I went saddle shopping today and found the 2 I love are the Prestige D1 and the Black Country monoflap. Does anyone have any experience with these saddles?
I also love the DelGrange Olympia but it was way to much money for me...
Mai Tai aka Tyler RIP March 1994-December 2011
Grief is the price we pay for love- Gretchen Jackson
"And here she comes. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's ZENYATTA!"
Black Country is excellent quality and the company has a good group of folks that are more than happy to help you out. They're still hand made as far as I know. I think Prestige aren't hand made and they are also machine flocked now.
I had a poor experience purchasing a BC new, but if you're getting it used, the saddles themselves are nice. I desperately wanted to try a Prestige, but ended up finding saddles that fit before I got to, so can't comment on them.
The BC saddles fit quite differently from the Prestige saddles. The former fits with the UK/SMS school of thought, which is to spread the rider's weight over as large an area as possible w/o impinging on the shoulder or extending past T18, while the Prestige fits on the forward balance principle of getting the rider's weight as close to the horse's center of gravity as possible. You'd have to try both to see which suits your horse best. I'm not really familiar with how the D1 fits, but if the BC monoflap in question is the Vinici, that's most suited to a horse with a good wither and a flat back.
I love my BC Vinici, and whenever someone tries my saddle or rides my horse they always ask where I got it and write down the name. I dont know why they are not more well-known. My only "complaint" is that the gullet is not super-wide. I have the serge panels and love them.
The Black Country Vinici has many fit options including a hoop tree for the dome shaped wither and flatter back. It is also available in the standard A shaped dressage tree. Additionally, the saddle has various panel options. Trumbull Mtn sells them so I am quite familiar with them and I ride in one with the K panel, and wither gussets on my OTTB. The billets are more centrally located on the outside but they don't pinch and give one a very close feel to the horse. The seat is moderately deep with an anatomically designed thigh block. The panel is available in serge or leather.
I am not as familiar with that Prestige model but in the past, our Prestige saddles fit much differently than the Vinici saddles.