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Is the upgrade to BUFFALO or CALF leather worth the $$$$?

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  • Is the upgrade to BUFFALO or CALF leather worth the $$$$?

    So, I'm ordering a Custom Saddlery Wolfgang Solo saddle. It comes in regular leather, calf or buffalo.

    There's over a $1000 difference b/w the calf or buffalo upgrades OR the regular leather-regular leather is over $1000 cheaper.

    Anyone out there in regular leather? How is it--stiff, slippery, soft--does it feel less padded than calf?
    Is the upgrade to buffalo or calf worth it?
    Any experience with buffalo or calf--pros/cons?

    The demo I've been riding in is calf and it's comfy, but the budget/wallet is calling for the regular leather model...

    Any thoughts appreciated...

  • #2
    Personally, I wouldn't buy calf leather based on my refusal to eat veal. But buffalo leather is great, and my next saddle will be buffalo.
    2012 goal: learn to ride like a Barn Rat

    A helmet saved my life.


    • #3
      LOVE buffalo. Wears beautifully. Worth saving a couple of extra months for that upgrade imo!


      • #4
        IMO, calf isn't worth the money. It's fantastic at the beginning, easy as pie to break in, but it just doesn't last. I'd be paranoid about taking care of it, never riding with pants with an inside seam, never riding in the rain, etc.

        Buffalo is fantastic, soft but wears like iron. If I had the money, I'd go buffalo- but otherwise there is nothing wrong with the regular leather.


        • #5
          Buffalo is soft, supple, wears like nothing else, and tends to be a "sticky" leather. I'd heartily recommend going for buffalo - elk is another good choice as well.

          Have fun with the Wolfgang Solo - those are nice saddles and I have a feeling you'll like it whether you go calf or buffalo.
          Fire Girl Photography


          • Original Poster

            Yes, I do tend to wear saddles VERY VERY LITTLE. I'm not a pro, so it'd be used daily once or max twice. I always ride in breeches (not jeans, etc), wipe saddles meticulously...

            Does anyone find the buffalo too sticky (I know, but you do need to be able to move a little without SUCTION being involved if you already wear full seats)? I've never sat in it, but I know when I sat in wintec, I felt like I was glued in there.


            • #7
              Did you give up on the laurische?

              Maybe going to a saddlery and sitting in the various leathers would help answer your question. Might check the website for middleburg tack exchange and see if they have anything.Also, Journeyman saddlers in Middleburg are friendly and willing to talk about the nuances of saddles.
              They can also tell you about the inner parts of the brand of saddle since they do so much repair work.

              My experience with calf is that it is very fragile and wears out quickly. It also has more slide than the buffalo. do they have shrumph (sp?)leather? It is a shrunken leather that has elasticity from the process. I sat in a demo saddle with it and really liked it. It is more like buffalo. There are many grades of leather and that makes a difference, too.
              Intermediate Riding Skills


              • Original Poster

                Anyone have experience with the regular leather Wolfgang? How's the leather?

                Whicker-Yes, the twist was simply too wide for my narrow hips. It became very clear what the issue was for me after I sat in the Wolfgang and wasn't in hip pain when I got off my horse for the first time in 6 months!

                Good point about the grades of leather...

                It sounds like everyone loves the buffalo! Can you wear leather full-seats with them without SPARKS flying?

                Anyone have experience with the regular leather wolfgang?


                • #9
                  My first ride in the buffalo saddle it was a bit sticy, but it has been worn a little smoother over time. The saddler said if I used a glycerine saddle soap on it it would become even stickier, but I prefer it the way it is now.

                  I really love the buffalo and the break-in time was almost instant. Well worth the upgrade.


                  • #10
                    I have the buffalo Solo- I found it a little harder to break in, unlike those above. The buffalo was quite stiff even after oiling. I always have preferred calf because of the softness. Calf does not wear very well however, I have had the buffalo a year now and it looks new. I like the saddle a lot.


                    • #11
                      I love my buffalo leather dressage saddle...it wears great and is not too sticky....
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                      • #12
                        I rode in a buffalo custom saddlery saddle for awhile- loved it. Very comfortable, sticky but I could still move, even with full seats.


                        • #13
                          I have Wolfgang Solo buffalo and didn't find a rough break-in period. The seat is more like a sueded/nude leather seat. I've ridden in leather full seats which do seem to stick a bit in that saddle, but regular Ariat breeches (whatever their fabric full seats are) don't give me problems.

                          We never tried the regular leather with this saddle so I couldn't tell you what it was like. It's my third buffalo leather saddle


                          • #14
                            I've had all three and prefer buffalo, calf and regular leather in that order. As everyone has said, buffalo wears very well, is just the right amount of sticky and looks beautiful. My current L'Apogee is buffalo.

                            My last saddle, a Luc Childeric D, was all calf and absolutely wonderful to ride in. I owned it and rode every day in it for several years and when I sold it, it still looked practically new. But I'm also meticulous about how I care for my saddles and I never ride in jeans...only breeches.

                            Regular leather is heavier, less supple, and IMHO more slippery. And that was on a nice Schleese which I have.
                            Here Be Dragons: My blog about venturing beyond the lower levels as a dressage amateur.


                            • #15
                              I tried a CS Advantage in buffalo and loved it. Horsie did not like it so it went back

                              ...but CS is shipping their "Everest" saddle to me to try. I hope it rides similar to the Advantage and fits horsie.