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UK Saddle Brands

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  • UK Saddle Brands

    Has anyone worked with some of the less popular (by US standards) UK brands? By less popular I just mean not the top 5 that appear in every ISO post or sponsored ad from a trainer.

    Ones that come to mind include Heritage Saddlery, Adam Ellis, Frank Baines (I've seen a lot of CC saddles but not dressage), Kent & Master, and Fairfax (I've heard a bit more about this one than others).

    Every consignment store and fitter contacted so far who has seen back tracings for my shrunken TB style pony and my seat requirements (16.5-17) with a short flap (under 16") has politely said that the odds of finding what I want used are slim to none.

    I'm hoping to sit in a Stubben Juventus soon but resale on Stubbens looks pretty dismal. I'm wondering if my money would go further and be better recouped (if needed) by doing another brand.

    Looking at under $3,000 new. I don't care at all about bling or color but do want the ability to adjust flap length and block placement if necessary.

  • #2
    HIGHLY recommend Frank Baines! Their saddles are incredibly comfortable, beautifully crafted, and their customer service is beyond compare,

    I have a WIDE morgan/haflinger and needed an AP type saddle for him (dressage stirrup bar placement hurts my pelvis, and we occasionally jump to cross-train), but nobody makes saddles wide enough for him that aren't treeless, and I exceed the treeless weight limit.

    Frank Baines went above and beyond to build an entirely new tree, 2 sizes wider than their widest 8W, to fit him, and made it on a short tree that still perfectly supports and distributes my weight even with a bigger seat.

    it cost me just a hair over $3K CAD new, fully bespoke to me and my pony, and I cannot accurately Express how happy and grateful I am for everything they did for me. I have long been a fan of their saddles, but I will forever sing their praises, loudly, after all this!
    Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
    Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe
    FAQs

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    • #3
      Another recommendation for Frank Baines. Super saddles. I've had three and loved all of them - currently in an Omni that fits my arab/hano and me perfectly.

      Comment


      • #4
        consider also Hastilow usa. they have a strong working relationship with the Fairfax people and have their own line of saddles using a lot of similar design elements to the Fairfax/K&M saddles. I have one and it is very nice, good leather and they worked with me to fit my hard to fit arab mare.

        Comment


        • #5
          Adam makes a lovely saddle, but I do not recommend working with him. I use to sell them but will not anymore because of the unreliability of ordering with him. For example saying it will take 5 weeks and it took 6 months with me badgering him all of the way. There were a lot of other things that really did not sit well with me including lying to me. If you work though one of his big dealers, you might be ok.

          Frank Baines is good. Ideal is another one you might consider. Fairfax products might really tick your boxes. I love their new Classic line. I sell a lot of their dressage saddles at $2300 and they do tend to fit a variety of horses well. They do have a petite classic model that comes in a 16.5."

          Other than the Fairfax, you are going to pay over 3k for a new one. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.
          Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
          www.thesaddlefits.com
          Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter

          Comment


          • #6
            There is a nice Baines for sale on eBay that's a 5W. Can someone give me an idea how wide that is? Is it like extra extra wide, like for a draft? My 16h gelding is an arab/warmblood and he's in the widest Winte adjustable tree.

            Comment


            • #7
              It isn't one of the brands you asked about, but I have a Kings Saddlery dressage saddle that I bought used almost 20 years ago, and it has held up very well, even though I am not a conscientious about cleaning and conditioning as I should be. It also fits me and my horse well.

              I do not know what the prices are.

              http://www.kingsaddlery.co.uk/
              Janet

              chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by FatDinah View Post
                There is a nice Baines for sale on eBay that's a 5W. Can someone give me an idea how wide that is? Is it like extra extra wide, like for a draft? My 16h gelding is an arab/warmblood and he's in the widest Winte adjustable tree.
                PREconvert just picked up a 5W AP by mistake off eBay, so might be able to give you a more accurate idea of how wide 5W is, but I'll throw in my two cents from my experiences with FB saddles over the years:

                Depends on if it is a 5W in the V tree or their hoop tree. Most likely hoop, I think their V tree only goes up to 2W or 3W? Would be pretty wide for sure. One of the Wintec Wide model gullets would probably be a similar width but the Baines would have a better shape to it (the Wintec Wide in the wider gullets are REALLY flat/open and not very stable) My 10W hoop tree is more than 48cms and was made for my completely flat backed morganXhaflinger.

                Their really wide hoop tree saddles still have generous wither clearance compared to other ultra wide saddles. Might need a riser for the highest shark fin, but should have no issues with slightly higher than average withers.
                Curious about Trans* issues? Feel free to ask!
                Saving Pennies To Get My Own Canoe
                FAQs

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                • #9
                  I love my Black Country Eloquence. Possibly the Black Country Cavalina may suit you:
                  http://www.blackcountrysaddles.com/product/cavalina/

                  There are a number of companies that make pony dressage saddles but I haven’t dealt with them personally. I can only do an internet search and give you the results.

                  Alternatively you could try Saddles Direct, who are good to deal with and have a variety of makes, new and used.
                  https://www.saddlesdirect.co.uk/

                  ETA Ideal and Barnsby have good reputations.
                  Last edited by Nous; Jan. 14, 2020, 03:54 PM.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Thanks everyone.

                    Nous Black Country is my favorite saddle I've ever sat in but new they are way out of my price range new, unfortunately.

                    I'll definitely look into Hastilow, Kings Saddlery and Ideal. Are there other UK brands to keep in mind?

                    sheltona01 Thank you for being candid. If I go custom, it will be a very significant expense for me. I'd only feel comfortable going forward with a company where policies are being honored from the top down. Since both pony and I are bit of a unique fit, getting measured wrong and ending up with a $$$ saddle that doesn't fit has kept me up at night. It sounds like an Adam Ellis is a great saddle to find used but going custom may not be worth the heartache.

                    Locally, I can find a few independent fitters and then a handful of brand reps. I don't think there's anyone within a 2 hour radius that is a representative for any of the brands discussed so far. Is having a local independent fitter and a brand rep work together a thing? Do people suck it up and travel to these brand reps?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Harry Dabbs as well - even new, some of their models will likely be in your price range. It's what I had hoped to buy for my gentleman...until....he needed....a black country. That still doesn't fit quite right (I love it though!).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a Bliss of London Paramour, their monoflap dressage saddle. They were at Rolex Kentucky about 3-4 years ago, where I was able to sit in a few of their saddles. After a weekend of sitting in just about everything - Stubbens, Custom, Black Country, etc. - this was the one that suited me and my horse the best (i.e. shark finned Thoroughbred).

                        When I'd saved up the $$$$, I contacted my local rep and we were able to fit the boy, then send off the measurements to the UK.

                        Had I not purchased the Bliss, I would have gone with the Black Country Vinici. They're similar, but I found the Bliss put me in a slightly better position.
                        A MONO-PANEL EXPERIENCE FOR TRUE HARMONY There is nothing better than a mono-panel to create that special intimacy between horse and rider. The saddle becomes almost transparent with the unique closeness through the twist and the leg that the Paramour Dressage delivers. A selection of large supportive rolls, innovative 3 point girthing system compliment the finesse that gives the Paramour Dressage unparalleled advantage in the mono-flap market. Offered in luxurious French calf or Nubuck hide for extra grip.
                        Move along.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I’ll throw out one more brand to take a look at - Smith Worthington. Their top end saddles are made in the UK and they have a mid and lower end range made in Argentina. The mid range is Stellar, and will be slightly over $2K new.

                          I bought one of their dressage saddles several years ago for a 14hh Arab who also needed a crazy wide tree. They are lovely to work with and may be able to get a stock model to work. They definitely have 16 1/2” options, although I’m not sure about flap length.

                          https://www.smithworthington.com/ind...&parent=5&pg=1

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I love my Harry Dabbs HD Platinum. Also agree that Smith Worthington is a great saddle at a more moderate price.
                            "She is not fragile like a flower. She is fragile like a bomb."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              You could get an idea of what's available by looking here; https://www.preloved.co.uk/search?keyword=Saddles

                              Prices are cheaper too, even with shipping.

                              Ran across this; https://www.ebay.com/itm/16-5-Passie...QAAOSwVotckwfk
                              ... _. ._ .._. .._

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Originally posted by GreyDes View Post
                                I’ll throw out one more brand to take a look at - Smith Worthington. Their top end saddles are made in the UK and they have a mid and lower end range made in Argentina. The mid range is Stellar, and will be slightly over $2K new.

                                I bought one of their dressage saddles several years ago for a 14hh Arab who also needed a crazy wide tree. They are lovely to work with and may be able to get a stock model to work. They definitely have 16 1/2” options, although I’m not sure about flap length.

                                https://www.smithworthington.com/ind...&parent=5&pg=1
                                Is the tree adjustable? Horse is currently a MN but I could see that changing so I'm hesitant to buy anything that does not have some adjustability.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I too have a Kings Saddlery and love it. I bought it in the early 1990's from Tack in the Box. I think it is a Sandringham. The quality is superior to many of today's mid-range saddles. I am quite petite and the 17 fits well. And it's comfy.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    GraceLikeRain Yes, the Smith Worthington trees are adjustable. I send mine back to the factory in CT along with tracings. The UK made saddles have a 20 year warranty on the tree, including adjustments.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Takt Saddles are made in the UK. I'm really happy with mine, though they had to remake it for me when the first one that arrived didn't fit properly. It was annoying that I had to wait so long but I got a loaner saddle for free for the whole time it took from ordering to delivery of the final product.

                                      But they're now over $3k based on their current price list.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I had a Jeffries jump saddle made to tracings. The price brand new was around $1600, which was the same price made to tracings as it was if I just ordered a MW. I had had a Jeffries before and liked it. I really love my new saddle, and my horse is much happier, too.

                                        I would very much like to replace my 16" County Competitor from the 1980s, and would be in the same boat as you, looking for something around 16.5", and for a very small horse with wide withers and a very flat back. I've already tried the consignment saddle search with her, and she's nearly impossible to fit (we found a Bates Innova for my son that worked well for her, but the seat is so big I seem to lose my ability to ride in it).

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