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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 28, 2010
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    Atlanta, GA and New Orleans, LA
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    Default Devoucoux - Any Follow-up on 1/09 Horror Story

    I will be buying a custom saddle in the next month (looking at Devoucoux, County and Antares), so I was nosing around this board for old threads on the three companies. I found the January, 2009 thread recounting the 2-year nightmare Christan Trainor went through with them, which also included a lot of other folks' prior negative experiences. All I can say is "WOW!" It is not so much that CT's saddle was not correct to begin with - that would be concerning in and of itself. But the attitude expressed by Devoucoux, in public, was absolutely incredible. And that so many other COTH posters had experienced similar problems!

    Anyway, I don't mean to rehash that old story. I am curious about people's experiences with Devoucoux since. Have they cleaned up their act (i.e., are they delivering custom saddles that actually fit as they should, and if not, are they fixing the problems in a timely manner without the customer having to resort to hiring a lawyer and/or starting a grass roots effort on COTH and Facebook to get Devoucoux to do the right thing)?

    Absent reports from actual customers who orderd a new, custom saddle from Devoucoux in the last 18 months that the company has changed its ways, I don't think there is any way I can trust them with a $5K to $6K custom saddle order.

    Thanks --



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct. 8, 2010
    Posts
    208

    Default

    I don't know if it's the rep. or the company but I went thru a year long nightmare to get one saddle. Actually , they made 2; first didn't fit my order. 2: fairly fit my order, not much the horse and tree squeeking. Changed the squeeking tree, they didn't change the panels to fit the tracing I had made done by (another) pro saddler and the leather was all worn out and ripped at 2 spots....
    Didn't accept that 'new last' saddle.... On the good side, I got reimbursed fairly quickly.

    The saddle was dark brown and they had send light brown stirrup leather to match....never got the dark ones as promised.
    I was also promised a bridle and sets of leg protection that I've never seen...



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
    Posts
    10,527

    Default

    I would think after reading everything on those threads, in particular Devoucoux's response, you would be smart enough to vote with your checkbook and take your business elsewhere. Personally one time would have been enough for me, but too many people have too many horror stories, if you buy from them anyway and have a problem you have only yourself to blame.

    Have had nothing but outstanding customer service from both Antares and CWD, I wouldn't even consider Devoucoux, not even for a lead shank. Their attitude is shameful.



  4. #4
    TarheelJD is offline Advanced Premium Member
    Original Poster
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    Apr. 28, 2010
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    Atlanta, GA and New Orleans, LA
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    1,579

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    ...too many people have too many horror stories, if you buy from them anyway and have a problem you have only yourself to blame.
    In my gut, I know you are right. I spoke with one of their reps at the WEG, and he was so helpful, and I just love the Biarritz. But after reading what I did last night, I don't think I can take the chance with them. As you say, if it went badly, I'd really have no one to blame but myself.

    Although it begs the question - how much time and good behavior has to pass before people feel comfortable using them again? I guess I would also like to hear that there had been a change in management (i.e., Brice is no longer there).



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2004
    Posts
    10,527

    Default

    Have you at least tried some of the other brands? Most offer so many options that I think you could get a very similar feel to the Biarritz, maybe you would even like CWD or Antares better? After her terrible experience with Devoucoux, Lucassb ended up liking her Antares even better, and likes her Butet even more so. All offer a large array of seats, flaps, twists, etc.

    also try PJ's and Childeric too.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 26, 2001
    Location
    Toronto, Canada.
    Posts
    6,340

    Default

    I had a good experience with my rep - but it was about 3 years ago...

    Called them, asked to try a demo. They bought what I wanted (17" Biarritz), practically new demo (that years model). They drove it out to the barn, and left it with me for three days. Called him back after riding in it once, and asked for a extended trial so I could lesson in it "no problem". After a week, called him up and asked for the new/used prices. He said I could keep the demo, $1000 off new price. I scored a pretty sweet deal and he was SO easy to work with.

    But...then again, I never had to order anything custom. I just tried one of their aready made products and it fit both beasts well.


    Forgot to add - I also had a great experience with the antares reps - wonderful!!! Ended up liking the devoucoux better, but need to mention the wonderful people at antares.


    Childerics are very off the shelf now, so you can pretty much walk into any tack store to try them out. One way to bypass a rep!!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 19, 2009
    Posts
    4,652

    Default

    I would say no. I know a rep for the company and they are having a really hard time getting the company to work with them on correcting people's saddle issues. So I would definitely say consider taking your business elsewhere, unless you have $5K and potentially a ton of time going back and forth to waste.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 13, 2005
    Location
    In too many places at one time!
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    307

    Default

    I know a lot of eventing riders have Devoucoux saddles so maybe you could post your question on the eventing forum and see if you get the same response.
    Five Star Tack



  9. #9

    Default

    I ordered a buffalo biarritz a year ago and just ordered a second one about a month ago. I have had very good luck with the saddles. My most recent one was delivered on Tuesday, fits the horse great. My rep came out quickly and spent a few hours with me. I traded in an antares and have also ridden in CWD and hands down the Devoucoux is the nicest out of the three in my opinion. I bought bridles, girths and boots from them last year and love all of it. I had ordered a bellyguard girth before Florida last year and when it was backordered (for a while) they gave me another girth to use until it came in. All in all I am very happy with the quality and the service I have received.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2008
    Posts
    879

    Default

    I needed repairs on a Biarritz I had and I was never able to get my local rep out for a visit. We spoke many times but I heard nothing but excuses it seemed like. I bought the saddle off eBay. I felt like since I didn't buy the saddle from the company I wasn't worth their time. I ended up listing my saddle then on eBay months later because I sold the horse the saddle was for. The funny thing was that rep was the first one contacting me super eager to buy it for someone looking for exactly what I had. She knew it was me too. I ended up selling it to someone else though off eBay.

    Do miss the saddle though.
    Owned by an Oldenburg



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 31, 2007
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    15,179

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TarheelJD View Post
    In my gut, I know you are right. I spoke with one of their reps at the WEG, and he was so helpful, and I just love the Biarritz. But after reading what I did last night, I don't think I can take the chance with them. As you say, if it went badly, I'd really have no one to blame but myself.

    Although it begs the question - how much time and good behavior has to pass before people feel comfortable using them again? I guess I would also like to hear that there had been a change in management (i.e., Brice is no longer there).
    Well, you don't have to be afraid, you just have to go to the source and ask some brass tacks questions.

    My script might look like this, maybe just a tad less blunt but no less clear:

    Look, I like your product and I'd spend my money with you in a heart beat if it weren't for a poor reputation with respect to fitting and customer service. I understand that "that was then, this is now." If you agree, then what kind of guarantee for both of those things will you put in writing and stand behind so that we can do business?

    I guess I'd have this conversation with the rep first. If I like what I heard, I'd call up the Mother Ship and make sure they said the same about what the company will and will not guarantee and how they promise to solve a problem if the first saddle doesn't work.

    I think you can sweeten the deal with some integrity. If you leave the impression that you'll publicly report your bad experience, then you'll also be first in line to report a good experience.

    They'll know you are the type to take public opinion seriously because you are asking these questions. You just need to *state* that you'd like to help them turn that around if merited. Let them know they have some reason to bother with someone that seems really concerned about accountability.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2007
    Location
    So Cal
    Posts
    165

    Default

    I've actually had a pretty good experience with devoucoux over the years. We have 3 biarritzs and they are my favorite saddles. They're comfy and have held up really well. We bought one about a year ago and everything went smoothly. Everything was what we asked for. And a few years ago I had to get my big guys saddle refitted. The rep was out a few days after calling her and the saddle was fixed within a few weeks. But the adjustments still weren't quite right so they had me send it back and redid the panels once more at no charge. So while there was a bobble, they made the effort I would expect to fix the problem and got my saddle back in a reasonable amount of time.

    If you don't want to deal with devoucoux but like their saddles, the only other saddlery I would recommend trying would be antares. They are quite similar and decent customer service. I know this might be an unpopular opinion but I would avoid CWD. I know they are the new "in" saddle but they are just not worth it. They do not hold up nearly as well. For example I know several CWDs that are falling apart after a few years of use. While one of my biarritz's is 10+ years old and still going strong with the same level of use.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mimi La Rue View Post
    I needed repairs on a Biarritz I had and I was never able to get my local rep out for a visit. We spoke many times but I heard nothing but excuses it seemed like. I bought the saddle off eBay. I felt like since I didn't buy the saddle from the company I wasn't worth their time. I ended up listing my saddle then on eBay months later because I sold the horse the saddle was for. The funny thing was that rep was the first one contacting me super eager to buy it for someone looking for exactly what I had. She knew it was me too. I ended up selling it to someone else though off eBay.

    Do miss the saddle though.
    Interesting...I'm assuming we have the same rep since I'm also in oc but I haven't had trouble getting her out. Both times I've needed her in the last year or so she's come out in under a week from when I called. And one of those times was to refit a saddle I hadn't purchased from them. It's odd you had so much trouble.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2008
    Posts
    879

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PreppyPonies View Post
    I've actually had a pretty good experience with devoucoux over the years. We have 3 biarritzs and they are my favorite saddles. They're comfy and have held up really well. We bought one about a year ago and everything went smoothly. Everything was what we asked for. And a few years ago I had to get my big guys saddle refitted. The rep was out a few days after calling her and the saddle was fixed within a few weeks. But the adjustments still weren't quite right so they had me send it back and redid the panels once more at no charge. So while there was a bobble, they made the effort I would expect to fix the problem and got my saddle back in a reasonable amount of time.

    If you don't want to deal with devoucoux but like their saddles, the only other saddlery I would recommend trying would be antares. They are quite similar and decent customer service. I know this might be an unpopular opinion but I would avoid CWD. I know they are the new "in" saddle but they are just not worth it. They do not hold up nearly as well. For example I know several CWDs that are falling apart after a few years of use. While one of my biarritz's is 10+ years old and still going strong with the same level of use.



    Interesting...I'm assuming we have the same rep since I'm also in oc but I haven't had trouble getting her out. Both times I've needed her in the last year or so she's come out in under a week from when I called. And one of those times was to refit a saddle I hadn't purchased from them. It's odd you had so much trouble.
    This was around 2003-2004ish. Maybe it was a different rep. It was very hard to get replies from her and I had to send several emails/leave messages. I finally just gave up. Finally heard from her again once she saw my saddle was for sale. Oh well.
    Owned by an Oldenburg



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2007
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    Hollowed out volcano in the South Pacific.
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    11,125

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    It's definitely hit or miss with Devoucoux depending on the quality of the rep you deal with and how experienced they are in measuring and fitting horses. Especially since they restructured the American side of the business into a franchised monopoly of sorts.
    Thus do we growl that our big toes have,
    at this moment, been thrown up from below!



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
    Location
    Harvard MA
    Posts
    260

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    Find all these posts surprising, I recently bought a Biarritz Devocoux saddle and I love it. This nice French guy (Guillame?) came to my house, brought lots of saddles, I got to try them all on my horse, he tried various shims etc. Checked whether the saddle that fitted "No. 1 priority" horse also fit No. 2 priority, luckily it did. Paid my $4200 (if you don't get any of the extras or frills, that is what it costs), plus some extra for matching stirrup leathers. About 6 weeks later as promised, saddle arrived (nice dark brown color, which is good because horse is close to black), with perfectly matching stirrup leathers. I love the saddle, it fits the horse, fits me. So have not had to deal with correcting problems, because there aren't any.
    This saddle puts you in a great jumping position, very secure, very comfortable. I bought this model/brand because I tried my trainer's and liked it. Good luck!



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2001
    Location
    Finally...back in civilization, more or less
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    11,473

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    Well, all I can tell you is my personal experience with Devoucoux, which was a NIGHTMARE.

    I had a really nice Socoa that I loved. Wanted another one made to the same specs except to add a padded flap. You would think that would be fairly straightforward... all they had to do was reproduce the same saddle with a padded flap.

    After $5K+ and MONTHS and MONTHS of aggravation, three "new custom saddles" that didn't fit and a "customer service rep" who used caller ID to avoid my calls... it took FLYING DOWN TO WEF TO STAND IN THEIR BOOTH with my POS saddle to get their attention.

    I did *eventually* get a refund. It took my attorney contacting them to do it, though.

    Would NEVER do business again with that company.
    **********
    We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.
    -PaulaEdwina



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 22, 2009
    Posts
    331

    Default

    I have a Devoucoux, and I have to admit, I did not receive it without some difficulty. The tree of my saddle broke in the final stages of it's completion, forcing for it to arrive one month late. Luckily my mount at the time was laid off at the time anyways and I wasn't in any dire need for it (it made a nice air-freshener while I couldn't use it too). I was re-compensated with a complimentary pair of stirrup leathers. I wish I only had of badgered them out of more :P

    Personally, I think that if you have a good rep and try to deal only with them you will be fine.

    One of the nicest saddles I have sat in by far. I wouldn't write them off, if I were you. Definitely if you're planning to get a lot of use out of your saddle - you might as well sit in something comfy!

    Good Luck in your saddle shopping



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2008
    Posts
    11

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    I love my devoucoux. Did not fit my horse when it first arrived. Luckily I was at WEF and the rep brought the saddle maker to my barn and they literally tore the saddle apart and fitted to my horses back on the spot. I had the saddle back within the week. It fits the horse like a glove now. It is by far the most comfy saddle I have ever owned!



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2001
    Posts
    4,703

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    Another one with a Devoucoux nightmare story. Saddle made for horse fit him so poorly he needed his back injected, and they told me "just use our foam pad, that will fix it."

    Went to CWD a few years back- great saddles, great people, they totally stand by their product. They do a really nice job fitting the combination of you and your horse, the balance is outstanding, and the horses seem to absolutely love them. Big wide gullets, room for shoulders, no extra padding beyond a square pad required, and lots of customization for the rider. I'd definitely have them out if you are going to also look at Antares and Devoucoux.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun. 3, 2009
    Posts
    37

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    just to add my two cents, I had a great experience with Devoucoux. I bought one used a few years back and after a while the tree started squeaking. I called my rep and she drove out that day to take a look. She agreed with me that the tree might be cracked, left me with a gorgeous demo saddle, and shipped mine back to New Jersey for me to be fixed.
    It turns out my warranty had run out the month before, but my rep convinced headquarters to fix it for me for free anyway. She hand-delivered my saddle a couple of weeks later, good as new.
    At least in my case, they stood behind their product and went out of their way to give me a good experience.



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