Saddle Bartering

So. I found this thing that I want. Do I need it…not really…or not yet…but it is a good deal.

This thing is an 18″ Otto Shumaucher dressage saddle. I’ve been super casually looking at dressage saddles since I rode in A’s this summer. Most of the saddle shopping has been meh. My budget is not good, not good at all. My financial priorities need to be basically everywhere but on a new saddle, so I approached the seller (luckily a tack store!) about possibly trading my HDR for the Otto. While they said that it wouldn’t be an even trade (I really didn’t expect it to be…), they were very interested.

A Soft Spot for Stars-Saddle Bartering

My precious Henri.

A Soft Spot for Stars-Saddle Bartering

The Otto.

Of course, I’m sure you’re wondering why I’d even be interested in trading the HDR.

  • It doesn’t fit me anymore. It was a good fit back before I gained weight. Womp womp. I need to lose the weight, but that probably won’t increase how much I ride in it.
  • What am I going to do hunter that I would need the HDR for?
    •  App shows? Eh, maybe. They are $$$ and when showing an aged gelding without a regional club affiliation, there’s not a whole lot of point in showing if you aren’t going to light your money on fire and trailer to the Nationals/Worlds. Plus if you go to these breed shows everyone schools in their big western saddles, then throws their hunt seat saddle on four minutes before they’re called into the ring anyway. I can pick up something suitable enough for that on the cheap.
    • Local shows? More likely to happen, but can I just show in the Otto and tell them where to go if they disagree with my tack choices. The funny thing is that they’d probably think I was showing him in a saddleseat saddle (much more common around here than dressage tack). I can always toss the relic on the trailer if they try to DQ me for the tack not being what they expect. Or I can scratch the other of the probably two hunt seat classes I would sign up for anyway. Odds are they’d notice the saddle being different, but they likely wouldn’t dwell on it. The hunt seat turnout around here can be so small they’d probably just go on with it.
A Soft Spot for Stars-Saddle Bartering

Not the most flattering photo of Paigey and I, but it was so I can see how the saddle fits me.

The concerns I have about trading the HDR for the Otto?

  • My friends will hate me forever. 😉 Mostly joking. But really, my friends will all have to either ride western or in the Otto, or bring their own saddles I guess. My spare western saddle isn’t very comfortable for me at all, but I haven’t heard L complain about it much. Yes…I have five saddles altogether…that includes the saddleseat and the relic too, though neither has been used (by me) for the last…ten years?
  • Will the Otto fit both of my horses as well as the HDR does? The Otto will likely never go on Robin. I don’t think the HDR has ever been on Robin. Sometimes she lays down with her rider, so I tend to keep her in the least valuable of things… Paige and Copper are built completely differently. I doubt Paige would wear the dressage saddle often. I haven’t put the Billy Cook on her as often as I have the bareback pad lately… Fitting Copper is the main thing.
  • Will the Otto fit me? The Otto has a narrow twist, 16.5″ flaps, and a 5.75″ gullet. I have very little idea how this means it should fit me. Obviously the gullet measurement is for Copper. I’m hoping the tack store will let me do a trial before the trade. They have on their website that they do 7 day trials. Hopefully that will give me the opportunity to determine if it fits both me and Copper. Anyone know a saddle fitter in SWVA?
A Soft Spot for Stars-Saddle Bartering

A’s Prestige fit me pretty nicely, but $$.

Of course, the deciding factor is how much trade value she’s willing to give me on the HDR. Decisions decisions…

Any suggestions on saddle fit, Otto reviews, etc?

4 thoughts on “Saddle Bartering

  1. You def. need to do a trial before anything else. Looks like a nice saddle, but I’ve never heard of Otto. I haven’t heard of most brands though, so that doesn’t mean much.

  2. Schumacher makes VERY high quality tack, so unless the saddle has been treated poorly, it ought to be a good piece of equipment.

    Take it on a trial and ride in it a few times. Different people find different twist widths comfortable; in general, women seem to find a narrower twist more comfortable than a wider one, especially if they have muscular or round thighs. If you feel like the saddle tilts you forward or tips you backward, that is bad. You should feel like you’re able to it in it squarely without having to do a lot of work to hold yourself there.

    The tack store where I work employs a saddle fitter (who is also a dressage trainer) out in Virginia. His name is James Houston- I can get you his contact info if you’re interested!

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