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  1. #1

    Question JRD Saddles

    Hi I would like to hear some feedback about JRD dressage saddles. Good or bad! What type of rider/horse they tend to fit, quality, and comfort?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb. 18, 2013
    Posts
    41

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    I ride a horse that came with a custom JRD. He changed and I contacted Mehrdad to find out if he could make any changes to the saddle. He pretty much remade it. New head, modified the flaps, rewebbed the seat, crowned the seat. He pretty much made it so I could ride the horse. The seat is pretty open, but that is what the horse and I need. Its rare that I think a horse and rider need a full custom saddle. In our case, I think we come close. I've had one fitter tell me that they couldn't fit him. I've had one say he could, but he couldn't. Mehrdad describes him as a 9.5 for fit difficulty. Then you add me in to the mix. Hips too narrow for the horse. Legs too short for the barrel. I'm pretty happy with what I got. He's not fast, He's not the best communicator. He's got his ideas about saddle fit. He makes the saddle that he think is the solution. I've watch him be right with every saddle he's made for the 6 horses in the barn that have JRD saddles. Only two of them are easy fit horses.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2009
    Posts
    1,175

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    I have a student whose TWICE custom fitted (once by owner of company, once by rep) has rubbed her horse bald in two palm sized patches on Both sides of his back, under the rear portion of the panels. Terrible customer service after she sent photos and did not receive a prompt or helpful response. Saddle is going to be sold. We are several hours away from any one who can adjust air panels, and even after two adjustments, these were a terrible option.
    I have a friend, however, who loves hers.....



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    329

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    Well...I know several people that ride in them, and like them. I also see a lot, lot of them for sale in the Bay area. I have heard stories about the saddler being extremely difficult. As an offshoot, you might want to look into Revere Saddlery. One of his sons is the saddler, and I know the fitter pretty well----she is super, and super-sweet.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 7, 2006
    Location
    Knoxville TN
    Posts
    1,306

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    I Really like JRD saddles when I find them used on ebay for $1000 or less, and then I can haul them round until I find a horse to fit. I would never in a million years have one custom made - I've seen too many made-to-measure that just don't fit at all. plus. the business model is all wrong - you look at how many County reps, or how many Custom reps it takes to cover the whole country ... and then compare that with the one or two man saddle makers - with just him as the main guy, you know he's not going to be able to come out again to personally see that saddle out of the box and onto the horse - that's where we do all the fine-tuning and making sure it's right. IMHO.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2004
    Posts
    7,540

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    i would say the saddle are made to last. they are well made. and they are lovely. it just depends on if you like the style and fit.

    if you are local they are fairly easy to deal with. i would not really think a one man shop could take care of the entire US.

    i would give the saddle a try and see what you think.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 1, 2001
    Posts
    11,188

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    My experience with JRD was horrible. Mehrdad is a "poor communicator", meaning hard to get a hold of after he has your $$ and not very honest. Thank gawd my credit card company had my back. Others at my barn were not so lucky. 2 people never got their saddles to fit, after multiple refittings (sent to JRD at their cost), they were sold at a big loss.

    I would avoid JRD. There are other saddlers who do a much better job for a lot less money and hassle.
    See those flying monkeys? They work for me.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003
    Posts
    8,701

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    Quote Originally Posted by nhwr View Post
    My experience with JRD was horrible. Mehrdad is a "poor communicator", meaning hard to get a hold of after he has your $$ and not very honest. Thank gawd my credit card company had my back. Others at my barn were not so lucky. 2 people never got their saddles to fit, after multiple refittings (sent to JRD at their cost), they were sold at a big loss.

    I would avoid JRD. There are other saddlers who do a much better job for a lot less money and hassle.
    Yep. Biggest nightmare ever. Plus the one that arrived was a POS and terribly made. And didn't come anywhere near fitting the pony it was made for. Thank goodness I got my money back, several people I know weren't as lucky.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar. 23, 2005
    Location
    SFBay
    Posts
    1,351

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    Most painful saddle I ever rode in (did not do my position any favors whatsoever). And heavy. I was thankful the pony it was custom-made for was only 14hh since I doubt I would've been able to heave that thing on anything larger.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2001
    Location
    California
    Posts
    329

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    As an alternative, you might try Sheryl D. Lemke saddlery. She makes beautiful, super-comfy saddles (both dressage and jump) and I believe is just coming out with a new line next month. She is mostly West Coast, but she is on FB and you can contact her. She's expensive to come out and fit, but I bet you could talk to her about your horse and find out what saddle might fit well, then find one on eBay or Bayquest, if you are in the area.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov. 3, 2010
    Posts
    68

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    I love my JDR saddle and I thoroughly enjoy talking to Mehrdad. He has demonstrated more knowledge of fitting horses and riders than any other saddle fitter I've had direct contact with. I find him easy to work with and the saddles arrive in the time frame he committed to having them done.
    Respect gets respect.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun. 5, 2013
    Posts
    15

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    JRD does not use air panels in the saddles they make. Their fully custom saddles are often made for specific horse and rider combinations. Therefore, if you ride in one of their saddles that has been custom made for someone else, then it won't necessarily be comfortable for you as it wasn't made for you. If you want a saddle that will be used by multiple riders and/or horses, you should let them know that when you order your saddle and go thru the fitting process so that they can understand and accommodate your specific needs. I have been very happy with the quality of the saddles I have purchased and ridden in. The types of horses I have experienced with JRD saddles is a wide range including ponies, wide barreled, narrow, large shoulders, and some with big movement and all the saddles were a good fit. Since the custom made saddles are made (from selection of the tree to the building of the seat for the rider) for each specific horse and rider combination, I wouldn't say there is a specific horse/rider combination they fit; they are made to fit the individual combination and needs. In my experience with them, I have always been very comfortable in the saddles that I have had made for myself, have not had any communication issues with the company, and they have delivered the saddles/equipment within the agreed upon time-frame.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2007
    Posts
    320

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    I had a very positive experience with JRD. My horse was not exactly an easy fit. Missed Mehrdad a few times (In person) on refitting saddle as horse changed but was able to talk over the phone, put extra padding here and there as he asked, to see what changes it made, sent saddle in and great results.

    IMHO, JRD is either custom or semi-custom. I was quite happy with semi-custom. At that time I think two dressage saddles were offered semi-custom. But semi-custom covered a lot. Went to a fitting with three other riders and Mehrdad was spot on as to what fit us. He can pretty much look at you and figure out the twist you need and which saddle. My saddle finally allowed me to adopt the correct seat and horse loved it. However, in that fitting one of the riders was not comfortable out of her chair seat. The rest of us could see her finally sit the way she should but she could not get out of the chair. So, yes, not everyone will be pleased. It was heaven not fighting a saddle in one respect or another.

    I don't think saddle fitting is a science so much as an art- and everyone has different definitions of art.

    Will also say what others have said, that if you buy one that's been fitted to someone else, different horse, don't expect them to work without some adjustment. However, the first one I tried was a used one out of the shop and it let me sit better, even though it really was an inch shorter in the seat than I needed, than the Schleese I was in- that one was causing pain. (And was a semi-custom too)

    My worst experience was with a Schleese rep. But others swear by them. It's whatever works for you.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov. 23, 2014
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1

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    I bought a used JRD that I LOOOOOVE but unfortunately my horse doesn't. I had a professional saddle fitter come out to see whether it needed to be reflocked and I found out that the tree was made asymmetrically. Meaning that the point of the tree on the left side of the saddle was farther back than the right side. Apparently, this is common for JRD saddles, and I had no idea. My horse is now asymmetrical in his shoulders because of the way the saddle was made. I'm sad, because I really love this saddle, but it's not worth it to have an uncomfortable horse. I think you probably can find a great used JRD, but just be careful. I didn't even know a saddle could or would be made asymmetrically... didn't even occur to me that would be a problem!!! Seems to me a better idea would be to evaluate why the horse is not even from side to side and see what you can do to better develop the weaker side. Also, I'm pretty sure JRD doesn't even explain that they are making a saddle with an asymmetrical tree, so original owners who are selling the saddle might not even know to warn potential buyers.

    Anyway, just wanted to caution those who are buying used JRDs so you don't end up like me.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 29, 2005
    Location
    Out in The Country
    Posts
    1,924

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    I have no idea if this is the saddle or not: I had a fitter fit me to a saddle and my horse to a saddle and after trying many, I ended up with a JRD that was used - but barely used. It was a beautiful saddle, very modern - big blocks etc - if you like that.

    Well, things went well at first. But something happened along the way, about 3 months into riding him in it - he started having issues with one canter depart. I went down the check list starting with me - I will say that I started to feel pain in my hips in that saddle and was thinking - ok, I probably need a narrow twist and this saddle is a little wide for ME.... booo - but he is a WB and my old County was perhaps too small for him.

    I had the saddle fitter look at him and the fit again and she said everything seemed great - it wasn't the saddle. I spent 500$ at the vet with lameness exam, blocks, xrays - nothing and I stopped fishing and took him home. I waited a month and then switched back to the county saddle and POOF, he was his old self again.

    SO I don't know - the saddle was beautiful and very comfortable except that it did not fit me - hurt my hip bones because of that. And my horse 'wasn't right' under it - not sure if it really was because of the saddle or not.

    PS, I was told by the saddle fitter than county saddles often have asymmetrical trees too - so I don't know...

    Good luck tho! I think they are made well - leather is nice and the stitching is solid - I just think like with all saddles - you just have to really fit it to you and the horse. One saddle might be perfect for one rider and horse combo and terrible for another.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Oct. 4, 2010
    Location
    Somewhere in SW ON
    Posts
    328

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaraNSpeedy View Post
    I have no idea if this is the saddle or not: I had a fitter fit me to a saddle and my horse to a saddle and after trying many, I ended up with a JRD that was used - but barely used. It was a beautiful saddle, very modern - big blocks etc - if you like that.

    Well, things went well at first. But something happened along the way, about 3 months into riding him in it - he started having issues with one canter depart. I went down the check list starting with me - I will say that I started to feel pain in my hips in that saddle and was thinking - ok, I probably need a narrow twist and this saddle is a little wide for ME.... booo - but he is a WB and my old County was perhaps too small for him.

    I had the saddle fitter look at him and the fit again and she said everything seemed great - it wasn't the saddle. I spent 500$ at the vet with lameness exam, blocks, xrays - nothing and I stopped fishing and took him home. I waited a month and then switched back to the county saddle and POOF, he was his old self again.

    SO I don't know - the saddle was beautiful and very comfortable except that it did not fit me - hurt my hip bones because of that. And my horse 'wasn't right' under it - not sure if it really was because of the saddle or not.

    PS, I was told by the saddle fitter than county saddles often have asymmetrical trees too - so I don't know...

    Good luck tho! I think they are made well - leather is nice and the stitching is solid - I just think like with all saddles - you just have to really fit it to you and the horse. One saddle might be perfect for one rider and horse combo and terrible for another.
    This. My friend had a saddle fitter come out just this week to measure her WB and check her current saddle - a JRD. Saddle fitter took it apart and the tree was, in fact, asymmetrical. She told my friend this is often the case with JRD- that it's often done on purpose (rather than make it symmetrical and work with the horse to get them symmetrical), and is likely why her horse has more muscle on one shoulder than the other.

    Saddle fitter left a couple for her to try and so far, her and her horse are loving a Kent and Masters. She said she cannot believe the difference in how her horse feels in that saddle.

    Just my second hand two cents.



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