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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2005
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    Baltimore by way of NC by way of DE
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    1,033

    Default what saddle brand/model would you suggest for a growing young horse; up to $2K.

    So my saddle is broken; I believe the tree is broken it squeaks. I was in the market for a new saddle anyway but really was trying to hold off...guess not.

    Anyway my horse is a 3 yr old. right now he is a little butt high and is slowly developing. So needless to say when buying a saddle I am going to need one that is easily/able to be fitted mutliple times as his body morphs.

    Any suggestions. My last saddle was a dominus (the older models) with a long flap.

    I really like Tad coffins, but used they are a bit rich for my blood right now.

    I want to spend 1500 to 2K.

    TIA

    -K1B
    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    CT
    Posts
    6,065

    Default

    Honestly, I'd buy something used, in a popular brand that fits in overall shape, but is a hair wide. Then use it with a sheepskin. He can fill out a bit, then you can take the sheepskin out. When he grows out of the saddle (which he will), it will be a good brand that you bought used, and if you take good care of it you should be able to sell it for what you paid for it.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 9, 2008
    Location
    Maryland USA
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    1,194

    Default

    I would get a county with wool flocking. You can pay rep $50 to come out and re-flock (fit) the saddle. This way the saddle can adjust with your horse. Even if you get a used county saddle, they will come out and re-flock it. Its a great deal. They will come out and fit your horse too to see what tree will work best.


    Tim
    Sparling Rock Holsteiners
    www.sparlingrock.com



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    6,871

    Default

    Honest advice:

    Hire. a. saddle. fitter.

    It's going to cost you a little money upfront, but it's going to save you hundreds on the back-end of not having to try dozens and dozens of saddles. If I read one more thread to the effect of "Yeah I tried to do this saddle search myself, and now I've spent $300 shipping saddles back and forth and I've tried 15 saddles and none of them work and now I realize that I need [fill in saddle name here] but I can't afford it because I blew so much of my budget on shipping," I'm going to bang my head against the desk.

    No saddle fitters in your area? No problem. Take a wither tracing. Take appropriate pictures of the horse. Send it off to a tack shop with experienced saddle fitters on staff. Trumbull Mountain gives GREAT picture-laden tutorials of how to do that entire process www.trumbullmtn.com. And they'll look at your tracings for FREE and give FREE advice. It's always best to have someone in person if you can, but if not, Trumbull or Saddler's Row or Hastilow or whomever you pick is the next best thing.

    Let the experts tell you what pieces of tack are likely to fit you and your horse, then go from there.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2005
    Location
    Baltimore by way of NC by way of DE
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    Default

    Thanks for the input. I plan on hiring a saddle fitter - thats who would be fitting/re-fitting the saddle as he morphs

    My question was what brands of saddles are best for that; I am not familiar with any saddle fitters in my area - meaning I know their names but have not worked with them before. I wanted to have some knowledge of what brands other COTHers have used in case saddle fitter tries to "up-sell" me on something that really would not be suited for my current problem or a brand that would be suited but out of my price range.

    I know that Gina Perilla (sp?) is the saddle rep in my area, so I will call her.

    Any other suggestions?
    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    A good brand-independent saddle fitter will not try to upsell you. A bad saddle fitter certainly will, and so will many of the brand-affiliated saddle fitters. The good news is that most of the brand-affiliated saddle fitters work for brands that are well above the $2K mark, which is out of your budget anyway. Gina Perilla, for example, is a County rep. There's nothing wrong with that, but make sure you are absolutely 100% clear with her on the phone that you can't afford a County and don't intend to buy one unless it's under $2K. I used a County rep to look at my new-to-me Dominus dressage saddle a few months ago, and she was very competent. I was also very straightforward with her about my total non-intention to buy a County.

    You're lucky to be in Maryland, where there is more than one saddle fitter to pick from! Try Bill Wood--he reps saddles in all price ranges, including sub-$2K, and he's got the real deal credentials from the Society of Master Saddlers in England (not to be confused with the Master Saddlers Association, which is a name that County Saddlery made up for people who pass their saddle fitting course in order to become County reps). Or you can ask him to recommend someone closer to your area if you find his travel fee prohibitive.
    http://www.thesaddlefitter.com/
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    I'm going out of the box here. I love the new courbette adjustables. That fit from med to xwide. I use it on my xwide boy and on my daugthers wide pony and a med pony I have. It works great for them all. The only down side I've found is that they are less expensive anywhere from 600-1200 and the leather may rub where the irons are, but I put brown socks over them and you can't tell the difference.
    My irons are to long but you can see that you can't see the socks
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/...=1168260879266
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 8, 2009
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    13

    Default

    I have a Bates close contact saddle with the easy change gullet system. My saddle came with trees from narrow to extra wide so has a range of possibility to fit your horse. My boy is a Belgian/QH cross who I have had since 3 months and is now about to turn 6. His body has gone through countless growing changes over the years. I bought the saddle just over a year ago after riding in my trainers for awhile and absolutely love it. It is also nice to have the option of riding other horses and being able to use my saddle. The leather is a nice quality and still looks great after a year.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
    Posts
    15,625

    Default

    I'd combine the many good suggestions already made here.

    First, I'd try on many different kinds to figure out the basic shape of tree and panels your horse needs.

    Then I'd certainly buy used and perhaps a bit wide for him to grow into, but also grow out of.

    If his back is the shape imagined by Bates, I think these gullet platy things are useful saddles. You can probably find a used one cheaply enough that you 1) can reflock with wool if you want and keep it around as a go-to saddle for a variety of horses; 2) don't care a whole lot about how you care for it, or young horse, rain or "using tack" type accidents.

    Gullet plate Pessoas and Ovations have the same kind of advantage. The trees and balance of these saddles (for the rider) is different from Bates, so you might keep these in mind if you can find appropriately priced used ones. It may be hard as these are relatively new inventions in these lines. On the other hand, new ones aren't out of line with your budget. I think Pessoa panels are cut to fit a wide variety of horses.

    You certainly can call a County fitter out with disclosure about your intentions and budgets. Most of them are happy to educate, and they'll also keep their eyes peeled for used or demo ones in the right specs for you.

    I'd do the leg work myself and assemble many candidates. From a narrowed down set, I'd have those on hand when my County rep came out. You'll pay her for the barn call, but I have had luck with County reps helping me evaluate fit or adjust flocking on other brands, too.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  10. #10
    Join Date
    May. 15, 2002
    Posts
    2,351

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    Honest advice:

    Hire. a. saddle. fitter.

    It's going to cost you a little money upfront, but it's going to save you hundreds on the back-end of not having to try dozens and dozens of saddles. If I read one more thread to the effect of "Yeah I tried to do this saddle search myself, and now I've spent $300 shipping saddles back and forth and I've tried 15 saddles and none of them work and now I realize that I need [fill in saddle name here] but I can't afford it because I blew so much of my budget on shipping," I'm going to bang my head against the desk.

    No saddle fitters in your area? No problem. Take a wither tracing. Take appropriate pictures of the horse. Send it off to a tack shop with experienced saddle fitters on staff. ...

    Let the experts tell you what pieces of tack are likely to fit you and your horse, then go from there.
    This. Times 1000.

    Buy the saddle that fits the best in an expert's opinion. Brand should be irrelevant to saddle (and helmet!) shopping because fit is the number one most important thing about a saddle, with everything else a far distant second.

    OP, if you meant "what brands are adjustable?" my reply is Bates, Pessoa, Ovation, some Collegiate and Wintec.

    Kieffers can have the tree remolded to fit your horse, and several other brands have modifying systems (Courbette, Laser, Reactor Panel)

    The best way to try out a number of different brand is get a saddle fitter who is brand agnostic to come out and help you. As mvp said what I have done in the past is round up a dozen saddles from the local 2nd hand saddle shops and schedule the fitter to come out that same weekend. That way you increase the chances of getting at least one that works.

    Good luck - I know it's a pain!
    ............................................
    http://www.xanthoria.com/OTTB
    ............................................



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2003
    Posts
    1,407

    Default

    The Bates saddles can also be adjusted with shims. They make front, middle and back shims in 4mm and 8mm. There is velcro where the panel meets the bottom of the saddle where you slide the shims in above the Cair bags. This is more useful than simply changing the gullet for a horse whose back is changing. Probably what I'd get if I had a 3yo.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 23, 2001
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,963

    Default

    I agreen with Jn4jenny. An unaffiliated saddle-fitter is your best friend. Gina is great, but last time I worked with her it was County or nothing.

    Bill Wood is excellent. He does sell several brands of saddles including Black Country, which I endorse. But he's really an independent saddlefitter who sells saddles because people want him to. I didn't even know he did this until I'd used him a few times and he even basically refused to even bring a demo of one brand he said wouldn't fit my horse.

    I bought my saddle from Trumbull Mt. and I also endorse their credibility.

    The advice about buying a slightly bigger saddle and learning to pad appropriately is good. Mattes, Eco Gold and Thinline all have excellent pads with pockets for shims.

    Buying wool flocked is imperative for flexibility.

    Lots of used saddles should fit into your price range.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 12, 2010
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    414

    Default

    I second the Bates. Just got an Elevation DS to replace my County Innovation (long story). Between the gullet and the shims was able to custom fit my tb jumper and get the balance where I'm comfortable. The standard flap also fit my 33" inseam leg.

    I got mine at www.tackroomonline.com Great prices, super service and Adrianne knew all about the saddles they carry.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2009
    Location
    Paddle faster! I hear banjo music...
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    1,159

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    I'm very happy with my PJ. for 2k you could probably find one used.
    "ronnie was the gifted one, victor was the brilliant intellect, and i [GM], well, i am the plodder."



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Oct. 13, 2009
    Location
    College View
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    1,282

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    Stubbens are around 2k new and literally are the most comfortable saddles for a rider and with VERY forgiving fit to the horse. So, I think it would be perfect for a growing horse.

    Don't make any choices without at least looking at a Stubben.
    Last edited by headsupheelsdown; Mar. 27, 2010 at 10:24 AM.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Mar. 7, 2003
    Location
    Mudville, GA ;-)
    Posts
    9,207

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hb View Post
    The Bates saddles can also be adjusted with shims. They make front, middle and back shims in 4mm and 8mm. There is velcro where the panel meets the bottom of the saddle where you slide the shims in above the Cair bags. This is more useful than simply changing the gullet for a horse whose back is changing. Probably what I'd get if I had a 3yo.
    OMG, I did not know they had shims available like this!!
    I have a Bates Caprilli for my youngster (3 y.o. HAN moose). I really like it, but I know it's not the be-all-end-all. It does offer some flexibility, but changing the gullet doesn't ensure a good fit. I've got a correction pad to use in combo with the saddle expecting to have to shim it differently as he grows and changes over the next few years.

    Thanks hb, I'm going to check out shims for my Bates!
    Y'all ain't right!



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2005
    Location
    Baltimore by way of NC by way of DE
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    1,033

    Default

    Thanks for all the suggestions. I will maybe call Bill as well. He is just so far the mileage fee (which is reasonable, he is just far) would eat into my budget a bit.

    I had never considered a bates, so I will look at them as well.

    buying a tad large and shimming what cant be fit is fine. I use equinity shimms www.equinityperformance.com so not an issue there.

    does anyone have any input on amerigo's I only say that because I loved loved loved my Dominus and they have the same maker.
    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"



  18. #18
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    Oct. 13, 2009
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    Default

    Amerigos are really nice, but I thought you wanted under $2k?



  19. #19
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    Oct. 21, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by headsupheelsdown View Post
    Amerigos are really nice, but I thought you wanted under $2k?
    i was able to find a few at $2K
    \"A smart lady knows its ok to change her mind, a damn fool never does\"



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec. 15, 2003
    Posts
    1,407

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    Quote Originally Posted by BeastieSlave View Post
    OMG, I did not know they had shims available like this!!
    I have a Bates Caprilli for my youngster (3 y.o. HAN moose). I really like it, but I know it's not the be-all-end-all. It does offer some flexibility, but changing the gullet doesn't ensure a good fit. I've got a correction pad to use in combo with the saddle expecting to have to shim it differently as he grows and changes over the next few years.

    Thanks hb, I'm going to check out shims for my Bates!
    I found them at Adams:

    http://www.adamshorsesupply.com/browse.cfm/4,6647.html



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