Manufacturer: Passier (View all products by Passier)
Model: GT Dressage saddle (View all GT Dressage Saddle reviews)
Category: Dressage Saddles
Purchase: I found this used saddle through Middleburg Tack Exchange, a company over east who carries mostly used tack and offers trials on all their used saddles. I bought this saddle at a STEAL at $795. I have seen this model at this age in less than stellar condition go for around %1k.
Likes: EVERYTHING! This is the first dressage saddle I have owned that I hopelessly adore. I have ridden and owned Amerigos, Schleese, and Albion saddles of all ages and models and this saddle by far exceeds those saddles in quality and comfort, at least for my body type. You see, I had the joy of attending a local saddle fit for horse and rider clinic and wow did I learn a lot of about what I have been doing wrong when determining saddle fit for myself! First of all, I was told that I have a narrow hip structure and would most comfortable in a saddle with a moderately narrow to very narrow twist. I have always heard the opposite for women's bodies and have always bought medium to wide twist saddles and could never figure out why I couldn't get my legs to lie flat and study against the horse...I thought it was an EQ issue. I also learned that I have a much longer than normal hip to knee measurement, I always knew I had long legs so I would order saddles with the more forward flap if they did not offer a long flap version. My leg never quite used the forward flap correctly, as I like to ride with longer stirrups. Also, to try and accommodate my long legs, I would always go with an 18" seat and ride hunt seat in a 16"...this would create odd stability issues for me on a green horse. I also had always rode in saddles with thigh blocks and was tired of always feeling locked in. I was told by the clinician that I might want to try a Passier. Most models have a narrow twist, long straight flaps and open seats and usually just pencil rolls, beside for a few new models that offer blocks. He said that Passier saddles are mostly built for a man's shape, but I was built more like the typical thin man instead of most women with larger hips and shorter thighs. He recommended I search used as the new prices can run anywhere from $2800-$6000!! He mentioned they wear like iron and most 50 year old models are still in use today. I was very lucky to find this model, as the GT is highly sought after(according to online info) and they are no longer producing them without a special order, which costs big bucks. The GT is the only model(I believe) or at least one of the few Passier models that has recessed stirrup bars. Do not confuse recessed with extended bars, extended bars force the stirrup leather to sit further back to help with the shoulder, hip, heel alignment. The recessed bars simply mean they are inserted "deeper" into the saddle, so there is less bulk under your thigh from the leather buckles. The GT also has very straight flaps and is a great fit for long legged riders. My saddle has a shallow open seat which lets me move around a bit more, but it is controlled, not too open that it causes me support issues. It took me awhile to get used to the tiny pencil rolls. In fact, I almost made a grave sin by asking my saddle fitter to create custom blocks for it. He refused, but told me that in 1 month if I haven't changed my mind, he would do it. I did change my mind, in fact, I can't ever ride in a saddle with blocks or large rolls again! It makes it feel as if my legs are being forced back into unnatural and awkward positions which I now believe to have been the cause for my knee clinching issue. My legs were never allowed to just lie like they were meant to. I have heard complaints on Passiers and the lack of seat padding and comfort in the seat but I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I was even with a non-padded seat. I feel that most discomfort that riders experience from Passiers is the fact that the saddle is just not right for their body, ie too narrow of a twist and a narrower seat allover compared to most modern dressage saddles. Also, this saddle was developed to be very close contact and padding creates one more layer between you and the horse and you do not get as much feel. I also noticed switching to a non-padded saddle, I have not had as much of an issue with bouncing. Padding makes it like a bed with springs! :-) I sent an email to Passier with the serial # before I bought the saddle which was helpful. The saddle was being sold as a 17.5", med-wide tree and per the Passier reo, the seat size was correct, but the tree was a wide. I also found out the saddle was built in 1991(19 yrs old when I purchased). I couldn't believe it! The saddle has either been taken care of very very well, or the owner(s) in the past hardly used it. Or this could be how every Passier ages. The saddle had never been adjusted or reflocked according to me saddle fitter and the billets were ORIGINAL and still in fabulous shape. I did not have to have any repairs made, just refocked to fit my mare.
Dislikes: ABSOLUTELY nothing. I am in love with this saddle. I might even buy another GT if I come across one and start hoarding them :-)
Quality: 110% for everything. Passier really strives for a quality product with all their tack.
Summary: If you are taller, long legged and have narrow hips you will love this saddle. No doubt, this saddle leads the way in saddle making for taller riders. Passier is a german company and they really have a knack for putting out awesome products that old(classic) and young(modern) riders can appreciate. The craftsmanship is wonderful, from the bamboo spring tree with short tree points(fits most horses to an extent) right down to the perfect hand stitching on the flaps and seat. I have decided I am officially a Passier saddle person and will never consider another maker again.
Author: Nicole Spiess
Usefulness Rating: 2.75 out of 5.
20 reader(s) voted.
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