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UK Saddle Brands

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  • Original Poster

    J-Lu lots of great thoughts.

    The most recent fitter did tracings and remarked that mine were very accurate. The combination of the two of us is apparently harder than anyone expected. People seem to underestimate the amount of shoulder space she needs and under estimate how straight my leg naturally hangs.

    There are barns in the area where I could probably borrow a saddle but the max I can do is a 17" and it seems like everyone I know has a 17.5-18". Also, she's so incredibly shortbacked with a narrow space for panels that most saddles aren't worth trying to source.

    A few brand fitters have been happy to come out for a fee but unless they have the exact saddle I'd order, I don't feel like ordering a 17" with short panels is a good idea because I thought I liked the 18" that was massive on both of us.

    Saddles tried so far:
    County Perfection
    County Connection
    Prestige Lucky
    Stubben Juventus
    Stubben Genesis
    Hulsebos (cant recall model but it bridged horribly)
    Wychanger (okay for her, I despised it)
    Kieffer (have to check model)
    Black Country Vinici (bridged moderately and seemed tight in the shoulder)
    A series of collegiates and other starter saddles people had laying around

    Several could have in theory worked with shimming or flocking adjustments but none have been a really great fit with some compromising on either length, panel width, or gullet width.

    The following saddles were recommended by a remote fitter:
    HDR Carla, Laser Tritan, Kiefer Lusitanos, Kiefer Kur, Frank Baines Elegance with short panel and front gusset, Ideal Jessica, Amerigo Vega. However, the fitter ironically had none of these available for me to take on trial. I could try to source them somewhere else on trial though so I'm open to that option.

    Pelham Saddlery has a few they thought might work but a lot are very old models with long flaps, minimal blocks, and hard seats. So I could potentially find something that fits her but I'd probably hate it. Trumbull had nothing that matched her tracings.

    She needs a curved tree but A frame style, super short panels, full front gussets, and panels that aren't too wide. I need a very short flap, rear set stirrup bars, and a deep flat seat. I get that this is a pretty custom combination but I'd have to remotely work with a fitter who reps one of these UK brands and it seems like the margin for error is incredibly high.


    • #42
      You can get all of that in a Wow... Not read through the whole thread today so can't remember if its been mentioned before


      • #43
        I know you initially mentioned Heritage, though no one here seems to have touched on it - you might ask in the Eventing forum, I know at least a handful of posters did custom orders through Matt a few years ago and were very happy. Resale value might be a concern, but I think that's probably going to be the case with even a trendy, fashionable brand if you're needing a super unique configuration.

        If you have a really competent fitter that can do the hands-on work to provide specs to the saddle maker, you could easily get whatever saddle you dream up for well under budget.

        I fully intend to order one for myself when my beast has finished growing!


        • #44
          For the Laser Trident I have heard that the Varilock gullet adjustment system they use is not very robust. I boarded with somebody that had one of their saddles. Apparently she had to fight with them to honor the warranty on the saddle.
          Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


          • #45
            I own a Kent & Masters dressage saddle. It's excellent & has fit well on 2 TBs -- one MW to W & one MN, so it's versatile!

            I also own a Black Country, which is heaven, but as you noted, they are ridiculously expensive -- mine was a gift, otherwise I would not have it.

            Frank Baines are also wonderful, friends own them, but I don't own one because I can't afford them.

            I also had an "older" Wintec dressage saddle, I really liked it. Good balance, very durable, light & easy to care for, I rode the heck out of it. Sold it to a friend in great condition.
            Life doesn't have perfect footing.

            Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
            We Are Flying Solo


            • #46
              Oh Man,

              Thanks for that info GraceLikeRain . You have certainly done your homework. And can make accurate traces! Kudos to you!!!

              I ride in a 17.5", and that's the max my short-coupled horse can do. What size is your horse (medium, wide, etc?) . I'm very surprised these fitters showed up with saddles out of YOUR size, you can't evaluate a saddle a full inch longer than your seat size. I've never had a saddle rep NOT show up with my size.

              For what it's worth, I also have a leg that drops rather straight, and the Isabell and the Titan accommodate that. I admit on the Titan, I don't "snap up" the stirrup leather snaps and am OK with the leathers moving back on that bar to be underneath me. I have lost stirrups very occasionally because of this. The large knee roll on the Titan is a hassle but I work with it. I liked the "adjustable" and smaller knee rolls on the Isabel. Both of these horses were not "flat backed" and have curves to their topline. My current horse is a full brother to the stallion Farscape, and has similar conformation. You can google Farscape to get an idea of my horse's conformation. Years ago, I posted a confo pic of my horse on COTH, maybe you can find it.

              It sounds like a cut-back saddle would work best for your horse to give freedom of shoulder movement, but they can be pricey. My horse is a bit of the opposite, more narrow shoulders and a sprung ribcage, but he really can move those narrower shoulders and doesn't if a saddle is impinging. I wish I had the cash for a cut-back saddle. I found the Fairfax Narrow girth and a NunFiner thin neoprene pad (I cut to the shape of the saddle, my last horse needed this) helped keep the saddle in place when placed between the pad and the saddle. Both might help your saddle from slipping backwards with your horse's large shoulders. My horse's shoulders are remarkably free with the Fairfax compared to a regular girth. He's 16.1hh, and the fitter recommended a narrow, not their regular, for a horse like him because the narrow is pretty much the width of a normal girth. Four years later, I'm totally sold on it. Maybe this girth can help your saddles stay in place better? They've been out long enough now that many are on ebay.

              Man, I wish you lived near me to try my tack and see what worked.

              Could maybe that popular saddle brand (I can't remember, maybe someone can help) advocated by the spanish riding school help? (it had high and wide wither clearance, was good for horses with wide shoulders, used to be sold by Dressage Extensions but apparently not now, had a deep seat. I rode in one one for a while and it make you feel you were sitting atop your horse rather that "in" your horse, but that was just me. Lippizaners have wide shoulders.....what is the name of this brand?? It was popular enough to be sold by DE. What IS this saddle??????????)

              Again, my dressage thoughts and prayers (to the Dressage Gods) are aimed at you, GraceLikeRain!

              Proud member of the Colbert Dressage Nation


              • #47
                You mentioned looking at Pelham Saddlery and Trumbull Mountain for used saddles. Have you tried Hastilow USA? They have a lot of used British brand saddles and are quite knowledgeable.


                • Original Poster

                  Originally posted by J-Lu View Post

                  I ride in a 17.5", and that's the max my short-coupled horse can do. What size is your horse (medium, wide, etc?) . I'm very surprised these fitters showed up with saddles out of YOUR size, you can't evaluate a saddle a full inch longer than your seat size. I've never had a saddle rep NOT show up with my size.
                  I am a 16.5-17" with a 26" inseam (almost all in my thigh with some stumpy shins). Most demos are a 17.5" with a standard flap. I completely understand that a fitter needs demo saddles that fit the largest number of people but it is tough.

                  New horse is a medium narrow with 19" of back space to work with, which again is not a size any fitter has for their demo saddles. So instead, they are padding them up to make them work, which puts me on top of a mountain of pads trying to evaluate and explaining that they could order shorter panels but can't show me those panels in person.

                  Gardenhorse I have not! I'll definitely reach out.


                  • #49
                    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, may I humbly suggest/recommend (again) Trilogy saddles? They are English, and come with all manner of tree and twist sizes and flap lengths, available new and used from both England and US, and fit 2 vastly different back shapes in our barn well.
                    Can't learn anything with a closed mind! with thanks to mug


                    • Original Poster

                      Originally posted by fanfayre View Post
                      At the risk of sounding like a broken record, may I humbly suggest/recommend (again) Trilogy saddles? They are English, and come with all manner of tree and twist sizes and flap lengths, available new and used from both England and US, and fit 2 vastly different back shapes in our barn well.
                      The closest rep is about 4 hours away. They also rep another UK brand I was interested in and after multiple phone calls and emails trying to make contact I have heard nothing back. It hasn't given me a lot of confidence in ordering a saddle through them. There is another fitter about 6 hours away from me. I'm open to reaching out but the idea of spending a few hundred in travel fees to get someone in from that far doesn't make a ton of sense at the moment. I do appreciate the recommendation and wish one of the local fitters had one I could look at.

                      It's a birchwood tree and from my research can be adjusted one time about a size either direction. All of the ones I've seen used through larger companies are MW or W, which is a definite non-starter since she's a MN. New they are 1.5% the max of my budget so I'd have to go the used route.