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saddle fit check/reflocking - go with brand rep or independent?

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    saddle fit check/reflocking - go with brand rep or independent?

    I'd like to have my Custom saddle fit checked (and maybe flocked). The last time, I went through the brand rep. Is it better to stick with that or go with someone independent-ish (everyone seems to work with certain brands)? The independent people seem to have more training/certification but the brand rep maybe has more experience with a particular brand?

    #2
    Go with the best person in your area.

    How many brand reps do actual hands on work on saddles versus just take measurements and send them away to the shop?

    Honestly I wouldn't think narrow brand specific experience is that much of a draw unless the saddle brand is something with very unique features.

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      #3
      I'd just go for who is best and who you think you can trust the most. Easier said than done though! If you have faith in your reps ability to reflock, then use them again. If you're on the fence, try someone else. I do prefer Independent fitters or those associated with more of the English brands that have pursued training with SMS and the like. Generally they have more knowledge and more of an interest in saddle fitting and the craft in general.

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        #4
        As ^^. If you can find someone with Society of Master Saddlers - SMS - training/certification, they are trained to fit a saddle to suit your horse regardless of the brand.
        "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

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          #5
          IMO, go with independent, especially dealing with Custom. ymmv but the people I know that go through Custom in my area go through multiple saddles in such a short period of time because for some reason the rep can't make it fit, wants to sell them something, etc. I have unfortunately yet to have a real positive experience with them.
          If you were happy with your rep the first time and they're still available though, why change anything?

          Comment


            #6
            I would not want an unqualified "rep" to reflock my saddle, which is a big job involving taking off the panels and hand sewing then back on.

            Unless by chance your brand rep happens to also be a qualified saddle fitter, they won't be doing that job, hopefully. They will take measurements and ship it back to the factory.

            I have developed a pretty good eye for English saddle fit and have played with shims enough to have an idea how a saddle need to be altered.

            But I would never dream of opening up a saddle because I know how tedious and difficult it is to handstitch leather. You need to be a good handicraft type person to even start to learn this. I run out of patience darning a sock .

            My preference is for the person who is doing the measurements and seeing the saddle IRL to also be the one doing the actual work.

            Way back in the 1990s, when I was traveling in Vietnam, I had a little black raw silk sheath dress made in a 24 hour turnaround tailoring shop in Hanoi for $20.

            The front office girl was delightful and spoke good English and measured me carefully.

            But the back office seamstress elves could never get the fit right. My bust to waist and hips ratio was off the charts compared to the average slimmer overall Vietnamese build. I wasn't outrageous by North American standards, just cute (I can say this now that I am almost an old lady getting nostalgic). But when I said the waist and hips needed taking in they narrowed the whole dress and when I said the bust was too tight they loosened the whole dress into a sack. They just didn't have "figure 8 body type" in their repertoire of human shapes.

            I took the loose version and just took in the hips with a needle and thread. I got a lot of wear out of that dress, though it wouldn't fit now

            If the front office girl had also been the seamstress I don't think this would have happened. She would have remembered she was dealing with a freakishly proportioned foreigner. In Canada I've always gone for alterations to little one person shops where they measure you and do the work.

            Anyhow, that whole incident has made me glad I have a hands-on saddle fitter who will reflock from tracings then tweak onsite if needed.
            ​​​​​

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