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View Full Version : I LOVE USED Saddles...BUT Another thread about Toulouse saddles...



RunForIt
Jan. 2, 2012, 08:22 AM
...particularly the Marielle XC saddle, but need input about the others as well. i'M EDITING THIS TO SAY I"M DESPERATE TO GET A SADDLE FOR MY STAY AT HOME HORSE. Yes, I've read the recent posts, but still need more info. I've got a LOVELY Black Country Vinici jump saddle for Rasta but he's off with a friend getting ready for his Training debut. I've got a horse to ride while he's out eventing but need a saddle (bareback riding is fine occasionally and lately I've done a lot of it, but sorry, those days are LONG behind me for more than walking and jog trots :lol: ). The Toulouse saddles are affordable (sorta) and I don't need the saddle to last forever (plan on being back in my lovely BC Vinici jump by late spring at the latest!), though needs to fit well cause the "second" horse will always be ridden for trail riding, lessons, etc.

Could someone out there with Toulouse saddles let me know the following:

what is the measurement of the gullet for a medium tree saddle?
what is the measurement of the gullet for a wide tree saddle?
for all models other than the Marielle, have you jumped novice -Training XC fences in your saddle? If so pluses and minuses?I've got to get something affordable AND that fits well as soon as possible. My friend and I are currently playing tag with saddles and live about an hour and a half from each other!!!! THANKS!!!! :winkgrin: :cool:

eventer_mi
Jan. 2, 2012, 08:46 AM
The problem is, Lynda, that from what I've noticed about these saddles, they tend to be a little lax on the quality control, so that one saddle differs wildly from the other in terms of balance. So, just because one saddle has divine balance over fences does not necessarily mean that another one in the same make will have the same balance. Also, the flocking in these saddles is also suspect - my saddle fitter has taken several apart after scanning them only to find very uneven/inconsistent flocking.

Do you think you could be better off finding a Philiip Fontaine (similar price range, but far more consistent - from what I've seen - in quality)? Or a Collegiate? Or a used stubben? Just a thought....I've not been impressed with the Toulouse saddles.

deltawave
Jan. 2, 2012, 09:01 AM
SmartPak has (or had) a no-strings test-ride program for theh Toulouse saddles--choose the one you like, try it, and if it doesn't work you're only out $25 to send it back. You might also try calling them to see if someone can measure a gullet for you, but personally I would just order one for a test ride and see if it suits. :)

RunForIt
Jan. 2, 2012, 10:25 AM
The problem is, Lynda, that from what I've noticed about these saddles, they tend to be a little lax on the quality control, so that one saddle differs wildly from the other in terms of balance. So, just because one saddle has divine balance over fences does not necessarily mean that another one in the same make will have the same balance. Also, the flocking in these saddles is also suspect - my saddle fitter has taken several apart after scanning them only to find very uneven/inconsistent flocking.

Do you think you could be better off finding a Philiip Fontaine (similar price range, but far more consistent - from what I've seen - in quality)? Or a Collegiate? Or a used stubben? Just a thought....I've not been impressed with the Toulouse saddles.

I can always count on you! Thanks to you, too DW!!! Saddles are such a PITA! I get one that works and then send that horse off...and...need another saddle - ACK! :lol: :cool: So, I'll do a search on the ones you suggested eventer_mi...any chance you might email your saddle fitter and see if she might have any 17" mediums on the wider side of medium or a MW? hmmmm....??? :D xoxo

Fancy That
Jan. 2, 2012, 10:36 AM
I've heard similiar about Tolouse, but some folks LOVE THEM. If you want to talk to Lynda at Classic Saddlery, she can help you. They have tons and many on super clearance.

But if it were me, and I had about $1000, I'd get a nice USED Albion, Barnsby, Ainsley, Smith Worthington, Baines, Northrun/Ashland, Ashley & Clarke, or you can even find a used County (I know of a Stabilzer for $900)

All of the above saddles are very high-quality and can be found USED for very reasonable. You still have to do your research to see which model/size would fit - and that is the hard part.

What I did was a combination of finding saddles at consignment stores, locally, plus scouring local classifieds plus shipping back and forth the demo saddles or online consignment.

Shipping will be expensive as you will likely have to try more than a couple. But it's worth paying even $100 in shipping, if say you found a perfect Albion K2 in used condition for $700 (I found one for that price on ebay)

Oh - and Bates can easily be had for that budget. I loved my older Caprilli Close Contact, but never jumped more than 3 feet. Rode that thing through heck and high water and love it (until I got my County Innovation XTR)


Good luck. Saddle shopping is a pain!

pheasantknoll
Jan. 2, 2012, 10:56 AM
Why not try out an MT in the adjustable? Then when you have other horses, you have a saddle you can adjust to get by.

wildlifer
Jan. 2, 2012, 11:58 AM
Some of the Toulouse saddles are fantastic, but as observed, quality control is a BIG problem. So you never know what you'll get. Also just talked to my saddle fitter about their new adjustable trees and her response was not favourable -- she said that whenever you adjust it, it goes all wonky, the balance point changes, the shape changes and their little system does not work well at all. I was sad to hear that but it was what I had suspected.

jn4jenny
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:02 PM
RFI, let me be extremely frank. I hope you know by now, after all our years of correspondence during your saddle fitting trials, that I'm pretty objective about saddle brands. I think there's a happy customer to be had for 95% of brands on the market. In the past three months, I've helped three people buy saddles on $600 budgets--and we came in UNDER budget every time. In short, I wish to remind you that I am not a brand-ist nor a price-ist.

But friends don't let friends buy the Toulouse Marielle Monoflap. In fact, friends generally don't let friends buy Toulouse saddles at all. I kept my mouth shut on your last thread because I was sure someone else would say it, but they didn't, so let me say it as clearly as possible: don't do it because none of us want to hear from you in 6 to 12 months about how it's either a) not fitting your horse, b) falling apart, or c) impeding your riding because the flap and blocks are so weirdly placed.

If you insist on proceeding, here's a key hint: you can't just measure any old Toulouse to get the measurements you want. The brand's entire schtick is to attempt to knock off high-end brands and models--usually poorly, although there are a few notable exceptions--and that means they're using a huge diversity of tree and panel configurations. This is not like, say, Berney Brothers or Dominus where they all fit pretty much the same.

This means, for example, that the tree in a Marielle monoflap may have very little in common with other Toulouses. So if you want Marielle measurements, you need someone to measure a Marielle. Lynda at Classic Saddlery probably has one lying around.

*In general* a lot of the Toulouse trees run small, meaning a wide tree is going to be more like a medium-wide tree in a high-end brand such as Amerigo or Devoucoux. But again, that really depends. Some of the Toulouse dressage saddles, for example, are building a wide tree that I'd say is a "true" wide.

I will skip my rant about the Marielle being "based on" the Vega monoflap, but I hope you hear me stifling my laughter on that topic all the way from Ohio. Some of their other knockoffs are much closer to their mark--the Premia, for example, is a remarkably good structural knockoff of the Prestige Jumper R. And it's made of a "calfskin-like" leather that is thin as toilet tissue and shrivels up to look like an old lady's face. I digress, let's move on.

If you only have $1000 to blow and you insist on buying something new instead of used, there are FAR better choices in that price range. The Collegiate Convertible Diploma is a lovely little saddle and is wool flocked to boot. The Ovation offerings are some of the very best in the sub-$1000 price range; I am particularly fond of the Ovation 4-Star Eventing for a long-legged rider, but the Competition Jump is a nice saddle too. The Phillippe Fontaine line coming out of Stubben or the HDR Rivella and Devrel lines are nice choices for someone like yourself who prefers that French/Italian type ride. I also think the synthetic Tekna A4 jump saddle with the suede seat and knee roll is a MAJOR sleeper hit under $1000; it retails at under $500 and its built on the same tree technology as the more expensive Prestige saddles. The Tekna can be dealer-adjusted to your tracings for the handsome price of $100, it can be adjusted with wool flocking, and it balances acceptably well for the rider.

And of course, this is before we talk about used saddles. I still think the old-style discontinued Wintec Pro Jump is the King of Cheap Used Eventing Saddles. But you didn't ask about used saddles, so I'll not continue this paragraph.

And as someone else has already said, the quality control on Toulouse saddles is painfully inconsistent. The leather quality is poor--either flimsy or cardboardy, take your pick depending on the model--the panels are stuffed with cheap felt and foam, and it's not unusual to see Toulouses with subtly asymmetric panels or billets. Toulouse preys on customers who don't bother to do things like "stand behind the saddle while it's on a rack and really eyeball the panels to see if they're tacked on evenly, then lift up the flaps to compare the billet placement on each side."

Okay, now I'll say something slightly nicer. I have met precisely three people who had long-term success with their Toulouse saddles. These three people own what saddle fitters would consider the most boring, generic horses on earth. Utterly average withers, straight toplines, unintrusive shoulders. These folks won the saddle fitting lottery. One of them is very happy with her older Toulouse. Another keeps her Premia because it fits the horse, but the leather looks like absolute hell. A third has this Padgette that fits the horse and her beautifully, so she tolerates the cardboardy texture of the leather (it's two years old. It won't break in. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was still brand new--and I don't mean that as a compliment.)

Lynda dear, you know how this ballgame goes. I haven't seen your new horse, so maybe you've won the saddle fitting lottery this time. But after what you've gone through with Rasta, surely you know the drill. Break out that wither tracing and that photo of the horse standing squarely from the side, and it should become enormously clear which brands/models are in contention.

If you are still seriously considering the Marielle--and God, I hope you're not--I'd say that saddle fits horses that are mostly flat in the topline with unremarkable shoulders/non-pronounced scapulas, although idiotically the panel flares just slightly in the back which gives many people the false hope that it'll fit a more curvy topline (it doesn't). The Marielle does have pretty good wither clearance, better than some of the other Toulouses. The flap is cut only moderately forward and the block placement in front makes it best for stick-thin or very short-legged riders. The flap/block "cram effect" is complicated by the high cantle, which forces you to sit more forward on the seat, thereby cramming you even tighter into that front block. Thus, I absolutely would not recommend it for someone with a big behind or long legs.

IFG
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:14 PM
Agree with J4jenny. I cannot believe that you can't find something nicer used. If you are interested in an older Ainsley Chester, shoot me a PM.

RunForIt
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:50 PM
:cool:
RFI, let me be extremely frank. I hope you know by now, after all our years of correspondence during your saddle fitting trials, that I'm pretty objective about saddle brands. I think there's a happy customer to be had for 95% of brands on the market. In the past three months, I've helped three people buy saddles on $600 budgets--and we came in UNDER budget every time. In short, I wish to remind you that I am not a brand-ist nor a price-ist.

But friends don't let friends buy the Toulouse Marielle Monoflap. In fact, friends generally don't let friends buy Toulouse saddles at all. I kept my mouth shut on your last thread because I was sure someone else would say it, but they didn't, so let me say it as clearly as possible: don't do it because none of us want to hear from you in 6 to 12 months about how it's either a) not fitting your horse, b) falling apart, or c) impeding your riding because the flap and blocks are so weirdly placed.

If you insist on proceeding, here's a key hint: you can't just measure any old Toulouse to get the measurements you want. The brand's entire schtick is to attempt to knock off high-end brands and models--usually poorly, although there are a few notable exceptions--and that means they're using a huge diversity of tree and panel configurations. This is not like, say, Berney Brothers or Dominus where they all fit pretty much the same.

This means, for example, that the tree in a Marielle monoflap may have very little in common with other Toulouses. So if you want Marielle measurements, you need someone to measure a Marielle. Lynda at Classic Saddlery probably has one lying around.

*In general* a lot of the Toulouse trees run small, meaning a wide tree is going to be more like a medium-wide tree in a high-end brand such as Amerigo or Devoucoux. But again, that really depends. Some of the Toulouse dressage saddles, for example, are building a wide tree that I'd say is a "true" wide.

I will skip my rant about the Marielle being "based on" the Vega monoflap, but I hope you hear me stifling my laughter on that topic all the way from Ohio. Some of their other knockoffs are much closer to their mark--the Premia, for example, is a remarkably good structural knockoff of the Prestige Jumper R. And it's made of a "calfskin-like" leather that is thin as toilet tissue and shrivels up to look like an old lady's face. I digress, let's move on.

If you only have $1000 to blow and you insist on buying something new instead of used, there are FAR better choices in that price range. The Collegiate Convertible Diploma is a lovely little saddle and is wool flocked to boot. The Ovation offerings are some of the very best in the sub-$1000 price range; I am particularly fond of the Ovation 4-Star Eventing for a long-legged rider, but the Competition Jump is a nice saddle too. The Phillippe Fontaine line coming out of Stubben or the HDR Rivella and Devrel lines are nice choices for someone like yourself who prefers that French/Italian type ride. I also think the synthetic Tekna A4 jump saddle with the suede seat and knee roll is a MAJOR sleeper hit under $1000; it retails at under $500 and its built on the same tree technology as the more expensive Prestige saddles. The Tekna can be dealer-adjusted to your tracings for the handsome price of $100, it can be adjusted with wool flocking, and it balances acceptably well for the rider.

And of course, this is before we talk about used saddles. I still think the old-style discontinued Wintec Pro Jump is the King of Cheap Used Eventing Saddles. But you didn't ask about used saddles, so I'll not continue this paragraph.

And as someone else has already said, the quality control on Toulouse saddles is painfully inconsistent. The leather quality is poor--either flimsy or cardboardy, take your pick depending on the model--the panels are stuffed with cheap felt and foam, and it's not unusual to see Toulouses with subtly asymmetric panels or billets. Toulouse preys on customers who don't bother to do things like "stand behind the saddle while it's on a rack and really eyeball the panels to see if they're tacked on evenly, then lift up the flaps to compare the billet placement on each side."

Okay, now I'll say something slightly nicer. I have met precisely three people who had long-term success with their Toulouse saddles. These three people own what saddle fitters would consider the most boring, generic horses on earth. Utterly average withers, straight toplines, unintrusive shoulders. These folks won the saddle fitting lottery. One of them is very happy with her older Toulouse. Another keeps her Premia because it fits the horse, but the leather looks like absolute hell. A third has this Padgette that fits the horse and her beautifully, so she tolerates the cardboardy texture of the leather (it's two years old. It won't break in. If you didn't know better, you'd swear it was still brand new--and I don't mean that as a compliment.)

Lynda dear, you know how this ballgame goes. I haven't seen your new horse, so maybe you've won the saddle fitting lottery this time. But after what you've gone through with Rasta, surely you know the drill. Break out that wither tracing and that photo of the horse standing squarely from the side, and it should become enormously clear which brands/models are in contention.

If you are still seriously considering the Marielle--and God, I hope you're not--I'd say that saddle fits horses that are mostly flat in the topline with unremarkable shoulders/non-pronounced scapulas, although idiotically the panel flares just slightly in the back which gives many people the false hope that it'll fit a more curvy topline (it doesn't). The Marielle does have pretty good wither clearance, better than some of the other Toulouses. The flap is cut only moderately forward and the block placement in front makes it best for stick-thin or very short-legged riders. The flap/block "cram effect" is complicated by the high cantle, which forces you to sit more forward on the seat, thereby cramming you even tighter into that front block. Thus, I absolutely would not recommend it for someone with a big behind or long legs.


Agree with J4jenny. I cannot believe that you can't find something nicer used. If you are interested in an older Ainsley Chester, shoot me a PM.

...so, even before my best "help-me-find-yet-another-saddle" buddy n4jenny piped in here with her completely correct, THOROUGH essay on me, saddles, all told with the theme of "don't you EVER learn?" (thinking of that recent EN George Morris photo and caption :lol: ). Have spent most of the morning going through all of ebay's county, albion, amerigo, etc offerings...if I can manage to pay Rasta's entry fees AND spend a bit more, I'll probably hold out for either a county innovation or a stabilizer...I bought a stabilizer for Buddy following his EPM recovery and simply loved it for both trail riding and the itty bitty stuff he could still jump. If I was wildly rich I would get another Vinici jump saddle, love it to death, but right now, Rasta gets first dibs on it...and when I'm in the irons again, ME!!! But, right now, some accomadations are gonna have to be made...y'all please keep your eyes/ears open for County saddles, medium width, preferably 16.5 - 17.0 There's a 17.5 Conquest on ebay right now out of my price range but if it was my size I might be pulling out the dreaded credit card (love those 0 balances! - keeps my marriage intact! :yes: :D)...:cool:

eventer_mi
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:57 PM
Hmpf. Lynda, since I don't know what horse you're trying to fit BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T RESPONDED TO ME VIA FACEBOOK, I have no idea what kind of saddle would help you fit your pony. :D

Flat back, or curvy? Tall withers, or mutton withers? I know the type of balance you like, so it's just a matter of finding a saddle to fit your pony. I might have one for you, if you're looking for a MW - monoflap integra, 17ish seat (between 17-17.5) - WRITE ME, WOMAN!

deltawave
Jan. 2, 2012, 12:57 PM
Have you asked Seema? She has about 20 saddles in various states of being for sale. :D

jn4jenny
Jan. 2, 2012, 01:14 PM
LOL to eventer_mi. I'm dying to know too. All hail the County Stabilizer and County Innovation, but they're built for two radically different types of horses.

Besides, there are lots of ways to Ghetto It Up and Budget It Down when searching for a County Saddle. Find yourself one of the discontinued models that predate the Conquest/Innovation/Stabilizer. The Pro-Fit, Extreme, and Symmetry are often total steals on the market and ride similarly to the newer stuff. All dependent on what the horse looks like, of course.

Don't give up the Black Country Vinici dream either. This one's been in the Hastilow inventory for FREAKING EVER at $1490 so I bet they'd taken an offer on it:
http://www.hastilowusa.com/shop/index.php?action=item&id=359&prevaction=search&previd=&prevstart=0

And another although this one is priced more typically at $2500:
http://www.farmhousetack.com/servlet/the-2996/Used-Black-Country-Vinici/Detail

Fancy That
Jan. 2, 2012, 01:44 PM
Too bad it's a MN....not sure if it could be adjusted to Medium?

Link to the County Stablizer (http://www.horsegroomingsupplies.com/horse-forums/fs-17-mn-county-stabilizer-900-obo-445580.html)

:cool:



...so, even before my best "help-me-find-yet-another-saddle" buddy n4jenny piped in here with her completely correct, THOROUGH essay on me, saddles, all told with the theme of "don't you EVER learn?" (thinking of that recent EN George Morris photo and caption :lol: ). Have spent most of the morning going through all of ebay's county, albion, amerigo, etc offerings...if I can manage to pay Rasta's entry fees AND spend a bit more, I'll probably hold out for either a county innovation or a stabilizer...I bought a stabilizer for Buddy following his EPM recovery and simply loved it for both trail riding and the itty bitty stuff he could still jump. If I was wildly rich I would get another Vinici jump saddle, love it to death, but right now, Rasta gets first dibs on it...and when I'm in the irons again, ME!!! But, right now, some accomadations are gonna have to be made...y'all please keep your eyes/ears open for County saddles, medium width, preferably 16.5 - 17.0 There's a 17.5 Conquest on ebay right now out of my price range but if it was my size I might be pulling out the dreaded credit card (love those 0 balances! - keeps my marriage intact! :yes: :D)...:cool:

RunForIt
Jan. 2, 2012, 01:44 PM
eventer_mi, I just messaged you! I'm soooo sorry for taking so long and have wonderful excuses if you want to hear them - hahahaha :lol:


LOL to eventer_mi. I'm dying to know too. All hail the County Stabilizer and County Innovation, but they're built for two radically different types of horses.

Besides, there are lots of ways to Ghetto It Up and Budget It Down when searching for a County Saddle. Find yourself one of the discontinued models that predate the Conquest/Innovation/Stabilizer. The Pro-Fit, Extreme, and Symmetry are often total steals on the market and ride similarly to the newer stuff. All dependent on what the horse looks like, of course.

Don't give up the Black Country Vinici dream either. This one's been in the Hastilow inventory for FREAKING EVER at $1490 so I bet they'd taken an offer on it:
http://www.hastilowusa.com/shop/index.php?action=item&id=359&prevaction=search&previd=&prevstart=0

And another although this one is priced more typically at $2500:
http://www.farmhousetack.com/servlet/the-2996/Used-Black-Country-Vinici/Detail

jn4jenny, will post some pics soon - I saw the Vinici Tex Eventer earlier today...think it's a 17.5 though; will check again. The Vinici saddles are wonderful! I so appreciate you digging thru your treasure trove of possibilities...I will say, I've had a Conquest and really didn't like it as it was so bulky; Rasta ended up saying it just wasn't for him and I sold it in a nanosecond. Which County saddle has a tree for more curvy backs rather than flat? Buddy was pretty mutton withered and flat backed (but ever so slightly down hill) so the Stabilizer may have worked on him because it's for flatter backed horses? Or do they do the tree for the horse no matter waht model you order?

scubed
Jan. 2, 2012, 05:28 PM
Look for various walsall saddles. I have a Ryder that was 1200 new and equal to a bc or county. Just sold an older county pofit for $500 and the are everywhere for 700ish. I really liked it especially for the price. I have a list of nice current ones. Will send it.

Fancy That
Jan. 2, 2012, 05:37 PM
Or get a nice Made-in-Walsall, England Ashley & Clarke from Gayers:
http://www.gayerssaddlery.com/page5.php

:)

BTW, having tried the County Pro Fit, County STabilizer and County Innovation on my flat backed mare...they all had similar tree shapes from front to back. It's just the Innovation ran CRAZY WIDE. I bought the XW County Innovation XTR and LOVE that saddle. It fits more like a generous XXW for sure

tnscvaga
Jan. 2, 2012, 08:58 PM
Have you looked at the Area III classifieds? http://www.usea3.org/ed-classified/tid/3

There are a couple of Ainsleys,several Toulouses, and a wool flocked Bates.

RunForIt
Jan. 2, 2012, 10:16 PM
Have you looked at the Area III classifieds? http://www.usea3.org/ed-classified/tid/3

There are a couple of Ainsleys,several Toulouses, and a wool flocked Bates.

yes...have tried the Bates - very nice saddle but didn't work, the Ainsleys won't work with either horse, and I'm now rethinking Toulouses...:cool:

Fancy That
Jan. 3, 2012, 10:49 PM
BTW there is a brand-new-looking Albion 5000 close contact/jumping saddle for ASKING $800 (and says she'll take offers) on eBay. Unbelievable...... Looks like a generous Medium.

Flying Hippotamus
Feb. 10, 2012, 11:40 AM
If I don't let my friend buy the toulouse...
Is the Tekna grippy? close contact? I have the wintec isabell dressage and I love pleather or psuede or whatever. But the flaps on the tekna are they grippy enough for cross-country? She likes her grippy old saddle that is falling apart.

kashmere
Feb. 10, 2012, 02:17 PM
If I don't let my friend buy the toulouse...
Is the Tekna grippy? close contact? I have the wintec isabell dressage and I love pleather or psuede or whatever. But the flaps on the tekna are they grippy enough for cross-country? She likes her grippy old saddle that is falling apart.

Can I get in on the Tekna questions? Any opinions on how it might work for a long legged, stork-esque lady with a mildly ridiculous femur?

BRM04
Feb. 10, 2012, 09:13 PM
I wouldn't completely write off the marielle. I bought one last year. It works much better for me and my horse than the ainsley cross country I had previously. The Ainsley caused some back problems in my horse and wasn't helping my position at all. The Marielle has been great for us. I would say, just try the Marielle. If it doesn't work then oh well...but if it does you will be happy.

I_Heart_Eventing
Feb. 10, 2012, 10:06 PM
I have a Toulouse Premia that I loved riding in! Until my guys back started to sag a little bit....he is 21 this year. [edit]

tnscvaga
Feb. 11, 2012, 09:35 AM
Is this the Bates you already tried? https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150592342574777&set=o.324206425331&type=1&theater

If not and you need a phone number PM me or friend her on Facebook.

kittikatzen
Feb. 11, 2012, 11:16 AM
I agree, friends don't let friends buy Toulouse! What about a used anything else?

PolarXtu
Feb. 11, 2012, 03:43 PM
I have ridden in Black Country, County, Prestige... some pretty damned nice saddles. I have the Vega monoflap dressage saddle. So I'm used to some nice enough saddles.

I went ahead and bought the Marielle Monoflap two years ago. It's fit a skinny TB all the way to a large boned Hanoverian... pretty well! The leather has not "shriveled up like an old woman's face." It is well balanced, the leather is good quality, I have not been disappointed. I did a trade-in with my old Bates, and paid $650 for it, new.

I don't understand the constant bashing on Toulouse... obviously there have been some disappointed customers, but definitely not 99% of them!

Far_North_Equestrian
Feb. 11, 2012, 06:29 PM
Have you looked at the St. Lourdes saddles? I have their dressage saddle (the Magnus), which I LOVE, and have several friends that have purchased the Odyessy. They run around the same price as the Toulose, but the QC seems to be way better. My saddle fitter highly recomends them for those of us on a budget.

jen-s
Feb. 11, 2012, 11:10 PM
FWI, both Turnbull Mtn and Classic Saddlery are going to be carrying Kent & Masters (the monoflap) which has all wool flocking, adjustable tree, yummy leather, etc for ~$1300. I just trialed a Marielle and it was a no-go. I'm willing to bump my budget a hair on what Lynda swears will be 1000x nicer.

jn4jenny
Feb. 12, 2012, 12:35 AM
FWI, both Turnbull Mtn and Classic Saddlery are going to be carrying Kent & Masters (the monoflap) which has all wool flocking, adjustable tree, yummy leather, etc for ~$1300. I just trialed a Marielle and it was a no-go. I'm willing to bump my budget a hair on what Lynda swears will be 1000x nicer.

I have not seen the K&M monoflap but I've seen several of their other saddles, and the leather is definitely very competent for the price. Definitely nicer in terms of leather quality and workmanship than the Toulouse offerings in that same $1000-$1400 price range. The K&M saddles are close cousins of the Thorowgood saddles (like, REALLY close cousins) so if you've ever sat in a Thorowgood T6 Jumping (aka "the John Whitaker"), you've gotten in the ballpark of how the monoflap will probably ride.

While we're on this topic, Classic brand also makes a monoflap. I don't think Lynda stocks it, but I know of at least one stockist in Kentucky that claims he can get it delivered to the US for about $1100--and I'd bet Lynda can get that monoflap too at a similar price since she can get her double-flapped models around that price. Classic is technically a bench-made British brand, but they've started manufacturing a budget line in Argentina (hence the $1050-ish price tag instead of $1800+ for British benchmade). Argentinian tack used to smack of cheapness and poor quality, but these days you see some nice stuff coming out of Argentina, like the Jorge Canaves stuff (in the US, this is mostly sold under the Thornhill brand name.) Heck, even the high-end maker Stackhouse is joining the Argentine party with their off-the-rack Legado saddles.

Okay, turning off my Inner Saddle Nerd for the evening...

SEPowell
Feb. 12, 2012, 09:46 AM
Okay, turning off my Inner Saddle Nerd for the evening...
We love your inner saddle nerd :lol:

Bogie
Feb. 12, 2012, 11:17 AM
I still think the old-style discontinued Wintec Pro Jump is the King of Cheap Used Eventing Saddles.

Amen. You can pick these up for about $300. They are a remarkable bargain and actually pretty comfortable. I foxhunt in one frequently. Probably more often that in my vastly more expensive County or Stackhouse saddles :D.

TheJenners
Mar. 1, 2012, 05:55 PM
Except a lot of the used Wintec Pro Jumps you see out there for sale are NOT the old-style. They are the new style, which is NOT as nice.

Can I chime in here? I'm not bringing up a thread toooooo old, after all. I am looking at a Toulouse saddle because of the adjustable tree and have heard favorable reviews, so I'm still sticking with that. I have a 3 yo ISH gelding who will be changing a lot over the years, and want something to fit him. I don't ride at a high enough level to moan about the intricacies of a saddle interfering with me too much and "throwing" me off, esp not with growing baby. I know I fit a forward flap because of a long femur, bubble butt and a preference for short stirrups. Is anyone here more knowledgeable than myself willing to look at a picture of Mr Baby?? Lord knows I have plenty of pictures... Please? And if you see something that makes you recommend something else, totally cool with that, but the budget is pretty solid at ~$1500 and less (preferably less).

FWIW, I currently have a Devoucoux Oldara 18'' with a 2aa flap, medium tree. I do not want him tearing this saddle up, which he will probably do, which is why I'm looking for something to fit him as he grows over the next two years or so (yes I know he'll change until he's older, but hopefully by two years I'll trust him with the nicer saddle and it'll fit him passably).

jn4jenny
Mar. 1, 2012, 06:32 PM
Except a lot of the used Wintec Pro Jumps you see out there for sale are NOT the old-style. They are the new style, which is NOT as nice.

I agree re: the new ones, but they old ones are out there if you really keep your eyes peeled. I saw two in my recent saddle travels, both 17" seats. I suspect we'll see more going into March/April as the saddle market heats back up again and people start dumping old tack to finance their show season/buying new tack for show season too.


I know I fit a forward flap because of a long femur, bubble butt and a preference for short stirrups. Is anyone here more knowledgeable than myself willing to look at a picture of Mr Baby?? Lord knows I have plenty of pictures... Please? And if you see something that makes you recommend something else, totally cool with that, but the budget is pretty solid at ~$1500 and less (preferably less).

I'll bite, but you see my declared distaste already for Toulouse products. FWIW I *do* recommend their improved Pariani cousins, and in certain *very specific* situations I have recommended *certain* Toulouse products. For example, I am less hard on their dressage models although I wish they'd build more of them out of grain leather instead of that ridiculous tissue-paper-over-cardboard double leather. The Toulouse Aachen with the Genesis gullet is perhaps the only Genesis gullet saddle in their lineup that I'd seriously recommend to anyone, and I still think most folks could do a LOT better for $1500 than the Toulouse Aachen. Pity, really, since the Genesis gullet technology is really cool (and has been used for years by Classic, a very nice British benchmade brand that won't cost you a whole lot more than a Toulouse with a Genesis gullet.)

But I'd say 90% of buyers would be better served by other brands in the sub-$1500 price range.

TheJenners
Mar. 2, 2012, 01:23 AM
Well, what would you recommend that has the same interchangeable gullet type system?

jn4jenny
Mar. 2, 2012, 06:04 AM
Well, what would you recommend that has the same interchangeable gullet type system?

With just the Genesis gullet system? It's not a very common system, so I can only recommend the brands that have it and aren't building POSes: Classic/Rembrandt or Laser, both of which are going to be tough (but not totally impossible) to find on your budget. And the Toulouse Aachen, but JUST the Toulouse Aachen not the other Toulouse saddles with the Genesis gullet. Beyond that I can't be more specific until I've seen the horse. ;)

Here's the thing about user-adjustable gullet saddles. Many folks with young horses seem to find them very seductive as a concept, but they are not, on average, going to help you with a growing horse any more than a fixed-width saddle would. Yes, you gain the adjustability of the gullet width. In exchange, you lose a lot of fit accommodations elsewhere because excepting the much higher-end adjustable saddles like Laser and Classic, most of the adjustable gullet models on the lower-end market are built on a law of averages. In an attempt to suit a huge variety of horses, the manufacturers build a saddle that's often very moderate in every other regard. Moderate wither clearance. Moderate curvature to the panel. Moderate thickness of the flocking or foam panel.

And name one horse you know who is moderately everything in their back and stays that way the entire time they are growing. I've met a few. Emphasis there on "few."

All it will take is for your horse to sprout a taller or longer wither or for them to change significantly in gullet width, and suddenly you've got a pommel arch problem that often can't be solved with correctional/shimmable padding. Either the horse got more narrow and developed dips behind the shoulder, and now there's no wither clearance. Or the horse gets wider and that necessitates a gullet widening, and now there's no wither clearance. Which is why if folks DO buy an adjustable gullet model, I *strongly* encourage them to buy a wool-flocked version. I am not anti-foam-panel but I am anti-foam in that particular situation. At least then you've got a fighting chance of lifting the saddle up and off a wither, or adjusting panel shape, etc. Which is why if really pressed, my top choices for user-adjustable gullet saddles under $1500 are the Toulouse Aachen with Genesis gullet (dressage) and the Collegiate Convertible Diploma (jumping).

It's not that I *never* recommend user-adjustable gullet saddles. They are perfect for horseless riders, lesson programs, trainers who work with young horses and often have two or three different saddles of which their user-adjustable gullet saddle is only one, horses that really are built moderately in all regards so the saddle fits them exceptionally well to begin with, and adult horses where you can mostly count on the fit not changing more than one gullet in either direction. But most folks don't show up on a COTH armchair saddle fitter's PM doorstep because their horse was an easy, moderate fit or because their horse is done growing. ;)

IMO the only routine exception around/under $1500 is Thorowgood and Fairfax/Kent and Masters. They're building a fairly diverse lineup of user-adjustable-gullet saddles in three different structures (high wither, regular, and wide horse) with thick wool-flocked panels that have a lot of adjustment possibilities. But they're not building tack that most American riders find aesthetically attractive, many riders seem to have beef with the twists on these saddles, and there isn't much diversity in flap forwardness or length. It still works for some riders, though, and I don't hesitate to recommend them if I think the rider can be fit to this brand's tack.

So what's a buyer with a young horse to do? Well, we all decide what to do with our own money, but I find this is the system that costs people the least amount of money and is the least stressful over the years:
1. Resign to the fact that you are likely to go through 2 or 3 saddles as the horse grows.
2. When buying for a young horse, attend to the factors that are most likely to become "saddle deal killers" that would require you to buy something else. The deal killers vary from horse to horse. A good fitter can't predict the future, but they can point to areas that MIGHT become bogeys and suggest fit features that will help you avoid them.
3. Buy used when possible, or if buying new, price your saddle on the used market so that you know how big of a hit you'll take on resale.
4. Know what is adjustable on your saddle, and at what financial cost. For example, if you buy any reasonably high-end saddle--like one that retails at about $2000 or above--it probably has a quality saddle tree in it. Which means if push comes to shove, you can send it to Smith Worthington for widening/narrowing at the extremely reasonable cost of $120 (which includes return shipping to you).

Probably more info than you wanted, but I wanted to explain why I'm not riding your "I absolutely MUST have this Genesis gullet system" train.

NCSaddleFitter
Mar. 2, 2012, 08:19 AM
Thought I'd chime in since I just received, fitted and sold our store's first K & M monoflap. This saddle is awesome. It fits well, rides well (no complaints about the twist feeling bulky even in some of the wider headplate sizes) and has large, soft, well-designed panels. My one gripe would be the color - it's a very dark brown with absolutely no red tone to it. The leather is nice, just not that rich of a color. But for a $1500 adjustable tree, made in England, wool-flocked saddle, who cares?

Another saddle that has been a lifesaver for eventers on a budget has been the Wintec 500 Jump. I agree with everyone on the new AP and Pro/2000 models - leave them on the rack. But I've had a few riders pick the 500 Jump over more expensive saddles because the balance is there and the horses do well in them. The Jump is a slightly deeper seat. If you've got a preference for a flatter seat, try the new Wintec 500 CC. Way better than the old caramel-colored version. Both can be ordered flocked, which I highly recommend. And if you've got a rider who wants to keep the bulk as minimal as possible, you can swap out the short billets with the long dressage ones in about 5 minutes. This was you use your dressage girth and have less bulk under the leg.

NCSaddleFitter
Mar. 2, 2012, 08:27 AM
And as far as the Toulouse goes, I want to like them, I really do. But the company can't seem to do any quality control. They are so quick to rip off other companies' technology and innovation that they don't stop to actually see if the innovation is worth copying.

The changeable tree is a ripoff of the old Wellup adjustable tree, which I wasn't a fan of either. To each his own, I suppose, but I wish they would just stop with all of the gimmicks and concentrate on making better, low end saddles. We got tired of opening a box of MT saddles and sending most or all of them back because they were not suitable to put on a horse's back.

Fancy That
Mar. 2, 2012, 10:43 PM
I wanted to chime in and say I'm a fan of the Classic saddles (Rembrandt) as well.

Another Made In England, great quality saddle is the Ashley & Clarke - and they have a nice adjustable gullet version (the Ayre) I know of a really cool one for sale (used)

Also a fan of Kent & Masters. Really - I am a Made in England, wool-flocked fan :) (love my County Innovation XTR)

tnscvaga
Mar. 4, 2012, 04:28 PM
Is this saddle the old style or the new style Wintec Pro? How do you tell?


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3238001505398&set=a.3238000585375.241092.1127553496&type=3&theater

jen-s
Mar. 4, 2012, 11:06 PM
NCSaddleFitter--Could you PM me contact info? I need some help from a pro and I'm hoping you travel...

littlecasino
Mar. 4, 2012, 11:38 PM
For those of you who love Classic saddles, how have they worn for you? There is one at my barn, roughly two years old and it is not wearing well with limited use. It is the monoflap. The leather under the rider's leg is showing lots of wear. I suppose could be attributed to the leg swinging?
As a comparison, I bought a Beval prototype monoflap, made in Argentina, and that saddle is wearing great. The Beval gets more use, and is the same age. This girl who now owns the Beval, owned the classic originally.
Any thoughts?

jn4jenny
Mar. 5, 2012, 07:47 AM
For those of you who love Classic saddles, how have they worn for you? There is one at my barn, roughly two years old and it is not wearing well with limited use. It is the monoflap. The leather under the rider's leg is showing lots of wear. I suppose could be attributed to the leg swinging?

The ones made in Britain wear like iron, similar to a County or Black Country saddle. However, Classic has also recently begun knocking off its own products in Argentina in order to offer their saddles at a lower price point. I have heard that the Argentine version of their Saut D'Or monoflap retails around $1000-$1100 (compared to $1800+ for the British version). I haven't seen the Argentine-built Saut D'Or in person, but my point is that at $1100 you can expect that some corner has been cut, and leather quality is a common "cut" at that price range. This is one of many reasons that the American market hasn't yet seen a very successful monoflap offering in the sub-$1500 price range; monoflaps take a lot of friction on their flaps, more so in my opinion than a double-flapped saddle, and it's tough to build a monoflap to that standard on $1500 or less.

If it's the British-made version and it's wearing like that, I'd raise hell and I expect the British company would respond with horror that they'd built a dud. If it's the Argentine version, I expect they'll shrug and say "You get what you pay for."

And if you're about to ask how to tell if it's an Argentine or British one, I'd contact Classic directly in England with the serial number. I might also call Lynda at Classic Saddlery in Michigan, but I don't think she stocks the Saut D'or monoflap. To my knowledge, the Argentine Saut D'ors are coming into the country because a tack store in Georgetown, Kentucky is ordering it for customers as a "Devoucoux knockoff" (I'm snorting there--it's a perfectly fine little monoflap but a Devoucoux Chiberta knockoff it is not, in anything but perhaps the aesthetics of the flap).

Bogie
Mar. 5, 2012, 09:43 AM
That is one of the new ones. Different flaps (the knee roll is a dead giveaway), deeper seat.

here's what the old ones look like: http://tackguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DSC02917.jpg

I really like mine. I wish the flap was a bit more forward but it's a nicely balanced saddle that was worth every bit of the $300 I paid for it.


Is this saddle the old style or the new style Wintec Pro? How do you tell?


https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3238001505398&set=a.3238000585375.241092.1127553496&type=3&theater

jn4jenny
Mar. 5, 2012, 09:48 AM
That is one of the new ones. Different flaps (the knee roll is a dead giveaway), deeper seat.

here's what the old ones look like: http://www.thedognpony.com/images/Wintec-Pro-Jump.jpg

:confused: IMO the gal linked to an old one, and you're linking to an old one. They look the same except one is black and one is brown.

But I agree that the knee roll is the dead giveaway between the old style and new style. This is the new style:
http://www.smartpakequine.com/wintec-pro-jump-saddle-9262p.aspx

Bogie
Mar. 5, 2012, 09:56 AM
To me, the seat on the one she linked to looks a lot deeper. One of the reasons I like mine is that I prefer a very flat seat.

But your right, the knee rolls on the one you linked to a very different. So maybe it's just the angle?

jn4jenny
Mar. 5, 2012, 10:10 AM
Could be just the angle. It could also be that there's some variation in the Wintec Pro Jump over the years. I have no proof of that, but I know for sure that the saddle from which Bates/Wintec derived the design for the Wintec Pro Jump and the Wintec Close Contact--the Bates Caprilli Close Contact--has gone from being very deep-seated early in its run to being increasingly shallow.

Now that you are pointing it out, Bogie, I'm seeing how deep the seat is on that Facebook Wintec Pro Jump--and it is reminding me strongly of an ooooooold Wintec CC that we've got in the barn right now that is also super deep seated. And like you, I have seen the newer-but-still-old-style Wintec Pro Jumps that tend to the shallow side. You can see it better in this photo:
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3238000585375.241092.1127553496&type=3

And I'll relink to the photo you linked to so folks can see the difference head to head:
http://www.thedognpony.com/images/Wintec-Pro-Jump.jpg

In short, one wonders if the Wintec Pro Jump went from deep to shallow over time too, just like its older sister the Bates Caprilli CC? That would make this the first Wintec Pro Jump I've ever seen from that older vintage.