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Refurbishing an older saddle

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  • Refurbishing an older saddle

    I picked up an older passier (circa 1970's) today that I have on trial for a couple of days. It is in impeccable condition for its age and the price is about the same as a nice sheepskin pad.

    How much does it cost to have the panels rebuilt or at least re-flocked? Is it possible to have knee rolls added and any ideas on cost? There is a tiny thin block attached to the sweat flap, but the top flap is just smooth leather. It is a little slick, but my biggest complaint is that I feel like it is concave at my knees.

    I had a saddle that had the seat, knee rolls, and panels replaced last year that cost $1200. It is now perfect, but that saddle is in a vastly different price bracket, and almost seems like it would be easier to fix those things on a new saddle rather than an ancient one.

    Even though it is a great steal, if I can't make these changes I will probably save up until I can get into a higher end saddle that will be more long term.

  • #2
    Passier's don't have flocking, they use a felted type material. A few years ago a friend looked into refitting their old one, and was advised that it was smarter to just buy a new one.
    Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

    Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.


    • #3
      I have an old Legend (same company as Albion before "Albion" existed) that needs work. You can't get this style anymore and the new saddles are so different. This one is very comfortable.

      Would it be possible to learn how to put new panels on myself?
      Fresh, Frozen & ISO Warmblood Breedings FB Group


      • #4
        A Passier of that vintage likely had a wood tree. Assuming that is still in good shape you should just be able to have it reflocked which should cost about 250 to 300.

        Probably easier to put a larger block in place of the small block than a roll. A good saddler could add a slightly larger pencil knee roll. Cost depends on who does it.


        • #5
          Passiers most certainly are flocked. And the trees are also nicely adjustible.

          Sue Schurer redid an Ancient Passier for me. Overall safety check (billets, stitching, tree) complete teardown and reflock of panels, and added nice high thighblocks for my long, fat thighs... It was a package deal price, but was under $300 back four or five years ago. I imagine she's gone up a little, but probably not much.

          If the seat is in good shape--many of them split at the seams in the seat past a certain point--and the rest of the leather is nice... I would go for it.

          You can add blocks, but it's a little tricky to get them right so the moulded flap sits nicely on them. Only my horse and myself know about ours. (well, and Sue of course! ) I only need them on him... on the youngsters I don't need them. Mutual conformation issues with the big-little guy.

          I am on a perpetual search for good Ancient Passiers now because I know they can be fit to my horses, and they fit ME and don't cause my sciatica to act up. I don't seem to have much luck finding them in the right size when I can afford them, but am prone to finding several when I can't.
          InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs

          Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)


          • #6
            every passier I've known has been flocked. perhaps its the newer ones with special shape panels that are swiss?

            Originally posted by Pony Soprano View Post
            How much does it cost to have the panels rebuilt or at least re-flocked? Is it possible to have knee rolls added and any ideas on cost? There is a tiny thin block attached to the sweat flap, but the top flap is just smooth leather. It is a little slick, but my biggest complaint is that I feel like it is concave at my knees.
            anything is possible, and your requests are within reason, but success or failure will boil down to the saddle itself, the fitter and their abilities. Fitting is an artform and some fitters are more adventurous than others. And, every saddle is constructed slightly differently, subtleties like the way the stitching is sewn, etc, will have bearing for a fitter. Leather may seem well preserved to us, but actually be quite dry and hard for a fitter to work with, panels especially can fall into this category.

            You should call the person whom you'd be having the work done by and ask them whats reasonable, they'll probably want detailed photos.

            I hope it works out for you, you'd have a lovely, unique custom gem with a neat story.
            Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


            • Original Poster

              Well it didn't fit the horse, but thanks for all of the information


              • #8
                If it's the saddle I told you about, just for future info, it would probably be difficult to add a more modern block to it. You could add more of a roll, but you wouldn't be able to add a big block without some major work.


                • Original Poster

                  It was the same saddle and I really appreciate the lead. I mostly wanted to add a bigger knee block underneath and keep the same flap, but it is all a moot point now. I was hoping that it could be an extra saddle to tide me over until I can get something nice, but it looks like my but will stay in the jumping saddle until then . They have actually lowered the price even more since you have seen it, so it will be a really good deal for whomever ends up with it.