the saddle is going to make it fit slightly smaller front to back and removes you from the surface. You also need to consider that the stirrup bars are likely in the wrong place to fit you and there is simply nothing you can do but get a new saddle that properly fits you and the horse. I would get a good saddle fitter and not simply assume what you need is a longer seat. There are many factors

I haven’t used that particular seat saver, but I did briefly use a different one to try to keep riding after a horse bucked me off right onto my tailbone. It definitely made my saddle feel smaller and my seat looser/more disconnected from the horse, so I’m not sure I’d expect it to do what you’re after. That’s probably a subjective feeling, though.

May your new saddle search be swift and fun!

I have this seat saver, and I can confirm that it does not make the seat feel or look bigger. Better to just start shopping for a new saddle ASAP and muddle through in the meantime. Or borrow one if you can.

Is there a particular reason you shouldn’t trust the tree? From previous threads I know that I am one of many posters who love our properly cared for, much older than 15 year old saddles!


Seat saver made saddles feel smaller for me, I don’t believe there is a way to make it wider or longer fitting. Use that money and put it towards a new saddle. Barnsby saddles last for ever, that tree is still good.


Ever hear how to make a silk purse ?


The only way I have ever seen a saddle that was too small eventually fit someone was after that person lost a significant amount of weight. If that is not an option then I don’t see any path forward for you and this particular saddle, and it’s best (and safest for you and also best for your horse) to get one that fits. It’s important to be centered in the saddle and have our weight distributed evenly in the saddle, regardless of size. All a seat saver will do is add padding, which will make the seat surface area even tighter.

Keep an open mind when you try out new saddles - in some models I ride in a 17" and in some I ride in an 17.5" - it really depends on the maker and design of the saddle. Enjoy the journey of trying new saddles - they have evolved a lot in 15 years and you may find something that you truly love! Best of luck!

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I have a hard time believing this is even a legitimate post. You cannot make the seat wider/longer or whatever, it is what it is. And no reason a 15 year old tree can’t still be useful, I had a 50 year old Stubben that was just fine.


The only way I have ever had a saddle get roomier is when i lost weight >>>


While it is possible for a 15 year old tree to be bad, they can and should last much longer, barring any accidents or other unforeseen circumstances.

Nothing is going to make an existing saddle feel more roomy. In fact, adding something like what you linked above is likely going to make it feel more snug.

Your only real options for having a roomier saddle are: losing weight and riding in your current saddle, or just buying a saddle with a large seat that fits your body more appropriately.


@Bravophilson , I’m not looking to find a temporary fix, but I too am looking to replace my Barnsby! I need a wider tree (MW) for my new horse, and having ridden in these for 20 years (this is my 4th one), I’m stuck in my efforts to find a new brand/model. I thought I had a good plan (keep buying the same saddle in different widths), but the darn company went out of business and blew up my plans. Any ideas yet on your next saddle?


Yes, but you still can get the Barnsby’s saddles, just not under the Barnsby’s name. Email me and we can talk. thesaddlefits@gmail.com


Get an appointment with a saddle fitter and see if they can stretch your tree to make it wider for your horse. Can’t do it with all saddles/trees, but may be an option. This might be a good temporary option until you find your new saddle.

If I read it correctly, it fits the horse fine. OP wants a wider seat - not a wider tree, I think? Some trees can definitely be widened, but the seat is what it is.

I didn’t pay attention to the poster. I saw @hillary again mention needing a MW tree for new horse and didn’t look to see if she was the OP. My bad. Agreed, can’t do anything from the human side.

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@Elsari , thanks for the idea! @Bravophilson , sorry for the distraction on your post. I’m still interested to see what saddles you find to be to your liking.

I had been told that trees only last for 15 years, but I should have done more research into that fact before I posted on the forum! Totally not true! Well-cared for saddles and their trees can last a long time. Thinking about it…there’s no way lesson program barns could buy a totally new set of lesson horse saddles every 10-15 years! They’d go broke in no time!


I actually had a professional saddle fitter tell me about the tree/15 year rule. And after reading many of these posts, I did some research for myself…no such thing as a max life for a tree, especially on a well-cared for, nice saddle from a good saddlery. You’re totally right. And you can better believe I’m very wary of this saddle fitter’s advice now!


All good! I’m in the same boat as you. I want the same exact saddle I currently have but in a longer seat. Everything else about it is perfect. Fits my horse great, fits my leg great. It’s a frustrating search when you know exactly what you want but can’t find it! Good luck with your search as well! Check out the post from Sheltona01…I’m emailing them to see what info they have about Barnsby’s saddle models and blueprints being used under different branding! I’d be thrilled to find my same saddle under another brand name.