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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2010
    Location
    nevada
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    267

    Default What is going on with Custom Saddlery?

    I ordered an Icon Saddle on Sept 3. I was told it would take 3 months (as my last one did). Still no saddle! A friend of mine who ordered through a different fitter was contacted and told there would be a delay due to tree issues. She was also given a loaner. I was not contacted at all, and when I contacted my fitter was given an entirely different excuse. When I heard nothing more for a few weeks I tried contacting Custom directly; then got a note from my fitter that it should be sent out the week of Jan 13th and I would be contacted to confirm address etc. Nothing since....
    I love my other Icon saddle but this is the worst customer service!!
    Anyone having this problem? I have in the meantime lost a sale on the saddle I am replacing. Sorry to gripe, but when you spend this amount of money I expect more.
    Last edited by out west; Jan. 25, 2014 at 03:12 PM. Reason: typo



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
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    4,340

    Default

    I bought a saddle from Custom Saddlery last summer, but it was a demo, so I basically bought it from the fitter. Another rider at the same barn got hers after the stated 3 month wait period. Perhaps with the OP's order they got behind during the holiday season?

    I would agree that if they specified that it would arrive in 3 months, then it should arrive in 3 months. If it doesn't then they should have offered you something in return, as in a free loaner. If they didn't give you a loaner, then ask your fitter for one. If they say they cannot, then ask why so and so fitter in area whatever is able to give loaners out (i.e. to your friend).

    I would bring the issue up asap with your fitter and add the part about being told that the saddle would ship on the 13th and you have yet to be contacted. Ask them what they are going to do to make it right since you have waited nearly 2 extra months, with no loaner, and the added expense of losing the sale on your other saddle, etc. Keep asking what they are going to do to make it right.

    The idea would be for them to compensate you in some way with either an adjustment in price or some free product such as saddle cleaning kits and so forth. while I don't think they will adjust the price, I think you should push the notion of them making it right. A delay or a week or two is one thing, but nearly two months??
    Last edited by SnicklefritzG; Jan. 25, 2014 at 06:04 PM.


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
    Posts
    404

    Default

    Had exactly the same experience. Loved the saddle, horrific customer service. Though I have to say I have had similar experiences with other brands.

    You would think when you spend nearly $5k on a saddle, the fitter could return a phone call or respond to an email.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
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    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,473

    Default

    I can never quite wrap my mind around how common this kind of "service" experience is in the saddle industry. I've never had an Icon, but like exploding pony, I've certainly had similar experiences with other brands. It's ridiculous.

    With the most recent saddle purchase (a Schleese) I and several friends chose to work with a west coast rep/fitter… she was fantastic to deal with us and offered us a much more attractive deal than we could get locally. She also kept in touch with us every step of the way, got the order in faster than she'd promised, and basically acted like she really appreciated our business. I'd work with her again in a heartbeat, even though she is literally several thousand miles away. (It's Karen at Art2Ride, BTW, in case anyone is looking.) Sad that her kind of excellent service seems to be the exception rather than the rule!

    OP, I hope you get your saddle really soon and love it.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina


    5 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep. 4, 2006
    Location
    Somewhere in the Southwest
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    1,233

    Default

    Last I heard from a recently ex-Custom rep, is that they're running 22-24 weeks on new saddles. Completely ridiculous.

    I ride in one of the older Icon Flight saddles and absolutely love it. It fits nearly everything and is comfy as all get out. Rode in a new one, after they redesigned the seat for no good reason, and wow, they ruined a great saddle. Unfortunately, finding a used Icon is incredibly hard, and they seem to priced really high when they do come up. Tried to find one for a client and the only one we could find was $3900. I paid $4200 for mine new. Crazy.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2007
    Posts
    2,812

    Default

    I ordered one of the new Icon Flights on Sept. 12th and it was finished about 3 weeks ago. I don't know what the older ones are like, but I loved the demo when I rode in it. Of course it remains to be seen how I feel once mine arrives with the fitter next Saturday. Although it was finished a few weeks ago, I couldn't complete the payment until yesterday (paying for some unexpected car repairs came first, unfortunately), but they were really nice about it and completely understood.

    That being said, I was told from the beginning that it would be 12-14 weeks, which 14 weeks would have been somewhere around December 19th. Instead it ended up being about 17 weeks from the time I ordered it to completion. I really do think that they were probably backed up because of the holidays, but I also expected it to take longer because I've heard that such is the nature of the beast at times when you order a custom saddle period, not just one from Custom Saddlery. I'm not saying that's acceptable or right, but I also look at it like this - I don't know what's going on with the company. Maybe they don't have enough saddle makers on staff or maybe someone got sick or maybe they just had too many orders all at once and simply fell behind. I would definitely be a little annoyed at the lack of communication from your rep and I do believe that having a good rep can make or break the whole custom saddle shopping experience.
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."


    1 members found this post helpful.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2010
    Location
    nevada
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    267

    Default

    Interesting that you ordered yours after I ordered mine, and you have had yours for three weeks. Maybe your rep was actually trying to help you. I don't think I will deal with this company again, and I am looking to see if I can find something else that will work. The problem is I have a very difficult horse to fit.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2011
    Posts
    113

    Default

    Think the wait can be par for the course, but the lack of communication is a crappy rep. I bought a CS ages ago and after nearly the full waiting period, my rep called me and told me I may never get the saddle - seems the company decided to redesign it after I ordered. Was sold the rep's demo and still have it. Very nice saddle though squeaks now.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep. 26, 2010
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    4,340

    Default

    To the OP: I had a conversation with an independent saddle fitter that has done a lot of USET. This person used to work for a specific saddle company then later went out on their own.

    Their advice to people was to buy a demo whenever possible.


    4 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2010
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    nevada
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    Default

    I wanted to buy a demo, but sadly couldn't find the model and size I needed. The reason I knew the saddle would work is that I tried my other horses saddle (same model and size) on my gelding and we both loved it - however horses are quite different and can't share a saddle.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb. 8, 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by out west View Post
    Interesting that you ordered yours after I ordered mine, and you have had yours for three weeks. Maybe your rep was actually trying to help you. I don't think I will deal with this company again, and I am looking to see if I can find something else that will work. The problem is I have a very difficult horse to fit.
    Yes, I'm fortunate that I have a really good rep. I had been interested in getting a County saddle about a year or so ago, but the rep said she'd call me back and she never did. They eventually hired a new person for the local rep and it was someone I'd never consider using, so I gave up on them.

    One of my friends ordered a Trilogy. She made a deal with the rep that when hers came, if she didn't like it as much as the demo, then the rep would have to sell her the demo. She even told the rep that she would pay full price for the demo - she just wanted a saddle that worked for both her and the horse. Her saddle came, she didn't like it, so the rep made good on her word and sold her the demo.
    "It is not necessary for you to let everyone know everything about you. In fact, it is probably wise that you don't. There are some things that you need only discuss with God."


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2006
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    404

    Default

    The problem is - even after you get he saddle, you need to get it fitted every six months or so. The rep needs to be responsive. I got so tired of repeatedly getting ignored by the rep, I finally sold the saddle. Really, really bad customer service.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct. 6, 2013
    Location
    heart of horse country, united states
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    443

    Default

    Wow - I am wondering if this is isolated to the Icon or all types from custom saddlery. I know two people that recently ordered saddles from there and they both took in the range of 16 weeks to get. However they were ordered last year. Yet another reason I wish my poor horse was so much easier to fit along with me ! Are they a US based company ? I can only hope my process, whatever the company, goes much more smoothly. Hope you all get your saddles soon !



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
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    1,647

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fire_911medic View Post
    Wow - I am wondering if this is isolated to the Icon or all types from custom saddlery. I know two people that recently ordered saddles from there and they both took in the range of 16 weeks to get. However they were ordered last year. Yet another reason I wish my poor horse was so much easier to fit along with me ! Are they a US based company ? I can only hope my process, whatever the company, goes much more smoothly. Hope you all get your saddles soon !
    This is a US company but the saddles are done in Europe. So they run into uncontrollable delays. European companies give their employees real vacations (many shut down for a couple of months in the Summer and a month in the Winter), so it seems everything is always behind. I wish Custom would just be realistic - it is going to take 4 to 5 months...

    Having said that, I do love my Custom saddles, and my rep is responsive.

    As for getting saddle adjusted every six months - if you have a growing, changing horse, then yes, that is true no matter WHAT saddle you buy. At least the Custom saddles trees are adjustable, so you can do more then just play with flocking. If your horse is not growing, is already well muscled and fit, AND you care for your saddle well, it may not need any work done for a year or two. My upper level stallion's saddle was fine for a couple of years - I had it checked every year, nothing needs to be done.

    A few tips for saddle care. Wipe it down after every use - NO SADDLE SOAP! A damp cloth, then wipe it dry. Condition it at least once monthly (Lederbalsm or similar conditioner). Store is on padding - not directly on a hard tube/pipe rack - those hard tubes dig into your saddle padding.

    I think any custom saddle company is only as good as its individual reps. And production delays seem to be the story of the industry...

    I'm hear to say, I love my Custom Saddles (yes, I have more then one - another nice thing, the used ones can be adjusted!)...


    2 members found this post helpful.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec. 10, 2010
    Location
    nevada
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    267

    Default

    Mystic Oak, I love my Custom also, I am just so frustrated at the long delay, and even more by the fact that every "update" has been initiated by me. My rep has never contacted me without my asking what is going on. Just yesterday I was told they were waiting for a part!? The only part that should differ among their saddles would be the tree; so does that mean my saddle isn't even started yet???



  16. #16
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    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by out west View Post
    Mystic Oak, I love my Custom also, I am just so frustrated at the long delay, and even more by the fact that every "update" has been initiated by me. My rep has never contacted me without my asking what is going on. Just yesterday I was told they were waiting for a part!? The only part that should differ among their saddles would be the tree; so does that mean my saddle isn't even started yet???
    I waited a long time for mine too - I found out "they" (the people back East that run/own CS) don't always keep the reps up-to-date on what is going on. Oh, the parts - I agree, the only thing that should be custom is the tree, but everything is hand cut, so they (in Europe) could be behind in cutting flaps or who knows what. Not making excuses - I found the waiting period very frustrating too - just saying the reps aren't always kept in the loop.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2002
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    1,610

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MysticOakRanch View Post
    At least the Custom saddles trees are adjustable
    Really? Do the reps/fitters all have one of those machines that are needed to widen the gullet plate? I thought all those UK-made saddles had trees that could only be altered a little bit without breaking the gullet plate. Does Custom Saddlery advertise that these saddles have adjustable trees?



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2001
    Location
    Washington, DC
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    6,538

    Default

    Any good independent saddle fitter can be used to do flocking and fit adjustments. Tree adjustments are a different issue unless it is an "adjustable" tree out of the box. I've had an Albion widened by a centimeter by a saddler and it wasn't too big of a production.
    The big man -- no longer an only child

    His new little brother



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug. 15, 2010
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ToN Farm View Post
    Really? Do the reps/fitters all have one of those machines that are needed to widen the gullet plate? I thought all those UK-made saddles had trees that could only be altered a little bit without breaking the gullet plate. Does Custom Saddlery advertise that these saddles have adjustable trees?
    They have a widener - I have no idea what it is called, but the saddle is put in it, and it slowly squeezes or widens the tree. Yes, they advertise that they can adjust the trees, and I have had it done. I bought one used saddle that was a medium and they were able to adjust it to a wide - and it was quite wide. Just recently, I bought a medium-wide and had it adjusted down more to a medium. I suspect you don't want to adjust the trees 5 or 6 or 10 times, but it is nice if you buy a custom saddle and they can widen it as your horse develops - or if you buy a different horse. Like any saddle, there is more to fit then just the tree width (which is one reason I just had to buy a "new" used saddle"), but yes, the reps have a "machine" for tree adjustments.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Columbus, OH
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by ToN Farm View Post
    Really? Do the reps/fitters all have one of those machines that are needed to widen the gullet plate? I thought all those UK-made saddles had trees that could only be altered a little bit without breaking the gullet plate. Does Custom Saddlery advertise that these saddles have adjustable trees?
    The confusion is probably being caused by Custom Saddlery building on two different kinds of trees. Many of their saddles are built on a pretty standard wood and steel tree, and I'd be awfully surprised if they can adjust that more than two sizes in either direction. But Custom also builds a number of models on a polyflex synthetic tree, which is fully adjustable across a wide range of sizes. The Polyflex tree is standard on the Icon Coda, Wolfgang Constanze & Sig. Coronado Dressage Saddles.

    As for the reps...trust me, you do not want the average saddle rep carrying around a saddle press. It is not rocket science to operate one, but it does take some training and precision. My guess is that Custom would have you send the saddle back to the Carolinas for such an adjustment, or you could probably use any good independent saddler who has an appropriate saddle press.

    Anyway, I have no idea what's causing the production delays at Custom...but if I had to guess, my money is on the tree manufacturer. There are less than a dozen tree manufacturing companies in the whole world, and pretty much all the world's saddle companies are using them. (Obviously, each company orders the trees to their unique specs, and yes, there are a precious few companies that actually weld the trees themselves.) But at any rate, one could easily imagine a total holdup in the Custom Saddlery manufacture process if they're waiting on saddle trees.
    ________________________
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