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View Full Version : Saddle Companies with the BEST and WORST Customer Service



Velvet
May. 16, 2012, 11:18 AM
Edited to restart the topic and keep it slightly more positive. Gee, go figure. ;)

What are the best and worst saddle companies you've dealt with, as far as customer service?

suzy
May. 16, 2012, 11:22 AM
Stubben is outstanding in every regard!

Ibex
May. 16, 2012, 11:26 AM
County. LOVE LOVE LOVE the local rep. Wish she worked for someone else! I have never had such rude and nasty service as when I dealt directly with the office.

opel
May. 16, 2012, 11:39 AM
I had honestly terrible service at EuroAmerican Saddlery with my Hennig. I honestly think I had a legal complaint but I didn't pursue it due to lack of time and motivation to engage in ugliness. I don't think EuroAmerican IS Hennig....but I think Hennig needs to pull their heads out of the sand and get different reps in the US.

The other companies and reps that I've dealt with: Passier, Albion, Niedersuss and Prestige have been fine.

suzy
May. 16, 2012, 11:41 AM
I had the same experience with County years ago and won't buy from them again for that reason. It's amazing that these companies are so cavalier when it comes to customer service. I don't care how good their product is, there are other saddle makers out there with as good or better saddles AND great customer service, so why bother with those with poor service.

So far, I've had the best experiences with Stubben and Roosli. Nice people, forthcoming with info, and deliver when they say they will--actually sooner in both cases. Love them both. I already ranted about Hennig on another thread, so won't get into it here.

Opel, Euroamerican is a Hennig distributor.

Velvet
May. 16, 2012, 11:47 AM
County. LOVE LOVE LOVE the local rep. Wish she worked for someone else! I have never had such rude and nasty service as when I dealt directly with the office.

Totally my experience, too. If they didn't have a local rep I liked, I'd tell people to not walk, but RUN away from that company and their lousy customer service. But if you use a local rep, you can get through the issues. Makes you wonder what your rep has to deal with...

Velvet
May. 16, 2012, 11:49 AM
I had to complain out here about Schleese to get a response, but they did respond and correct my problem. It was just too bad it had to be raised publicly before I got the response required for the situation.

I have never had a problem with Keiffer. I like my local Stubben rep and had good experiences when talking to their North American offices.

Samantha37
May. 16, 2012, 12:21 PM
I love my County rep and have had nothing but good response time and treatment from the company as well.

arabiansrock
May. 16, 2012, 12:37 PM
Hastilow USA is GREAT!!! Bought my bench made Hastilow saddle from them, Ian Hastilow himself looked at my mares pics and video to help design the mod's for her, first saddle came in not what we asked for/agreed on, they took it right back and remade it and mare LOVES her new saddle. To be fair, its not MY dream saddle, but mare couldn't wear what I wanted. Also, even better, Hastilow let us use a loaner saddle while ours was being made because they didn't want mare ridden in saddle that was bothering her so much! This ended up being a 3 month loaner period! It was a really positive experience.

paintlady
May. 16, 2012, 02:47 PM
The local rep has everything to do with the level of customer service. Until recently, our local Albion rep was very unresponsive. Once you finally get her on-site she is great, but good luck getting to that point. We recently got a new Albion rep in the area who is much more customer service focused. A good rep makes all the difference.

Renaissance Lady
May. 16, 2012, 03:02 PM
I also have had great luck with Hastilow USA. They fitted the saddle (I bought a used Hastilow Piaffe) at my barn in PA and when I needed to have it restuffed many months later as my horse became more muscled, they were here within a couple of weeks. I can't say enough good things about the time, interest that they took with me and my horse (and with me just buying a used saddle at that!)

JanDinWA
May. 16, 2012, 03:25 PM
We have had good luck with Schleese however I have heard of people who haven't. I don't know if it's due to local reps or who you reach in Canada for customer service. We do like their saddles and have had the people from Canada come to do fittings.

Somantu
May. 16, 2012, 03:44 PM
The Good: Our "local" County rep is the absolute best. She travels from the Montréal area to see us here in Ontario.
Knowledgeable, exacting, generous and absolutely delightful.

Unfortunately County corporate in Lisbon MD, hasn't been as helpful.

Very grateful that I have a fantastic rep – because I really love both my Countys!

The Not-So-Good: Schleese. Have had very negative experiences w/their reps.
I also find their saddles put me too far from the horse's back

atlatl
May. 16, 2012, 05:08 PM
My experiences with Trilogy have been great.

My experiences with Custom have been awful.

Tasker
May. 16, 2012, 05:42 PM
Hands down BEST - Stubben. Love the saddles, love my fitter (who's not a salesman - just all about getting the right saddle on the horse), love how the horses go in them, love how I ride in them. I can't say enough good things about Stubben and my fitter!

ETA: My trainers love my saddle as well! (forgot that in my list earlier!) Whoops!

Piaffe~Passage
May. 16, 2012, 07:02 PM
My worst experience has been with Custom Saddlery, trying to get a rep up to Northern MN has been a night mare, after months of trying to get them up here, I sent my saddle back. I LOVED the saddle, but after it started making rubs mark on my horses back I wanted a solution, well they didn't want to fix the issue obviously and I had a $2500 saddle I couldn't ride in.

I have County Saddlery coming up this weekend, and just talking to them lifted my chin up about my whole saddle crisis.

Kelly in NJ
May. 16, 2012, 07:15 PM
I've had nothing but good experiences with Custom Saddlery.

P~P, after those several months of use, did Custom Saddlery let you return the saddle for a full refund?

I also have heard some pretty bad stories about EuroAmerican. When they were up in NJ and Charlie and Romy were running the place, it was great. Once Charlie moved to FL, things got sketchy. Very sketchy last year, and now they are called The Dressage Connection. But I heard several things about people leaving saddles on consignment, and the saddles disappeared and the company went belly-up when they changed names and people lost a bunch of money.

Lieslot
May. 16, 2012, 07:18 PM
I had a bad experience with Laser saddles. Customer service was really bad.
However I do love their saddles.
I'd like to get another one of them, but my previous experience with Laser direct left me pretty sour.

pluvinel
May. 16, 2012, 07:27 PM
Excellent service from Spirig USA...bought 2 saddles from them.

carolprudm
May. 16, 2012, 07:53 PM
I love my County rep and have had nothing but good response time and treatment from the company as well.

This. I have dealt with 2 County reps and been pleased with both since I wait and buy demos. I have to laugh at my current rep. She fitted me demo County to Sophie then mentioned she had this bull hide demo....yup, I bought it.

My only interaction with the office happened when my first rep got the date wrong on my credit card, fixed with a phone call.

candysgirl
May. 16, 2012, 11:51 PM
Stubben is fantastic all the way around.

morehorses
May. 17, 2012, 01:38 AM
I have had nothing but fantastic experiences with Custom Saddlery. My local rep is awesome and will bend over backwards to ensure her clients are happy. Love them and LOVE their saddles! I have used other custom saddle companies and really, there is just no comparison.

Many companies are capable of putting out a great product. So much depends on the local rep in terms of customer service and end result.

NotGrandPrixYet
May. 17, 2012, 02:06 AM
I, too, have had an excellent experience with Custom Saddlery and the local rep. I will be a customer for life. I have several dressage saddles over the years (Kieffer, Sommer, Passier, Wintec, and a Klimke model). Nobody has taken care of me like the saddle maker, the fitter, and the rep who worked together to make my $3600+ purchase a great value for me and the horse for which this saddle was ordered.

RedxHandedxJill
May. 17, 2012, 03:30 AM
Hands down BEST - Stubben. Love the saddles, love my fitter (who's not a salesman - just all about getting the right saddle on the horse), love how the horses go in them, love how I ride in them. I can't say enough good things about Stubben and my fitter!

ETA: My trainers love my saddle as well! (forgot that in my list earlier!) Whoops!

agreed! A lot of people complain about how hard they are, but I've ridden in plenty of saddles that were more comfortable but I had to fight tooth and nail for my position in. I'd rather have one that's a little harder, gives me the opportunity for a great position and they last FOREVER!

connieg10
May. 17, 2012, 07:28 AM
The rep matters immensely!

The best service I have gotten is from Trilogy, but then again Deb Witty is my local Trilogy rep. I adore my darn good luck!

I have had decent service from Schleese, too. However, I find them to be totally sales driven. The service goes up with the amount you spend.

not again
May. 17, 2012, 07:35 AM
Love Stubben and my new Genesis with the bio-mex seat is the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in, combined with incredibly close contact.

Valentina_32926
May. 17, 2012, 08:56 AM
Love my Verhans and Bernardo makes certain it fits the horse perfectly!

Dawn J-L
May. 17, 2012, 09:09 AM
Black Country Saddlery was superb. I ordered three custom built saddles from them over about a 2 year interval (2 dressage and 1 close contact) and received excellent customer service from both BCS and their reps at Trumbull Mountain Tack.

flashwhitelock
May. 17, 2012, 09:57 AM
love county. With the main office, once they realized it was the original rep who made a mistake, they were then responsive and quick to fix the error. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE katie G. So knowledgeable and accurate in her fittings. Couldn't get better.

county seems to be good at getting real riders to be their reps who are very knowledgeable. I've seen them be active in dealing with a rep who is not up to par.

Older DD has a trilogy- not so good on their customer service once you own the saddle. Very sad since she likes their saddle.

PoohLP
May. 17, 2012, 01:23 PM
Love Stubben and my new Genesis with the bio-mex seat is the most comfortable saddle I have ever sat in, combined with incredibly close contact.

Agree with this 100% - got the Roxanne in January - only mods were to add the biomex and get the deluxe leather. The entire buying experience was so pleasant, the rep/fitter was fantastic and very responsive and the saddle is the best saddle I have ever sat in. My trainer says she can really see the difference in my seat and several people have remarked at how well my horse goes in the saddle. :) :D

I thought it was very interesting. My fitter said she is actually based in Michigan but was asked by Stubben to come down to Ocala for the winter so they'd have an experience rep here for for the circuit. She drove nearly three hours just to meet with me and then drove three hours back to deliver the saddle when it came in and make sure it fit correctly. The entire process from my initial email to Stubben to the delivery took less than a month and two weeks of that was because I didn't immediately have time to meet with her because I was going to be out of town.

JLR1
May. 17, 2012, 04:51 PM
I am one of the lucky ones to have had only GOOD experiences with Schleese. The saddle fitter that services my area is also wonderful. I do know a few people who have had less than good things to say...but knowing who these people are I am not surprised:lol:

Velvet
May. 17, 2012, 07:57 PM
I am one of the lucky ones to have had only GOOD experiences with Schleese. The saddle fitter that services my area is also wonderful. I do know a few people who have had less than good things to say...but knowing who these people are I am not surprised:lol:

Um, wow. You need to go out here and do a search on the history of conversations relating to Schleese. You are probably in the minority, and I wouldn't be so quick to point fingers at others who had bad experiences since they are the majority. :no:

JLR1
May. 17, 2012, 08:13 PM
Um Wow Velvet...read for clarity! I was referring to two people I know personally and know what the "situation" was.

KellyS
May. 17, 2012, 08:54 PM
Without a doubt...STACKHOUSE SADDLES!!!

I bought my third saddle from them last summer and adore it so much! I had tried everything on my 3-year-old Welsh pony/TB cross and nothing in a jump saddle fit his huge shoulder.

I called David and Leslie and they fit us into one of their trips up this way--came out to the farm and measured him (and me) and we talked all about getting the right fit for his shape, taking into account that he was still growing. We even took a look at the other 2 ponies to see if the planned saddle would fit them (it would/does).

It ended up that David had a new tree he was trying out that was the perfect fit for my guy. So he ordered another one from England and I had my saddle in 3 months or so. It is absolutely the most amazing saddle I have ever sat in--my pony loves it and it just puts me in a perfect, secure position (which as anyone knows--is a big deal with the young 'uns). :)

David and Leslie are such a pleasure to work with and keep you updated by phone during the saddle making process as well as follow-up after you've received it to see how you like it. You never feel pushed into buying a saddle even if they make a trip out to see you and David is incredibly honest about what is right for you and your horse.

My other two saddles (which I sold because they were made for my super narrow TB who passed away in 2007) were just as wonderful--I had a dressage and jump saddle. Now to start saving up for my dressage saddle! :yes:

Worst experience was Devoucoux--that experience is what made me pick up the phone and call David.

high hat
May. 17, 2012, 09:11 PM
I happen to like Schleese. I think it is much more common for people to voice negative experiences rather than positive. My dealings with them haven't been trouble free but they have taken care of any problems I've had. I like my rep and I've had good results from the main office.

Cluck
May. 17, 2012, 09:58 PM
I've had nothing but good experiences with Custom Saddlery.

P~P, after those several months of use, did Custom Saddlery let you return the saddle for a full refund?

I also have heard some pretty bad stories about EuroAmerican. When they were up in NJ and Charlie and Romy were running the place, it was great. Once Charlie moved to FL, things got sketchy. Very sketchy last year, and now they are called The Dressage Connection. But I heard several things about people leaving saddles on consignment, and the saddles disappeared and the company went belly-up when they changed names and people lost a bunch of money.

I had terrible problems with Charlie and a Hennig, it took weeks of calls and finally threats to get my money back. I am not surprised they went bankrupt.

Schleese ... meh bad customer service, poorly fitting saddle and a sore horse.

Albion saddles off the rack from Equestrian Imports .... fabulous!

atr
May. 17, 2012, 11:54 PM
I have had great service from my local Trilogy rep. She's an excellent saddle fitter and spends the time to get things right.

The other good experience I've had recently is with Heritage Custom Saddlery in the UK. I did a long-distance custom saddle purchase from them last year--couldn't get what I wanted here, with tracings, photographs, etc, and was delighted with the quality of the service and the quality of the product.

AllWeatherGal
May. 18, 2012, 07:35 PM
I had wonderful service from Schleese way way back in the day (early 90s) both in-person and over the phone.

I haven't purchased any other brand of saddle so don't have much to compare and the last 10 years my horse's trainer has handled the transactions, I just get on and ride and whip out the credit card.

Speaking of which, though, I'm at a new barn (across the country) and looking to trade-in my current dressage saddle for a different model ... now they want the money before they even shake hands! Pre-pay for a fitting!

I'm taking notes on recommendations from this thread.

alto
May. 18, 2012, 08:03 PM
now they want the money before they even shake hands! Pre-pay for a fitting!


an' don't be surprised if they cancel the scheduled visit (last minute) to your area if not enough clients were willing to "pre-pay" ... & then do it all over again :rolleyes:

crthunder
May. 19, 2012, 10:18 PM
I had wonderful service from Schleese way way back in the day (early 90s) both in-person and over the phone.

I haven't purchased any other brand of saddle so don't have much to compare and the last 10 years my horse's trainer has handled the transactions, I just get on and ride and whip out the credit card.

Speaking of which, though, I'm at a new barn (across the country) and looking to trade-in my current dressage saddle for a different model ... now they want the money before they even shake hands! Pre-pay for a fitting!

I'm taking notes on recommendations from this thread.

I've had great dealings with Schleese and I love my fitter who comes out twice a year. She comes even when we don't meet the minimum number.

I think part of the pre-pay is there have been no shows and last minute cancels after plane tickets and trips planned. From my perspective as someone who organizes the fitting sessions and clinics at my barn, I have had at least three occasions for appointments made and then canceled the day of. This was before pre-pay and not only was Schleese out $ and a schedule problem, but it cost me $ as well in credits :( One was even a scheduled haul in, so barn owners and workers had a stall ready, etc. NOT COOL. So that is my GUESS at the pre-pay thing...

I have seen my friends go through big issues with Custom Saddlery, but others have been thrilled... County rep we had out was TERRIBLE.

My experience has been if the rep is bad, run. If the rep is good, have everything in writing just to be safe :)

Good luck!!
Becky

skylands202
May. 20, 2012, 09:48 AM
Hi. Just a clarification. I have been selling and servicing Hennigs since 2006 (as a retailer). I was invited to the factory in Germany in August 2011. I am now one of two US Hennig Distributors. I posted factory pictures on Facebook if anyone wants to take a look (under "Skylands Saddlery"). My web site is www.hennigsaddles-usa.com. Customer service, honesty and integrity are very important to me. While no person or business can please everyone, what I can promise is that I always try my best.

js
May. 20, 2012, 11:54 AM
Amerigo - worst at least as far as the US Rep and the fitter I was dealing with. The Amerigo company themselves were awesome and wonderful to deal with but the US rep and the fitter got an attitude when the saddle didn't fit and had not bothered to recommend a simple adjustment. When I talked with Amerigo direct they said it was a quick and easy fix and offered it free to me - that upset the US Rep and the fitter, they subsequently got pissy and made the saddle too wide, intentionally. They were rude and unfriendly especially considering the $$$ I had spent on the saddle.

ctanner
May. 20, 2012, 12:57 PM
L'apogee found me a used dressage saddle, picked it up, cleaned and oiled it for me a no extra charge. Can't wait until I get a new saddle from them.:yes:

Velvet
May. 20, 2012, 01:10 PM
I've had great dealings with Schleese and I love my fitter who comes out twice a year. She comes even when we don't meet the minimum number.

I think part of the pre-pay is there have been no shows and last minute cancels after plane tickets and trips planned. From my perspective as someone who organizes the fitting sessions and clinics at my barn, I have had at least three occasions for appointments made and then canceled the day of. This was before pre-pay and not only was Schleese out $ and a schedule problem, but it cost me $ as well in credits :( One was even a scheduled haul in, so barn owners and workers had a stall ready, etc. NOT COOL. So that is my GUESS at the pre-pay thing...



Credits? So, what, it's like a Tupperware party? :confused: Sorry, that doesn't inspire trust in me when it's run that way. I run away from Silpada (sp?) and parties like that. They end up being like a pyramid scheme where the host gets gifts and has to plug it all as something great.

fitzwilliam
May. 20, 2012, 01:16 PM
Trilogy - awesome local rep and saddle fitter
Antatres - good experience with long distance buying (no local source)
Schleese - saddle fitter comes from outside area, customers are happy with her and the saddles

3s
May. 20, 2012, 11:22 PM
Schleese commutes for the most part from Canada don't forget - they don't have many local fitters in most US states - and I can understand that they need a pre-pay when there are flights to be booked and accommodations to be arranged. I don't think anyone would be willing to travel thousands of miles on a 'maybe'. Would you?? and I know that if you cancel with enough notice your will be credited (and I'm not talking an hour before your appointment!).

3Spots
May. 20, 2012, 11:40 PM
Stubben. No pressure, no pre-pay, no pay at all, and I got a free girth. Also didn't try to sell me two saddles -- said one would work for both --even tho I was prepared to buy two.

Schleese. Not so good. Hard sell. Couldn't get the saddle to fit -even though it was adjustable. Tried to sell me a saddle from the Schleese annual sale at a marked up price, without realizing I received the same announcement.

I didn't realize how lucky I was the Schleese didn't fit until I, by happenstance, tried a Stubben. Love it.

snow horse
May. 22, 2012, 11:32 AM
Here's a positive vote for JDR Saddlery Solutions - owner/saddle maker Mehrdad Baghai is super easy to talk too and he designs beautiful fitting saddles.
I am happy with the service I received from Hulsebus when Jan Hulsebus was making the sales and service calls. Their service techs since then have been inconsistent in our region of the country.

meupatdoes
May. 22, 2012, 01:21 PM
I love my Albions and I love Kate Wilson, who sells them.

My dressage trainer in NJ had a Schleese which he summarized as very expensive, refitted a thousand times, and still doesn't fit.

BetterOffRed
May. 22, 2012, 01:27 PM
I've had great dealings with Schleese and I love my fitter who comes out twice a year. She comes even when we don't meet the minimum number.

I think part of the pre-pay is there have been no shows and last minute cancels after plane tickets and trips planned. From my perspective as someone who organizes the fitting sessions and clinics at my barn, I have had at least three occasions for appointments made and then canceled the day of. This was before pre-pay and not only was Schleese out $ and a schedule problem, but it cost me $ as well in credits :( One was even a scheduled haul in, so barn owners and workers had a stall ready, etc. NOT COOL. So that is my GUESS at the pre-pay thing...

I have seen my friends go through big issues with Custom Saddlery, but others have been thrilled... County rep we had out was TERRIBLE.

My experience has been if the rep is bad, run. If the rep is good, have everything in writing just to be safe :)

Good luck!!
Becky
Schleese...worst experience ever! And that was before I even bought one of their saddles! http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=350975&highlight=dear+saddle+fitter

AllWeatherGal
May. 23, 2012, 08:32 AM
Credits? So, what, it's like a Tupperware party? :confused: Sorry, that doesn't inspire trust in me when it's run that way. I run away from Silpada (sp?) and parties like that. They end up being like a pyramid scheme where the host gets gifts and has to plug it all as something great.

I was trying to figure out a nicer way to say it but, yes, organizers get "credits" towards their own purchases. While I think it's fair to compensate the person putting a LOT of work into organizing a fitting, it's ... well, it means one more person is invested in me making a purchase, not necessarily finding the best solution for me and my horse.

Asking for pre-pay does solve a bunch of problems, but the signup form does not specify that a refund is available or under what terms. I

tried to phone Schleese to find out for sure, but it was Victoria Day weekend and by the time I thought about waiting to call on Monday, I'd read this thread and remembered my somewhat dissatisfying experiences with Schleese's time management and the fact that my horse only got attention previously because at the clinics her trainer was a very strong advocate and the other time it was during a private visit.

I've just lost so much faith in people in the last couple years of dealing with the business of dressage I wish my horse would magically become suitable for bareback trail riding :(

3s
Jun. 8, 2012, 12:28 PM
So - Betteroffred - since in the other thread you are referring to Schleese (obviously) as the 'West Coast Saddlery' the question arises - are you dealing with a specific rep (organizer) there or are you dealing with the actual company? Because to my knowledge, Schleese really only has an office in Ontario, Canada and has to schedule their fitters to commute through the rest of the US and Canada according to demand. And Jochen himself is usually home only a couple of days/month (which I know because I am good friends with him and Sabine). So - there is part of the allegation dealt with. If you are going to slam a company in such a public forum don't you think that it would be fair to accurately relay all the facts?

And to me Velvet seems to have had a hidden agenda in her original question, since she continually mentions Schleese negatively so often in her posts. Not cool, either in my opinion.

There are always two sides to every story; pretty much every saddle manufacturer out there has fans or detractors, based on personal experiences and perceptions.You can choose to subscribe to either side but at the end of the day it's all based on your own reality.

hut-ho78
Jul. 3, 2012, 11:38 PM
Stubben, Brett, came from out of state to check saddle fit on an 18 year old saddle when my local tack shop was concentrating on another brand. I ended up purchasing another Stubben for my younger horse which I love. Brett came to check that fit as well. He treated me as though I was the most important client he had even though I ride for fun and my horses are pets that just get ridden often. Very pleased.

Velvet
Jul. 4, 2012, 12:32 AM
And to me Velvet seems to have had a hidden agenda in her original question, since she continually mentions Schleese negatively so often in her posts. Not cool, either in my opinion.

There are always two sides to every story; pretty much every saddle manufacturer out there has fans or detractors, based on personal experiences and perceptions.You can choose to subscribe to either side but at the end of the day it's all based on your own reality.

Oh, would you get over yourself already? Hidden agenda? Years ago I did a straight up complaint post about Schleese and Sabine addressed by issues and gave me my money back. The rep was a joke and I didn't like that it took publicly airing the problem to get it resolved, but it WAS RESOLVED. And, the rep was based here in the US and lived nearby--so I don't get why you think they all have to travel great distances.

This topic originally had nothing to do with complaining about them. Other people complained about them. It fits the topic. This is about positive and negative saddle company experiences that was based on issues with a totally different saddle company. :rolleyes:

Come on. People are talking about their opinions and experiences. If the majority have an issue with a saddle company (and there ARE others noted out here with more negatives than positives) they have a right to talk about it and their experiences. To behave in this manner, accusing people of "secretly having an agenda" smacks of the old adage, "None proclaim their innocence so loudly as the guilty." If you really are friends with Schleese's owners, you're doing them a major disservice with your post. :yes:

PaulaM
Jul. 4, 2012, 01:32 AM
I have had awesome dealings with Schleese. They have truly gone above and beyond for me, including recently with e-mail consultations with an issue I am currently having with my saddle. My gelding was in training for 2 months and has lost weight and put on muscles in all the right places, however, with that weightloss has come a set of issues but we have come up with a temporary solution until their trip back out this way in September. Maybe it all has to do with the reps you deal with in your area. But I know that individual I get to deal with has alway been very professional as have all the office staff I have dealt with.

There are some saddlemakers that I truly would not deal with after talking to their representatives, but I know other people have had great dealings with them. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I believe that everyone has a right to express those opinions, however, I think that when starting to deal with saddlemakers or tack shops, one truly must formulate their own opinion...

Velvet
Jul. 4, 2012, 10:00 AM
Then maybe this topic will do some good. Maybe the saddle companies will read some of this and realize that it's their reps that ruin their business and they need to be very careful when hiring people no matter how remote the area might seem! In today's world, the internet and forums has made the entire horse world SMALL. Remote locations mean nothing when the service is bad.

I think it's a wake up call to them and for them to get into the 21st century. Bad news always has wings...and out here it's at the speed a person can upload a comment.

Mayflower Farm
Jul. 4, 2012, 05:27 PM
I had a great experience with a Verhan saddle and Bernardo himself. We were in FL looking at a horse, horse was ridden in a Verhan and we liked the saddle and she went well in it. Went to the local tack shops (of course, lol) and found a used one. :) Long story short, we took the used saddle to Bernardo, he checked it over, gave it the ok and then fitted it to the mare and shipped it up to us less than a week later. Couldn't have asked for better than that!

SnicklefritzG
Jul. 4, 2012, 06:00 PM
Schleese...worst experience ever! And that was before I even bought one of their saddles! http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/showthread.php?t=350975&highlight=dear+saddle+fitter

I second that! I had a major problem with a Schleese that I ordered with several modifications. When the saddle arrived, not only did it not fit the horse properly, it looked like it had been made for a completely different type of back. I had no less than 1/2 dozen people at my barn look at it in addition to an independent fitter and they all said the same thing. My horse had the WORST behavior I've ever seen in this saddle.

Switched back to my old Thorowgood t4 high wither saddle and my horse was good as gold. So it was definitely not a physical problem with my horse. Her antics were totally due to saddle induced pain.

My local rep was unavailable for the entire trial period, trying to get other options worked out with the main office was like pulling teeth. They gave me a verbal indication over the phone that I could keep the saddle until Jochen came back to my area which would have been a 1.5 month wait. However, they wouldn't put it in writing that I would have the same fit guarantee after Jochen looked at it. I tried several times to get them to put something in writing, but ultimately asked for my money back because the $5k risk was too much. Never again.

I had a similar problem with County in that I told the rep that I wanted a saddle just like the demo that I rode in, same seat and twist, same flap, same tree width, same panels, etc. just a different type of leather. The demo was noticebly used good condition, but clearly not new otherwise I might have considered buying it. When my saddle arrived, it rocked on my horse's back and even after being reflocked there were still fit problems as confirmed by my chiro (who is also a vet and saddle fitter). The rep came back and was unable to fix the saddle so I sent it back and got a full refund.

In County's case the main office was actually quite nice to deal with, but the local rep was HORRIBLE. She kept trying to convince me that she could solve the problems with reflocking but she had already done that twice and still wasn't able to fix it. What was worse is that she seemed more interested in asking me about my previous saddle and why didn't I send it back to the company I bought it from when I got my new horse and what was that company's guarantee and then tried to compare it to County. All stuff that was none of her business.

Keith from Stubben was very good however. Very professional and nice guy to boot. The only problem I had with stubben was they didn't have any demo saddles that I could buy. After my previous experience I decided that only wanted to buy off the rack, but Keith said he would keep a lookout for the particular model I was looking for and would give me a heads up when something came in.

Saddle companies should realize that the quality of the fit has a lot to do with the quality of the local rep.

Schleese: Don't expect the majority of us to spent $5k if you aren't going to offer top notch customer service and provide timely communication when problems arise. Yes, you may be a "small business", but that's no excuse when your saddles cost twice that of many others.

County: Don't think that pulling someone out of a training barn and running them through a 1 month program is going to teach them what they need to know to make a good fit. The person you told me had "impeccable fitting skills beyond refute", told me, and I quote: "Only 1 finger clearance? You should be fine, as long as it's one finger". Um. no. my mare certainly indicated there was a problem. Otherwise why would she go just fine minutes later using a different saddle.

xsalute
Jul. 4, 2012, 06:32 PM
I love Schleese; nothing but great customer service. I bought 2 saddles from them and they have a great product. The saddle comes twice and she is great.

SnicklefritzG
Jul. 4, 2012, 06:36 PM
@xsalute: maybe you had a good experience, but I can name a lot of people who've had miserable experiences with their customer service...

The real test of a company isn't what happens when the product arrives and is to the customer's spec AND fits the horse. It's all about how the company handles itself when things go wrong...

artisticgold
Jul. 4, 2012, 08:45 PM
[QUOTE=SnicklefritzG;6415109]I second that! I had a major problem with a Schleese that I ordered with several modifications. When the saddle arrived, not only did it not fit the horse properly, it looked like it had been made for a completely different type of back. I had no less than 1/2 dozen people at my barn look at it in addition to an independent fitter and they all said the same thing. My horse had the WORST behavior I've ever seen in this saddle.

Switched back to my old Thorowgood t4 high wither saddle and my horse was good as gold. So it was definitely not a physical problem with my horse. Her antics were totally due to saddle induced pain.

Schleese: Don't expect the majority of us to spent $5k if you aren't going to offer top notch customer service and provide timely communication when problems arise. Yes, you may be a "small business", but that's no excuse when your saddles cost twice that of many others. [quote=SnicklefritzG;6415109<

I had problems just like this with a custom Schleese saddle (we even compared notes)The saddle crippled me, and my mare acted like a crazy horse in the saddle. All the blame was laid on me and my horse, and we were treated very poorly and I was stuck with a saddle that I couldn't ride in and my horses hated...I had always had decent luck with the reps that came through and fitted my used Schleese saddles, but Joachen came through, told me my saddles were not good for my mare, despite the fact that she was going beautifully, and gave me the hard sell that I needed a custom Triumph. Worst saddle i've ever owned. My friend said it rode 'like a cheap $50 Ebay piece of CRAP!!' yeah......

goldenrow
Jul. 5, 2012, 09:39 AM
Love my Stubben, love the NA office - however, I am rather unhappy with the only TACK SHOP I can find that carries Stubben products in the state.

Shop said I would have to pay shipping to try a new saddle (Had an opportunity to sell 3 of the same saddle to myself and 2 clients, who all currently ride in one particular saddle). That's cool, I can handle that. The other out-of-state tack shop I frequent charges $29.95 each direction to try a saddle; I thought it should be similar. But - this in-state shop is charging me $180+ !!!! And still has not taken the full charge of the saddle off my card - a month later!!!

I was so excited when I thought I had found a shop only an hour away that I and my students could patron - HA! I don't think so!

Renaissance Lady
Jul. 5, 2012, 07:14 PM
I have an Ideal Jessica that I got from www.allenglishtack.com that has just been super for my Belgian warmblood. All English Tack's master saddle fitter came within a couple of weeks when I called, and when months later I had it restuffed as my warmblood's shape changed, they were out again within two weeks of my calling to restuff it. They also carry Hastilow, Black Country, Thorowgood, etc.

So I feel they really stand behind their products.

Romahorse
Jul. 5, 2012, 08:45 PM
Best- Black Country largely due to the efforts of their rep in my area, Patty Merli. She has exceeded expectation, delivered a beautiful product & is a true advocate for the horse.
Most disappointing- Custom Saddlery. When I called Custom's president, Cary, to express my frustration that their rep couldn't find a short flap saddle for me to trial before I ordered, he reacted with disinterest & never asked the golden
customer service question "What can I do to fix this?". My theory with Custom is that they have more orders than their production can keep up with, & thus are unconcerned with losing a customer.