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  1. #1
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    Feb. 5, 2003
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    Default Saddle shopping is making my head spin!

    Seriously, does anyone actually LIKE doing this? I have three students to shop for and I wish I didn't ever have to look at another saddle ad again! They have some $$ but not enough to just go get whatever they like, so I'm left searching for needles in a haystack! If you look ebay/craigslist/equinenow/equinehits, etc, there are scams everywhere. If you look on the main sites for nice used saddles, they go in and out every day practically. Tack shops have been hit or miss. Some saddle brands I've never even heard of. The idea of having the saddle fitter out multiple times and shipping saddles back and forth when they don't work is big $$$ that eats into their budget! We currently have two saddles in for two of the girls that may not end up working.

    How in the world do you saddle gurus get this down to a science?? There is so much variety that it makes my head spin! Each rider doesn't always just work in one size/shape saddle, so that doesn't even help narrow it down! Ugh! Has anyone used wither tracings to help narrow down what dot-to-dot measurement to stay with? How accurate is it?
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  2. #2
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    May. 12, 2010
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
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    Default

    If you have three saddles you are looking to purchase, I am sure any used saddle or consinment shop will allow you to take several saddles on trial. I know I would. By going to one of these stores your students will be trying the saddles they actually buy, not try a demo and purchase a different saddle of the same make.
    Having the opportunity to try saddles they have never ridden in might be an eye opener.
    http://STA551.com
    845-363-1875



  3. #3
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    Mar. 12, 2010
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    Breinigsville, PA
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    I have done this twice in the last two years, and it has taken MONTHS and countless saddles. No, it is NOT fun!! I learned to do my own tracings, pics, and how to fit well enough to make an educated decision before bringing a fitter out for a final blessing. Saddle fitting is a horrible use of time! It does however help if you have a credit card with a very large limit to trial multiple saddles at a time. What kind of saddle are you looking for? If you can do your own tracings, and take tons of pictures including confo shots, pics of your current saddle on his back, and pics of you doing the tracings, you can then go to one of the bigger tack shops for help. I went to Ricks in West Chester and looked at every single saddle with the tracings to find the best fit.
    Kelly
    Zimpatico - 21 year old Hanoverian



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
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    Default

    A couple of suggestions.

    If there's a saddle fitter in your area (and one who is not affiliated with a particular brand) why don't you ask them out first. They can help you determine what type of saddle will fit the horses.

    Once you know tree sizes, panel shapes, etc. then you can start to add the requirements of the riders.

    I know what kind of saddles fit me (very long femur) and my horse (TB with moderately high withers but quite broad through the shoulders) so it really narrows down the choice. I frequently buy on eBay because I have a pretty good idea of what will/won't work. It can be very frustrating when you are just starting to figure it out because it entails riding in a lot of saddles to better understand your needs.

    You can also tap into the knowledge of the folks at some of the Tack stores. I think the people at Trumbull Mountain are very helpful and they also have a good selection of used saddles.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 2008
    Posts
    121

    Default

    Send wither tracings and the online survey to Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop....they are great!



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
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    94

    Default

    I just finished a saddle search for a difficult to fit rider (myself) and horse (Morgan) . . best thing I did was spring for extensive tracings , but affordable for $150 I thought, (highly recommend the saddle fitter I used, you can PM me if you want her name). Took the tracings up to a well known tack shop who knew how to read these particular tracings, tried what was going to fit him, brought 4 home, one fit us both perfectly. .. Made the process 100X easier and made the drive up to the tack shop (about 2 hours away from me) effective. I sat in a dozen saddles and really figured out what would work for us both. Saddle fitter came back and approved my choice (included in initial charge) and will come back again to adjust one more time once its broken in

    Yes, its was still stressful but it could have been much worse. If I had just done wither tracings, I would have never known the monster had such a deep rocker that knix's about 90% of the saddles out there.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb. 26, 2007
    Location
    Bronx, NY/Atlanta, GA/Fort Dodge, IA
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    3,375

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kris578 View Post
    I just finished a saddle search for a difficult to fit rider (myself) and horse (Morgan) . . best thing I did was spring for extensive tracings , but affordable for $150 I thought, (highly recommend the saddle fitter I used, you can PM me if you want her name). Took the tracings up to a well known tack shop who knew how to read these particular tracings, tried what was going to fit him, brought 4 home, one fit us both perfectly. .. Made the process 100X easier and made the drive up to the tack shop (about 2 hours away from me) effective. I sat in a dozen saddles and really figured out what would work for us both. Saddle fitter came back and approved my choice (included in initial charge) and will come back again to adjust one more time once its broken in

    Yes, its was still stressful but it could have been much worse. If I had just done wither tracings, I would have never known the monster had such a deep rocker that knix's about 90% of the saddles out there.
    What did you end up getting (another longer-thighed person here looking to fit a Morgan)? Thanks!
    Founder, Higher Standards Leather Care Addicts Anonymous
    Capitalization is the difference between helping your Uncle Jack off a horse and helping your uncle jack off a horse.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 19, 2010
    Posts
    94

    Default

    I got a Cliff Barnsby Schokemohle .. . wasn't cheap .. but it fits us both perfectly and the saddle fitter assured me that it can be changed as the monster continues to develop muscle. (he is a med. wide tree, but needs gussets to evenly fall across his back) Most everything else created bridging. He doesn't have a huge shoulder though. If it helps she suggested brands: Albion, Keiffer, county, Black country and duett



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug. 7, 2006
    Location
    The not-so-frozen North
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by pattnic View Post
    What did you end up getting (another longer-thighed person here looking to fit a Morgan)? Thanks!
    As a long thighed person who bought a saddle to fit a Morgan (and has seen the same saddles fit - and well - manyyyyy other Morgans) I'd suggest County.

    I've been saddle shopping three times in two years.
    It sucks.
    Rarely does it get better. You can know what YOU like, but what you like doesn't necessarily work for the horse...



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 14, 2007
    Location
    California
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    3,894

    Default

    I had the head spins for years until I just bucked up saved some money and got what I wanted.

    I would only buy a custom CWD or a Devocoux (period).
    Don't saw on your horses mouth it's not a piece of wood! ~ GM



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
    Location
    Boston Area
    Posts
    8,422

    Default

    I am a rare bird because I like to buy saddles. I frequently buy/sell as I try different brands. Right now it's a buyer's market so you can find all kinds of great deals usually at about half price if you're willing to try used. With deals like that out there you can easily resell if they don't work out.

    For jumping my favorite saddles are my County Extreme and my Stackhouse. I paid less than $1k for each. They are both saddles that were cut for people like me with extra long femurs. The County worked great on my Warmblood, not so fine for my TB so it's in storage. My Stackhouse fits my TB like a custom. My doppelganger must have ordered that saddle!
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 5, 2003
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    NJ
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by STA View Post
    If you have three saddles you are looking to purchase, I am sure any used saddle or consinment shop will allow you to take several saddles on trial. I know I would. .
    Right now, two of the three have saddles in on trial from a tack store consignment. We are looking at high end used saddles for those two. My other one is at a lower price point and in slightly less of a rush to buy. Unfortunately, in our four day trial, we have decided that these two saddles are not the right two (although I may try the one for the third student since the price point was actually very good), so they will be going back. One student moved up into a higher price bracket now, which is nice, but it's still difficult figuring out what fits.

    Quote Originally Posted by huntereq_princess View Post
    I went to Ricks in West Chester and looked at every single saddle with the tracings to find the best fit.
    They just went to Ricks in NJ the other day and found nothing. I think we are really just going to need to find the time to keep hitting the shops. It's much easier, I find, to actually have them sit IN the saddles before taking them on trial than getting one from an internet site - however, the better deals seem to be on the sites! Catch 22.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bogie View Post
    If there's a saddle fitter in your area (and one who is not affiliated with a particular brand) why don't you ask them out first. They can help you determine what type of saddle will fit the horses.

    I think the people at Trumbull Mountain are very helpful and they also have a good selection of used saddles.
    Trumbull doesn't have anything that really works for us right now, but is on my "keep checking" list.

    I may consider having our saddler out to work with tracings. It's tough because he's very busy and very difficult to schedule. I haven't even been able to get him out to check these two saddles we have in on trial! I am very glad we decided to send them back because I don't think he was planning on even calling me back before the trial was over (after we spoke on day one about only having 4 days and he was supposed to call me back to let me know if he could fit us in; I also followed up with a second call yesterday, not returned) - which I find a bit rude and unprofessional, but I'm trying to just move on...

    Thankfully, two of my riders are not particularly difficult fits. They are rather "average" in general and almost the identical size/shape of each other. My other kid I think will be harder to fit because she has a much longer leg. One horse is a thin, shark-finned TB who we can't risk fitting too perfectly because he may not be with us long and the other two are rather average TBs. I just need to get more educated on which saddles fit which ways, but honestly, it's like, I didn't have time for this before, I sure don't now. But I have to because my customers don't have a clue, so I guess that's what I need to do....
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  13. #13
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    Feb. 5, 2003
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    NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by doublesstable View Post
    I had the head spins for years until I just bucked up saved some money and got what I wanted.

    I would only buy a custom CWD or a Devocoux (period).
    Unfortunately, these guys do not have the budget to simply buy custom - nor would we with one of the girls who is riding a leased horse. It would be lovely, but not going to happen. Therefore, we must be just another group of people looking for nice, used, high-end saddles at a less then brand-new price.
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar. 12, 2010
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    Breinigsville, PA
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    I would DEFINATELY recommend a trip to Ricks in West Chester to sit in a variety of saddles. They have about 4 times the number of saddles in the West Chester store compared to their NJ stores, plus a much larger used selection. Have you tried Horsemen's Outlet? They don't have as many high end saddles, but you could get a better idea of what your clients like. Beval up near Gladstone also has a great selection of used high end saddles in the shop, and their staff is pretty knowledgable.

    I'm not sure where you are in NJ, but you could try calling Ronni at Skylands Saddlery in Flemington for help with fitting. She's fantastic, and will come out to do tracings & measurements. Her shop is primarily dressage, but she's a great fitter and is starting to carry some jumping saddles.

    Tracings are not very difficult to do on your own. Google tracings and check out youtube for some how-tos. I did it myself, although it took me a good hour to do it right (it would take a fitter about 15 minutes!)
    Kelly
    Zimpatico - 21 year old Hanoverian



  15. #15
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    Feb. 5, 2003
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    NJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntereq_princess View Post
    I would DEFINATELY recommend a trip to Ricks in West Chester to sit in a variety of saddles. They have about 4 times the number of saddles in the West Chester store compared to their NJ stores, plus a much larger used selection. Have you tried Horsemen's Outlet? They don't have as many high end saddles, but you could get a better idea of what your clients like. Beval up near Gladstone also has a great selection of used high end saddles in the shop, and their staff is pretty knowledgable.

    I'm not sure where you are in NJ, but you could try calling Ronni at Skylands Saddlery in Flemington for help with fitting. She's fantastic, and will come out to do tracings & measurements. Her shop is primarily dressage, but she's a great fitter and is starting to carry some jumping saddles.

    Tracings are not very difficult to do on your own. Google tracings and check out youtube for some how-tos. I did it myself, although it took me a good hour to do it right (it would take a fitter about 15 minutes!)
    I haven't been to Ricks in WC (outside of Devon) for sooooo many years, it would be fun to go there again. I hit Bevals during the sale, but they had very little in our original price range (they had a LOT of $3k+ in at the time), but now my one student upped the budget, so I am going to take her back there. The ONE lower end saddle I wanted the long-legged-lower-budget kid to sit in was gone a couple days later when I brought her back to try it! I have a pretty good idea of what the girls like... both girls love my *old* Pessoa and my other student's Dev, both tolerate my one student's newer Pessoa (but I don't want one of them for them). One needs a fort knox saddle that practically comes with a seat belt for her rocket launcher horse (sticky, deep, front/rear blocks), one is more flexible but would like something similar to the old Pessoa, and the third will be happy in anything that's not my ancient Stubben AP schooling saddle. lol

    So Ricks WC, Horseman's Outlet, where else is good to try in the NJ/PA area? I think they looked at Dover and Ricks NJ. I have look Tack Shelter and Bevals plus a little local shop...
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  16. #16
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    Mar. 12, 2010
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    Breinigsville, PA
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    I haven't been there in years, but Tollbooth in Southampton NJ always had a few used saddles in the back (you never know what you might find). Bucks County Saddlery, in Buckingham PA, about 20 minutes past Ringoes on 202, always has a good selection of used saddles.

    There is a really nice 16" County stabilizer at Horsemans right now, I think it's under $2K. If my butt was a little bit smaller, I would've bought it for myself! They also have an older Pessoa that's in great shape with the exception of a rip in the knee pad. Should be easy to fix and its a really great price.

    Ricks & Bucks County Saddlery both have their used saddles listed on their website, so you might want to check there first. If you do go to Ricks in West Chester, call ahead and find out when one of their saddle experts will be there and try to schedule an appointment with them. You definately don't want to waste the trip if one of the girls isn't there.

    If you make the drive to Ricks, stop at Malvern Saddlery, about 10 minutes away. Very small but high end store that has a few beautiful new saddles and a couple of high end used saddles in the back. I've heard they also have a consignment store close by, but I've never been there.
    Kelly
    Zimpatico - 21 year old Hanoverian



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Apr. 25, 2008
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    1,800

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    Loved using our saddle fitter. She made it so easy and I knew (unlike our previous saddles) that these saddles fit both my daughter and I and our horse.

    Don't even ask me about the saddle we bought at a highly recommended (talked about all the time here on COTH) tack store nearby. Took it back 4 times insisting it just didn't look right. All four times, the store's "saddle fitter" slapped it on the plastic model, sat my daughter in it and told me how stupid I was not to believe it wasn't right. Yea. uh. No. Happened to 3 other girls at our barn as well.

    There's nothing like a good and reputable saddle fitter that comes out with a lot of various saddles (used and new), spends a ton of time measuring your horse, the rider and watching the movement u/s. I found that it saved us money in the long run.
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  18. #18
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    Aug. 19, 2010
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    94

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    have you tried usedsaddles.com?

    Lightning G is out of Lagrangeville, NY .. .it maybe close enough to do a day trip up there with the kids. they have loads of saddles of all different price ranges new/used etc. and you can preview all of them online



  19. #19
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    Feb. 5, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by huntereq_princess View Post
    I haven't been there in years, but Tollbooth in Southampton NJ always had a few used saddles in the back (you never know what you might find).
    That's pretty ironic that you mention them because that's the local shop I referred to. We are out in the boonies of southern NJ and that and Blue Ribbon (where I usually shop, but doesn't carry new or used saddles) are our two local tack shops. I am going to try to make a plan to go visit some other shops. So hard to find the time with the show schedule and the kids riding and sports and everything else! Ugh.

    I think my next move - in addition to continuing the online search - is to have our local saddle fitter out to measure the kids and horses. Then maybe I won't feel quite so needle-in-a-haystack.
    ...for there are wings on these hooves, the speed and power of foam-capped waves...
    *~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*~v~*
    Proud member of the artists clique



  20. #20
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    Jun. 7, 2006
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    I used to get really frustrated with saddle shopping until I found Kate Wilson.

    Then my strategy changed to call Kate, wait for her to come out, and when she does she arrives with a large truck that has about 50 used saddles, the opportunity to order several brands of new saddles, and a flocking station right on it.

    Easy as pie, and much less expensive than some of the "high end" saddle brands a lot of the hunter people are so hopped up on. (Although if you really WANT to spend $4,500 on a saddle I believe she has those options as well.)

    www.dutchessbridlesaddle.com, if I recall correctly you are within her area.



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