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View Full Version : I hate all saddles! OR, anyone ride in an Albion Kontact



yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:11 AM
I'm still a bit unhappy with my "new" saddle (I've had it about a year), even after removing the knee blocks this summer. I just don't feel like it is forward enough for me, and I'm getting frustrated. While it is doing ok right now schooling over show jumps at home, I'm fairly certain that later this year, if Toby and I move up to prelim, I am going to really hate it.

In my time of observing saddles and trying a few, the only saddles I've liked that were forward enough for my funky conformation is a Ioldy and MAYBE a Chiberrta (sp?), but they are far and away out of my price range, and I know for a fact Toby hates them, and prefers English trees such as Stackhouses (year, right), Berney Bros (current), and....Albion???

I've been admiring a friend's Albion Kontact. She has a similar conformation to me (long from her hip to thigh) and struggles with the same issues (needs a very forward flap for shorter stirrups on xc). The Albion is VERY forward, practically Ioldy forward, and just has a nice, balanced look to it.

My new employer has one sitting in the tack room and I'm tempted to try it on Toby (if it isn't a wide, which it may be). Anyone else ride in these and can give an opinion? I have another friend with one, and both people RAVE about them. I've never really paid much attention, kinda only ever thinking of them as Albions as dressage saddles. Thoughts?

M. Owen
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:15 AM
I had an albion close contact saddle for my old horse and found it very comfortable on her- it wasn't a Kontact so can't offer an opinion on that particular model, but the cc I had was a good saddle and wore like iron. Pelham Saddlery in NH tends to have a lot of Albion saddles, and they are easy to work with as far as trying saddles even if you are far away. I bought my albion from them originally and I shipped a few saddles back and forth. They'll ship 3 saddles at a time for one shipping price which is nice. My albion sat great on my old horse and I always felt very balanced. Unfortunately it couldn't be fitted well to my current horse and after trying for close to a year I finally gave up and bought a different saddle.

pheasantknoll
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:20 AM
I think the Albion Kontact or maybe Kontrol was developed with WFP. He's got the longest legs imaginable! I ride in an Albion (different model) and really like it, but it is not all that forward. I have short legs and don't jump too high;) I also know that the Albions are very popular with the foxhunting crowd. Good to ride in all day, forward enough for jumping, and secure enough for cx.

Frances

yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:27 AM
Yes, WFP developed one of those two. I have to look at the website again.

For some reason I thought they were German until I pulled up the flap on one of my friend's Kontacts yesterday, and there, stamped in big, proud, letters it said "MADE IN ENGLAND."

The other reason I'm interested is that I think the price point is a little more realistic. There has been a flurry of saddle buying in my barn lately. CWDs and Devocouxs, and the prices blow me away. I think the Albions are much more realistic.

ExtravagentEventer
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:54 AM
I have a similar issue...my Guy is small (14.1hh) and I have to hike up mu stirrups when I go xc. I can't hike them up as high as I'd like or My knee would go off the knee roll. I can't afford $$$ saddles but I do own an Albion dressage and love it! I have ridden in one of their jump saddles and also loved it. I have an English made saddle called Ideal that are also reasonable. I do believe they sell a more forward flap! I'm looking into them now.

cobsize
Jan. 13, 2012, 12:01 PM
I recently ordered an Albion Kontact Jewell, which is more of a hunter/jumper-style close contact saddle. I rode in the demo, but haven't received mine yet and hope I still love it when it gets here.

I did think the price point was pretty reasonable when compared to similar saddles, particularly because my horse is ridiculously hard to fit (this saddle was the only one where the panel shape really worked for him), and customization was easy. I would definitely look into it for that reason. The cost was about the same as a Black Country.

I have sort of the opposite conformation as you, so I'm not sure how much help I can be there. I have short legs and my horse has a longer shoulder, so I think we ordered the straighter flap for a jumping saddle and had it shortened an inch or so for me. But I know you can order them with forward and extra-forward flaps, too. If they can get one to fit me with my short squatty legs, I bet they can also get one to fit you!

I would also guess that the regular Kontact saddles, which are more cross-country saddles, probably come standard with more forward flaps than the one I ordered. They probably also have a deeper seat--the one I ordered has a pretty flat seat, but I actually really like that. I still felt very comfortable and very secure in it.

SEPowell
Jan. 13, 2012, 01:23 PM
http://www.daviddyersaddles.co.uk/product-10590.htm

When I first saw this saddle by Albion and designed by W F P I got excited because it looks as simple as a flyover but with an Albion tree. When I searched elsewhere for the saddle it seems that now the off the rack version has huge thigh and calf blocks :dead: I Hate blocks!!! They always hit me in the wrong place.

I just want a simple forward saddle that fits tbs well, that has a narrow twist and no other stuff.

I would love to try the simple version of this saddle, but how can I do that if I can only find it in England?

Petstorejunkie
Jan. 13, 2012, 02:42 PM
It's William fox Pitts saddle. There's no way your femur is longer than his.
I adore the kontact but couldn't afford it. I have a colliegate nobility instead and I like it about 80/ as much.
Ps albions run narrow.

BestHorses
Jan. 13, 2012, 03:12 PM
I have an Albion Kontact dual flap and I love it. I ordered extra D rings in front and extra foam on the seat and it was almost 3k even.

One issue was that it took about three - four months to be made. By the time it came in I'd already decided I wasn't keeping the horse I bought it for!!! Good news is that it fits my current horse as well.

I haven't heard they run narrow. I have a medium and the horse also wears a 33 in Prestige.

It's super comfy and fits me better than any saddle has - I also have a long femur. With most saddles I try my knee is right at the front of the flap at flat length stirrups! The one thing that's weird about the Albion flap on me is that the bottom of the flap hits high up on my calf unless my stirrups are jacked up high. So sometimes I feel like if I had more leather to grip with my calf it would help me keep my leg steady.

The blocks are velcro so if you don't like them or want to move them it's easy. Since the rear blocks are small and don't have much velcro they fell off almost every time I jumped and were lost completely on my first xc course. I ended up replacing them with the blocks from my Prestige eventer and that has worked beautifully since they are made with a big leather flap that is also held in place by the girth.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

lovehors86
Jan. 13, 2012, 03:30 PM
In the past, I tried a Kontrol. The only reason I didn't buy it was the seat size was WAY too small (a full inch). I have a mega long femur, and I could actually jack my stirrups up to near jockey length with no interference. The balance was lovely - even in its miniature state.

I also like the fact that they have a nice cutback head. The saddle I tried left a lot of room for my boy's sharkfin. In the future, I'll probably buy one of them.

Other saddles that I've liked (to give you an idea of whether my opinion is even valid for you) are the Barnsby Diablo and the Toulouse Jennine. The Jennine has Toulouse's new saddle adjustability system which is a major plus for me alongside how lovely it is to sit in.

scubed
Jan. 13, 2012, 04:06 PM
I deeply loved my old albion Kontrol (before Kontact was made). I actually found it to ride like an equally comfortable, but way more secure version of the Berney Bros saddle. The leather was nice as well. I have heard newer albions are less uniformly absolute highest quality, but I still think they are great saddles. Have you check for other British saddles at www.hastilowusa.com. Their prices are really excellent and Annette (I think that is the right name) is super helpful. You can also try calling Trumbull Mountain, but I don't think you are going to find a deal there. Have you poked around over at Middleburg Tack Exchange. They have a dominus (which several friends with your leg configuration have liked in the past) for $795, a prestige nona garson for $1695, an Ainsley Chester for $595, and a Black Country Wexford for $1795, which I think could all be worth a look for you.

yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 04:39 PM
scubed, you are the greatest source of cool places to look for things!!! I did poke around at the Tack Exchange last week but really didn't see anything interesting (I wasn't really looking with any purpose, though). That Nona Garson always catches my eye and I HAVE sat in it, but still just not convinced it's going to be forward enough in true xc mode. The Wexford looks more promising...afraid it might be too big.

I have admired the Barnsby Diablo in the past. It may be worth a closer look. The Jenine, however, is not my idea of "extra forward".

As for the Albion, I am not a big fan of blocks, so I do like that the ones on this saddle are moveable. I wonder if they come in different sizes...I don't mind a TINY block/roll at the knee, as long as it isn't as horrible as the one that I had removed from my new-ish Berney.

scubed
Jan. 13, 2012, 04:54 PM
And almost certainly out of your current price range, but you might try test-riding one of these for the future http://www.laserequestrian.com/?p=38

They are made with a french thought to the flap placement (quite forward), but british tendencies to the tree/construction etc. Jeremy Beale is British, saddles made with lots of input from Susie and Gillian on the eventing side.

And I did not include the long flap county profit for $550 because it doesn't have blocks. I was pretty amazed at how secure the inexpensive profit I got as an interim saddle was http://www.middleburgtack.com/inventory_detail.cfm?ourClientsID=80594CBD-F1F6-4983-629B321A0BE1BDA6

And another place with good prices on many nice saddles: http://www.yoursaddles.com/#/175-a-h/4542799405

Napoles
Jan. 13, 2012, 05:38 PM
IF you're not a fan of blocks I doubt if you'll like this saddle. I tried one and HATED it. It felt cheap and plasticy and I really didn't like the way the blocks lock you in. I've now eventually ordered a prestige versailles in an extra forward flap. Lovely saddle.:)

TheBrightSide06
Jan. 13, 2012, 06:56 PM
I have the Albion Kontrol and I really like it. Fits almost all of my horses. AND it is forward enough for my femur (I'm 6ft tall). Never tried the Kontact, but I love my Kontrol.

VCT
Jan. 13, 2012, 07:33 PM
I ride in a Wexford, and it has knee and calf blocks sewn on to the sweat flap. You can't move them or remove them - unless you have a saddler remove them I guess. That said they don't bother me at all, I hardly ever feel the the calf block unless something is amiss and then usually I am glad for it's support. The knee blocks are not in my way at all unless I jack up my stirrups then I feel them and I like their support - I have bad knees.

However, I don't think it's an extremely forward riding saddle at all. It's good for me because I do all three phases in it and only jump max 2'6" to 2'9" and I want a comfy secure armchair to ride in. I think I'd want something else for bigger jumps.

But who knows, it might work perfectly for you. I don't think I have a really long femur though and sometimes I find myself wishing I could shortern the irons a bit more on the Wexford and I can't because my knee would end up in front of the flap and just not situated properly. I do love my saddle though, it's the ultimate in comfort, balance and security.

yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 07:58 PM
Thanks for the info, VCT. This is good to know.

Who knows. I may chuck this Berney and have Berney make me a new one and make sure Tom Berney makes it VERY, extra forward. We tried to do this one in a monoflap, but more forward than their current one, and I just don't think it came out right. It isn't HORRIBLE, I just don't love it :no: My old one was perfect and I miss it. :cry:

Heliodoro
Jan. 13, 2012, 08:19 PM
I had trouble finding a saddle to accomodate my long femur amd my horse's back this year. I did find it though! It's a Mike Corcoran Event saddle http://www.mikecorcoransaddlery.com/saddles.htm . It does have thigh and calf blocks, which my trainer wanted me to have, but I do not feel "locked in" with them. I can do flat work easily enough in the saddle with almost dressage length stirrups.

It was a tough and long road to find a saddle forward enough, but not to the extreme. I love my saddle and my horse loves it too!

yellowbritches
Jan. 13, 2012, 08:23 PM
I had trouble finding a saddle to accomodate my long femur amd my horse's back this year. I did find it though! It's a Mike Corcoran Event saddle http://www.mikecorcoransaddlery.com/saddles.htm . It does have thigh and calf blocks, which my trainer wanted me to have, but I do not feel "locked in" with them. I can do flat work easily enough in the saddle with almost dressage length stirrups.

It was a tough and long road to find a saddle forward enough, but not to the extreme. I love my saddle and my horse loves it too!
That's pretty nice! Price range? The blocks aren't bad. The knee block/roll looks similar to what I like and have had in the past.

maxxtrot
Jan. 13, 2012, 08:35 PM
I HAVE 4 ALBIONS. 2 DRESSAGE SADDLES AND THE KONTACT AND KONTROL. I LOVE THEM ALL

cobsize
Jan. 13, 2012, 10:54 PM
In terms of blocks--on the Albion Kontact Jewell, at least, the blocks are velcro, so you can move them or take them off (which I plan to do!). I think you can also order them in different sizes--I agree that the standard blocks are ridiculously huge.

SEPowell
Jan. 14, 2012, 07:57 AM
That's pretty nice! Price range? The blocks aren't bad. The knee block/roll looks similar to what I like and have had in the past.
I actually found that saddle for Heliodoro from Patty Merli Saddles. They're made by Mike Corcoran and between $3500 and $4000 new. I got H's for $1500 on ebay through best offer. I didn't keep it for me because there was too much padding under the top of my thigh and I didn't like the blocks, but it is a very comfortable saddle for horse and rider and puts your lower leg right where you want it.

Patti has a web site and she's great to work with. You can describe your needs to her and she UNDERSTANDS, so it's worth contacting her and seeing what she has. She deals with lots of eventers and often has some super saddles. Also, even on ebay with best offer saddles she lets you try them and return them if they don't work for you. The Corcoran saddles don't come through her list often, but when they do they sell quickly so it really is worth contacting her, telling her what you're looking for and waiting for her to come up with one.

Heliodoro
Jan. 14, 2012, 12:11 PM
^^ What she said!

piaffeprincess98
Jan. 14, 2012, 05:18 PM
I have the Kontact and mine is about 8 years old. I had a new one made for my OTTB about 4 years ago and it just didn't feel the same as my older one even though they were the same model.

In the long run, it started sitting too low on his withers, so I sold it. I also didn't feel as secure in it as my older one. I've made the older one work on him now that the original horse it was made for is retired. I love it. The blocks are adjustable. You could always ride without them.

SparklePlenty
Jan. 14, 2012, 11:03 PM
And i loved it... great saddle, nice and foward.

I would advise you to take a look at Custom Saddlery's new Monoflap. This saddle is LOVELY!! I'm going to be selling my Kontact (less then a year old too btw) and will be purchasing the new Custom.

Its an amazing saddle, very forward and fits everyone from 5(short) to over 6ft tall. My BO rides in one and she's quite tall!

Good luck!

PM me if you want more info on the custom or Kontact.

:winkgrin::D

Toadie's mom
Jan. 15, 2012, 10:59 AM
And i loved it... great saddle, nice and foward.

I would advise you to take a look at Custom Saddlery's new Monoflap. This saddle is LOVELY!! I'm going to be selling my Kontact (less then a year old too btw) and will be purchasing the new Custom.

Its an amazing saddle, very forward and fits everyone from 5(short) to over 6ft tall. My BO rides in one and she's quite tall!

Good luck!

PM me if you want more info on the custom or Kontact.

:winkgrin::D
I just rode in that Custom saddle 3 weeks ago (unless they've got an even newer one), and hated it! I'm 5'2" and the flaps were too long. Also, the saddle was very "slick", and hard. Just very uncomfortable. I LOVE their dressage saddles, so I was hoping for the best, but no.

SparklePlenty
Jan. 15, 2012, 06:17 PM
TM - which model did you ride in do you know? The one i have has a wider twist than my Kontact and actually a shorter flap too... LOL - mine also has buffalo leather on it. Now i'm just curious! :D

But i agree --- soo many hearts for the dressage saddle!! Love mine! :)

Toadie's mom
Jan. 15, 2012, 07:05 PM
TM - which model did you ride in do you know? The one i have has a wider twist than my Kontact and actually a shorter flap too... LOL - mine also has buffalo leather on it. Now i'm just curious! :D

But i agree --- soo many hearts for the dressage saddle!! Love mine! :)

This one did not have the buffalo leather. Saddle fitter and I had a discussion about that and she agreed that would make a difference. They must have a newer model than the one I tried :( She's this area rep. for Custom Saddlery, so you'd think she would know:confused: I'll email her and see what I can find out.

VCT
Jan. 16, 2012, 02:56 PM
yellowbritches, you might try a different Black Country saddle... they have more forward ones... I forget the names...

HillaryH
Jan. 17, 2012, 10:37 PM
I have an Albion Kontact monoflap that I bought new about four years ago. It's a very high quality saddle & has held up really well. Mine came with an assortment of velcro blocks both for the knee roll and behind the knee. I use the small ones . . . the big ones ARE really big, maybe good for bookends LOL.

Here's the thing . . . I'm not quite 5'7", have a long femur but am not slim & I would say the saddle is forward enough for me but just. I ride at the prelim level (sort of) & I can get my stirrups short enough for xc and for steeplechase that I did at T3day but I might be concerned if I had aspirations to go higher than that. However, my boy is somewhat sensitive & does not like foam flocked saddles & I knew I could not afford a full custom saddle like a stackhouse so I'm over all VERY happy with my Kontact. It's also a nice color right out of the box & very grippy with no break in. Also has a flatter seat which I prefer. Hope that helps:)