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Yet another saddle thread - Albion, County, and Black Country

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  • Yet another saddle thread - Albion, County, and Black Country

    OK. I'm back to the drawing board in the never ending quest of saddles searching/fitting... which I thought ended a couple of years ago.. sigh...

    Evidently the wide tree Albion Style I'm using on my barely 15 hand Morgan is still too narrow Just a perspective, my boy is very wide (think sausage), has a drop behind the wither but straight back. He does have a decent wither though. So far I have tried:

    Albion Style, wide tree: I LOVE LOVE this saddle. Even though it is too big for me, it still put me at the right place, super comfy, horse spooky is never a problem in this saddle. But, the tree is not wide enough for my boy, AND, the panel does not shape the right way. This Albion is more of a shallow banana shape while my horse has a drop at the wither but straight back (plus sausage shape).

    County XWide: Well my boy LOVE this saddle which I loathe.. He moved out better and freer in it but I'm miserable in this saddle. The panel shape fits him rather well but I'm constantly wiggling around in it. Not sure what the deal is but it pokes me in the wrong way. So my County is up for sale. By the way, if any one is interested in it, please let me know. It's 17.5 XWide.

    Barnsby: Again this is a saddle that fits me relatively well but the A loop does not comform my horse' wide wither...

    I have contacted a Black Country fitter to see whether he can find some XWide Black Country dressage saddles for me to try on. But I would like to hear what people think here. Especially if you have tried albion, county, and black country, could you show your experiences? Oh please tell me that the seat fits like Albion and the panel fits like County? please...please...please.. OK if I'm dreaming, please wake me up....

    Thanks a bunch.

  • #2
    interesting. I've tried all 3 on my sausage Morgan, but mine has a vastly different back shape than you're describing of yours, almost opposite if you're anywhere near NJ you should stop by me as I have a barn full of saddles I can't use
    Last edited by buck22; Jan. 11, 2010, 11:13 PM.
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


    • #3
      I'm going to throw a few more gut instinct brands for you to think of that might be friendly (and make nice dressage saddles):

      lovatt & ricketts
      smith worthington
      frank baines

      and not for nothing, but there is a "warendorf" out there, might be made by Dover. I always was curious about that saddle for morgans.

      this is probably very little help good luck.
      Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


      • Original Poster

        Hey your horse' back actually looks "kind of" like mine. My boy has sharper dip but rise up faster. If you scroll to the bottom of this page, http://hdmhorse.com/English/Geldings...ot%20Shot.aspx, you will see his profile. That picture was taken a couple of years ago when he was not fit. Right now his back is stronger and the dip isn't as pronounced but the general shape is the same.

        I'm surprised that most saddles bridge. Did you get a fitter to reflock them?

        Too bad I'm in central Oklahoma.. It will be a looong way to NJ.... Also sent you a PM.


        • #5
          your horse is outstanding looking.

          yes, sadly most do, and it surprises me too. He doesn't go hollow, though sure we have our moments. And his back has changed quite a bit over the year for the better.

          No, I haven't had a fitter out or had any reflocked yet. Primarily because I'm still learning. What characteristics I like and what he likes. And he's grown so fast in the last year, I just buy & sell our way through. Its given me a chance to ride some very cool saddles I never otherwise would've ever thought to try.
          Last edited by buck22; Jan. 11, 2010, 11:13 PM.
          Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


          • #6
            Perhaps you could try a different County? There are at least 4 different dressage saddles they make - perhaps one of them would fit you better? I don't know what it is with Countys, but they seem to make Morgan backs very happy. I think half my local Morgan circuit is wearing them now.


            • #7
              Hi Gloria, contact Trumbull Mtn and ask to try a Black Country Eden. I bet it would be perfect for your lovely boy. And it is also very comfortable for the rider.


              • #8
                I ride in an Albion SLK Ultima but several people in my barn love the Trilogy verago. It can be similar to the Albion depending on the seat style you prefer. That may be another option?


                • #9
                  Sat in quite a few County saddles and none really fit me, I needed a size up. So I didn't get a great feel for those. None were wide enough for my mare.

                  I ended up with a Black Country Vinici from Trumbull Mtn. Both my mare and I LOVE this saddle.

                  I tried so many saddles on her back and would never even have to tighten the girth. Just sitting them on her made her snake her head back if she didn't like them. But not the Vinici, day after day I would try different saddles and almost everyone of them made her try to bite me, but the Vinici. She just loves the way this saddle fits her. And I love it too.

                  Didn't get to try any Albions. I only tried a Hennig, a couple different Frank Baines, a few County's and a couple different models of Black Country saddles.
                  So well after a month later I am still so happy with my decision. Trumbull Mtn made this so easy for me. I used to live in saddle fitting hell and hating trying saddles. This was the easiest saddle fitting and decision I have ever made.


                  • #10
                    Go for a Black Country! They are really nice, and for a really friendly price. My trainer has an Eloquence and it feels like you're really riding the horse, not the saddle.
                    "Capture the horse's confidence to obtain his consent." -General L'Hotte


                    • #11
                      it might be the tree type - have you tried one of the original three with a hoop tree? For flat/table backed, mutton withered, or just roly poly's in general, the hoop tree fits sooo much better since it goes around the horses' back and doesn't jam into them.

                      What seat size do you need? I have a 19 BC Vinici with the hoop - if you're close enough you could try it to see if that would work?


                      • #12
                        I have 2 horses that arevery different sizez. My gelding - pretty normal dressage horse conformation and 16hh I ride in an albion slk. So, like you, I really like the albion.

                        My mare is a BIG oldenburg and the "off the shelf" saddles didn't work well. I got a schlesse link and love it.


                        • Original Poster

                          Originally posted by Across Sicily View Post
                          Perhaps you could try a different County? There are at least 4 different dressage saddles they make - perhaps one of them would fit you better? I don't know what it is with Countys, but they seem to make Morgan backs very happy. I think half my local Morgan circuit is wearing them now.
                          When I got this County (Competitor is the model), I was soooo excited. It is such a beautiful saddle, incredible workmanship, almost like an art, and my boy was a happy camper in it. If only my butt were conformed better This is the second County I tried. The first one was a AP and it was even worse for me. Do other dressage models have different seat?


                          • Original Poster

                            Ginger - Thank you for compliement for me pony. The Black County sales rep just contacted me. He managed to hunt down a XW for me to try on. It is an Eloquence though. Eden is the one with narrower twist? I checked out Trumbull Mtn's website. They don't seem to have XW...

                            specialops - Um Trilogy.. That is an intriguing thought. Do you know what the price range is? If it is similiar to Scheless.. it is outside of my budget...

                            vestito - The Vinici is the monoflap right? They kind of look, urrr, goofy... How do they look when ridden? I also wonder whether the straps catch/pinch your thighs? I know what you mean by "saddle fitting hell"... I was so sad when the County didn't work for me. None of the tack shops around here carry anything XW and it is so expensive and time consuming to buy, ship, and try out one saddle at a time.

                            PennyChrome - I'm going to get to try a Black Country Eloquence next Friday, yeh!

                            Ames - wow that is a very very generous offer. wow. Thank you so much!!! I'm in Central Oklahoma. Where are you located? The fitter "claimed" I needed a 17 seat. "I" claimed I needed a 17.5 seat.. I told him women have more padding than men do hehehe. I'm not sure what type of tree this County Competitor is. It looks loopy to me though, especially when compared to my Barnsy... He is table top (well, very well sprung ribs to sound better), "almost" mutton withered. The only saving grace is he does have some wither. This County makes my boy very happy but makes me quite unhappy so I think the problem is the seat shape...

                            caddym - Yes I really love this Albion. Even though it is too big for me, and too narrow for my boy, I think I will hang on to it. Maybe someday I will get a horse that fit it? As to Schlesse, I'm intrigued by it, but it runs around $4000 right? It is quite out of my range..


                            • #15
                              Gloria, your horse looks to have a very similar back to mine - good wither, laid-back shoulder, broad over the loins, and a bit "dippy" in the back. When I was looking at saddles, everything bridged. The BC Eden didn't, and we both love it. I was able to get a custom template (width and panel specs) for under $3k. It fits him like it was, well, made for him.

                              You might call TM and see if they have an XW in stock that is not listed as a demo. They are great to work with.


                              • Original Poster

                                Originally posted by Ginger View Post
                                Gloria, your horse looks to have a very similar back to mine - good wither, laid-back shoulder, broad over the loins, and a bit "dippy" in the back. When I was looking at saddles, everything bridged. The BC Eden didn't, and we both love it. I was able to get a custom template (width and panel specs) for under $3k. It fits him like it was, well, made for him.

                                You might call TM and see if they have an XW in stock that is not listed as a demo. They are great to work with.
                                Thank you!!!! I will definitely try Eden out. Wow my spirit is running high now as I'm quite hopeful. I was kind of down when I realized the beautiful County did not fit me. My husband teased me about getting emotional over a chunk of "leather over wood". Only another dressage rider understand how that "chunk" can make or ruin your day.


                                • #17
                                  The Vinci is the only BC saddle that I liked, but I love my Legacy (Ryder) Zara! It fits the Friesian pretty well (although my Odessy fits him, better).


                                  • #18
                                    I want to say Trilogy has different models and I know the higher end (Verago) is 3ish but used is always a possibility if you are pretty clear on sizing the only issue with that is trial's are not always possible.


                                    • #19
                                      Well good luck w/your boy He's cute.

                                      My mare is also a Morgan, but she's rather narrow for the breed, though she has a "well sprung" barrel and flat back. She also has *real* withers. Most people don't take her for a Morgan until they see her under saddle. She's easier to fit than most of them; the issue was finding something comfortable for me. (See here.)

                                      After a lot of trial saddles, I ended up with an Albion Style, MW tree. However, the saddle shop folks told me that Albion trees are NOT consistent from saddle to saddle; they showed me another MW Style, 17.5 as opposed to 17 inch seat, and it was waayyyyyy wider.
                                      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

                                      1998 Morgan mare Mythic Feronia "More Valley Girl Than Girl Scout!"


                                      • #20
                                        Love, love, love , love ,love my Black Country Eloquence on my extra wide, flat backed, low withered warmblood. Also have a friend that has the same saddle for a Friesian and feels the same way. The saddle has really helped me be more "open" thru my seat, hips. I feel more connected, and our horses really round their backs up into the saddle because it fits so well. Also the saddle isn't super deep, nor does it have huge thigh blocks, so I feel very secure, but not immobilized or trapped like some saddles make me feel.
                                        I just could not be more pleased with my saddle, excellent quality the whole way round !