View Full Version : Where/how can I demo a bunch of jump saddles?
Jan. 14, 2010, 12:21 PM
Behold! Yet another saddle question. I am extremely frustrated. Please help! I have bought and sold 3 jump saddles within the last 5 years. I just want to find the right one! The more I learn the less satisfied I am.
I am an upper level event rider looking for a nice saddle but I am trying to save money.
I am interested in all that would apply in the Prestige line, Devoucoux, Amerigo, possibly Antares, even Stackhouse. Am I missing any? How does one try all of the event saddles out there today? I am so confused! I am in Cleveland and do not have any dealers nearby. I am also confused b/c I feel obligated to buy something from these reps after they help me. For example. I had someone fit my horses backs, we tried a few in the Prestige and Amerigo lines and basically I was told the Vega is the only saddle she can offer me that fits my horses backs. I love it on one horse, but not how I feel in it on the other. She has been very helpful, but I want to try more in the Prestige line and possibly the Dvcx. She is an Amerigo dealer and sells some Prestige also. But she has come out to my barn to help me and I feel obligated to buy through her even though she has told me that she has shown me everything she has to offer. I still want to try more. But I do not feel comfortable making the call that on my own if it fits my horses backs. I am looking for a really good fit.
Then there is the whole issue of the features you can order, tree widths, flap lengths and positions. I am SO confused! How can one possibly try all of these options? And not spend a fortune in shipping?
I cannot take anymore dressage! I need a jump saddle! Help!
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:02 PM
Can you go to Rolex and sit in a bunch there to narrow your choices?
Trumbull Mountain will work with you on fitting long-distance. They also carry Black Country, which is not on your list but a maker you might consider.
I've not had good luck with fitters who are tied to a certain brand. Perhaps you could change the title of this thread to ask for saddle fitters in OH?
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:15 PM
I assume the reps are coming out for free? Perhaps if you pay for the fitting and advice, you won't feel so obligated to buy something.
(I think one of the tack shops here charges for bringing a bunch of saddles out for you to try, but you can apply it towards a purchase.)
I hope you find something you like. Saddle shopping is a pain!
Jan. 14, 2010, 10:42 PM
The Devoucoux saddles tend to have narrow channels which can pinch the spine. One boarder got one to use on a tb, and he was most uncomfortable. Another had a broader backed horse, and it did the same thing. I am old school, and prefer the wool flocked saddles, as they can be adjusted, foam is not too adjustable, if at all. Look at the Black Country line, I love mine. Trumbull is great on the line, and any other saddle they have. Great trial period too! I feel your pain, saddle shopping sucks!
Jan. 14, 2010, 11:11 PM
I third Black Country Saddles. i just got one so nice! and my horse likes it too.
I have been a long time Berney Bros fan but mine is hard the BCS is similar in tree shape(?) but nice and soft!
ALso like my kids PJ Delegrange but a bit flat for much X-C jumping
Jan. 15, 2010, 11:03 AM
Definitely consider making the trip to Rolex, where there will be a bunch of folks. That way you can at least get the sense of comfort for you. If you know someone near there, you might consider bringing a horse or horses and arranging some actual fittings for them off grounds (you'd have to talk to reps to know if they would be amenable). Talk to the folks at trumball mountain. they are very good about fit and what might work. Talk to a bunch of trainers/upper level riders in your area and ask if you can come over and ride in their saddles. I would be happy to do this for someone (but am not close to you).
Jan. 15, 2010, 11:44 AM
I had good luck trying the Prestige line from VTO Saddlery, 4.95 shipping and that was for 2 saddles! Of course it cost more than that to ship them back if they don't work out:( VTO was very liberal in their saddle trial policy and before they sent a saddle I had talked with Beth and then after the saddles arrived sent her pictures via email for feedback. I did end up purchasing a saddle from them.
Kara Andrews, Fox Creek Farm Eventing, reps Devoucoux and I would think you could haul your horses to her barn to try out a variety of saddles. Last year at the Area 8 Annual Meeting, Devoucoux had a booth along with lots of saddles.
If you could wait until summer, The Cleveland PHA at the Polo Field, has many saddle vendors and you could haul your horses there to try saddles. I've definitely seen an Antares booth there before and just about every other high end saddle maker.
I just attended the Saddle Fitting Clinic that the Paddock and Amerigo hosted at LEC and it would have been awesome if Peter Menet could have helped you while he was in the area with an Amerigo Saddle :)
I've always had luck in the past with asking fellow riders about "borrowing" their saddle for a test ride.
I think scubed's idea is great.
Jan. 28, 2010, 10:49 AM
horsecents, I actually was one of the demo horses at the Peter Menet clinic! Hahaha! I had the 2nd horse, Colin, ISH that was fitted for the event saddle. It was definitely helpful, however I just wanted to be able to try MORE saddles and more brands at one place! I wasn't in love with the way I felt in that particular saddle (the Amerigo Fatouche). However, I needed the frwd flap and a larger seat. But this is my complaint about buying saddles. I don't want to buy a saddle if I have to imagine it with a more frwd flap and bigger seat. I want to ride in what I'm going to buy and know it will fit my horses. There is a business opportunity there, I can see it.
I was in touch with Kara too, she is a good friend and we love her! But when it got down to it I did not want to spend the extra money on the DVCX. I just can't afford that.
The comment about waiting for Key Bank is an EXCELLENT idea that I didn't think of. However I cannot wait that long. I should have thought of that before selling my other jump saddle. I will recommend that to others.
Going to Rolex wouldn't allow me to fit my horse's first which is really what I am looking for.
Before going into too much detail, I will just tell you I did buy the new Vega from Carey at the Paddock. Carey was great in putting up with my neuroses. I couldn't take not having a jump saddle anymore so I took the plunge. However there were other reasons why I decided to go through with it.
Basically, with the saddles I had to choose from in that price range, the Vega was the only option I had left (that fit both horses very well) and I just plane exhausted my known resources as far as brands go. I am learning to love my Vega and my horses both love it. I really wanted to give the Amerigo line a go and find out how much their performance can improve with a great fitting saddle. I basically just bought into their marketing. The difference I noticed in my sensitive ISH's temperament while jumping was remarkable in the Vega. He was a calmer, quieter far less explosive version of himself in it. When I put him back in my Stubben Roxanne, I got the fire breathing dragon again. Proof that a truly good fit makes an enormous difference. Now the interesting part is my less sensitive TB, who is incredibly stiff and difficult on the flat, is much loser through his back and carrying a proper frame in this saddle since I've had it as I've been doing dressage in it.
It is just very different to my old saddle and I'm not use to it but it is growing on me. It's a great brand and I should be able to learn to love it, I HOPE!
Jan. 28, 2010, 10:51 AM
Interesting about the DVCX's being narrow. I have read that elsewhere also. My horse's have pretty different backs so I guess I am just lucky that I found 1 that really works for both as I can't afford 2.
When it gets down to it, I just think about Bruce Davidson and all the old farts running around a 4* in close contact saddles back in the day. If they could do it in that, I should be able to find a way to stay on in this! Again, the more I ride in it and less I obsessively analyze the hell out of it, the more I like the NEW Vega. (Did not like the old model with the less frwd flap).
Jan. 28, 2010, 11:10 AM
When it gets down to it, I just think about Bruce Davidson and all the old farts running around a 4* in close contact saddles back in the day.
I wonder if saddles were just different. A trainer that I highly respect once commented that back in the day, she - and every trainer she knew - had one saddle that put her in perfect position and fit every horse that came into training with her. And it lasted for decades (I am told that near the end, there was some duct tape involved, lol). Now nothing fits anything and they all cost four grand+.
I suppose that back in the day, everyone was riding a TB and the riders were also generally of the same build. Still, it is tempting to suspect that saddlemakers realized they were leaving a lot of money on the table by not differentiating their products more.
Can you tell I am also shopping for a jumping saddle? (fortunately, I get a stay of execution, as my career is eclipsing my ability to ride for the next few months, and my horse is going to be ridden by someone with her own saddle until I'm back).
Jan. 28, 2010, 11:48 AM
Can you go to Rolex and sit in a bunch there to narrow your choices?
CookiePony: That is exactly what I did several years ago when I was shopping for my jumping saddle. I think I sat in every saddle at Rolex. But, it did narrow the field on which ones were comfortable for me. After I got home, I had the saddle shop bring out the ones that I liked at Rolex and rode in them. Actually riding in them will narrow it even more. One that was really comfortable to sit in felt awful when I rode in it.
Jan. 28, 2010, 12:14 PM
ClevelandEventer: I know your pain!! I went through the Great Saddle Search last year and I absolutely hated it. I've ridden in Stackhouse, Devocoux before and while they are comfy, I did NOT like how they fit my horse (or others that I ride). I also really prefer wool-flocked instead of foam.
I am very fortunate to live 20min from KHP, so I put all my eggs in the Rolex shopping basket last year. I was most interested in Prestige and Amerigo, having never ridden in either. I talked to reps from both brands, and they agreed to bring saddles to the farm for me to test ride, BLESS THEM!! I sat in a Prestige Arizza (sp?), Meredith, and Eventer. The Arizza fit my horse very well, but all of them made me get a little bit pinchy with my knee (which I do anyway...don't need to encourage that!). Later, an Amerigo rep let me try a Vega monoflap and I really liked it. The Vega fit my horse extremely well-- she was not girthy AT ALL-- and allowed me to find a comfortable balance point. It also fits nicely on my other horses, though my balance isn't quite as easy on some of them in this saddle. Still, I've learned to deal with it on the lower horses, because it's definitely suits my upper level horse! I wasn't sold on the monoflap idea when I bought it, but it has really grown on me. I also had concerns about the durability of the butter-soft calfskin-- after one year, I'm proud to report that it has held up beautifully to daily use. (I do take good care of it, try not to ride in the rain, etc... but the saddle is tougher than it appears!)
I hope you enjoy yours as much as I have loved mine. My horse definitely appreciates it. :)
Jan. 29, 2010, 07:46 AM
Thought it might be you. Lovely ride with all the people in the warm-up ring.
Any chance you could take your horses to KY during Rolex and stay at a local farm and try saddles? I would think the saddle sellers could come after hours.
I ended up with the Prestige Eventer simply because the forward flap and seat size worked for me. I was riding in a Childeric (which I love) but my horse is narrow and when I raised my stirrups my knee was way over the flap and I didn't feel secure.
Are you riding with Jimmy Wofford at South Farm in February?
Jan. 29, 2010, 09:15 AM
I wonder if one problem might be that you are looking for a very good fit on the one horse ... but then you want it also to fit a different horse. Might you not be better off getting a saddle to fit each horse ?
Jan. 29, 2010, 11:06 AM
There's a tack shop in Ottowa Ontario, called Apple saddlery. They'll let you try out saddles for a couple of weeks & send them back. I'm not sure if they have what you're looking for, but here's the link: Http://www.applesaddlery.com/riding/c242124/index.html
You could also try Pelham Saddlery in NH - they have tons of new/used saddles they'll let you try.
Jan. 29, 2010, 04:08 PM
I vote coming to Rolex as well. You can bring your horse and keep him at Saddles & Sheets just 15 minutes from the KHP http://www.saddlesandsheets.com/ so that you can bring saddles back to fit once you find something that you like to sit. I did the great saddle search at Rolex in 2008 and was fortunate enough to narrow it down to Black Country, then found one locally in March of last year. I LOVE it and was really, really glad that I'd sat so many saddles at Rolex. I thought I was in love with the Dvx Chiberta but HATED it when I sat in it. I sure was happy to find out that I didn't need to spend THAT much on a saddle!
Jan. 30, 2010, 07:21 PM
My farrier who also events has recently become a rep for devecoux and he LOVES having people sit in his saddles! He's been trying to get me to sit in a couple even knowing there is NO WAY I can afford one, but for him he sees it as a chance for more people to hear about the saddles and if I kinda like one and tell a friend I think might like it better I just did him a favor, so don't feel bad for the reps! We also get reps from CWD and Antariers and they all seem to like showing off they're products. I personally ride in a 14 yo courbette pandure and I love it. They are kinda hard to find and I don't know that they are being made anymore and the people I know who have them don't want to get rid if them. The CWD rep that comes around is actually from a ways away from us, but she has a close relationship with the HJ trainner at my barn, so you might try asking around and see if there is a barn in your area that an out of area rep goes to. Also I would suggest buying used if possible, one of my vet student friend just bought a used devecoux, it's in Amazing condition and was significantly less expensive.
Feb. 17, 2010, 01:45 PM
Thank you for all of the helpful advice! I did not realize people hauled their horses to Rolex to try saddles. That's a really good idea.
Horsecents: I (as you may have noticed) could not go to the Jimmy Wofford clinic unfortunately. I really wanted to however all of my money went into the saddle that combined with some family illnesses prevented me from being able to go.
I really hope the Vega works out for me! It does seem to really fit a lot of horses.
Feb. 17, 2010, 03:46 PM
Don't rule out close contact saddles. I have owned a Cliff-Barnsby Lucinda XC saddle and the expensive County Conquest. My old PJ is still my saddle of choice. A Jump Above at Ridgewood has some used cc saddles that you can try on your horse, if you give Shar a call. PM me if you need it (Akron area).
Feb. 17, 2010, 04:44 PM
Devoucoux is pricey but they'll send a rep to you for free and you can demo their saddles.