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Albion Ultima leather vs. regular calf leather

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  • Albion Ultima leather vs. regular calf leather

    I'm ordering a new Albion and the dealer asked me if I want to upgrade to the "Ultima" leather for $900 more. She said it's "like" buffalo and has a more grippy texture. Is there really that much of a quality difference? I'm not sure if I want more grip...I have an old Albion Legend (that I assume is regular, smooth calf leather) and it looks wonderful for its age and use.

    I also have a Niedersuss if anyone can help compare the leather for me since I have never seen an Albion in the "ultima" leather before. My Niedersuss is not that soft or grippy, but the leather quality is very good. I'm wondering if the Albion regular calf leather is like that?

    Thanks for any input!
    Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.

  • #2
    $900? When I upgraded my Albion dressage saddle from regular leather to buffalo leather last year, it was $600, not $900... Also, the upgrade included a girth and a pair of leathers, so make sure to ask your dealer about it. Oh, and I love the upgrade. It came in broken in already. But, I don't think it is $900 nicer than the regular leather... The regular leather is nice too.


    • Original Poster

      The price quote I got for the new saddle was $2068 for the "regular" leather and $2825 for the "Ultima" leather. No fittings are included but I get a 10% discount. So, technically it's only $757. I always seem to estimate high to account for any adjustments and incidentals.

      Still, I would like to know what the differences are between the two leathers.
      Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.


      • Original Poster

        Would you recommend another dealer? I haven't ordered anything - just received price quotes.
        Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.


        • #5
          I always get the regular leather when I buy new and it is totally fine.

          I got one used one that had the buffalo leather and could not tell the difference between that one and the two new ones I bought with regular.

          Not worth the extra $$$ at all to me.
          The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
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          • #6
            Sent you a private message.


            • #7
              I recently sold my Platinum Genesis Ultima and I do not think I would spend the extra money for this leather again. The Ultima leather is only on the flaps and skirt. The seat and the leather over the thigh blocks are calf skin.

              If you ever do need any extra grip you can always rub some saddle soap on it. Actually, it's a good idea to do that anyway.


              • #8
                My impression of older Albions was that there was a big difference between the regular and Ultima leather, but the regular leather on the newer saddles seems to be much nicer, minimizing the quality difference. Unless you really love the Ultima texture, I would think the difference is not worth $900.

                I love my Ultima (bought lightly used) but if I had the option of paying $900 less and getting the same exact thing in regular leather I would have done it in a heartbeat.
                Evolutionary science by day; keeping a certain red mare from winning a Darwin award the rest of the time!


                • #9
                  Not with the extra $$ IMO. I test rode in a barely used Ultima and I actually disliked the difference in leather. It was thicker than the regular leather which made the twist feel wider to me which was not preferable. I also didn't feel like it was any "grippier" than the regular, smooth leather.

                  I also agree that a $900 price difference does seem steep. I ordered a new SLK and the additional cost for the Ultima leather, had I wanted it, would have been about $650.
                  "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"


                  • #10
                    From what it sounds like, you are deciding between a standard leather K2 and a K2 Ultima. This saddle was never able to be modified much until recently. The K2 was meant to be a stock saddle with very few options - that's how Albion was able to offer a bench-made saddle for under $2k. Eventually, Albion began giving in to our (Albion fitters) whining and starting allowing modest alterations (short flaps, deeper gussets) for an additional cost. Now they are even allowing the upgrade to Ultima leather from the standard smooth hide. The Ultima upgrade is the higher quality leather and the shaping of the knee pad over the block, which requires more labor than the standard flap- hence the much higher price.

                    In my opinion, you must REALLY love the feel and fit of the K2 to pay over $2800 for it. For $2850, you can get the standard leather SLK HH or LH, or the Platinum SLK. Personally, I have always ordered the standard leather K2 for my clients - you end up paying more to customize it than if you went for the SLK where many of the options are at no extra charge.

                    No matter what you decide, the K2 is a great saddle even in the smooth hide.

                    You can always bump up to the Revelation - it's only $5200.


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks for the info NCSaddleFitter! I'm actually buying the K2 General Purpose saddle because I want a "dressagey" feeling saddle with a more forward flap to jump and trail ride in. I also have an older Albion Legend that I LOVE and I'm told this is the closest to that design.
                      Most friendships in the horse world are just an opinion away from doom.


                      • #12
                        I have the Albion GP in the Ultima leather. I also have an Albion SLK dressage in the standard leather. Personally, I would not pay extra for the upgrade. The Ultima leather is harder to clean.


                        • #13
                          Reviving an old thread. Saddle shopping for used Albions. Are all Ultimas stamped as such? Seeing some that are and some that aren't. And of course internet shopping, I'm relying on pictures. I don't want to pay for an Ultima if it shows up and is not. I'm open to a regular SLK, but I want to be sure what I am getting.


                          • #14
                            My husband has the buffalo type leather. It's sturdier than mine, with traditional leather but I like the buttery,grippy traditional leather. His is much less prone to little scratches and dings,though.
                            I don't think his says Ultimate but I can't say for sure. We both have an all-purpose and they lean more towards jumping than dressage.


                            • #15
                              Sent you a PM. My two ultima SLKs are NOT marked on the stamp.