So I know there are posts with people having issues with custom saddles not fitting horses... but I have a different dilemma.
I ordered a custom saddle for horse and myself- it took several months for saddle to finally show up and though it may be adjusted to fit horse, it does not remotely fit myself! The saddle fitter is quite convinced that it was built to my specifications despite the fact it does not fit. We're not talking flap being off by a half inch or so... its a bit beyond description. I returned it immediatly and now i'm getting a runabout for my deposit money to be returned. Am I wrong to expect to be able to get out of this issue? As is the saddle is unusable for me. I'm not comfortable reordering another saddle for them, particularly after several reviews from other ex-customers in the area. This is apparently not the first incorrectly fitted saddle they've ordered.
I have been through not one but TWO custom saddle issues that were so bad I had to send them back for a refund.
Most custom saddle makers have a policy that allows you to return it within 10 days if it does not work. If you returned it immediately, they shouldn't give you a hard time about it. You should expect a prompt reply that yes you will get your refund. While it may take 2-3 weeks for them to "process" a refund to your CC or to cut you a check, you should get an acknowledgement of your request at the very least.
In the first case I told the saddle fitter that I wanted something exactly like the demo that I rode in. Same fit for me, except in a different type of leather and it a tree width that would fit my horse and with a special type of panel. The saddle came with a very wide twist which I did not order and the fit was so bad for my horse that I couldn't ride in it. I got a prompt refund - I believe within a week after returning it.
The second time around (different company) the saddle looked like it was made for a different horse. It pressed on my horse's withers and rocked very badly. Everyone at my barn said it looked like it was made for a horse with a different type of back.
I spoke with a very well known INDEPENDENT saddle fitter not too long ago who advised me to buy off the rack, or buy demos whenever possible. This person had seen enough customs go wrong that he said if you can get off the rack then do it. They said that even if a saddle has certain specs for the tree, the panels, etc. who makes your saddle on any given day could be a different person with their own eye, their own quirks and so what person A would make if they did your saddle on day X might be a bit different than what person B would make on day Y. There may be changes that will make the saddle ride differently compared with a demo.
The company fitter that worked for you has an incentive to make you think it was made to spec. to reduce the likelihood that you will return it. Not necessarily the best attitude because if they lose a customer, that is also a bad thing.
I had a custom saddle made. The saddler measured both me and the horse, got the saddle, it fit the horse but did not fit my seat. To the point that I got red marks at the walk in the indoor arena. Extremely painful to my seatbones, and we had talked about seatbone fit from the start for this saddle. Saddler's solution is that I ride in padded underwear or bicycle shorts. Um, NO. Not spending $$$$ to ride in bicycle shorts. It wasn't a happy process at first because initially saddler was not interested in working with me. But eventually took back the jump saddle and made me a dressage saddle that I absolutely adore (the arranged for me to ride in several saddles owned by a rider with a somewhat similar build before we went this route). I LOVE my dressage saddle but there was no way I was going to keep a jump saddle that did damage to me when I rode.
Do what you can to keep the conversation going with the saddler and try to find a workable solution. Hope you find a resolution.
Whatever you do do not order from Custom Saddlery, the owners are liars and they will not help you one bit...rude and obnoxious people. DO NOT TRUST THEM>>>OVER PRICED and as soon as you get it, it depreciates 2500....good luck
Umm... well, I am the local rep for Custom Saddlery for TN and KY, and I stay independent. That's one of the reasons I work with Custom Saddlery, and not for example, County, where the rep can not work on other brands. i have a VERY different impression of Custom Saddlery, and its owners, than the above poster !
I do agree that sometimes the saddle you get delivered is not the same as the demo - but that's why we absolutely don't ever charge you card for anything above the $250 deposit until you've had the saddle, tried the saddle, and agreed with your local fitter that you love the saddle. I have never had Custom saddlery quibble this at all ! Ever. They just don't charge you for the saddle, and I stick it on my truck as a demo. Not that this happens much - I have to say, just about the only situation has been where the client has ridden in the demo Solo in Buffalo, but has gone ahead and ordered the Off the Shelf Solo in cowhide because it's a huge price difference. And yes, that one does ride different. Every time, the saddle is either returned for a refund, or if the client wants to upgrade to the nicer leather, I let them keep either the cow-hide or one of my other demos to ride in.
Custom Saddlery lets me do this. I do find the above experience very much out of line with my experience. Whatever else about the Wallace family, Cary, Lisa and Harry are in my experience, polite, kind, honest to a fault ! TRRR - perhaps you could PM me some details and I can try to get this resolved for you ?
Here's an example - from today actually - of how I've found Custom's customer service. A year ago, a client sent a cowhide solo off to a trainer in another area, with a horse that was to be trained and sold. A year later, the saddle comes back with Excessive wear on the seat. We can't say for sure how much this saddle was used in the year it was away. Was it used on more than one horse in the new trainer's barn ? I sent it to Custom and they agreed to build her a new one. With an upgrade.
And that, is very typical of My personal experience with their customer service, and that's why I like to work with them.
I think it really depends on the saddle rep. I've had great experiences with custom saddlery and I'm planning on buying a new dressage saddle from them. However, I can see how a bad rep could cause problems.