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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2008
    Posts
    184

    Default Voltaire Saddles

    Would anyone care to share their experience with purchasing a Voltaire saddle? I'm thinking about ordering one, but a bit reluctant due to all the horror stories about ordering custom saddles from various companies. Saddles are lovely, seem to be well-made and are very comfortable. I would prefer to purchase used, but as the company is only about 3 years old, there aren't many used ones available. I'm hesitant to order new without knowing if the company actually follows through with fit and any issues there may be once they have their money.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2005
    Location
    Columbus, OH
    Posts
    6,866

    Default

    Have not had the experience of ordering one, but I'll say this: the guy they've got doing their orders, Eric Leysalles, is a good egg. For years I thought of him as "the only guy at Devoucoux that I'd actually trust to do a fitting or trust to say that a Devoucoux wasn't the right choice for a given horse." I assume he got sick of Devoucoux's crap because now he's at Voltaire. I watched him consult with a few clients at a local clinic, and he did a good job: fitted the horses in the panel options I would have chosen for those horses (for what that's worth) and told one client that he could force a Voltaire to fit her horse but that she'd be better off going with another brand. So at least you'd have a good fitter in your corner who believes in customer service. Whether the brand as a whole will treat you well, I dunno because I only know a few folks who've ordered from them--and I don't know anybody who had to do a return or a refitting.

    That said, ordering custom is always a risk. I would personally feel safer doing it with Voltaire or CWD or Delgrange than I would doing it with Antares or Devoucoux. I would also feel safer doing it with a smaller price tag on a British-made saddle--including some of the "British wearing French clothing" saddles like certain options from Frank Baines and Barnsby, that retail closer to about $3000. (For the record, I bought both of my saddles off the rack so have never had to endure the hell of custom ordering.)
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 15, 2001
    Posts
    4,712

    Default

    I just wrote a big long post about my great experience with Voltaire, and my computer ate it.

    The long and short of it is that they saved my butt when CWD (who I have lauded here over the years, now much to my chagrin) made 2 atrociously fitting saddles for my horse and left me high and dry.

    They didn't have a rep in our area, but shipped me a demo UPS the next day. It fit quite well- I sent them photos and talked directly to the CEO/president (Brice) about what we should order for this particular horse. They let me keep the demo while waiting for the new saddle, which fit both of us pretty much perfectly out of the box. It is the palm beach second skin, which broke in almost immediately. Longevity we will have to see about, but I am very happy with the saddle.

    I hooked up with Eric (the mid-atlantic rep) after he moved over to them a month or so later, he wanted to check the fit in person, and was quite impressed at how well the saddle fit. I have no doubt that if there were issues, he would have said so and sent it back to be modified.

    So, A++ experience in both customer service and fit.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2004
    Location
    Damascus, MD
    Posts
    2,124

    Default

    I'll preface this by saying they are a client, but ...

    The saddles are amazing! And their customer service is outstanding. I have an older horse (she's a 1992 model that goes Training level), so she's a little more challenging to fit than most horses. And she LOVES her Voltaire. Her back had started to drop a bit, but since getting the Voltaire in April, she's slowly been building a top line.

    Now I'm pining for a pair of their custom boots.
    Take Your Equestrian Business to the Next Level: http://www.mythiclanding.com/
    Follow me at http://mythiclanding.blogspot.com or http://twitter.com/mythiclanding


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    3,734

    Default

    I don't know how they handle fitting problems because I don't know anyone who had a problem with what they ordered (4 people think). I bought a demo saddle after they let me keep it for a couple of weeks so I could ride in it multiple times
    I suspect they would stand by their product and fix it but I am guessing.
    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2011
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    35

    Default

    CWD has lots of used Voltaires in stock. Get in touch with your local rep and I'm sure they could try to get you a deal on a used Voltaire.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2012
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by believetobe View Post
    CWD has lots of used Voltaires in stock. Get in touch with your local rep and I'm sure they could try to get you a deal on a used Voltaire.
    Really? right after admitting that you work for CWD... come on, I'm sure OP is looking for partial advice, like "not-from-competitor" advice.

    OP, I would got for it, as that old commercial said (what was it for again?)... "we're number 2, so we try harder": I really think that's what the Voltaire guys are going for.
    Simple, nice, professional people, working only to offer the best products and customer service and trying to make their way through amazingly low competitors' attacks by keeping their heads up and not playing nasty games.
    Last edited by PassionForSaddles; Oct. 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2011
    Posts
    50

    Default

    you posted in eventing so I'm guessing you're looking more at their monoflap saddles. I didn't try those, but I tried the Palm Beach "second skin" and WOW... Amazing! No wonder Bernie Traurig posted on his Facebook this weekend that he is "in love" with this saddle... my behind felt the same



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 7, 2011
    Location
    Pacific Northwest
    Posts
    35

    Default

    Passionforsaddles I don't have to "admit" to working for CWD, I'm proud to work for them. If the OP finds Voltaire to be a good fit for her and her horse then I was simply suggesting an avenue for her to get a good deal on one. I wasn't pushing toward CWD. I help people find other brands of saddles all the time.


    5 members found this post helpful.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 30, 2009
    Posts
    6,998

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by believetobe View Post
    CWD has lots of used Voltaires in stock. Get in touch with your local rep and I'm sure they could try to get you a deal on a used Voltaire.
    I wish they'd get listed on the CWD Used Saddle page



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2011
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by believetobe View Post
    CWD has lots of used Voltaires in stock. Get in touch with your local rep and I'm sure they could try to get you a deal on a used Voltaire.
    Quote Originally Posted by alto View Post
    I wish they'd get listed on the CWD Used Saddle page
    CWD's used saddles are all listed on their used website as well as their ebay store, as discussed in many used saddles threads. I don't see any Voltaire saddles available on either the website or ebay. They did have a couple (that I was watching) but I guess they sold.

    Anyways, if there is a brand you like, I don't think that you can get better service than by dealing with the brand directly. You should call Voltaire, the reps probably have demo saddles that they can sell at a discounted price. Also keep in mind that buying directly from the manufacturer often comes with a warranty, when you get absolutely no after sale service buying from another place... you never know if the tree of a used saddle will break 2 months after you buy it, if that happens you'll be happy to turn to the manufacturer for service. Most brands will offer warranty even on used saddles, but only their own of course.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2008
    Posts
    184

    Default

    Thanks for all the responses. I'm glad to see so many positives! I'm still on the fence about spending so much as I really do prefer to buy used. They currently don't have any used Lexingtons in any size, so it could be a long wait until one comes in that would work for me. I'm only considering buying new because I've been looking for a while, and haven't been able to find a used monoflap in the right size.

    I'm looking into other (non-custom) brands as well, but some have no option to try for fit as they're not sold locally or by a store that sends demos. I hate saddle shopping!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2003
    Location
    Yellow Point, BC, Canada
    Posts
    1,044

    Default

    What size saddle are you looking for? I have a monoflap, not Voltaire or CWD, but a higher-end brand nonetheless, that's sitting around taking up space I cold consider letting go
    Another owner of A Fine Romance baby who has grown up and joined the fun!!!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 18, 2008
    Posts
    184

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fanfayre View Post
    What size saddle are you looking for? I have a monoflap, not Voltaire or CWD, but a higher-end brand nonetheless, that's sitting around taking up space I cold consider letting go
    I'll send you a PM.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep. 23, 2011
    Posts
    50

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    Have not had the experience of ordering one, but I'll say this: the guy they've got doing their orders, Eric Leysalles, is a good egg. For years I thought of him as "the only guy at Devoucoux that I'd actually trust to do a fitting or trust to say that a Devoucoux wasn't the right choice for a given horse." I assume he got sick of Devoucoux's crap because now he's at Voltaire. I watched him consult with a few clients at a local clinic, and he did a good job: fitted the horses in the panel options I would have chosen for those horses (for what that's worth) and told one client that he could force a Voltaire to fit her horse but that she'd be better off going with another brand. So at least you'd have a good fitter in your corner who believes in customer service. Whether the brand as a whole will treat you well, I dunno because I only know a few folks who've ordered from them--and I don't know anybody who had to do a return or a refitting.

    That said, ordering custom is always a risk. I would personally feel safer doing it with Voltaire or CWD or Delgrange than I would doing it with Antares or Devoucoux. I would also feel safer doing it with a smaller price tag on a British-made saddle--including some of the "British wearing French clothing" saddles like certain options from Frank Baines and Barnsby, that retail closer to about $3000. (For the record, I bought both of my saddles off the rack so have never had to endure the hell of custom ordering.)
    Jenny, I'm joining your fan club as someone suggested on another thread!

    I've been reading many of your posts today, and it's crazy how much I learned.
    Just wanted to say that I share your opinion about Voltaire and their reps not being as pushy as some others. Their boss Brice, whom I dealt with, really gave me that same impression. He didn't say one bad thing about other brands and even complimented someone on a perfectly fitted Delgrange....


    oh and I mean, from a girl to a girl... hmm well, just check the pic :
    http://sidelinesnews.com/blogs/onthe...-voltaire.html



    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    574

    Default

    Often a saddle company will keep other brands in case they run across a barn or a person who is looking for something in particular. It allows them the opportunity to develop a relationship and sometimes an opportunity to show theirs side by side.

    So I would suggest if you know what you are looking for it wouldn't hurt to call CWD and ask.

    Yes I work for a competitor, no we don't have any used saddles. Good luck in your saddle search.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep. 19, 2006
    Posts
    91

    Default

    Great company, great product, great service, great people...

    I am still in shock that my Palm Beach Second Skin came in early.

    Yes ....I said early....two weeks early.

    My horse was the most impossible to fit and Bryan never pushed the product on me, but it was just what I was looking for.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2003
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    574

    Default

    To find the ones CWD list click the type of saddle not a particular brand. they haven't added a link to list just Voltaire but there are a few listed.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    318

    Default

    I'll take a County or a CWD over a Voltaire any day. I know of 3 trainers that had major problems with them (all here in CA), and the rep was, um, less than helpful. The saddles basically fell apart after a year of trainer usage---the foam panels were disintegrating. I've seen some of the new ones up close and personal (taken apart, treeless, and put together) and the leather is pretty dang thin on those flaps. Easily half as thick as my well-used 2005 County Innovation. Expect to wear through them pretty fast. Our CWD rep out here is awesome. I would go with them if I didn't love the advantage of having a wool-flocked saddle.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  20. #20

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    Have not had the experience of ordering one, but I'll say this: the guy they've got doing their orders, Eric Leysalles, is a good egg.
    HAHAHHAHAHAHA I literally almost spilled my coffee when I read that. I have had nothing but horrifically negative experiences with Dev/Eric. I bought my saddle CUSTOM MADE to fit me and my pony (ordered from Vincent, who has since been let go). Buffalo leather, cost more than my horse, the whole 9 yards. Fast forward to two years later - my saddle has HOLES, GAPING HOLES on each side on the calf blocks.

    *Side note - my "custom" saddle, never fit my horse, pinched his shoulders, wasn't right for my long thigh, didn't sit evenly on his back... and there wasn't anything I could do about it unless I wanted to pay for an entire refab*

    So about these "holes" ... talked to Eric... his response was that as a professional, I ride in my saddle too much, which has caused this wear. I should have been more aware of the situation, and done what the real top riders do (he mentioned Phillip) and exchange my saddle for a new one every two years. He claimed my best option was to buy new flaps for $1,000K. I have NEVER been treated with such blatant rudeness... let alone had saddles wear like that! At that point, I was only riding an average of 5 horses a day.
    That puts such a bad taste in my mouth, let alone all the money I wasted.... and believe me, I very strongly discourage ALL of my students from wasting their time and money dealing with a company like Dev... and subsequently a rep like Eric. Maybe things have changed with Voltaire... but I would never go near them.

    In my mind, my saddle should last me a lifetime (or at least more than a couple of years... and the rep, should always try to keep me happy and satisfied, so I would be tempted to continue a business relationship - buying new saddles, dressage saddles, boots, tack, etc... or encourage my students to purchase their equipment. After that experience... no way!

    I happen to LOVE CWD and my area rep. (this winter CWD *FINALLY* hired a new rep - she is super nice, knowledgeable, and incredibly helpful ) I noticed the change immediately in my riding, and my horse's way of going improved tremendously (and I wasn't having to spend a fortune on massages, chiro adjustments).

    Definitely do some more research before committing, I wouldn't want anyone else to have my experience... if you do a search on this forum, there was another (or maybe a couple) long threads about the poor service from Dev./Eric... though I think after all the he** that was raised on here, they bent over backwards to appease certain parties... But in my mind (maybe I'm crazy) I shouldn't have to vent/cause an uproar online to be a satisfied customer.
    Last edited by DefyingGravityEventing; Feb. 19, 2013 at 10:35 AM.


    3 members found this post helpful.

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