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  1. #1
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    Default Phillipe Fontaine saddles?

    I am trying to find a saddle for a young OTTB who is likely to still grow a little and who will definitely muscle up.

    I have 2 lovely saddles that will probably fit him in about a year but are a sucky match for him right now.

    Has anyone seen the new Phillipe Fontaine models, the Lyon and the Royan (jump and dressage, respectively?) How do we think they would fit the typical TB back (higher withers, a little more angular in the back)?

    My Tad Coffin is exactly the wrong fit for this horse - too wide, too U shaped, and too flat in the tree. The other saddle I'm considering is an Ovation with the XCH. My other thought is Prestige, but if I go that route, I can only have one saddle (likely a jump saddle) since my budget is basically the $2k that my Tad is worth.



  2. #2
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    Not sure about the new models, but I have a Diane (now discontinued) that has a pretty curvy tree. It fit my boy (OTTB, medium tree, giant withers) really well for years until he decided to get wider. The older models ran slightly narrow, IMO. If I could have found my saddle in a wide tree, I would have bought one in a minute!



  3. #3
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    I am thinking that maybe my best option may be to buy the Ovation so I can widen it out a bit as he fills in, and then purchase something like a Prestige in a year or two if needed. They seem to have good resale so it might only cost me $300 to use one for a year as opposed to the $1800+ I'd lose buying a more expensive saddle.

    PF offers test rides directly, so I may take both the above out on a test ride just to see.



  4. #4
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    I have one of the older jumping ones (some girl's name, Danielle?) and it fits Bonnie very well. She wears a narrow or medium-narrow in most saddles but in this brand the medium fits her--they run a bit narrow. I know it's not a "fashionable" brand but I really like it a lot--it was love at first "sit" for me, and the price was unbeatable. I don't know enough to say if it's a "curvy" tree or not, but by all (most) accounts the Berney Bros. Dublin Jumper is quite a curved tree and my old one of those did not fit Bonnie AT ALL.
    Click here before you buy.



  5. #5
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by soloudinhere View Post
    Has anyone seen the new Phillipe Fontaine models, the Lyon and the Royan (jump and dressage, respectively?) How do we think they would fit the typical TB back (higher withers, a little more angular in the back)?
    I have, and I think you could do better. I don't DISlike them, and I like them better than some other stuff sold at that MSRP, but let's just say I wasn't as impressed as I hoped I would be. They are glorified Courbettes; long story short, Stubben owns the Phillippe Fontaine brand name, and they acquired Courbette in 2011, so it's not a big surprise to find the Courbette E-Motion tree in their new Phillippe Fontaine lineup. It wouldn't surprise me to find that to build the PF Lyon, they slapped a Courbette E-Motion tree into a modified version of the Courbette Axxis or the Stubben Genesis S. And for that kind of MSRP, you oughta just go buy a Courbette Axxis CC from the Courbette used saddle sample sale for half the price of a PF Lyon. (Although I don't mean that literally--I'm about to recommend some other saddles that I would personally look at if I were you and had $1200-ish to spend).

    Trust me, I was disappointed. Here I thought I was going to see a brilliant alternative to the underappreciated Stubben Genesis S. But no.

    Now let's take a moment to mourn the discontinued Phillippe Fontaines. The old PFs were great, a masterpiece of high-end-French-saddle knock-offery. They were not perfect, but for $995, they were a lot of saddle. They were all functionally similar from the panel upward, but the flap cuts were different. With their high pommel arches, wide base across the seat bones, and forward flap cuts on several of them (esp. the Diane and Renee), they were a hot choice for the young TB + long-legged riders that fill the eventing world.

    And I saw one the other day, much to my surprise. Lynda at Classic Saddlery still quietly has one, 17.5" medium PF Renee, $995. I took a smartphone picture of it and confirmed with Lynda, lest my eyes deceive me. There's a few others floating around out there too at stores that don't know quite what they have, like these Western stores:

    http://www.horseconnect.biz/store.ph...4983176#images

    http://www.jandbwesternstore.com/stu...r48states.aspx

    I concur with others that the tree on the old PFs run narrow.

    Now if those don't cut your mustard, I discovered the old PF lineup's heir apparent at Equine Affaire this year: the new Thornhill Pro-Trainer Paris II. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the dude who consulted on the now-discontinued Phillippe Fontaines was the same "French guy" that Thornhill consulted on the new Pro-Trainer Paris II and the redesigned Pro-Trainer LeMonde II monoflap. I don't dislike the LeMonde II (although I actively disliked the LeMonde I, versions 1.1 and 1.2), but the devil is in the details, and the Paris II bests the LeMonde II in several nuances of seat architecture. They are definitely not the same saddle, and I say this because the Thornhill catalog makes them look very similar--but I lined them up next to each other on racks, and there were very definite differences in seat architecture. The Paris II is much closer to the trendy high-end French feel that's popular today. It's not literally going to ride like a CWD or Antares, but I saw shades of both companies in its design. It balanced very well for a saddle at that price point.

    At $1250, you can buy a helluva lot more saddle for your money by purchasing something used and British/German/etc. And I would still advise most folks to go that route. But if you dig that high-end French foam thing and you are priced out of a high-end French saddle, the Paris II is a pretty good alternative. Like the Phillippe Fontaines of yore, it has a nice high pommel arch, a wide gullet channel down the center, all the workings of being a workable saddle for some young, curvy TBs with a high wither. And I actually think it bests the old PFs slightly for leather quality. The PFs were made out of a perfectly competent, smooth, nothing-to-write-home-about-but-definitely-nothing-to-complain-about grain leather. The Pro-Trainer Paris II is a beautiful oil-pull leather that will break in to be durable with some grip/tack; if you've ever seen or felt a high-quality leather aviator's jacket, those are usually made with oil-pull leather. MSRP is $1250 and many vendors are selling it closer to $1100.
    http://www.shop.pinnaclehorseware.co...?categoryId=-1

    The other saddle I'm considering is an Ovation with the XCH. My other thought is Prestige, but if I go that route, I can only have one saddle (likely a jump saddle) since my budget is basically the $2k that my Tad is worth.
    I'm guessing you mean the Ovation Competition Showjumper or Ovation Evolution with the XCH gullet? I like them both, BUT they are not what I recommend to most owners of underdeveloped TBs. They are REALLY underrated saddles for horseless riders and certain wide-load horses, but neither of those Ovations has a high pommel arch and neither is particularly great for fitting a high-withered beastie.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  6. #6
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    Apr. 2, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    At $1250, you can buy a helluva lot more saddle for your money by purchasing something used and British/German/etc. And I would still advise most folks to go that route. But if you dig that high-end French foam thing and you are priced out of a high-end French saddle, the Paris II is a pretty good alternative. Like the Phillippe Fontaines of yore, it has a nice high pommel arch, a wide gullet channel down the center, all the workings of being a workable saddle for some young, curvy TBs with a high wither. And I actually think it bests the old PFs slightly for leather quality. The PFs were made out of a perfectly competent, smooth, nothing-to-write-home-about-but-definitely-nothing-to-complain-about grain leather. The Pro-Trainer Paris II is a beautiful oil-pull leather that will break in to be durable with some grip/tack; if you've ever seen or felt a high-quality leather aviator's jacket, those are usually made with oil-pull leather. MSRP is $1250 and many vendors are selling it closer to $1100.
    http://www.shop.pinnaclehorseware.co...?categoryId=-1



    I'm guessing you mean the Ovation Competition Showjumper or Ovation Evolution with the XCH gullet? I like them both, BUT they are not what I recommend to most owners of underdeveloped TBs. They are REALLY underrated saddles for horseless riders and certain wide-load horses, but neither of those Ovations has a high pommel arch and neither is particularly great for fitting a high-withered beastie.
    Thanks, jn4jenny. I was hoping you'd chime in.

    My issue with buying something used is that when it is $50 each way to ship a saddle (if you can even return it) the budget quickly diminishes. It's also not that I particularly want something foam filled and french-- but just that I really want something that will not immediately not fit this horse 5 weeks from now when he inevitably changes shape, and a saddle fitted exactly to him as he is right this minute would do that. If you have a suggestion for a used model that would fit this type of back, I'm all ears.

    I have 2 british-made saddles with a nice wither gusset, but they're based on a MW tree and it's just wide on this horse. I can fill it in with pads, but then the whole thing sits really high on his back. I can grab a photo of his topline tomorrow when I go out there.

    A further wrinkle in the plan is that I am 5' nothing and 130lbs, so I can't really ride well in these 14" long flaps that are standard on a lot of off the rack CC saddles. British models seem to be even worse on this front, but I just don't have the leg for it. A 12" flap is best and I can get away with 13".



  7. #7
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    Feb. 13, 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by soloudinhere View Post
    If you have a suggestion for a used model that would fit this type of back, I'm all ears.
    Sorry, but as a standard policy, I don't play without pictures. It's not personal. I've just been burned too many times by verbal descriptions. There's a lot of slippage in words, and there's less in pictures.

    Unfortunately, I am on sabbatical while I set up my new business model, which will be a donation to an equine non-profit in exchange for my full recommendations (which are notoriously comprehensive ). It'll be up and running within a week or so.

    A further wrinkle in the plan is that I am 5' nothing and 130lbs, so I can't really ride well in these 14" long flaps that are standard on a lot of off the rack CC saddles. British models seem to be even worse on this front, but I just don't have the leg for it. A 12" flap is best and I can get away with 13".
    Would you consider a synthetic? An old Tekna A4 jump in 16.5" might suit, and if you managed to find it, it would be dirt cheap. The trick is finding it since they're discontinued, and the Tekna S-Line Jump won't suit unless the horse has a fairly straight topline.

    Any chance you fit well in 16" saddles? There would be a few options there, too. Or you could buy a beater saddle, like this one. It's a Stackhouse, so I bet it balances like a million bucks despite its age.
    http://www.usedsaddles.com/product.htm?id=jzyx5xfe

    The usual caveats about "Until you see the horse and rider, all bets are off" apply.
    ________________________
    Resident COTH saddle nerd. (CYA: Not a pro, just a long-time enthusiast!)
    http://twitter.com/jenlmichaels



  8. #8
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    Apr. 2, 2003
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    I can grab a picture. I do have a photo of my tad on him, but that likely won't help you.

    I can also hold off for a week until you get up and running

    I do own a "beater" saddle-- an old crosby equilibrium, plain flap etc. I can throw that up there on him and see what I've got tomorrow, but it fits a lot like the tad and I think it's going to sit low on him.

    Here is a photo of the topline in question:

    http://i15.photobucket.com/albums/a3...ps37ab345d.jpg
    Last edited by soloudinhere; Apr. 24, 2013 at 04:26 PM.



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