I know the dogma associated with Devoucoux. I have had my fair share of issues with mine. But through all the saddles I have sat in, my devoucoux fits my body so well, especially because I have had it for so long and the leather has molded to my position. It sucks that I forked out the money on a saddle that isn't adjustable, but it's just so comfy and pretty...
I absolutely *love* my Ideal Impala and I got a steal of a deal on it (half price brand new, not sure why but it fits). My mom also has an Ideal dressage saddle which is quite nice and if it weren't a larger seat size it would also fit my guy nicely.
Ideals are rare in the states but they are fantastic saddles, on par with Black Country and others.
I second the Ideal Impala - although mine has the "Crown" nailhead - love, love, love it. It fits my TB gelding like it was made for him, per the saddle fitter. Really lucked into it and got a good deal too!
"I am still under the impression that there is nothing alive quite so beautiful as a thoroughbred horse." -- John Galsworthy
I have been a devoucoux kid for the last 8 years. I love them. Everyone I've sat in has been comfy, put me in a great position, and fit all of the horses I've had to ride. I was lucky enough that a woman in the barn decided she was getting a custom mono-flap and wanted to sell her used Biarritz. I picked it up for $1800.
This year at Rolex I was introduced to CWD. The customer service IS amazing. They spent several hours with us even though my customer and I were both honest and up front and said we weren't ready to buy. We couldn't get a single person to give us the time of day at the Devoucoux booth. I became a CWD person that weekend.
The reps are wonderful. They will come out and do saddle fittings etc for free with no obligation to buy. They know what they're talking about and 4 out of 5 horses we tried went significantly better in their saddles. They have flexible tree/paneling and the horses are able to swing their shoulders. It genuinely feels like you're riding bareback with the movement and feel it gives you.
I find these saddle threads so interesting, as I sense I don't have the optimal saddle, yet am not sure exactly what's wrong as I have never gone through the level of saddle search/fitting as a lot of posters.
I have liked my Berney Brothers DJ on most of my narrower sharkier guys, but last year I noticed, as did my trainer, that my leg position was much stronger on one of my horses than the other. The saddle fit both pretty well, as they were similarly built, the one with the "better" position for me required more padding as he was very narrow.
Anyway, I sold that horse, and now just have the one where my leg slips back more. But I can't decide if the issue is the horse/way of going or the saddle.
I got a Voltaire on trial direct from the company about a week and a half ago. They were wonderful to deal with and They gave me a good price on the saddle. I had never ridden in one and didn't know what to expect, but it only took riding in it once to fall in love. I've always struggled with finding a saddle to fit, particularly my longer hip to knee length. The last two saddles I had before this (CWD and Amerigo Vega) both put my leg way out in front of me and I had to fight to keep them back. The Voltaire is the first saddle I don't notice sitting in because I'm not fighting it at all. I can wrap my leg down around the horse, as well as keep my leg a lot more still than I've ever been able to. It's very possible this may not be a miracle saddle for most or all people, but I really like it.
I am grateful for the information. Now I am torn......get an expensive french saddle, used, with the right measurements to fit but not custom for around $2500 or so. Or, maybe down a notch to Black Country or County for a new saddle, custom fit, $2500-3000. I am leaning toward the County or Black country new, having a rep come and fit me and my horse. This is really fun and it's hard to know which way to go!