I have both a voltaire palm beach and a devoucoux biarritz here on trial. The voltaire is a 16.5 short flap M tree and the biarritz is a 17/1A flap regular tree. Both are used and the prices are within about $500 of each other and about half of new (under $3000).
They both fit the horse pretty similiarly, I would say the edge goes to the voltaire but both are completely acceptable. This saddle will need to be used on a lot of other horses, though, and I am not sure which would passably fit a variety of horses better.
Given the choice between these 2, which saddle will have the best aftermarket service? And which will hold its value the best?
I fully anticipate needing to get a new saddle in a year or two, so I am concerned about resale. I'm also a little concerned that a 16.5 might be a tiny bit small for me, as I'm 5' tall, 130lbs but I keep hearing that I should ride in a 17.
Voltaire is relatively new, and not as popular as the Devoucoux. I met the Voltaire reps in Lexington and thought that they had a lot to offer in their saddles and customer service, the saddles were really nice. What KILLED me was the blue & brown stripe fabric that is lined on the channel. Total deal breaker....yuk yuk yuk YUK!!! You'd have better luck selling the 17" Devoucoux.
I'm 5' tall and 95lbs and ride in a Butet stamped 16" but actually measures 16.5". You'd probably be better off in the 17" Dev for fitment and resale purposes.
What really matters is what fits YOU better (since both fit the horse). Do both saddles naturally put you in the right position? Are both equally as comfortable to ride in? If the answer is yes, go with the Devoucoux. Just my $0.02
I would definitely go based on the saddle you are most comfortable with first. If one has an edge over the other in that respect, then go with that saddle. However, in terms of service and overall saddle quality, I vote Voltaire all the way. From what I've seen, Voltaire has plenty of resale value. And the reps are above and beyond better than Devoucoux's. They don't have the long list of issues that you hear about with Devoucoux, either.
Plus I think the blue stripes in the channel are hilarious and fun. Kind of like wearing crazy and ridiculous underpants when you know that nobody will see them.
Love the Voltaire. I think both will be pretty marketable although the Devoucoux is more well know (both good and bad). The Voltaire will likely fit more horses.
Which one did you feel good riding in? That would be the decider for me.
They both felt good, but then again, I've been riding in a pancake so everything else felt like a ferrari. I guess in the grand scheme, I thought the voltaire was a slightly better ride, but my thought is, if I buy the devoucoux, and need to trade up in a year or two, it will be easy to trade in possibly for a new voltaire made exactly the way I want, for roughly what I paid for it. That's important to me, so I think I will probably be going with the devoucoux for now. The dev is also full buffalo, so it's still likely to look just as good in a year or two as it does now for easier resale/trade in.
I plan to settle down and get 1 horse all my own in the next 12-14 months so I know I will probably need to swap my saddle for something that is fitted to that horse. So I think right now the devoucoux is a better fit.
That said, if the voltaire is a more versatile tree, and their service is better, I might go with that just because I could have it repaneled.
Voltaire if you like the balance for you. (Oh and call me first when you want to dump at 16.5" with a straight flap. That's my wish and they are hard to find.)
In general, however, a 17" with a normal flap will be easier to sell.
But your question was about fitting horses. Why not take both saddles and put them on a bunch of naked horses near you to see which seems better?
And you don't need to adore the customer service of a company if you don't plan to have work done on the saddle and really want to sell it on. Frenchies generally sell easily, losing the same amount of money with their condition and uniqueness.
Again, pick the saddle that you like for you (and Main Horse). The wrong saddle is worth No Money.
You don't get "aftermarket service" with a used saddle. The saddle is what it is, you've had a chance to try it, you know what you are getting when you pay for it.
As far as which is going to hold value, the buffalo is going to have a better resale. That said, the Voltaire is going to better fit a variety of horses. I've never actually seen a Devoucoux fit anything that well, even horses they were specifically made for.
I really like my Voltaire- I've owned voltaire/cwd/devoucoux/tad coffin in the past and prefer it to all but maybe the Devoucoux, but while it fit me relatively well, the Devoucoux didn't fit anything I ever put it on, including the horse it was made for. If you order new, you'll get much better service from Voltaire if you have a fit issue than you will from Dev/CWD.
This saddle will need to be used on a lot of other horses, though, and I am not sure which would passably fit a variety of horses better.
That so depends on the horse you intend to try & throw the saddle on & how senstive/outspoken the horse is ...
When you buy a saddle with a Medium tree (which is what most french saddles begin life as), it has a good chance of fitting horses that take a medium tree; if the tree is curvy, then that's the sort of back it's likely to fit ... for your intended use, make sure you have a couple of decent shimmable saddle fit pads & some training/education in their use
Call up Dev & Votaire with the serial numbers & ask what type of horse the saddle was made for - the panel shape makes a big difference.
I think they compare in quality, and as far as value goes you might actually have a good surprise with Voltaire.
Riders were asking the same question a few years ago, only it was CWD vs Devoucoux. I'm sure the ones that picked CWD when it was still mostly unknown are pretty happy with their investment now.
A very important question: What year were the saddles manufactured? If they compare in price and one is more recent than the other, then it's easy to know which is the best deal. You'll find that stamped somewhere on the saddles, pm me if you need help deciphering the numbers, I'm pretty good at it.
But of course, just like most posters suggest, if there is a saddle that feels better than the other one, then this is a super easy decision to make... go for it!
I've never had the fortune of sitting in a devoucoux that actually fit me. They are nice saddles though. It's just the customer service that is questionable. I am getting a Voltaire to try, it should be here tomorrow or Wednesday. I'm looking forward to sitting in it. Their customer service has been awesome so far. I got the trial saddle directly from them.
FWIW I have heard all the stories about Devoucoux. My Chiberta is the only saddle on earth that seems to fit my pony, and she will buck like a crazy pony if she doesn't like her saddle! Now it looks as if the Devoucoux dressage saddle is the only thing that is going to fit her as well...
I have learned over the last years with now 2 difficult to fit ponies that one cannot make any generalizations. Last pony was a Stubben and Pessoa pony! This one a Devoucoux pony. All saddles I would not have thought of.
Good to hear you got a saddle. I favor the devoucoux, have had my custom one for 2 years. I admit I have been slacking lately of taking care of it, but it is in pretty good condition for riding between 3 to 12 horses a day the past 2 years.
The people I worked for this summer had a client who purchased a Voltaire. They were not fond of it and when taking up her horse the saddle just did not seem or feel durable, however it did feel super comfortable! As for the resale price on the Voltaire, I am uncertain since they are such a new brand but Devoucoux holds their value great and many people are in the market for used Devoucouxs.