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tidy rabbit
May. 7, 2009, 10:41 PM
I need a new saddle pronto. I need one to fit a variety of big 17+ hand horses. I'm interested in the Tad Coffin saddle but would like to know what else is available that would fit a variety of large horses.

Antares? CWD? Luc Childeric? County? BD?

Help!

Rio Blanco
May. 7, 2009, 10:50 PM
While I *loved* my Tad, it did not fit a big enough variety of horses for my purposes. Mine fit the mutton-withered and big shouldered and big-everything Warmbloods, but didn't fit my Hanoverian/TB, the Holsteiner I was riding, and only worked for 1 of the 5 ponies I was riding.

I *love* my Antares and have found this saddle to fit everything from the 17.2 hand elephant/giraffe cross :lol: to the QH's I ride at school for IHSA, to 99% of the ponies. Plus it's super comfy :D

I still remember my boss during high school sitting on my hunter in my Tad saying "No wonder you two don't like to sit!" (his gf rode in one too... he found it too, erm, restricting? :lol:) It was my favorite saddle until I had to ride 5+ horses a day... then I traded it for my Antares.

JB
May. 7, 2009, 11:00 PM
Given what I know about the models you listed, I'd go with an XW/#5 County. That's plenty wide for most horses, and "appropriately" wide such that you can properly pad up a huge variety of more narrow horses.

You might be able to get away with a #4/W County, as long as you're not riding something "stupid wide" as pintopiaffe says :lol:

I found a wide tree Vega, or PJ, to be among the wider of the "wide" trees that I've seen, so those might be options.

Of course, that's ONLY dealing with the width, and has no bearing on the front-back shape of the saddle. For that, I'd go with something no less curvy than a County. For the occasional ride you can make a curvier tree work on a flatter back, but you *cannot* make a too-straight tree work on a curvy back.

DallasES
May. 7, 2009, 11:05 PM
Another vote for Antares! I LOVE LOVE LOVE mine!! It fits my 16.2 Hano, and the 17h Oldenburg building I used to ride.

bhrunner06
May. 8, 2009, 07:26 AM
i know which saddle will work...MINE! Send them all to me and you will have no worries!! :)

mvp
May. 8, 2009, 07:56 AM
Modifying JB's statement about curvy trees. Beware the wide curvy tree (usually French as opposed to British) on horses it doesn't fit. When these come with the very thin foam panels made popular by Butet, they tend to roll (front to back) as you post. That will hurt a horse's back, pronto. Ask me how I know....Yikes.

tidy rabbit
May. 8, 2009, 08:16 AM
i know which saddle will work...MINE! Send them all to me and you will have no worries!! :)

Ha! That doesn't help at all. I was just thinking about offering you 100 bucks for that muddy chestnut horse you've got in your barn. ;)

JB
May. 8, 2009, 08:23 AM
Modifying JB's statement about curvy trees. Beware the wide curvy tree (usually French as opposed to British) on horses it doesn't fit. When these come with the very thin foam panels made popular by Butet, they tend to roll (front to back) as you post. That will hurt a horse's back, pronto. Ask me how I know....Yikes.

Yes, too curvy and you can't make it work on a too-flat back - no amount of padding will take up the slack there :)

Pirateer
May. 8, 2009, 11:46 AM
I'd also look into the Wide tree Amerigo Vega. Its not french, but its still a pretty nice saddle :)

Spud&Saf
May. 8, 2009, 12:08 PM
I am personally a Childeric fan...don't own one, but rode in one for quite a while and I loooooved it. It fit a lot of horses.

chawley
May. 8, 2009, 12:15 PM
Another vote for the Luc Childrec. A couple people in the barn have them and they fit a wide variety of horses. A good friend that is a trainer loves the LC because it does fit a lot of different horses.

scheibyee
May. 8, 2009, 12:26 PM
i LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Tolga <3
It fits everything from my 14.1 pony, to my 15.3 refined hunter, to my 16.3 big built argentinian jumper, to my trainers giant stallion - and all very well!!
I've ridden in Antares (which would be my next choice), butet, cwd, childeric, etc... the tolga is my favorite by far.

Bearhunter
May. 8, 2009, 03:36 PM
Look at Amerigo, County, or Devoucoux. Antares and Tads do not have enough clearance for high withered horses.

jn4jenny
May. 8, 2009, 03:57 PM
Look at Amerigo, County, or Devoucoux. Antares and Tads do not have enough clearance for high withered horses.

Agree re: Antares and Tads, which is a pity because they both feel great on the bum.

I'm not a huge Devoucoux fan for fitting a wide variety of horses--there's something funky about some of their panel shapes.

If my primary interest was horse fit + comfort and I was willing to sacrifice on "going to last me forever", I would go with Amerigo.

If I needed something that would fit a lot of horses, be comfortable for the rider, AND had the sturdy non-calfskin leather to take a beating for 10+ years at a time, I'd look at a County or Black Country (being careful with Black Country to order one of the models with better wither clearance, but since Black Country is 30% cheaper than County it's still well worth a look).

Perfect Pony
May. 8, 2009, 04:14 PM
You might be able to get away with a #4/W County, as long as you're not riding something "stupid wide" as pintopiaffe says :lol:


I have a wide County Stabilzer, it has worked on anything I put it on. It was made for my 15.2hh Hanoverian mare with little wither and really wide shoulders. My new lease horse is nearly 17hh with high withers and it fits him too.

Rosie
May. 8, 2009, 05:16 PM
Tidy,
"big" as in big/wide or "big" as in tall?
I've got a 17'3" Selle Francais gelding. Huge shoulder and big withers - but not a "wide" horse.
A CWD fits him really well -

tidy rabbit
May. 8, 2009, 06:05 PM
Is the CWD saddle wool or foam flocked?

Pally
May. 8, 2009, 06:07 PM
I'm grooming for someone with big (average at least 17hh) warmbloods right now. They have CWDs (sorry I don't know the tree size though) and they seem pretty versatile to me, as the panels aren't super curvy or super flat. There is one devoucoux there, and I really don't think it's as good, we had been doing 3 horses in it and had to take it off one for fit.

bhrunner06
May. 8, 2009, 07:16 PM
Tidy...HAHAHAHAHA Hes not for sale!! I will sell you the buckskin baby though, but Guinness...not for sale for another year or 2, then if the price is right and offered to me hes all yours! haha!

French Twist
May. 9, 2009, 12:05 AM
I ride in a Barnsby Original Milton. I've used it on:

a) a 17+h huge, wb gelding nicknamed "Fatty," who had very high withers but a huge barrel;

b) my mare who is a 16.3h huge bodied Selle Francais we call "Big Mama" for very good reason... she has low withers and a long back;

c) a 17.2 mammoth WB I leased in FL. Just enormous, all around!

and d) now I am currently using it on a fat 14.2h quarter pony to go trail riding. He has no withers whatsoever that I can discern buried under his afro and shrouded by the big barrel belly. Fits him great! lol

It's fit all the horses very well, along with the many horses I've hacked and/or leased over the 5+ years of saddle ownership.

I'm long from the hip to the knee, and it really fits well there. It's not the deepest saddle, but I prefer to have some more movement when I ride and jump. Just thought I'd throw that out there!

French Twist
May. 9, 2009, 12:08 AM
Modifying JB's statement about curvy trees. Beware the wide curvy tree (usually French as opposed to British) on horses it doesn't fit. When these come with the very thin foam panels made popular by Butet, they tend to roll (front to back) as you post. That will hurt a horse's back, pronto. Ask me how I know....Yikes.

OMG! Now I know why my old horse had back issues ages ago... before my Milton, I had a French, super-curvy, wide-treed saddle. It's all coming together now... Glad I got the Milton, and come to think of it, none of my horses have had back issues since I sold that French saddle ages ago. I wish I could remember the brand, but it was a lesser-known one, Forestier, I think?

mvp
May. 9, 2009, 12:10 AM
French Twist-- So is that a wide tree or regular on your versatile Milton?

I want an "everyhorse saddle" like this one!

TIA

French Twist
May. 9, 2009, 01:11 AM
French Twist-- So is that a wide tree or regular on your versatile Milton?

I want an "everyhorse saddle" like this one!

TIA

Well to be honest I bought it off the rack from Dover (I'm lucky I live 35 mins from their store in Wellesley MA and could take it on trial) and I also bought a second one (used) online last year. I don't remember either being advertised as a wide tree, so I'm going to to venture that they are both regular or medium trees. Is there a way for me to tell by looking at the saddle? Or a marking somewhere? I'll be out to the barn tomorrow and can look.

I'll also mention, the original post was about saddles for BIG horses, and I've not used this saddle much on lighter-boned or slab-sided horses. I can't vouch for how the saddle would be on a more dainty mount, like a TB. My pony is, of course, A LOT smaller than the warmbloods and it fits him wonderfully, but even he is a little tank! I love my horses chunky, what can I say!? :)

Anyway, I love the saddle... it's been everywhere from big "A" shows to trails in the Rocky Mountains. My western riding friends think I'm crazy to ride English on the trails, but my saddle's been super comfy for me and my horses.

mvp
May. 9, 2009, 07:59 AM
French Twist-- Glad my post helped, if only to explain a bad and past situation!

If it's not too much trouble will you measure between the "dots" of the panels in front on your Milton? That would give me a clue. I haven't seen one of these, but you are not the first to suggest this saddle for my "special needs" horse.

Anyone else a Milton fan or connoisseur?

Thanks again!

Rosie
May. 9, 2009, 11:42 PM
Tidy,
my CWD is foam flocked. I believe they are available in wool if that's your preference.
Love mine. Tried Antares, Devoucoux, Luc Childeric before getting the CWD.

Bought mine used. Sent off wither tracings and photographs to fine-used-saddles.com for Patricia to make some recommendations. Saddle is a perfect fit for both my horse and I.

good luck in your search.

French Twist
May. 10, 2009, 05:24 PM
French Twist-- Glad my post helped, if only to explain a bad and past situation!

If it's not too much trouble will you measure between the "dots" of the panels in front on your Milton? That would give me a clue. I haven't seen one of these, but you are not the first to suggest this saddle for my "special needs" horse.
Thanks again!

I never got to the barn yesterday... will be out this week! I'll try to measure it then.

hype
May. 10, 2009, 10:13 PM
Best bet is to ask some of the pros in your area. See what they are riding in. Most of the custom saddles have a tree that they recommend for the pro riders who are on and off a lot of horses.

It won't fit them perfectly (no saddle will) but should fit a wide variety of backs fairly well.

Also, if you talk to your rep then ask them what they'd recommend. Try and see what you personally like for you and then get a tree size that will accomodate your needs.

I've had very good luck with the Antares and PJ's fitting most horses well.

tidy rabbit
May. 13, 2009, 03:29 PM
I bought a County saddle. It just arrived and it's beautiful! I can't wait to try it out. The rep is coming tomorrow to check on the fit. Let's hope it's right!

mvp
May. 13, 2009, 08:45 PM
Tidy Rabbit Real and Virtual worlds are colliding I think. Bought a County Wednesday. Had it fitted Thursday? Check my initials and signature. Do the math. If not, sorry for the stalking.

Did it work out the way you hoped? I'm fervently hoping so.

Otherwise, for you Tad Coffin fans, check out the Exselle Axcess. Seriously. Less $$, very nice quality leather that will hold up better than Tad's very soft stuff. The saddle is built on the original TC tree that Tadster and Crosby built together. Rumor has it, the tree was built from a plaster cast Tad made of his own horse's back.

The tree comes in regular and wide. Wide is Wide: perhaps 5" or 5.5" between the top points of the panels. But the shape of the tree is great! It is anatomically correct, at least for my wide horse who is normal looking but somehow a tough fit for most saddlers who don't really have a clue to wide.

The panels are also "long" over the trapezius muscles, perhaps helping the horse with not-too-deep hollows behind the withers. But the panels--like Tad's and those on Butets and other saddle invented in that heady era, they are thin. You wool-flocked fans (me included) might wish for more. Or you might appreciate the rest of this saddle and think about padding.

The panels in the Axcess, however, might do a better job than Tad's over time because they are made of a stouter foam. You foam afficionados might not be impressed, but if the tree's shape and that of the panel's is good, this saddle might work for you.

Did I mention that you don't need to spend $4K and the saddle you do buy will last much longer?

The panels and gullet are also generous, leaving an admirably large footprint on the horse's back.

tidy rabbit
May. 13, 2009, 09:20 PM
mvp, is it you? LOL!

Too funny.

It looks like its going to work! Will find out tomorrow for sure.

French Twist
May. 14, 2009, 12:33 AM
If it's not too much trouble will you measure between the "dots" of the panels in front on your Milton?

Ok, I am soooo not sure if I did this right... but I measured from button to button across the front of the saddle (not up and over the pommel, but straight across the gap in the front), and it was approx 6 3/4". I don't know if those are the "dots" you were talking about? I hope this is what you wanted to know, otherwise I'm SO sorry if this is completely useless information. I am definitely not a saddle measuring expert!

mvp
May. 14, 2009, 06:35 AM
French Twist-- Yes, measuring between the nailheads on the top of the saddle is a useful measurement and one we can do with precision.

Measuring "between the dots" is a different on. Its the horizontal space between the top corners of the panels on the underside of the saddle. Some saddles have little felt tufts or dots here. Others don't so it can be confusing in terms of terminology and also identifying an exact pair of points. That distance will typically be between 4" and 5.5" if you don't have a "stupid wide" saddle on your hands.

For all these, I take the measurement with a stiff measuring tape and my eyeball.

For those of you reading along in saddling threads, check out the behemoth discussion in Horse Care, "Dry spots under the saddle...." Lots of pics and great points made by various peeps there.

Hope this helps.

French Twist
May. 14, 2009, 07:46 PM
Aha! I get it now! I thought 6+" sounded kinda big! lol
I will check underneath and remeasure for inquiring minds!!

BREEDINGMANIAC
May. 14, 2009, 09:33 PM
I have a Tad, but also just got an Antares which I also LOVE- they are very similar, but the Antares fits my TB gelding that has huge withers a tad bit better than the Tad!

French Twist
May. 23, 2009, 11:42 PM
Ok, to those interested, I measured the tree on my 17" Barnsby Milton between the dots and it's 4".

EquineLVR
May. 30, 2009, 06:36 PM
Tidy, How did it work out?

I am also looking for a good saddle that can fit a variety of horses - I am looking at Countys, Black Countrys or CWD's.

Let us know!

tidy rabbit
May. 30, 2009, 10:34 PM
The saddle I bought works fine on 3 of the horses, all fairly large and fairly flat backed. The 4th horse, my TB jumper, is a bit harder to fit. I'm considering having a saddle made for he and I which would be awesome or purchasing a saddle from a friend that is an County Innovation which may be a really good match for this same TB. :-) I'm just feeling the pain of the idea of parting with the money! Two saddles in a 2 month time period feels painful. Do you know my pain? What with having to buy hay for the year in just a minute.

EquineLVR
May. 31, 2009, 10:39 AM
The saddle I bought works fine on 3 of the horses, all fairly large and fairly flat backed. The 4th horse, my TB jumper, is a bit harder to fit. I'm considering having a saddle made for he and I which would be awesome or purchasing a saddle from a friend that is an County Innovation which may be a really good match for this same TB. :-) I'm just feeling the pain of the idea of parting with the money! Two saddles in a 2 month time period feels painful. Do you know my pain? What with having to buy hay for the year in just a minute.


Do you like riding in it? Is it comfy and puts you in the right place?

mvp
May. 31, 2009, 12:52 PM
French Twist-- Thanks for the dot-to-dot measurement on the Milton. That measurement isn't "all that and a bag of chips" in terms of determining saddle fit, but it is a mighty good place to start. Ain't no way a 4-incher will fit mine, so you saved me $70 or so in shipping.

With respect to the current discussion of CWDs, County and BC saddles. I think you will find County and BC in a similar group and a CWD (like all french ones) in another. It seems to me that there are some differences in design between BC and County, but many horses find large "foot print" of these panels comfortable. I think they also like their thick, soft flocking. I think a CWD will sit much closer to a horse's back, for better or for worse. I haven't sat in a CWD or many french brands (I have sat in DelGranges and a Butet long ago), but I think the twists in these English-made saddles will be a bit wider. I find their seats very comfortable. I'm short on a wide horse, but I have strong, flexible hips so I'm down with a twist that's wide enough to be realistic for my horse's body type.

Hope this helps. May your saddle hunt be shorter than mine!

cbv
May. 31, 2009, 04:59 PM
Sorry to hijack the thread...

I tried the butet on my Tb -- She is not overly wide but is not typical tb -- in fact is shaped very similarly to my wb/tb cross who appears much wider and chunkier (their tracings are very similar but the wb cross is slightly more uphill and maybe half a size wider).

I tried the Butet which fit her beautifully horizontally along the back, but she does have dips behind the withers and the Butet was straight verticallyand bridged the dips (I don't know the correct saddle talk here -- sorry if confusing). I bought a used county for the wb/tb cross -- it fits the tb's dips but does not fit her along her back as well as the nice flat butet did. The county is also an all purpose which works well for the wb cross, but I prefer a more close contact saddle I can stay up and out of more with the more forward tb.

I am intrigued by your description of the Exselle and just found a really good sale price on them. But do you think (given my not so good description) that it might work for my mare. Also if their medium width would correspond to a medium County?

tidy rabbit
May. 31, 2009, 05:05 PM
Do you like riding in it? Is it comfy and puts you in the right place?

I really like the Stabilizer. It was a little hard to get used to after riding in a Butet for so many years, but I don't think I would ever go back to a french saddle now. I think I'm hooked on the County saddles.

This particular one that I have is slightly too small for me. I could use a long forward flap and a 17.5 instead of a 17". But a friend of mine fits in it perfectly and if it fits her horse than I'll probably sell it to her and look of another one that fits me a little better.

I'm definitely a county fan now!

Two Black Cats
May. 31, 2009, 05:09 PM
Another vote for CWD here...the front panels on the underside of the saddle (what sits on top of the horse's shoulder) are very flexible, which makes for easier fitting of a wide variety of horses. My big-shouldered guy loves it, and it's the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat in. The folks at CWD are tremendously helpful, as well.

Good luck! I know how arduous it can be to find the right saddle...

mvp
May. 31, 2009, 08:02 PM
These are very different saddles-- by intention and design features.

All County saddles are wool flocked and built on trees that (I think) have short points. In comparison with some wool-flocked brands, they sit pretty close to the horse's back. However, they fit further from the back than does the Axcess which is, you will remember, Exselle's inexpensive answer to Tad Coffin's saddle.

The Tads and Exselles have a similar problem for the extremely wither-hollowed. While the panels reach down far enough (think from the spine to the ground), they aren't very full there. The panels are nicely wide and flat behind like your Butet. I think the gullet might be even a bit wider.

I think the wide tree in the Axcess will be a little wider (but differently shaped) than the County Medium. I'm betting the Medium Axcess is substantially more narrow.

If your position, I'd spend the money to have an Axcess sent to me. If it works, you are getting an fantastic saddle for the money. If it doesn't I think you will have spend $70 to learn whether your horse can go in the type of saddle that sits very close to the back on thin panels, or whether you need more vertical height in the gullet and/or a wool-flocked saddle.

My own hijack: Have any of you shark-fin owners been happy with the way CWD has built for your horses? All the panels I see in pics look way thin-- as if the tree of the saddle will really hug the back even around those bony, all-important withers. TIA