I am on the hunt for a new saddle. I have a certified saddle fitter that I'm working with (he did full tracings, etc) and he's on the hunt locally (with tracings in hand).
But I wanted to make a list of saddles to consider.
I want a wool flocked saddle. I currently have a foam flocked, hence why I'm on the search for a new saddle (the foam has compressed enough to make the saddle too wide at the pommel area). Replacing the foam for wool isn't recommended by my saddle fitter because of the make up of the panels. So a new saddle is needed. I'll have this horse for life and I want to buy a saddle that will fit him for the rest of his riding career. And with wool, we can make the necessary adjustments unlike foam. I don't want to have to go through this again.
I'm looking for a close contact/jump saddle. No more than $2000. Used is just fine.
So if people could list Brands and Models that are definately wool flocked, and around that price point, that would be great. Alot of listings I've found don't specify.
I assume you want a close contact saddle? I have 4 Jaguars and am very, very happy with them (though I do have one for sale, simply because 4 saddles is fairly excessive). I have also hear RAVE reviews of the Black County saddles. Many in my barn have County saddles and Custom saddles. All of the above are available wool flocked.
You can find used County Stablizers on Ebay for less. These are a traditional close contact saddle with a very flat seat.
Used Amerigos might suit you.
You can sometimes find used Black Country's for under or around $2,000.
If you know what you want, you can order one directly from Black Country for about $2,200.
Call Smith Worthington, too. They have saddles in your price range but they tend to flock their saddles very full and hard. Curt at the factory in Hartford CT can modify those. They also have many demos they'll let you try.
I was happy for a long time with a Bates saddle I bought and had reflocked with wool. You could start with a used one for around $1,000 and spend another couple hundred having the CAIR panels replaced with wool. Curt at S-W did a fantastic job with mine, working from wither tracings, some photos and a phone call.
If you want to go this used/reflock with wool route, be sure you get a saddle with gusseted panels. You see seams along the bottom/back edge of the panels. The gussets give them a 3-D shape that will accommodate wool.
Best of luck in your search. It's worth the effort to get a wool-flocked saddle, IMO.
I had an old pessoa converted from foam to wool. Very very happy with the result. I would definitely say that buying a nice quality used saddle and then having it changed over to wool can work out. You get a nice saddle for less and brand new wool flocking- you can definitely do this for less than 2k!
I wish I could rip the foam out of my current saddle and just have wool flocking put in. All in all, I really like my saddle and it fits my horse everywhere except the pommel area. My saddle fitter does more than just wither tracings. He does 6 different tracings just down the back at certain points. And then 2 tracings front to back. Very interesting.
When I asked about this option, he said my saddle wasn't a "candidate". LOL Something about the panels. *sigh*
I do have a quick fix for now. Saddle fitter suggested buying some heavy duty felt material (which I did) and cut a piece for each side to fit the section we need to "shim". He said I'd need about a 3/4 inch thickness since it will compress a little bit and we really need about 1/2 inch on each side. A regular shim won't work as it will shim the entire front panel and it will then pinch the section behind that does fit him.
I have the Thinline Trifecta pad so I can put my homemade shims in there. This will hold me for awhile but it really is best to get a new saddle.
If it were my money, I'd be looking for a used Amerigo, but that's just my personal love affair with my Amerigo saddle talking. There are plenty of other great brands that flock with wool.
Here's the wool-flock brands that I'm aware of with ballpark MSRP's (so subtract 30-40% for the average used price, although as always there are deals to be had below that on the used market). Not all wool flocking is created equal, so some of these brands stuff with better flocking than others. If there's a star next to the brand name, then that brand offers customized saddles in addition to off-the-rack.
*Berney Brothers - $1000 (notorious for being hard as a rock to sit on, but fit is very good and all custom made)
*Duett - $1000 (only customizes from medium tree up to XXXW, no narrows)
Collegiate - $1000-$1200 (not all wool flocked but some is, esp. their Convertible line)
Thornhill - $1000-$1500 (not all wool flocked but their higher-end jumping tack is, be sure to ask about specific models w/o assuming)
*Classic, formerly Rembrandt - $1900 with fixed tree width, about $2400 with adjustable tree
*Stubben - $2500-$3000, possibly more for a Stubben custom
*Barnsby - $2000-$2200
Kieffer - $2200 (yes, they DO make jumping tack--some ppl think they only do dressage)
*Jaguar by Harry Dabbs - No longer sold AFAIK, used to retail around $2500?, widely available used between $800-$1400.
*Black Country - $2200 factory direct, $2500 if you go through a brand rep (shouldn't be necessary for you since you have a saddle fitter involved)
*Frank Baines $2600
*Smith Worthington - $2800-$3200
Vega - $3000-$3200
Pretty much anything that retails over $3000 is going to have at least a wool option even if it's not standard. That includes CWD, Devoucoux, Antares, etc. Amerigo and County have wool flocking in all their saddles.
Don't assume that your budget prices you out of the top brands. I've seen a used Amerigo recently for $1200, a lovely County for about $1800, etc. Times are bad and people are dumping their tack.
Thanks jn4jenny.... great info and exactly what I needed.
My saddle fitter called last night and has found 2 that might work (at the local tack shop) via the tracings he did.
They are a Barnsby Diablo and a Barnsby Milton. The Diablo is a bit more "eventer type" for my liking but who knows? I might love it. I'm going to go to the tack shop today and sit my butt in them and maybe take them both out for trial. I like the look of the Milton better (more hunter style). But fit for my guy and me is most important, of course. Both are brand new. But going for 1/2 the cost (Original $3000... price $1500). We had another tack shop around here close last year and this tack shop took all of their left over inventory. So they are still trying to get rid of the excess. So lots of saddles. Great deal IMO and I've heard Barnsby is a good brand.
Saddle fitter will already be out at the barn on Tuesday for another appt so he can swing by afterwards. He suggested I take these out and ride in them over the weekend and see how they feel. Then he can check them on Stitch and I can make a decision accordingly.
He is also looking into what can be done to my current saddle instead. Going to make some calls and do some research to see if the tree can be narrowed. The only issue really is the very first tracing (wither area). The rest of the saddle fits him great. And I do like my saddle and would rather keep it if possible.
Stitch isn't showing any discomfort w/ the saddle. Fitter said it was a 7.5 out of 10. So not really that bad (except for that one area). He's seen alot worse (negative numbers). I made the shims last night and put them in my Trifecta pad. Will try that tonight and see if that helps.
Does anyone know anything about this saddle? How is it compared to the Milton?
I found this one at the tack shop at lunch (it seems the Milton is gone. The Diablo is still there but they also had this model (Hammond) and the underside looks very similar to the Diablo which my saddle fitter had already put the tracings against and said would probably work. Staff were kind enough to help me do some measurements as comparison. Pretty much the same except the Diablo is slight longer. But the tree and seat size is the same.
So I took a chance, and it's in my car. Have it on trial until Wed (SF is coming Tue night). Got ahold of the SF later on and he said to go ahead and try it this weekend. Though he hasn't put the tracings against it, if it was similar to the Diablo, it might work. And can't hurt.
So we'll see. It's a nice saddle. I like the feel of it. It's more of a H/J saddle instead of an event saddle (Diablo). The blocks are smaller so it felt more comfortable to me at the tack shop.
I hope this one works for the both of us.
Last edited by LSM1212; May. 22, 2009 at 02:07 PM.
I am not familiar with the Hammond from Barnsby, but I will say that Barnsby makes LOVELY saddles and bridles. Their flocking is actually a synthetic that was specially designed not to clump like wool, but is also still breathable and very soft. The leather is wonderful and they wear so well. I had one that still looked new after 6 or 7 years.
My favorite bridle is also a Barnsby. It's like butter.
Smith Worthington makes a more reasonable line that might suit you- it's the Mystic. I think the saddles are only ~$1000 and I know of several people that have them and are happy. I also have ridden in them a couple of times and thought it was pretty comfy.