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UK Saddle Brands

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  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • fanfayre
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gardenhorse
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    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!

    J.

    Leave a comment:


  • wildlifer
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • SonnysMom
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heinz 57
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Moon River
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Dear OP. I'm sorry to hear this!!!!

    #1 - do your own back measurements match your saddle fitters' measurements? If future saddle fitters come out, I'd frame it as a question teaching you to make better measurements, and can they leave dimensions with you so you can practice, or compare your measurements to theirs. It's part of their fee of coming out.

    #2 - it sounds like you don't have good fitters in your area. Can Trumble or Pelham TELL you what models you should watch out for "on their sites" ( in other words, what do they think will fit your horse)? Again, MY tracings weren't as accurate as my fitter's tracing, and since she's independent and nice, she helped me. The original tracings I made and sent to those same companies were pretty off, said my saddle fitter. They told me they didn't have anything that fit my horse, either, and he's a typical medium, medium-wide fit for a warmblood. My traces were weird!!!

    #3. Are there any bigger shows in your area? Even Hunter/Jumper? Many times, reps who can fit saddles there can tell you what type of tree will most likely fit your horse and they can recommend their brands based on the measurements even if there are not saddles to try there.

    #4, Are there shows in your area? Do you have friends who show? Friends who ride dressage? Ask them if you can try their saddles. Either show up at their barn/show or ask to borrow. I have certainly lent saddles to people to try because saddle shopping is a hell most riders want to shield other riders from.

    #5. Have you tried a Wintec Isabell? The "old" style? It can't be flocked, but the adjustable plates are really useful. I showed my old mare successfully through Fourth level in a Wintec, earning my Bronze, a regional champ at third and reserve at fourth in this saddle and only had to change gullet plates. An Albion and a Black country fitter said "well, it's not a bad fit for your horse" even though I tried their saddles. The adjustable plates made ALL the difference. Now, this was the first generation of Wintec Isabells, and I know they've changed to fit "their version of typical ammie rider". I don't like the new ones, but I LOVE the old ones (that's just me). When I sent that mare to breed, I sold it on ebay for not a large loss due to years of use, and the new owner loved it. I would have purchased an old Bates if I could find one previous to my current saddle.

    #6. Ebay is another option. I lived for a while in a location with no real tack stores and my friends would often purchase something off ebay (the dressage community was pretty great letting people sit in their saddles at shows or clinics. No one had money to waste). If it doesn't work for you, you can resell it and the loss can be minimal. Something to consider.

    #7. Do you have a good idea of what works and doesn't work for your horse? Call around to places like the places you mentioned but also specialty places like Dressage Extensions. A friend used their advice to purchase a Hulsebos and it ended up working for her and her horse given her horse's conformation and it's features.


    #8, Saddle fitting can be HELL. For everyone. I had a friend who paid $4K for a custom Schlese, and after a year had it "refit to her horse as he developed" and hated the fit. She asked for the saddle to be "returned" to the old fit but it was never the same and she felt out of balance. (Oh, they charged her - boy did they charge her). Pretty much everyone experiences saddle woes!!

    #9. I'm so sorry you're stuck in hell. Saying my dressage prayers for you to get out of the hell we all know is finding the right saddle without shelling out $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    Well, back to the drawing board. I had several more failed fittings. More concerningly, a few of the fitters seemed to struggle to see things like how a saddle impacted my balance or didn't seem concerned about a saddle being super-tight through the shoulders. Others were positive they had a great fit after looking at tracings and pictures only to immediately say no the second they put a saddle on her back. If they don't feel confident about tree shape off of this information, how could they ensure I partnered with the right Uk brand for an order?

    While I was open to ordering a saddle, this whole experience has me really gunshy. If I'm going to order a saddle I'd want to have the features that matter to me like shorter flaps or other things that would definitely prevent a return and could reduce the resale value. Even if I go completely stock, a lot of these companies have a 20% restocking fee which would be a ghastly sum of money to throw away because a fitter didn't know how to ensure the right fit.

    At this point I'm almost $600 into fittings, saddle shippings, etc. and am absolutely no closer to a viable option. The next option would be to ship down to "the person" for my state. However, a four-hour round trip plus $$$ fitting is seeming really overwhelming.

    Leave a comment:


  • redsoxluvr
    replied
    Ideal saddles are fantastic. There are tons of options and you can easily get something for well under 3K. I recommend buying straight from the UK, though. I tried going through a US fitter when I got mine and the US price was over 2k more from the fitter than the UK price.

    Leave a comment:


  • sheltona01
    replied
    Where do you live? I know a lot of fitters around the country and may be able to point you in a direction of a fitter.

    Leave a comment:


  • GraceLikeRain
    replied
    Thank you for mentioning that because it is very relevant and a concern of mine. I've absolutely seen the trend of "what's the cheapest adjustable saddle you have" and the "who has a CWD for sale" disparity without much in between.

    I'd love to go used, even if it's not 100% the ride saddle for me at this stage. However, I can't get a flippity flapping independent fitter out here to save my life and she's looking like a tough fit for an "eyeball and guess" online buy. Both Trumbull and Pelham didn't feel that they had anything in that would be a good fit based on my tracings. The one independent fitter is also a brand rep and is pushing me towards her brand of saddles, which have as much resale potential as the UK brands at a steeper price tag. Weather permitting, I may be able to get someone out this weekend. They are independent..but only measuring for two specific brands on this trip (a little confused about that one).

    The idea of dropped $2-3k on a saddle that would barely get $1k just a few months later due to lack of brand recognition is hard to swallow.

    Leave a comment:


  • PREconvert
    replied
    Realizing that selling a 5W saddle is not indicative of how hard or easy it is to get good resale value on a lesser known English saddle brand, I’m going to put in my 2 cents in based on reselling my daughter’s Albion Legend GP and Albion Original Comfort, and buying used Frank Baines’ and Ideal instead. The resale market is looking for adjustable lower end saddles or high end French saddles. An English sadddle is a tough sell and a cheap buy. I can’t get any offers for my Albion’s and they are priced very low. On FB, all the ISO’s are for adjustable or CWD etc. This isn’t a pity party, because I am benefitting from the lack of interest in used English made saddles by finding her a Frank Baines Eclipse for $350 and an Ideal International Event with Buffalo seat and rolls for $600. The one I have my eye on is only $400.

    So what I’m getting at is, if resale is an issue for you, you might want to check out dressage FB pages and see what people are looking for used. If it isn’t what you are buying new, you might have a hard time getting it off your hands.

    Now, they’d have to pry my Albion out of my cold dead hands, but I bought it for less than $1000 in like-new condition. And I am very very happy with the quality of the other brands I mentioned, so I’m not saying they won’t be the best saddle for the money. Especially Ideal - even new they are a lot of saddle quality for around $2K new. Just resale might be tough.

    Leave a comment:


  • PREconvert
    replied
    Originally posted by Ceylon Star View Post

    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.
    Hi. If you are still interested in the saddle, me know what measurements you’d like taken. This thing is nice looking but it isnt quite the centerpiece I would hope for in my dining room.

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by CanteringCarrot View Post
    J-Lu Maybe it is a Euroriding saddle? I think they have some tack made in England. Only brand I could think of off the top of my head.
    CanteringCarrot YES, that's it! It is a Euroriding Titan II. The company is out of Germany but the saddle says "Made in England".

    Leave a comment:


  • CanteringCarrot
    replied
    J-Lu Maybe it is a Euroriding saddle? I think they have some tack made in England. Only brand I could think of off the top of my head.



    I own a Fairfax Gareth in the short flap option. I quite like the saddle, but it does put me in a bit of a chair seat. Therefore I think I will be shopping this spring. It fits my short backed horse fine. I am interested in their new Elias model for baroque/uphill built horses. I've seen some Gareth's on eBay (UK) for reasonable prices.

    I wanted Kent and Masters to work, since the price is less, but it didn't work for me.

    I'd LOVE a Black Country or Bliss, not there are no dealers or fitters of those saddles close to me.

    I've heard wonderful things about Frank Baines, but again, no one with experience close to me.

    I tried a Prestige Lucky Idol but the balance just wasn't right for me, but it was a decent little saddle for the price. Maybe something like the Passier Compact would be worth a look too?

    Leave a comment:


  • J-Lu
    replied
    Originally posted by GraceLikeRain View Post
    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).
    5-6 years ago I went saddle shopping for Sir SpooksAlot. I tried brands from a local tack store that lets you borrow saddles, and had their independent fitter come out.

    I LOVED the Frank Baines and it fit my horse like a glove (said the fitter), but Sir SpooksAlot bucked with it. I was so amazingly disappointed. WHY, SSA, WHYYYYY????? I LOVED the Fairfax when I sat on it at the store, but on my 4 year old at the time, my knees were jammed into the knee rolls (my horse has better balance now and I think I'd have a different experience now). Kent & Masters didn't work well for me, although I wanted it to.

    One thing to note, MY back tracing was not as accurate as my saddle fitter's back tracing (we used the same stuff), something to consider.

    I'm currently riding in a ...I can't even remember the brand (it was given to me), but I think it is English (says made in England). Euro.... ??? It has huge knee rolls which I don't like but my saddle fitter says it fits my horse really well and we manage quite well in it. It's not expensive - I can get back to you on the brand if you'd like.

    Leave a comment:

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