Thursday 4 August 2016

Saddle Trial #1 - Stubben Maestoso

So, back to the saddle search saga. Spoiler alert - the search is not over.

To review, I took a used Stubben Maestoso on trial from The Tack Collector.

She was not impressed with me going so slow in the tacking up process,
but look at how shiny she is!

The Good

- more open seat, felt like I could sit back more when I tried the saddle out on the block and barrel
- great condition
- I have an ~30 year old Stubben all-purpose saddle so I like the brand and trust the quality and longevity
- saddle is super lightweight compared to my Jag
- perfect tree width for Kachina
- good clearance above the withers
- good saddle curve for Kachina - no bridging, rocking or pressure points
- Kachina seemed to be good with the saddle - she rode well in it and was stretching down and relaxed
- saddle stayed in place well during ride
- saddle has minimal profile so I felt a closer connection to Kachina's back

Good fit, close contact

The Bad

- clearance at the sides of her withers a little tight (gullet issue, not tree angle)
- billets didn't have enough holes for me to use my regular girth (of course I could punch more or get a new girth if I bought the saddle, just a little annoying for the trial)
- where the saddle naturally sat, the billets seemed to hang a little far back
- when I actually sat in the saddle on Kachina's back with my feet in the stirrups, it didn't fit me any better than my Jag, actually a bit worse. My knees were going slightly over the front of the flap and I felt like my seat was being pushed back into the cantle. The 17.5" seat felt okay on the block, but in reality I think it is too small for me. I also found it was hard to bring my legs under me. It basically forced me into a chair seat, and that is not what I need.

Major chair seat, I could have fought to sit in a better position,
but I wanted a picture to show where the saddle naturally put me

Bottom Line

Kudos to the ladies at the Tack Collector because they nailed what would work for Kachina. However, this saddle isn't really any better than my current one for me (and my current Jag also fits Kachina), so it's not a net improvement and it's going back.

What's Next?

I talked to The Tack Collector and they are mailing me the 18.5" Schleese Wave that I tried in the store (#3 in this post). It might not fit Kachina, but it's at least worth a try. I of course won't buy a saddle that isn't a good fit for Kachina, but the whole point of this search is to find something that also works for me so I have to consider that too. Also, if the only issue is the tree angle, that can be adjusted. At the very least I hope it fits well enough that I can ride in it once to see if that's the type of seat I need. Fingers crossed it works for both of us!

The next contender!
While you are anxiously awaiting my next saddle trial adventure, you should go to EventingSaddlebred's blog and enter her Olympic Winners Competition! Deadline is tomorrow at midnight. I am so excited to watch the opening ceremonies and as much equestrian coverage as I can get my hands on!


  1. Darn. I was hoping you would be one of the lucky ones to avoid saddle shopping hell. Fingers crossed the Schleese fits.

    1. I appreciate the good wishes :)

      Luckily, my saddle shopping isn't quite as hellish as for some as at least I have a saddle I can ride in now even if it's not perfect. Takes a ton of the pressure off. I'm still hoping the Schleese works though!

  2. Ditto ^^ and hopefully you can find your unicorn. Thanks for the mention :)

    1. No problemo :)

      Your posts about how much you love your saddle give me hope that there are magical unicorn saddles out there. It might take me some time, but I want to find one!

  3. Fingers crossed the Schlesse fits!

  4. Better to know now. Glad you have such a great shop to work with!

  5. I can't wait to hear your opinion on the Schleese!

  6. Good luck with the next saddle. Your local(isn) tack shop sounds great to work with.