June 12, 2019

CWD Dressage Saddle Buying Experience: Q&A Inside My Head

I want to document my saddle buying experience thoroughly, because there is literally nothing out there on buying a CWD Dressage saddle.  Hopefully you guys find these posts interesting, but these are as much for posterity and future Google Searchers than anything else!

I've been doing a lot of Q&A in my own head, trying to keep myself honest and pragmatic about the whole thing.  It still feels weird to me that I'm considering doing this.  Here's a look inside my head right now:

Q: Why are you so hung up on CWD?
A: Many reasons.  My jump saddle fits so perfectly people exclaim when they see it on his back.  He's always gone so freely and so well in that saddle.  I've tried something like 12 other Dressage saddles from 8 other brands and the tree shape (back to front) was fundamentally wrong for him in all of them except Adam Ellis and CWD, and that's not something you can fix.

Q: Are you working with a rep?
A: That's another big reason I'm going CWD: we have a local CWD rep (which is a MIRACLE if you know this part of the country), and I am serious about wanting to use a local resource this time.  And most importantly, my best friend Mary is a former ace CWD fitter who knows these saddles inside and out, got quite good at fitting Dressage saddles in particular while she was there, and has a great eye.

Q: Why not try to find something used?
A: Used CWD Dressage saddles are a tiny, tiny market.  CWD just doesn't advertise its Dressage saddles the way it does jump, which is honestly a shame.  From there, the flat seated model is a tiny percentage of that small market (maybe one SE24 for every 10 SE08's I see, and yes, I've searched the European sites too), and the "built for a child sized adult and a wide pony SE24" market just straight up does not exist.  I could search for a used saddle for years and come up empty.

Q: Why the flat seated model?
A: I've come to realize I like having space in the saddle and because the flat seated model is built on the same tree as my jump saddle, which fits my pelvis like no other.  When I sat in both models at Kentucky, the SE24 felt like coming home and the SE08 did not.

Q: Why now?
A: He's old enough that his back has stopped changing but also young enough that he's (hopefully) years away from retirement.  Also, I've ridden in enough saddles this point I've developed actual preferences, so I'm able to clearly express likes/dislikes/wants/needs to the rep.  I couldn't have done that a couple of years ago.


  1. Very informative reasoning for why you are going down the road you are going down.

  2. My CWD doesn't fit me and pony as well as it did on Holly, and that's super sad because they are so amazingly comfortable. Hope yours works out, it looks great.

  3. Good idea to document this. It's helpful for you and future/potential CWD saddle purchasers. I agree with you, when something works, why not go with it? Now, not to throw a monkey wrench into your plans, but have you ridden in the Adam Ellis Kemlyn Cob saddle? I thought I'd mention it because you said that you liked the fit of your Adam Ellis on Connor but the seat didn't work for you. I've sat in the saddle you had and I didn't like how the seat positioned me either, but I love the Kemlyn's seat because it's open. My daughter is in the same boat as you: wide pony (XW hoop tree here!) and child-sized "adult": size 0/2 and just barely 5' tall and no longer growing. The saddle fits her and her large pony like a glove. When we ordered the saddle, we requested that they shorten and narrow the flap.

    1. Oh I liked my Adam Ellis very well, it's just there are no fitters locally to me and I'm adamant this time that I want to test ride everything before I pull the trigger. If they had a rep anywhere near me I'd be all over that brand, it'd be a lot cheaper too. Good thought!