Have you ever had a chance to sit in an Albion? Among the people I know they're a love them or hate them brand. Personally, I LOVE them. I'm buying a non-Albion because I found a saddle which fits my horse perfectly, but Albions are the only type of saddle where I've gotten on and sighed "ahhhh" from the comfort. So to me, that'd be the best choice.
A few years ago I sat in every Albion they had at Devon. All had a twist too wide. I ultimately got 2 Albion Original Comfort saddles that have a wide twist but they don't make 'em anymore. The Albions fit my flat-backed Friesians. Someone at my barn had an Albion SLK that also fit one of my friesians well. I hated her saddle because of the narrow twist and she hated mine because of the wide twist. I don't know where the Legend fits in, twist wise.
I once had a Lauriche that was a 17" seat w/14" flap. I am 5'4, 31" inseam and the flap was fine. As long as it doesn't catch the top of your boot you're OK.
I have had 2 Prestige saddles in the past. Don't remember the models. They were lovely for me but did not fit my horses well. One of the Prestiges I had was looked at by a saddle fitter who said it couldn't be made to fit my flat-backed Friesian. The tree was sort of "banana" shaped and unsuitable.
it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
Know nothing about Hulsebos.
Albion can be widened, and the tree can actually be changed out. Back when I looked, was $400, I imagine it's gone up some since.
Agree completely they are a love/hate.
Prestige does curve up in the back. For some super-short backs, this is needed, and a good thing. Prestige trees can be adjusted very cheaply by Dover Saddlery and several other places, if you don't have a saddler available. (which the question indicates )
Prestige fit my mare, who was the same width as my stallion, 37cm, but she was slightly pear shaped--not a flat-flat back. I think the angle of the bars is the issue for the flat-flat back. OTOH, they are fabulous for long scapulars.
well, in JS's defense, sometimes its opportune to pounce on a sight-unseen bargain. If the saddle doesn't work out, it can be resold, sometimes at a profit, and now you've gained experience with that model/brand to boot and can save yourself or help someone else in the future.
JS, they're all good brands, it really depends on your hunch on suitability. I had a Top that was wonderful and a Legend GP that was wonderful two. Both had a mediumish twist iirc, the albion being wide but not overly so. Both well made. The albion fit flat flat flat, the prestige more curvy. Both had very wide channels which is great, the prestige shorter panels, the albion more support out back. Both saddles I picked up for very good prices and ended up passing along to friends for what I paid. Neither saddle fit my beast, both fit my friends horses brilliantly.
I voted for the prestige. From what I've heard they're easy to have work done on and have less of the love/hate thing. You may not love it, but you're not likely to hate it either. We have one trainer in our area that is an albion freak. She tries to get all her students in them. Of the 6 I know, none could find one they liked, so I'm thinking they might not be a good bet in your situation.
Do not toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!
Like Buck22 said, not always. I'm doing my research AND i'm having a hard time finding a Prestige under 1k in this country so to spend $600 and turn around and sell it here if it doesn't fit means I may even make money, at the least I'll break even.
I've done this before on my KB saddle, imported it didn't like it, easily broke even on it.
LOL had another saddle thrown in the works now too is a Martin Wilkinson which is tempting me.
I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.
Another who loves her albion (found a medium so now have a wide tree for sale!) - and HATES the prestige.
Its a very personal choice - BUT I found the seat of the Prestige to be hard (this is a 2000D model if I recall correctly - about 5 years old).
The Prestige belongs to a friend - I use that when I ride her horse. Fits the horse great (short-backed mare) but I always feel like I have a bruised butt after riding in it (same seat size as my albion fwiw). I did not find it to have a more comfortable twist (my albion is a medium but rides more like a narrow).
All very personal choices.
Heck - IF I had the money, I'd have a Hennig and never need another saddle again!!!
Originally Posted by SmartAlex
Give it up. Many of us CoTHers are trapped at a computer all day with no way out, and we hunt in packs. So far it as all been in good fun. You should be thankful for that.
Do they all have tree size, panel shape, etc. your horse needs? Do you have a saddle fitter to tweak the fit if needed?
As a saddle-aholic, the perfect saddle search can send you in a dizzying tizzy. My horse and I have a princess and the pea issue or so I thought. I had a saddle fitter check him and come to find out he is asymmetrical. This explains so much. He will need to have a saddle flocked to fit his back so whatever saddle I get I personally need to love. Unless it is an unbelievable deal, see if the seller will do a trial or maybe find a place that will. Never hurts to ask.
Anyway, can you send tracings to the saddle owners to see if your horse matches up to the tree choice/panel shape? This can be helpful.
Best of luck. I feel your pain in the search for the perfect saddle.
I own a prestige 2000D as well as a hulsebos wb4.
They really ride very differently depending on what you like. They both have large soft blocks but the prestige has a very hard flat seat. The Hulsebos is a deep extremely soft seat (they fit small an 18 fits more like a 17.5). The prestige tree is also curvier. My entire barn now owns Hulsebos saddles. All we had to do was sit in one to be sold on it. They are pricey but I got a demo from them for half the price of a new one and it was only 3 months old. They also have a north american rep now so they will be out more often.