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Calling Dressage Riders with Voltaire Saddles

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  • Calling Dressage Riders with Voltaire Saddles

    Just sat in in a jumping one (on a horse) last weekend ... very nice. Sat on a dressage saddle on a stand ... nice. I liked the rep and would be willing to explore, but I'd like to know some history. I read some posts in the H/J and eventing forum where reports are mixed.

    I am looking for a saddle that will fit, has ongoing support from general saddle-fitters (return to factory every 3 years? not thrilled with the idea), and will LAST many (many) years.

    Opinions on the dressage saddles?

    Also, price range? I can only find "pricey".


  • #2
    I've already said a lot about Voltaire on other threads, so I'll just try to include here what I haven't said elsewhere.

    A friend of mine considered a Voltaire dressage saddle. She had me there at the fitting to ensure the rep wasn't spewing BS (he wasn't.) She also let me ride in the saddle on the horse, which was very generous of her. Nice saddle, well constructed. I picked it over with a fine tooth comb and couldn't find any construction compromises. However, like most high-end French saddles, it's built of a luxurious, softer cut of leather than most British or German brands are using. Not fragile per se, just built for luxury. It will last many years, but it may not last many many many MANY years, if that makes sense.

    I believe the Voltaire dressage saddle price quote was either $5100 or $5200. So yeah, pricey means pricey. Like, about as pricey as a fully custom Stackhouse dressage saddle.

    May I suggest that if you're looking for ongoing support from saddle fitters and don't fancy the idea of returning your saddle to the factory for repanels, a foam saddle may not be the right solution for you. If you really like that French/continental type saddle architecture AND you prefer something that you don't have to send away for adjustments AND you want it to wear like iron, I'd say take a very long hard look at Roosli. They retail around $3500, and Pelham Saddlery would be the joint I'd talk to.

    And of course, if you're open to other types of seat architectures, the British brands are amazing values for the dollar, as are some of the German brands like Niedersuss. My friend who considered the Voltaire dressage ended up in a Frank Baines Reflex. She's thrilled, her saddle will last many MANY years, it's wool flocked, it has some seat architecture features that make it ride similarly to the French high-end dressage saddles (note that I said similar not identical!), and she paid less than $2000 for it in demo condition.
    Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


    • Original Poster

      Thank you so much for your thoughts on the dressage board. I looked at Pelham saddlery and am now in head-spinning phase. I've been a long-time (nearly 20 years and 4 saddles) customer of a single brand but primarily because my former trainer handled all the painful interactions.

      I really just like riding and want all the tack and other paraphenalia to just appear and work


      • #4
        Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
        I really just like riding and want all the tack and other paraphenalia to just appear and work
        No harm in that! Don't be afraid to ask for more help or brand recommendations. It sounds like you're the kind of customer who would do best with an in-person saddle fitter who can bring lots of demo stock to your barn, and if you live in FL there should be plenty of those. It might be as simple as saying "Well if you used to ride in X and you liked sitting in Y and Z, call fitter A who reps for brands B and C."
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


        • #5
          I would highly recommend JDR Saddles. http://jrd-tack.com/
          Mehrdad's commitment to the saddle fitting the horse and rider (and continued satisfatction for years down the road) is fantastic. I can't complain about my Hulesebus as a saddle. The initial fitting, purchase, delivery, and first 2 years were great but there hasn't been a reliable service rep on the west coast for about 3 years.


          • #6
            Why would you drop that kind of coin on a saddle that Voltaire makes as a sideline?

            I have ridden in them and they are lovely, but that kind of money for foam panels would make me nervous.
            A helmet saved my life.

            2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!