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View Full Version : converting foam panels to wool, regrets?



NoviceEvntr
Jan. 6, 2011, 12:46 PM
Hi all-

My jump saddle sits too low in the cantel, but otherwise fits my horse well- but the panels are foam. I am seriously considering having the panels converted to wool. Has anyone had any experience with this?

I am a bit hesitant, because the saddle was pricey (for me anyways :lol:) but otherwise need a mattes correction pad in order for the saddle to fit correctly...

Any thoughts or input is greatly appreciated!

Gry2Yng
Jan. 6, 2011, 05:54 PM
Did it. No regrets. Loved my saddle before. Love it doubly now. (I have an Antares.)

Eventing Strong
Jan. 6, 2011, 05:56 PM
As long as you go to someone that you completely trust will do a nice job then go for it.

retreadeventer
Jan. 6, 2011, 06:34 PM
Very interested in this subject -- what saddles has anyone converted? dressage or jump? Why convert, was the foam not holding up? Or mashing down? Anyone with experience, very interested in hearing your response.

sarah88
Jan. 6, 2011, 06:54 PM
Well I havent yet, but I have plans to convert mine in the nexty few months. I have a Bates CC that is 6+ years old and the air panels have started to wear down. as in leak air so they are not as full and get weird. the saddle fitter said it is fine for now (use a mattes pad underneath to help dist. pressure. but will need to be taken care of at some point.. (aka when my oh crap Im graduating college-have no big girl job- id netter not spend any money bank account allows) :D but I too am interested in hearing how it has worked out for others!

ps. we also did switch out panels to wool in a wintec we had bc the air pannels were not working in that one either and that has been just fine :)

WishIWereRiding
Jan. 6, 2011, 07:34 PM
I'm sorry, but if your saddle sits too low in the cantle, then how do you know that it fits your horse very well? Maybe the tree is too narrow and that's why it's low. Or maybe the panels are the wrong shape for your horse. I'm all for wool, but hard to say if it will fix your problem. You need to get a proper saddle fitter out and have them evaluate your saddle and if a conversion to foam is the answer. I've had a few saddles that didn't fit the horse I was riding, usually seemed "low in the cantle" but in actuality the problem was that the panels and shape of the saddle were wrong for the horse's back.

IFG
Jan. 6, 2011, 07:42 PM
I did it with a Northrun Ashland saddle. A very reputable saddler did the conversion, and the saddle fit the horse better after it was done. I hated it. I felt as though the balance was all screwed up, and the ride was much less firm. I cannot really explain it, but I really did not like the saddle once it had been converted.

Tucked_Away
Jan. 7, 2011, 07:24 AM
I'm sorry, but if your saddle sits too low in the cantle, then how do you know that it fits your horse very well?...I'm all for wool, but hard to say if it will fix your problem. You need to get a proper saddle fitter out and have them evaluate your saddle and if a conversion to foam is the answer.

My thought, too.

That said, I did convert a 15yo Collegiate jump saddle foam->wool a few years back in an attempt to get a more customized fit from a basically acceptable saddle. I wasn't totally happy with how the saddler stitched the panels back up after--'twas a bit sloppy--but functionally, I was pleased with the results.

Glorybee
Jan. 7, 2011, 08:43 AM
Did it. No regrets. Loved my saddle before. Love it doubly now. (I have an Antares.)

second this post in its entirety!

jn4jenny
Jan. 7, 2011, 08:49 AM
I've heard many happy tales of conversion. Bates, Prestige, and Antares seem to be popular brands to convert. I've only heard of a few Devoucoux conversions and they were all "not happy with the result" stories, so if someone's got a positive Devoucoux conversion story, I would be very curious to hear it.

Do talk with a saddler before you do the conversion because foam panels are designed to be fairly thin and close contact, and while they can often be converted successfully to wool in the same shape and thickness as the original foam, overflocking them to achieve a certain fit is a more dicey business because there's less room. I say that as a huge generalization, and it varies from model to model and the particular overflocking needed to achieve a given saddle fit. Hence the advice to consult a saddler.

Bogie
Jan. 7, 2011, 09:10 AM
The Saddle Dr. told me he's done many conversions successfully.

I bought a saddle that had been already converted and liked it fine.

vbunny
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:03 AM
A saddle is unlikely to sit too low, if it's too narrow. Especially if it needs shims to raise it. More likely too wide or something.

NoviceEvntr
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:15 AM
The saddle fit beautifully when I bought it about a year ago, and now after it has broken in, it sits a bit too low in the cantle. Its an Antares.

A very reputable saddle fitter suggested the conversion.

I am using a mattes pad with shims in the cantle, and it is nice and level with the correction pad. Sort of why I am hesitant to convert it... But, in the long run, I guess I am better without a correction pad than with.

Thanks for all your input!

Bogie
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:30 AM
Maybe.

I have a lovely County Extreme that is too wide for my current horse. But not with the Mattes pad.

I've used it for more than a year now and don't have any problems. I've had as much flocking added as was possible and then just had it professionally fitted with the Mattes shimmed pad.


The saddle fit beautifully when I bought it about a year ago, and now after it has broken in, it sits a bit too low in the cantle. Its an Antares.

A very reputable saddle fitter suggested the conversion.

I am using a mattes pad with shims in the cantle, and it is nice and level with the correction pad. Sort of why I am hesitant to convert it... But, in the long run, I guess I am better without a correction pad than with.

Thanks for all your input!

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 7, 2011, 10:49 AM
I'm sorry, but if your saddle sits too low in the cantle, then how do you know that it fits your horse very well? Maybe the tree is too narrow and that's why it's low. Or maybe the panels are the wrong shape for your horse. I'm all for wool, but hard to say if it will fix your problem. You need to get a proper saddle fitter out and have them evaluate your saddle and if a conversion to foam is the answer. I've had a few saddles that didn't fit the horse I was riding, usually seemed "low in the cantle" but in actuality the problem was that the panels and shape of the saddle were wrong for the horse's back.
ditto this
low in the cantle but otherwise fits well is an oxymoron. stuffing it with another material won't solve the problem

xitmom
Jan. 7, 2011, 12:00 PM
NoviceEvntr- I have the exact same saddle with the exact same problem. I am sticking to using a Mattes correction pad with rear shims for the time being. It works fine. I may want to switch to a more xc friendly saddle at some point in the future so don't want to invest the money and potentially be disappointed if the outcome is not good.

WishIWereRiding
Jan. 7, 2011, 12:52 PM
Why don't you call the Antares rep out to fix it then?

jn4jenny
Jan. 7, 2011, 12:52 PM
I am using a mattes pad with shims in the cantle, and it is nice and level with the correction pad. Sort of why I am hesitant to convert it... But, in the long run, I guess I am better without a correction pad than with.

Thanks for all your input!

I say "ain't broke don't fix it." You've found a way to make the saddle fit the horse comfortably. Even if you reflock, there's no guarantee that your horse won't change shape, and then you'll be right back where you started.

I'm sure many armchair saddle enthusiasts will find this sacrilege, but assuming that this is TRULY your only fitting problem--meaning the saddle's not too narrow, the use of the shims doesn't cause any kind of bridging, and it gets the saddle level to the point where you're truly sitting on the seat's balance point and not putting extra (harmful) weight on the back of the saddle--then just keep using your Mattes pad. If you get into a situation where the shims need to go on the saddle itself because your horse has gotten wider and can no longer accommodate a correction pad, they make those too: http://ridergrip.vpweb.com/S-H-I-M-Z---SADDLE-FIT-Pads.html