View Full Version : Stabilizer or Innovation?

Apr. 26, 2010, 01:47 PM
Hi there,
I believe there was a thread like this a while ago, not sure how to search for old threads...
Im thinking about making the jump to a County (been thinking for a while/saving some $$$) LOVED the innovation w/the knee/thigh blocks, but im pretty sure those features are in the newer Innovations and Im just not so sure I can afford a brand new one... Which do you guys prefer? The Stabilizer or the Innovation? Any idea how some of the older Innovations that are out there right now compare to some of the newer ones?

Apr. 26, 2010, 02:53 PM
I thought I liked the stabilzer first, but after riding in the conquest I was hooked. It really has a nice spot when I jump - puts me more on my jean pockets than my inseam if that makes sense. yet its still easy to get two-point.

I tried the innovation, but the demo I tried had larger thigh blocks which I did not like. I am waiting for the rep to bring me one with standard blocks, so that I can compare the seat of the innovation vs. the conquest.

Have you tried the conquest?

There are lots of demo and used innovations with blocks on-line, ebay, trumbull mtn etc. And there are lots of stabilizers as well. I dont think you will have to by new if you go with the innovation, there seems to be a lot out there.

Wish I could say the same for the conquest - most I see are prices darn-near close to new, so I may wind up ordering new if I dont like the innovation.

Apr. 26, 2010, 03:01 PM
I love my innovation - although I cannot compare it to the stabilizer as I have never ridden in one. My innovation is quite new (although bought used) so I am uncertain how the older ones compare. However, it was my understanding that the innovation was a fairly new saddle design for County, so I don't know how old the oldest model would be.

However, I have to say that I disagree with keep1belle about there being an abundance of used innovations for sale. I found mine used after a few months of searching - and rarely ever see used ones available. However, you should talk to your County rep, as he or she may have a few demos that will be discounted for you to try. I do see more stabilizers offered for sale used.

There have been a lot of threads on County saddles - if you want to search for them go to the search tab at the top, click on "advanced search" and enter the search term "county saddle" or something along those lines and you should be able to find a lot of threads on them. It might be helpful. Good luck!

Apr. 26, 2010, 03:08 PM
I'm pretty sure that the knee/thigh blocks have always been offered in the Counties and I know for a fact that they've always been offered in the Innovations. So whether you find a used one with/without kneeblocks really only has to do with the custom configuration the original owner ordered. The newer Innovations are identical, I believe, to the "older" ones (they've only been offering the Innovation for 4 or 5(ish?) years, so there aren't many OLDer ones out there), so really nothing to compare between new and old. Again, any differences you find will be based upon the configuration ordered by the original person. And boy can that make a difference! I sold my first Innovation (bought sight unseen) to TidyRabbit and ordered a new one (same tree size) and it could have been an entirely different model for how differently the two fit (both me and the horse). So deciding you want a County is great, but like with many saddles, it's going to come down to what you actually put on your horse and like for both you and (s)he.

As for the difference between the two saddles....

I've found that my Innovation has a slightly more forward balance than my Stabilizer and I much prefer it over the bigger fences. I don't think it feels like the seat is any deeper (many people will say they don't like the feel of the deeper seat on the Innovation, but I think that's related, again, to configuration)....I have a short forward flap, so perhaps that's part of why I think mine feels different? I would call the seats on both saddles moderate (not deep, but not nearly as shallow as one of the old-style saddles). The two fit the horse slightly differently too. The Innovation has a tree that's a bit wider than the Stabilizer (so a N Innovation is a little wider than a N Stabilizer), so you need to take that into account on how each fits the horse as well.

I prefer to do my dressage work in my Stabilizer, though, and in general I prefer my Stabilizer (with only small knee blocks) on my sausage-like WB mare. I prefer my Innovation (with massive knee and thigh blocks, btw) on my TB gelding. I think it all comes down to how each fits each horse, and honestly, I think my preferences between my two is mostly related to the feel of the small unobtrusive knee blocks versus the gargantuan ones.

Apr. 26, 2010, 05:00 PM
I just put in my order for a new Stabilizer XTR (7 weeks till arrival!). Tried all of the models, and liked this one the best. My second choice would have been the Conquest. It was very comfortable and I felt very well-balanced in it. Just preferred the Stabilizer XTR more.

If ordering new, all blocks (knee and calf) can be altered to suit your requirements (pencil, medium, large) or left off all together. The Innovation was also very comfortable, but the seat was a little bit deeper than what I am used to.

Rep said that most people who tend to do strictly or mainly jumpers prefer the Innovations, while most hunter riders prefer the Stabilizers. As I have always ridden in pancake flat, no block, no knee roll saddles, I just went with what I was most comfortable in, as opposed to what the trend for the particular ring is. If you don't want to spend the $$ for a new one, most reps will have an extensive list of demo saddles available, but honestly, from what I saw, prices were not that much less than new. I do know they are very hard to find used online, as I think most people never want to get rid of their old ones. My trainer has one that is 25 years old, one that is 22 years old, and just ordered a new one. Wouldn't part with either of her older ones.

Apr. 28, 2010, 08:28 PM
All I can say is when I bought my Stabilizer I tried both and really didn't like the Innovation on me/my horse. IMHO they were really different altho don't know enough to describe why.

So I guess my point is I'd be sure to try both.

Skip's Rider
Apr. 28, 2010, 09:43 PM
You just have to try them. As you can see from the above posts, it all comes down to personal preference. I have a Stabilizer and an Innovation, and I greatly prefer the Innovation. My trainer has also ridden in both (not mine) and prefers the Innovation. In fact, he bought an Innovation for himself. BTW, we're hunter riders. So, yes, the Innovation can be used in the hunter ring. You need to decide what YOU like.

Apr. 29, 2010, 07:19 AM
There is no comparisonto either.

If you like flat -- Stabilizer

If you like a saddle to tell your upper body where to be Innovation.

The people of COunty are great - unfortunatley the saddles do not work on my horse. Great leather too.

But truly if you are going to spend this much -- then you should take more time and demo the two.
Jump in them , bigger jumps too. Video yourself.
In my experience the saddle can allter your riding.

I felt the saddles are so drasctically different.

Apr. 29, 2010, 11:25 AM
Try them both. I prefered the innovation on my last horse, but was going to trade it in or buy a new stabilizer for my new horse because on HIM I liked it better... So try them both!!

Apr. 29, 2010, 11:48 AM
As others have said, you just have to try them and compare. It can really make a difference which horse you are on, as well, I have found. I have a Stabilizer that I really like on one of my horses (that it was built for), but it supposedly fits another of mine and I'm not crazy about it on him. The horse that it was made for really "told" us that he liked the Stabilizer tree better than the Innovation when we were doing saddle fittings -- it made a huge difference in his movement and attitude. I had an Innovation for one horse that I HATED -- I think part of the problem was the flap was forward and I'm short legged, so it just didn't fit me well. But I could put it on another horse that I was riding and really liked it on him.

I've been saddle shopping for one horse lately and again preferred the Stabilizer on him -- he's ultra wide, so the Innovation felt really wide on him (there always seems to be a lump where the stirrup bars are to me, and I don't feel that on the Stabilizer). I came over to County from a Tad Coffin so it may be that is why I lean toward the flatter Stabilizer.