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View Full Version : Schleese vs Custom Saddlery vs Trilogy



hometowngirl
Jan. 9, 2011, 07:31 PM
I need some opinions please. Am looking at one of the above saddles, would like a fitter to come to me as I have a AQHA/Oldenburg Mare and I am having problems with my Toulouse saddle, I love it but have had it tweaked a couple times and no matter what it throws my legs more forward than what is correct. Not so certain my mare likes the way it fits her either so have decided to spend the time and $$ on a new one but wanted to hear others opinons?

I know can be like trying on bathing suits on jeans... :) painful at times and opinions vary but will be helpful to hear!

Any input on Luane Reaume the fitter for Schleese or Sally Dietrich with Trilogy? Do not know who is in Michigan with Custom Saddlery.

Thanks for your help?

joiedevie99
Jan. 9, 2011, 07:34 PM
I tried all of the above (and at least five others) and got a Custom. I love it, and I love my fitter-which is just as important. Honestly, they are all different- and I wouldn't recommend making that sort of investment without having a few different people out and trying what they have to offer.

Elegante E
Jan. 9, 2011, 08:59 PM
Custom Saddlery changed fitters last year with the current one based in Ohio. Worked with her twice and she seems good. Been a fitter for a long time. What I like about CS saddlers is that the company does continuing education for them. I also like that CS saddles come in a wide variety of makes: diff twists, seat depths, blocks. So one can first fit the horse then fit the rider (that's my preference).

Have sat in all the Trilogy saddles and the twists felt very wide. Know the saddler in mi. Hate her dog.

dghunter
Jan. 9, 2011, 09:24 PM
Currently have a CS now on trial and looooove it. I'm in Ohio and the fitter was excellent :yes: I want to ride in it a couple more times but I think I'll be buying it!

atlatl
Jan. 9, 2011, 10:54 PM
I'm in So Cal. Wasted 9 months with Custom. They were so bad at fitting my horse that I gave up after 3 tries. The Trilogoy fitter was able to do a perfect fit the first time out. I liked the service so much that I bought another Trilogy for my new horse. I'm at a barn with over 100 horses, many Trilogy saddles, not a single Custom saddle that I know of.

magienoire
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:48 AM
I'm in So Cal. Wasted 9 months with Custom. They were so bad at fitting my horse that I gave up after 3 tries. The Trilogoy fitter was able to do a perfect fit the first time out. I liked the service so much that I bought another Trilogy for my new horse. I'm at a barn with over 100 horses, many Trilogy saddles, not a single Custom saddle that I know of.

This was my experience with Custom also. Just a **HUGE** waste of time and energy. I also went through 3 tries, repeated tracings, photos, angry letters, phone calls, the whole crappin' 9 yards. I cannot for the life of me figure out how this company has any following at all.

I don't have any experience with Trilogy, so I cannot speak for them. I have dealt with Schleese, and I would certainly see what they had to say regarding your horse. They make a very nice saddle, although I would say somewhat overpriced. If it works for you, though, it is worth it.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:55 AM
Have sat in all the Trilogy saddles and the twists felt very wide.

Wow, that's weird. The Trilogy Verago pretty much has the narrowest twist I could find on a saddle.

All three brands the OP is looking at are pretty different. I found the newer Custom Saddlery saddles to be poorly made for the price, and few I know of have had good luck recently. I found the Trilogy Saddles to be much better constructed on average, and contrary to the above poster, I ended up buying the Trilogy on the recommendation of Steffen Peters assistant specifically because I needed a very narrow twist.

Best thing to do is try as many different makes and models as you can.

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:55 AM
I know people who have had great success AND great failure with all three saddle companies. The problem with saddles - there is no "one size fits all" - every horse and rider is different. And saddle fitter skills differ significantly. Talk to people in your area that have used the fitters you would be using, then try the different saddles before making a choice.

I personally ride in a Custom Advantage - but did go through some trials and tribulations with the original fitter in my area. Subsequent fitter is SO MUCH BETTER! Trilogy is not even allowed in one barn I know, such bad experiences. Yet a client (one who bought one of my horses) swears by her Trilogy - both horse and rider are happy.

Your best bet is to find out about your specific region's fitter, and then look for the saddle that feels most comfortable. Good luck with the saddle search! Those are all reputable, quality saddles with many happy customers and a few unhappy - that is the way of saddle fitting!

stryder
Jan. 10, 2011, 10:56 AM
You didn't ask about this, but you may also want to try a Ryder saddle. Ryder makes the Trilogy saddles as well as the Legacy saddles for Dressage Extensions.

I just bought a new Ryder Zara, and it's fabulous. One very nice feature is the adjustable stirrup bars. It has 3 positions, so it's easier to get your legs directly under you.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:02 AM
Trilogy is not even allowed in one barn I know, such bad experiences. Yet a client (one who bought one of my horses) swears by her Trilogy - both horse and rider are happy.

Since I am in the same area as you, I would have to say that the Trilogy Saddles are excellent (although don't fit everyone, as they are very deep, flat, with a very straight flap). I would imagine the problem at you barn is more with the personality of the saddle fitter than with the saddles themselves, and think that should be mentioned. I know several people that simply cannot deal with her personality.

It is unfortunate that we have some pretty difficult personalities to deal with here in NorCal. I will never even consider an Albion Saddle ever again, and it's not because I hate the saddles! ;)

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:05 AM
You didn't ask about this, but you may also want to try a Ryder saddle. Ryder makes the Trilogy saddles

This is not 100% true. They make the Amadeo saddle, which is the Trilogy with a VERY WIDE twist.

The Verago is made by another saddler
http://www.cardanelsaddles.co.uk/s-verago-dressage.htm

stryder
Jan. 10, 2011, 11:37 AM
This is not 100% true. They make the Amadeo saddle, which is the Trilogy with a VERY WIDE twist.

The Verago is made by another saddler
http://www.cardanelsaddles.co.uk/s-verago-dressage.htm

Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate your correction.

MysticOakRanch
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:01 PM
Since I am in the same area as you, I would have to say that the Trilogy Saddles are excellent (although don't fit everyone, as they are very deep, flat, with a very straight flap). I would imagine the problem at you barn is more with the personality of the saddle fitter than with the saddles themselves, and think that should be mentioned. I know several people that simply cannot deal with her personality.

It is unfortunate that we have some pretty difficult personalities to deal with here in NorCal. I will never even consider an Albion Saddle ever again, and it's not because I hate the saddles! ;)

No, it wasn't a personality issue, although, hahahaha, I know of the Albion rep to whom you refer:lol: As I noted in my post, no "one size fits all", and this was a case of a saddle that would not, could not fit, and a company that would not refund without legal threat and huge battle. At the same time, I also noted a success story with the same fitter. I could tell a similar Schleese story - NONE of the saddle makers will fit every single horse and rider well. NONE of them. There will be success and failure stories with every single saddle out there. There is no perfect saddle for all horses and all riders.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 10, 2011, 12:09 PM
No, it wasn't a personality issue, although, hahahaha, I know of the Albion rep to whom you refer:lol: As I noted in my post, no "one size fits all", and this was a case of a saddle that would not, could not fit, and a company that would not refund without legal threat and huge battle. At the same time, I also noted a success story with the same fitter. I could tell a similar Schleese story - NONE of the saddle makers will fit every single horse and rider well. NONE of them. There will be success and failure stories with every single saddle out there. There is no perfect saddle for all horses and all riders.

Understood. I have to tell you, this is why I don't buy new saddles. Unfortunately for the saddle fitters, I have my horses fit, then buy a used one in the correct tree size.

I do this because they will not guarantee the saddle that shows up will fit correctly, it is a nearly $4000 "as is sale"! All saddles are hand made and vary slightly, and some trees are defective. Most of the used saddle dealers will allow a 1 week trial. So with a used saddle you save a thousand dollars or more, and get a trial. The saddle makers are shooting themselves in the foot.

InsideLeg2OutsideRein
Jan. 10, 2011, 01:22 PM
I swear by Custom Saddlery. Both my TB (and I went through three other expensive saddles before the Custom that actually worked for him!) and my young mare have their saddles. Love them, love them, love them, and their rep is good to work with here in the Bay Area.

Spring
Jan. 10, 2011, 01:46 PM
Here at our barn Custom's saddles are by far the most popular. We find the people are very good to deal with but as the number of orders increases, delays are inevitable. I am not familiar with trilogy but found Schleese difficult to deal with. Custom has always allowed my boarders to use the saddle for a trial before requiring payment so I don't see how so many problems could arise. Maybe things on the West Coast are run differently?

atr
Jan. 10, 2011, 02:38 PM
I'm very happy with my Trilogy Amadeo. It is a nicely made saddle. I sprang for the Elite leather, which I'm glad about.

I also am fortunate in having a very good local saddle fitter/Trilogy rep--I think this makes all the difference, no matter what saddle you buy. And it would be the deal-maker for me depending on my local area and who was available.

She's adjusted it so it fits me perfectly as well as my horse. When it first arrived and I rode in it, I thought I'd made a rather expensive mistake, but she persisted with a series of minor changes to the balance of the seat, and got it "just right."

She's been back a few times over the past couple of years to tweak things a bit as we've changed shape, and she's extremely reasonable and very thorough. And she's there within a couple of days of my calling.

Out here in darkest Utah, there's a lot to be said for that. A lot of people out here ride in Schleeses (I've never found one I'm personally comfortable in,) and their fitter comes through every few months. If you have a problem in between times, you are stuck until they turn up, because having anyone else work on your saddle obviates the warranty (it does with Trilogy too, btw.)

Equi88
Jan. 10, 2011, 02:39 PM
Julie Weitzel is the fitter for CS in Ohio. Very good!!!
When it's time to replace my saddle, I will def. call her. Love the Wolfgang Solo for my wide shouldered horse. It has a narrow twist, long external thigh blocks, and you couldn't sit crooked in it if you tried.... :-)

akrogirl
Jan. 10, 2011, 03:13 PM
This was my experience with Custom also. Just a **HUGE** waste of time and energy. I also went through 3 tries, repeated tracings, photos, angry letters, phone calls, the whole crappin' 9 yards. I cannot for the life of me figure out how this company has any following at all.

I don't have any experience with Trilogy, so I cannot speak for them. I have dealt with Schleese, and I would certainly see what they had to say regarding your horse. They make a very nice saddle, although I would say somewhat overpriced. If it works for you, though, it is worth it.

I bought an off the shelf Custom saddle that worked really well for my mare for almost a year. Something changed and I had the fitters from Custom come out to adjust it for me. Well, they just altered everything possible, gave me the saddle back and left without waiting to see if the changes worked. I asked if they were going to hang around and give me chance to try it and the lady just told me that she knew what she was doing and that it would work. It didn't, and nor did any of the other saddles they brought out on the next visit - my mare is not an easy horse to fit.

That said, my trainer, and several other people I know, love their Custom saddles, and they do come out more frequently than any other vendor to do adjustments. I still plan on trying to get my Custom adjusted to fit my other mare, who is a much more straight forward horse to fit, since I really like the position the saddle puts me in and the feel I can get from the horse.

I am currently waiting for my custom Schleese to be shipped. Unfortunately, medical reasons are going to affect my ability to try the saddle any time soon. I have been riding my mare in a loaner saddle from Schleese that worked for my mare but which had the wrong seat for me.

I have only been able to try one Trilogy and didn't like it as much as the Schleese.

One thing I liked about Schleese was the longer trial period. Custom gave me very little time to ride in their demo saddles and offered a very short trial period. I didn't feel that I would be able to get my mare back to where she needed to be to make a realistic assessment in the time they were going to give me (she can be fine at the walk and trot, and totally hate the saddle at the canter).

I looked into other companies but either they wouldn't come out to Arizona, or they expected me to order a saddle without even being able to try one first.

dghunter
Jan. 11, 2011, 06:28 AM
Julie Weitzel is the fitter for CS in Ohio. Very good!!!
When it's time to replace my saddle, I will def. call her. Love the Wolfgang Solo for my wide shouldered horse. It has a narrow twist, long external thigh blocks, and you couldn't sit crooked in it if you tried.... :-)

That's the exact one I have! It's amazing! We must have tried about 15 saddles before finding this one. Horse is soooo hard to fit.

Julie came out, took his measurements, adjusted the saddle, put it on him and had me ride. She watched me ride for quite awhile before deciding the fit was good :yes: Horse loves it, I love it. She said if we're ever at a show she's more than happy to come over and check on how it's looking and she'll always come out to check it.

CelticRiverDance
Jan. 11, 2011, 11:28 AM
I bought an off the shelf Custom saddle that worked really well for my mare for almost a year. Something changed and I had the fitters from Custom come out to adjust it for me. Well, they just altered everything possible, gave me the saddle back and left without waiting to see if the changes worked. I asked if they were going to hang around and give me chance to try it and the lady just told me that she knew what she was doing and that it would work. It didn't, and nor did any of the other saddles they brought out on the next visit - my mare is not an easy horse to fit.


I'm near Custom Saddlery in Medford, NJ. Fred (there top fitter) came out to fit a saddle of mine and damaged it. I did not realize it was damaged until after he left. I brought the saddle into the shop and he acknowledged the damage but would not do anything about it. Including any type of repair or refund of my fitting charges. Also, the Custom Advantage that I had was great to ride in but the leather did not hold up well. It was the fully custom top of the line one and was made of buffalo. The seat area got lines in it and looked like the leather might split but never did. Made me very nervous. I'd never buy from them again. They also did the same thing to me regarding the post fitting ride. Fred told me he new what he was doing and didn't need to see me ride in the saddle to make sure of the proper fit. What a crock!

I have to agree with who ever posted that Custom Saddlery's new saddles are not a very good quality. I think they are putting out a lot of saddles (off the rack models) that are cheaper ($2,000 +) to try to compete with the cheaper saddles out there (key word being "cheap").

I have two Albions now. An SLK and a Platinum Genisis SLK and love them both. The fitter in my area was easy to deal with and did a very professional job for me. Wanted to see me ride in the saddle after the adjustments to insure correct fit. Made sense to me.

knub
Jan. 11, 2011, 12:23 PM
For the people that said Custom saddles were poorly made, what lead you to believe that they were poorly made, what went wrong with the saddle.

I'm in the process of buying one and hope I didn't make a mistake.
But the rep. was very nice and I do get to try it before I make my final decision to buy it. I decided on the Everest, my horse loved it and it sat me in a nice position.

dotneko
Jan. 11, 2011, 01:07 PM
Love my CS saddle.
I have two students that have them also and they
love theirs (and I love riding their horses in them)
I tried a Schleese and liked the fit, but their turn
around time was horrific. The horse (or I) could be dead
by the time it came in (over 6 months was the estimate)
Mine was fitted by Carey.

akrogirl
Jan. 11, 2011, 02:15 PM
Love my CS saddle.
I have two students that have them also and they
love theirs (and I love riding their horses in them)
I tried a Schleese and liked the fit, but their turn
around time was horrific. The horse (or I) could be dead
by the time it came in (over 6 months was the estimate)
Mine was fitted by Carey.

Interesting. I ordered my Schleese at around the same time that another girl at our barn ordered a Custom, and the saddles were ready within days of one another. I know I was quoted almost identical turn around times by both companies of three to four months, so that didn't factor into my decision.

I would probably have gone with a Custom if they could have got one to fit because I did like my Custom when it worked.

Perfect Pony
Jan. 11, 2011, 03:30 PM
For the people that said Custom saddles were poorly made, what lead you to believe that they were poorly made, what went wrong with the saddle.

The one I ordered as a demo (it was brand new Advantage) had leather that felt more like Indian than English leather, and one of the flaps was sewn on incorrectly so the flap was twisted. The stitching also seemed poorly done. It just seemed like a cheap saddle.

hometowngirl
Jan. 13, 2011, 08:58 AM
Thanks for all the responses. I think I will talk to all 3, I have a friend who had fantastic luck with her Schleese and the saddle fitter so obviously that makes me feel better about them. Will at least talk to the others as I would like to sit in their saddles and see how they feel.

reefy!
Jan. 13, 2011, 11:44 AM
And I didn't love the fitter I had. Out of 2 of us at my barn, mine fits pretty well, the other gal's not at all which seems pretty hit or miss.

I had the massage lady out last night to confirm he's not sore after using it for a month. So far, so good! I still feel it's a hair too wide but better a hair too wide than a hair too narrow.

I've only had it a month but it's buffalo and super soft and grippy. One month in, I'm pretty happy with it. And my horse goes great in it so I can't argue with that.

I agree, their saddles and how they fit will depend entirely on WHO is doing the fitting. I kind of think I got lucky in the whole process in that a not great fitter 'luckily' got it right!

lwk
Jan. 13, 2011, 07:35 PM
I bought a top-of-the-line CS Wolfgang Expression in buffalo this fall and am very happy with it. YMMV, but I tried the latest and greatest Albion too and the CS beat it hands down.

smithereens_86
Jan. 14, 2011, 11:19 AM
This is not 100% true. They make the Amadeo saddle, which is the Trilogy with a VERY WIDE twist.

The Verago is made by another saddler
http://www.cardanelsaddles.co.uk/s-verago-dressage.htm

I have been borrowing a Trilogy Amadeo while saddle shopping. The Trilogy fits my horse, but neither me nor the two trainers at the barn who have tried the saddle can ride in it without getting rubbed badly by it. Very nice saddle, and I would love it, aside from the rubbing!! Can't do posting trot forever though, gotta sit in the saddle at some point.

~Shelly~

Kadenz
Jan. 14, 2011, 01:11 PM
I bought a lightly used, top-of-the-line buffalo leather Custom Saddlery Revolution model, several years ago. I bought it directly from CS.

It was in absolutely beautiful condition, considering the sizeable amount I saved by buying it "used." Having already ridden in one, I knew I loved the model. It was fit to my horse by one of their fitters, and has had checkups about every year. The leather and workmanship is high quality; after several years, it's still my favorite saddle to ride in. Admittedly, I don't take the best care of it, cosmetically speaking, but a quick cleaning and conditioning makes it look like new again.

I've worked with two of their fitters, and both were wonderful. One is currently in OH and the other is in NY.

There are probably 20 different Custom saddles in our tack room right now, ranging from older to brand new; off-the-rack to custom; buffalo leather and smooth leather; cared for and abused;). All of our clients who have decided to purchase from CS have been satisfied, as far as I know; even a couple who had difficult-to-fit or ever-changing horses: in every instance, Custom has honored their work and made it right.

SBrentnall
Jan. 14, 2011, 01:23 PM
It really depends on the fitter in your area. I've owned saddles from all three companies. Here are my thoughts:

Schleese - Owned a Jane Savoie flair. Worked fantastically for my narrow TB since it puffed him out enough for my leg to have something to wrap around. Didn't work as well on my next horse, a wide WB. First fitting done brilliantly by Jochen. When they changed fitters several years later, I had two unsuccessful fittings before giving up and switching saddles.

Custom - Moved onto a Custom Advantage, as did many others in my barn. First fitting by Cary Wallace (owner) and saddle fit like a glove. Eventually, horse widened to the point that the saddle had too much leather under my leg. Had three unsuccessful fittings before giving up. Saddle is currently for sale.

Trilogy - Just bought a Verago in June. Fits horse perfectly, and fits me better than anything I've ever had. Legs hang straight down from hips in a way I didn't think was possible. Fitter got perfect fit first time. Downside: they're a smaller company, so unlike Custom, they don't offer loaners while you're waiting.

SBrentnall
Jan. 14, 2011, 01:26 PM
I have been borrowing a Trilogy Amadeo while saddle shopping. The Trilogy fits my horse, but neither me nor the two trainers at the barn who have tried the saddle can ride in it without getting rubbed badly by it. Very nice saddle, and I would love it, aside from the rubbing!! Can't do posting trot forever though, gotta sit in the saddle at some point.

~Shelly~

I had that same problem with the one I borrowed to try. Turns out the seats sizing is a little smaller than other saddles. When I bought mine, I ordered an 18 instead of 17.5 (I'm 5' 8" and weigh 125). The extra room is perfect. Now the only time I rub is when my pelvis is locked up and I'm due for a chiro adjustment.

skykingismybaby1
Jan. 14, 2011, 08:38 PM
I just moved up to a Link II from a JES Schleese and adore it! It is a perfect fit for my short backed big barreled gelding. We have made more progress in the last 9 months than we have in the last 3 years!

Saddle bought from and fitted by Ronni at Skylands Saddlery, she is a Schleese trained fitter.

princessfluffybritches
Jan. 14, 2011, 08:55 PM
I have learned a few things in all the times I've tried saddles; expensive does not fit any better than less expensive.

German made saddles tended to put me in a correct position and keep me there, as well as older English saddles.

I could have bought anything I wanted, but just fell in love with a Max Hopfner, and an (Albion) Mansion House. The hopfner has a narrower twist. Both fit me and one of my horses perfectly.

Sometimes things just pop up that a person has never given any thought to.

Bugs-n-Frodo
Jan. 15, 2011, 10:00 PM
I am also currently looking for a new USED dressage saddle. I am looking at Schleese, Albion and CS, I can't find a Trilogy anywhere CLOSE to my price range. I have ridden in the last two and loved the CS Wolfgang Solo... I liked the Albion too, but only got to ride in it once. My problem is, money is a huge factor, I do not have a lot to spend and those three are tough to find in my price range. If I could, I'd go for the CS though and I will if I can find one, though, I'd like to try the Advantage before I decide.

Good luck!

czgm7r
Jan. 15, 2011, 11:08 PM
I just bought a trilogy Debbie special, very narrow twist. Love the saddle. Trainer loves the saddle. Fitter was great to deal with and I've issues with fitters before causing bad back issues for my horse.
My advice sit in everything you can. Don't make a quick decision. Don't buy the same day your try the saddle first time - don't have your credit card with you.:lol::lol: I first sat in Trilogy a year ago loved it but it the first saddle I tried. I needed to make sure my decision was the right one. I sat in County saddles, albion etc. and came back to the Trilogy. Almost exactly a year later bought the Special and couldn't be happier because I know, for me, it was the right decision. You may not like the Trilogy saddles due to your personal preferences but you'll only know which one fits you and your horse best by trying them.:yes:

Cooper
May. 22, 2011, 12:46 PM
I bought a Custom VLX 6 years ago and still love, love, love that saddle. Unfortunately, all the subsequent saddles I have ordered from CS have been of poor quality. I don't know what happened to the saddles, but it doesn't help that Cary moved to NC. He did a great job making the saddles work. They use to be "the" saddle to have in this area, now people won't even consider them. I think the company just got too big. I have since gone to Albion, and really like the quality and fit of the saddle.

AllWeatherGal
May. 22, 2011, 02:14 PM
I have had several Schleeses and liked them all. First ones were semi custom made (many, many years ago), the last two have been ... and one of them (jumping saddle) was reworked to fit a new horse for only $750!!!

Jochen has done all the initial measurements with my first trainer and all the inspection for restuffing, etc. At my new trainer's barn there are also a lot of Schleeses ... her's in particular. She likes her local saddle fitters and does not rely on Jochen's visits.

When they're done right, they are outstanding. If measurements are off, or the style or saddle itself doesn't *quite* fit ... it's a nightmare. And I know more than a handful of people who just have not gotten a Schleese to work out for them.

JLR1
May. 22, 2011, 11:13 PM
I bought a used Schleese Wave from Fine Used Saddles and had it fit by Kristen a Schleese rep and could not be more pleased with the fit for both me and my horse. The leather and workmanship on a Schleese is hard to beat.

Bugs-n-Frodo
May. 23, 2011, 10:33 AM
In the end, I ended up buying a County Perfection. Though it is quite a bit different from the saddle I was riding in before, I love it!

OTTB FTW
May. 23, 2011, 10:37 AM
LOVE my Schleese, had it custom made for a wide horse, was able to adjust the tree and some wool for a narrow one. The leather has held up BEAUTIFULLY for 8 years now, with a ton of mileage. Still looks like new when polished.