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County vs Custom

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  • County vs Custom

    Is there any difference between County dressage saddles and Custom dressage saddles?



  • #2
    Very much so. They feel completely different for the rider. They also fit different types of horses with some overlap.
    Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
    www.thesaddlefits.com
    Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

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    • #3
      Two totally different companies? Two totally different saddles, made in different facilities?

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      • #4
        Yes, county has their own tree and manufacturing facilities, as far as I know.
        Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
        www.thesaddlefits.com
        Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

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        • #5
          Last I knew County saddles did not come w/ adjustable trees. Custom saddles are adjustable. My County Perfection with special panels worked very well on my old high withered TB and I personally liked the saddle. Warmblood mare, ordered new County and though it "fit" supposedly, it really did not work for her. Custom Icon worked MUCH better...Why? among other things it had point billets. It was also different in the gullet; she had not just a high wither but a long one (front to back). It fit me OK. Current Lusitano with his short back and no wither, goes very well in a Custom Wolfgang short paneled saddle. II like it for me also.

          I will say that the County was a good quality saddle; I've been less than 100% thrilled with leather quality on the Customs.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 2tempe View Post
            Last I knew County saddles did not come w/ adjustable trees. Custom saddles are adjustable. My County Perfection with special panels worked very well on my old high withered TB and I personally liked the saddle. Warmblood mare, ordered new County and though it "fit" supposedly, it really did not work for her. Custom Icon worked MUCH better...Why? among other things it had point billets. It was also different in the gullet; she had not just a high wither but a long one (front to back). It fit me OK. Current Lusitano with his short back and no wither, goes very well in a Custom Wolfgang short paneled saddle. II like it for me also.

            I will say that the County was a good quality saddle; I've been less than 100% thrilled with leather quality on the Customs.
            I never met a Custom that I liked until recently when my trainer suggested I try the one she had taken on trial to buy for herself. It suited my long legs well because the knee blocks are set back slightly from the front of the flap and are almost completely vertical instead of angled like they are on most saddles. I'd want/need a narrower twist if I were to buy one for myself but I was impressed overall by how the shape promoted a good position despite being about an inch too big in the seat. And I agree about the billeting system. Whatever model it is (I forgot to check) doesn't have sweat flaps so you got the same contact you might get from a mono flap without all the girthing issues mono flaps cause on my horse.

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            • #7
              I think you might be talking about the Avantage. The one I had was a mono flap. I have a different Custom now, and a Hennig. I like the Custom better. It has more clearance for the withers and spine.
              Banter whenever you want to banter....canter whenever you want to canter.

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              • #8
                I have not been around County saddles for a long time. That said, I'll offer some "words to the wise" and you guys can take what you like and leave the rest.

                1. IMO, County designs a saddle to fit low and close around a horse's back and withers. Some horses like that, some (like my old gelding) do not. I think some Custom saddles look and feel shockingly high above the horse's back. I think the shsllower-no gusset-in-front "pony panel" option works well for lots of horses and riders who want a closer fit. You and the horse really and truly have to try them both on, preferably with a good, established fitter in your area.

                2. I believe that County will guarantee the fit for the horse, but not the rider. Custom has a 10 day trial period for the saddle you order. If you change your mind, I don't think you get your money back, rather, I think they would have you put that toward another saddle.

                3. You are buying service as well. Has the fitter who is selling you the saddle been in business for a long time? Nothing is worse than a revolving door for saddle fitters. After all, you will need someone to reflock your expensive saddle from time to time. I just discovered an independent saddle fitter with a good reputation for reflocking that will not work on my Custom Icon Coda because of the way you'd have to take down the panels each time to do a good job.

                4. Some thoughts on adjusting trees. I believe both Custom and County use variations on the same technology--- the traditional birch, steel and webbing Spring Tree. Both have steel heads. I think saddle fitter "adjusting" this kind of tree is just putting the saddle on a tree press and widening or narrowing the points of the tree. And that means bending the steel. How many times can you flex the metal like that without breaking anything? I don't know. But that is why some manufacturers will not recommended adjusting trees and others won't guarantee their trees because they know someone, somewhere will do that anyway.

                5. And on ordering vs. buying. Custom has had a bit of a reputation for inconsistency in its manufacturing. Lots of people recommended buying the saddle you actually ride in rather than ordering the same. I don't know anything about County's production standards.

                I hope this gives you some questions to ask. I do think there's no way around paying a rep from each company to come out and give you a fitting. But by the time you have done that (and, I hope, found other people in your area who have used that rep and ridden in those saddles), you will know which saddle and which company you want to do business with.
                The armchair saddler
                Politically Pro-Cat

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                • #9
                  I also felt that Custom had a lot of saddle between me and the horse,and when I demoed saddles at Rolex the twist was way too wide. What I didn't like about County was that their flaps were all so straight my knee did not fit. I ride shorter than classical dressage length, and I'm a short rider with a long thigh, so none of their flaps fit me.
                  http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

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                  • #10
                    Interesting about the flaps enjoytheride because I just got a County Ephiphany, the flaps are more forward (I am built like you, short with long thigh and can't do too straight) and I absolutely love it. Fits me and my horse like a glove.

                    I have ridden in Custom's also and liked them, but I think their leather is 'less' than County. I don't know of any reps around me either, so if I had gone that way it would have been trial and error on my part. My County rep is a gem and has helped me immensely.

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