English saddles made in the UK, Fitted & Supplied Worldwide



Our topic for today is inspired by an enquiry from Mandy from Lancashire, England who is “desperately searching” for the right dressage saddle for her very wide Irish Draught Mare. “Everything seems to shoot up her neck or lift at the back”.  She was thinking of an Ideal Jessica on a hooped tree, given that the vsd she has at the moment on Ideal’s hooped tree is the best saddle she has so far tried on her mare. She asked if this can be done.

Yes, it certainly can and we suggested the only other thing she might like to consider is having a Suzannah on that tree. The Suzannah flaps and blocks give you a bit more saddle.  Ian had just done a saddle for a similarly very wide Irish Draft cross. That saddle was a Suzannah on a Jessica tree!


Katherine from Australia  enquired about saddles for sturdy Welsh Section C ponies and Connemara types, plenty of substance, very broad and sturdy, about 13-14 hh. However, being quite small, short in the leg and medium to heavy build, Katherine prefers a narrower twist as she needs to get as much of her leg down the side of the ponies as possible.

We initially confined our response to dressage and general purpose saddles as a GP saddle might suit her for jumping too, although we would need to explore this further.

We suggested a Suzannah dressage saddle but on a Jessica tree, (see above) which works well on the wider types being a bit flatter. It also has a slightly narrower twist than the Suzannah and a bit more room in the seat. There is also a GP version.  We said we would be a bit concerned recommending a saddle with a narrower twist than this eg the Roella, given the type of pony it is to be used on. Point and balance strap type girthing arrangement is standard on the dressage version and can be incorporated in to the GP version. This will help the stability of the saddle, often a problem on sturdy, broader types of pony. In this respect we suggested she might like to consider GP style (ie short) girth straps on the dressage saddle so that she can use a GP girth and get more purchase than you would with a dressage style girth. She could also then adjust the girth herself while mounted!

The latest on this is that we have all gone back to the drawing board! Katherine feels that the bigger, chunkier saddles are too much saddle on these ponies and she herself prefers a more discreet type of saddle. We suggested she take a look at the Stuttgart Junior and the Rebecca (in the Ideal range but not illustrated on our web site) , both of which are neater, smaller saddles with flatter seats, less block and a narrower twist. The saddle can be “Designed to Order” to fit her as needed: a deeper/flatter seat, shorter flaps and the tree can be adjusted to narrow the twist, although this will be a compromise between what is comfortable for her and what will work for the ponies. We would work with Ideal and Katherine to achieve this balance.


We will soon be starting a series of articles on saddle fitting, to include one on the problems, solutions and principles of fitting the very wide. Please send us a message if you would like to receive a copy.