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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2009
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    nowthen MN
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    23

    Post Help me decide county innovation vs/ stabilizer vs frank baines reflex vs/ black coun

    My irish draught is finally finished growing. 16.3 1400 lbs. Bought him with bad back problems rehabbed/restarted. now need to chose a saddle that fits him and me. Love the innovation but can not afford a new one. So have you any experience with these brands? and a comparison ? I am going to jump event and hunt with him. Thank you so much!! first post need your help!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2008
    Location
    Stuttgart, Germany
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    Black Country! You can get a custom saddle for a fraction of the price of a new Innovation. I have the Wexford and LOVE it! I ordered directly from the UK which saved me some money from getting one in the US. Their craftsmanship is fantastic and their saddles fit really well.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr. 23, 2008
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    1,411

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    I have the County Stabilizer. I Love it. It is my dream saddle. It fits my horse and I perfectly. I love the flatter seat. Not to mention the leather is AMAZING! You can find them used for around the 1500- 2000 dollar range.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 26, 2009
    Location
    NC Sandhills
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    Quality-wise, they are all pretty much equally on par. The question now becomes which one suits your anatomy, your riding needs and fits your horse the best. You need to try them out for yourself... one rider's experiences in a particular saddle may not be equal to your own.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2006
    Location
    New England
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    I have a Black Country Quantum and am sooooo happy with it. Brand new, made to my horse's back tracings, leather I chose with a slightly longer flap, with tax, brought out by my saddle fitter and flocking adjusted to my horse was $2400. I wasn't having any luck finding a used saddle in the right size I needed.

    Might fit differently than the others you've mentioned, so sit in all if you can. But I am extremely happy with the quality and comfort of my Black Country.
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 26, 2006
    Location
    Madison, Wisconsin
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    4,524

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    Is there a website for the Black Country saddles? I have a friend who might be interested in a custom but can't afford a County. They are nice saddles for the $? Are there fitters in the US or do you have to do your own tracings and fitting etc and then just send them the information? How long does it take to get one made and delivered?
    Quote Originally Posted by tidy rabbit View Post
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
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    1,963

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    I worked long distance with Trumbull Mountain Saddlery (google them) on my Black Country Maelstrom. Black Country itself does have a Web site that can outline some of the options. I prefered to work with Trumbull. They sent a demo for me to use. I took photos of it on my horse's back and submitted wither tracings as well. I had a number of customizations done for both me and my horse. The saddle is working very well for my hard-to-fit horse. I did not personally like how I sat in the Innovation. I did like the Reflex, but it did not fit my horse.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2006
    Posts
    9,595

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    Quote Originally Posted by ExJumper View Post
    Is there a website for the Black Country saddles? I have a friend who might be interested in a custom but can't afford a County. They are nice saddles for the $? Are there fitters in the US or do you have to do your own tracings and fitting etc and then just send them the information? How long does it take to get one made and delivered?
    Depending on where you are located, there are also saddle fitters who sell Black Country as one of the brands they work with. For example, Colleen at Advanced Saddle Fit www.advancedsaddlefit.com sells Black Country. She is based in New Hampshire but I know someone in Virginia who uses her and fawns all over her awesomeness.

    I personally have not used Colleen; my horses live in NJ and I have Kate come out from Dutchess Bridle Saddle in Port Jervis, NY.

    Kate does not represent Black Country at this time, so I can't say anything about the brand, but I suspect that if you find a certified saddlefitter to help you, based on the rave reviews those saddles get and the expert fitters who represent them, you will have a saddle that fits you and your horse.

    However, there are plenty of custom saddle brands available for FAR LESS than the $4,000+ price tag that people seem to think is entry level for full custom, so maybe rather than going brand first, consider going saddle fitter first and find someone who is certified and represents many brands. If Black Country happens to be included in their roster, all the better!



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,941

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    Quote Originally Posted by NCSaddleFitter View Post
    Quality-wise, they are all pretty much equally on par. The question now becomes which one suits your anatomy, your riding needs and fits your horse the best. You need to try them out for yourself... one rider's experiences in a particular saddle may not be equal to your own.
    Ding ding ding! Best answer so far. I happen to love Black Country tack, but all of the brands and models mentioned are outstanding. You need to actually sit in them and put them on your horse before deciding--the Innovation and Stabilizer, for example, have absolutely nothing in common in terms of ride experience.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2009
    Location
    nowthen MN
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    Thank you! great advise!! I am in Sacramento CA and only saddle fitters so far are brand specific and want you to buy new. I tryed the innovation nice but can not afford it I think I am going to try and trace him and go to Black country. There just is not the expertise nor inventory here. I envy you all out east.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2009
    Location
    nowthen MN
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    I am debating between the quantum and the wexford. Did you try both? How hard it is to trace correctly your horses back with a right side slightly wider? Do they have leather upgrade options calf or bull? I am prepared to do this once and right. thank you so much. The helpfullness and expertise on the board is great! So glad I just joined!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 9, 2006
    Posts
    1,825

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    If you can, do buy used, because the good 'uns don't depreciate much; in fact, if you care for them well, you can usually break even or even make a bit when you resell them.

    I LOVED my Frank Baines...and it did keep its value.

    Try googling the brand/style you want; many tack stores list used ones for pretty good prices, and many are fairly negotiable, particularly at this time of year.

    Don't write-off buying from a UK seller, either; quality saddlers are a dime a dozen (relatively speaking) there, and you may save quite a bit by importing yourself.

    Also keep an eye on the Canadian market -the US$ is very strong right now, and you may find a deal.

    Just make sure whatever you buy is wool-flocked, because then any good qualified saddler can adjust it to fit your horse; the tree width is the most important thing.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,701

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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebluesky View Post
    Thank you! great advise!! I am in Sacramento CA and only saddle fitters so far are brand specific and want you to buy new. I tryed the innovation nice but can not afford it I think I am going to try and trace him and go to Black country. There just is not the expertise nor inventory here. I envy you all out east.
    I am in Northern California. Kendra at County is very very nice and travels. She fitted my mare and I ended up buying both a used Stabilizer and a used County dressage saddle.

    The Stabilizer and Innovation are radically different. I will be a Stabilizer rider for life!

    I tried to work with Trumbell Mountain and look at the Black Country's, but it was a big pain. If I was not in as much of a rush as I was I might have had them send the demos, but I knew the BC flaps are really long and forward, and I would have needed to go custom. The off the rack Stabilizer flap fits me perfectly.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2007
    Posts
    570

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    The Baines saddles (and the people who work at Baines!!) are quite nice! They're the shop in the UK that manufactures a significant portion of Bevals stuff. I'm rather fond of all of their work and they've always been willing to customize/semi-custom saddles. See if you can sit in a few different models - you may find that one suits your anatomy the best out of the bunch.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov. 25, 2008
    Location
    Stuttgart, Germany
    Posts
    558

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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebluesky View Post
    I am debating between the quantum and the wexford. Did you try both? How hard it is to trace correctly your horses back with a right side slightly wider? Do they have leather upgrade options calf or bull? I am prepared to do this once and right. thank you so much. The helpfullness and expertise on the board is great! So glad I just joined!
    I recommend the Wexford. Just got a custom one and it is sooooo comfy and secure. The Quantum has a longer balance point and more forward flap. I didn't feel balanced in it. They do have upgraded leather. I have the vintage leather which comes pre oiled and is very grippy. It's included in the price of the saddle. The have buffalo, too, which is super nice but it does cost a little more. I got my seat/knee pads in the schrumph leather for grip an durability. You can also get colored welting to add some a unique look. Mine is a dark havanna saddle with gold welting and is lovely! As far as tracings go, definitely buy one of those blue thingeys specifically for it. I didn't send tracings so my saddle needs some stuffing added. But no one would believe how narrow my horse is, with or w/o tracings, without seeing him! Oh, I ordered my saddle from a lady, Caroline Wilde in the UK because the exchange rate made it about $600 cheaper than getting one in the US.

    Black Country website: www.blackcountrysaddles.com



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 18, 2006
    Location
    New England
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    1,421

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    Take a look at the Black Country website to find a "stockist" (I think that's what they call it) near you. I think the person would be a saddle fitter (not positive but I'm 99% sure), and have them come out with the different saddles to let you try. Then they can do the wither tracing for you (and you'll know it's done right), and adjust the flocking to your horse once you buy the saddle. It took like... 1-2 months for my saddle to come in.

    Like another poster, I have the vintage leather and then the schrumpf on the seat and knee pads. This combo is very grippy and my saddle fitter said she and BC were finding this to be one of the best combinations for comfort and durability. I considered the bull or buffalo leather (now I can't remember which one it is? Brain fart ), until I saw it. It has this elephant print pattern that is way too bold for my taste. Many people like it though.

    Going through my saddle fitter was soooooo easy. Do that if you can.
    "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse..." ~Revelation 19:11



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
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    Just another option -- I have the BC Maelstrom, which is the Quantum with calf skin. I have a chestnut mare and I thought the calfskin was the best color for her. The other leather schrump would have looked good on a bay (it's a darker brown). Anyway, the calf matched her perfectly and is quite lovely. My sense of Quantum vs. Wexford was the former was a more huntery/close contact saddle and the later leaned more XC or all purpose. That said, both can come in whatever flap or saddle mixture you want, so you can customize. I believe the tree is different in both, though, which would affect your balance and how you feel in it. And one may be better for your horse's conformation . . .



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2009
    Location
    nowthen MN
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    23

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    Thanks so much for your advise I don't have any one here CA who will let me sit in a black county or a frank baines and although I loved the county on a young horse growing it costs too much. I'm going to try trumbell mt. and have them send me something close of different saddles then have one made.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 20, 2004
    Location
    La Habra Heights, CA
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    1,490

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    Have you contacted these people yet? http://www.saddlesthatfit.com/Services.htm

    They are listed on the Black Country website as the California representatives for their saddles, and they are in Northern California.
    --o0o--



  20. #20
    splash2009 Guest

    Default Black Country

    I have a Black Country Quantum that I am planning on selling as i bought a new horse and it jut doesn't fit him at all. I love this saddle and will most probably go back to another Black Country. I have also had several County (both Symmetry and Stabilizer). I do like the County saddles too but they are so expensive. I spoke to an independent saddle fitter and he told me when it comes to quality the difference between a County and a Black Country is zero to none. He said the main difference is the wait time (6 weeks for a new County and 3-4 weeks for a Black Country) and the price ($3500+ vs $2400)
    Hope this helps.



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