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Best Custom Saddler?

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  • Best Custom Saddler?

    I am thinking about investing in a better saddle adjusted for both me and my horse. I have tried several off-the-rack saddles, but I think my horse and I have special needs. I would love to hear about other COTHer's experiences. There are so many custom saddles for sale used, which makes me fear that they are not always the ultimate solution! I would love to hear some saddle fitting success stories and names of the companies who came through for you.

    Currently I am considering Custom Saddlery, Devoucoux, Schleese, Castelow... and am curious about others. Thanks!

  • #2
    Well, I just ordered a Stackhouse. I should be receiving it in the next week or so, so I will let you know how I like it! http://www.stackhousesaddles.com/stackhousesaddle.html

    I was going to get a Devoucoux, but their customer service was awful, no one ever returned my calls or e-mails. And now I'm glad, since I have since heard a few bad things about their saddles. I've been told that they need lots of padding underneath, as the stirrup bars tend to hurt the horses shoulders. This may be only their jumping saddles though. I've also heard some stories of their custom saddles not fitting the horses properly.


    • #3
      Regal saddles are great - a lot of people in our area with them. I lucked out and was able to get a used one made for someone with legs even longer than mine...
      "Adulthood? You're playing with ponies. That is, like, every 9 year old girl's dream. Adulthood?? You're rocking the HELL out of grade 6, girl."


      • #4
        We are in the process of acquiring a Custom Saddlery Wolfgang Solo. The off-the-rack wide tree looks like it would fit a thoroughbred, way too narrow for our sofa-horse! I have had quick responses and pleasant e-mails with the company, so we'll see when the custom saddle comes in. So far, so good!


        • #5


          • #6
            My saddle was made by Richard Castelow. I love it, he was great to work with and my saddle was finished when he said it would be, even though Hurricane Rita destroyed part of his home while he was making it.

            You can find out more about him and get his contact info at his website www.richardcastelow.com

            He's based in Florida, but goes to Kentucky every spring. We worked long-distance with an EquiMeasure kit to fit my horse, then I met him in Kentucky so he could fit me. It's a good excuse to go to Lexington.
            "... if you think i'm MAD, today, of all days,
            the best day in ten years,


            • #7
              I am currently waiting on a Borne saddle and am very excited to get it. I know quite a few folks who have one and all are very happy with them.

              Their website is: http://www.bornesaddlery.com/


              • #8
                a little off topic, but i used to think i was headed down the custom path... and then i placed a passier on my horses back.
                absolute heaven baby.... absolute heaven

                be patient and the right saddle will come.
                chaque pas est fait ensemble


                • #9
                  Schleese. Custom fit for horse and custom built for me. And I like how it could be adjusted for another horse, so I didn't have to buy a new saddle for a new horse.
                  "Dreams are the touchstone of our characters." Henry David Thoreau
                  Touchstone Farm


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Touchstone Farm View Post
                    Schleese. Custom fit for horse and custom built for me. And I like how it could be adjusted for another horse, so I didn't have to buy a new saddle for a new horse.
                    Yup Life-time guarantee or something close!

                    Especially good if you have a horse who is going through the weird phases of growth and such.
                    *The Quietman ~ Irish Approved Gr.1 Stallion
                    Like Us on Facebook


                    • #11

                      I rec. Trilogy Saddles and Debbie Whittey.

                      Saddles are omg amazing.

                      Best of luck!
                      Remember courage is not the absence of fear; it is doing what you need to do in spite of your fear. -Sue Foley.


                      • #12
                        The best saddle is the one that stays balanced on your horse in movement as well as standing still, and allows you a solid position .

                        That said--all the saddles you have mentioned are of course top of the line.
                        That said--my favorite saddler has to be Custom Saddles. I love the fact that they have different trees for different backs.
                        Most saddle companies have one tree and a lot of choices as to flaps,knee and thigh blocks,etc--but all on the same tree.

                        ANd I love Customs' service.
                        one oak, lots of canyons



                        • #13

                          What kind of Passier did you end up buying? I have always loved Passiers, and I have one that is 30 years old, but would like to get one that has a wider gullet.

                          Does Passier have any sales reps that will come out and fit one of their saddles to your horse? The saddle fitter in my area (North Florida) has moved and I would rather have someone qualified look at the fit in person.


                          • #14
                            I've been there and done the custom saddle route a few times....Schleese and Cobra (when Peter Manet was involved with the company), and Roosli. I have to say that I would not go through the expense and time it took to do this. Two out of the three saddles were a disaster.

                            I did have great luck with JRD a few years back when I called them and they had a saddle in house that did not work out for someone else, so they modified it for me, and it was the best saddle I had ever ridden in. This year, I tried to replicate that feel from used JRD's I tried and I did not have any luck.

                            So.....what am I riding in, and what fits a ton of horses.....THE PASSIER! I have a Grand Gilbert and it has fit so many different kinds of horses well, it's amazing. I have a newer one (less than 2 yrs) and it has the gussetted panels. However, I will say that if you your looking for a saddle with a ton of support, this is not going to fit the bill.

                            Good luck...I'm known as the saddle person around the barn. I've had so many through the years!


                            • #15
                              I'm looking into having a Black Country done for my horse and myself.

                              I went with Trilogy origionally and the Debbie McDonald, but it just doesn't fit me right and instead of taking a chance on ruining such a beautifully and well made saddle, I'm selling it after only owning for a short period
                              "The higher you hold your pinky, the more dignified you be." -Patrick Starfish

                              "Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance" -Coco Chanel


                              • #16
                                Spirig definitely has my vote for custom saddlery.


                                Not a "fad" saddle. These saddles have passed the test of time.
                                "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" ~Friedrich Schiller


                                • #17
                                  I second the Castelow. Wow, fabulous.



                                  • #18
                                    Black Country does do different trees for different back shapes, they can also modify how they make an Eloquence they can make the tree itself more curved, flatter, or do what ever they need since they make them from scratch when ordered. No extra cost for custom options or modifications about 3 -4 weeks lead depending on how busy they are - a saddle takes about 30 - 40 bench hours to make depending on the saddle and the options but of course when you place an order there are usually a few ahead of you with 5 - 6 saddlers in the shop.

                                    The Passier does come with "freedom" panels which have a wider gullet and I believe most are gusseted.

                                    Frank Baines has a new model now the Omni which I rode in last night really liked it comes with a high head or low profile head deep seat narrow twist, molded blocks into flap.

                                    The Marquis is similar to the Hennig but with a narrower twist, the saddler that makes them is older and he only does a few a year but really nice custom saddles totally custom meaning you can specifiy just about anything even flap width or draw the blocking you prefer.

                                    County and Custom saddlery I have heard good things about of course everyone has a preference but the quality of the leather and saddles themselves I think is on par well made.


                                    • #19

                                      I have a Schleese Wave and both my horse and I love it. I've had many other saddles, both off the rack and "custom". The Schleese is the only true custom saddle out there IMHO. I originally purchased it for my regular withered, wide, but short backed horse. I realized that I did not like the seat and it did not accomodate my long thigh. I explained to Jochen Schleese what I needed, sent the saddle back to Canada. They narrowed the twist and scooped out the seat to make a longer/flatter area for me to sit. It now fits me and my horse like it was made for us from the tree up. The tree can be adjusted as my mare changes. I had it refit after she returned to work post-weaning her foal and refit again as she developed her topline. The person who does periodic massage on her always comments on how good her back feels. Plus Schleese comes to the area several times a year so the saddle can be refitted when needed. The quality of the leather and workmanship cannot be beat. Beware of some custom saddles out there. Many cannot be changed as your horse changes. Also, beware of saddles that can be refit, but unfortunatly the fitters are not local or here in the US. Both the flocking and the tree need to be adjustable. Anyway, my 2 cents worth. I've had alot of saddles and can't say enough about Schleese fit and service. Jochen Schleese is a genius and knows far more than the rest, again, IMHO. (No, I don't work for the company ;-)


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by eks View Post

                                        What kind of Passier did you end up buying? I have always loved Passiers, and I have one that is 30 years old, but would like to get one that has a wider gullet.

                                        Does Passier have any sales reps that will come out and fit one of their saddles to your horse? The saddle fitter in my area (North Florida) has moved and I would rather have someone qualified look at the fit in person.
                                        I got a Passier Antares and both me and my horse fit in it well. I am an absolute minimalist when it comes to knee rolls and such. The antares was just what i was looking for. Funny thing, I usually take an 18" seat, but it's a 17.5" and my horse normally takes a 32cm wide tree, and this one is a medium... go figure. Unfortunately I have no clue if they have reps that will come and eyeball the saddle.
                                        I have found in this saddle shopping adventure it's like picking out your wedding dress, when you know, you'll know. The right saddle makes a considerable positive difference even the non horsey teenage boy (or such like) will be able to see the difference.
                                        chaque pas est fait ensemble