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Black Country Celeste

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  • Black Country Celeste

    I'm seriously considering a black Country Celeste. This would be for an XW Haflinger. I'd order through Trumbull Mountain from tracings.

    I'm really leaning toward oxblood, but I'm curious what color combinations and customizations others have done.
    Do you recommend this saddle for endurance, trail riding and hunter paces?
    Is there anything that I should know about working with Trumbull Mountain?
    Would you recommend another saddle over the Celeste?
    Thoughts on leather options?
    Any tips for fitting a Haflinger?


  • #2
    There have been several posts on here about people having trouble with Trumbull Mountain since they changed owners. You may want to do a quick search.

    I had a propane tank Arab to fit a few years ago, so I feel your pain! Black Country has some nice saddles. I looked at the Vinici, but ended up with a Smith Worthington which was a brand I'd never heard of until CoTH.

    My experience is that saddle fit for you is even more important on a wide horse. You can narrow down your choices based on who has wide options. Is your Halflinger a true XW with withers or do you need a hoop tree?


    • #3
      I have one -- but the flaps were modified (taken from one of their other saddles) because I wanted to be able to use velcro blocks. The regular external blocks on the Celeste are fixed in a position that not everyone will be comfortable with -- BE SURE to get a test ride before you buy!

      My version of the saddle is super comfortable and I'm generally happy with it. The leather is "built to last" not to be butter-soft. I've had it for 4 or 5 years and put plenty of miles on it. It's currently shipped out, having the tree widened as my mare has widened since I stopped doing dressage on her.

      One of the things I love about Black Country is that they do not charge extra for most of their semi-custom modifications. I paid a little extra for the flaps, but was not charged for the very particular set of modifications I needed due to my general build. I have the world's shortest femurs, and normal length calves, and bad hips.

      I was a Trumbull Mountain customer for this one and wouldn't go back. Black Country offers a couple of options that they did not tell me about, and when the first attempt came in with the flaps too long, TM tried to get me to "accept" that saddle... At close to $4K, um, no.
      You have to have experiences to gain experience.

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


      • #4
        I sell BC saddles. My favorite color right now is a Coco color. It is a nice rich brown but not as dark as the Havana. For me it just depends in which oxblood hide you get. Yes talk to whoever's you order the saddle from about everything you want. They are very accommodating. They have even done custom blocks for my clients and I.

        You talk about doing a hunter pace with the saddle. How big are the jumps you plan on doing? It would not be my choice of a saddle for jumping for various reasons unless it is not very often at all
        Jacobson's Saddlery, LLC
        Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Fitter


        • #5
          Can you talk to Patty Merli (BC rep)?

          She's wonderful. I have a BC for one of my TBs and have been working on getting a second for my current guy. She's been very helpful, even sent me three different trial saddles to get a feel for which fit him better. She really knows her stuff.
          AETERNUM VALE, INVICTUS - 7/10/2012


          • Original Poster

            I live in Northern California. When I reached out to Black Country, they suggested I talk to Trumbull Mountain. It always amazes me how much guesswork goes into such a big purchase. He's a hoop tree, and while I've seen a few on ebay that might work, it makes me nervous to throw $1k at an educated guess, at best, when I could put that money toward a custom saddle. Jumping would be nothing more than hopping over a log from time to time. i was told that they've not yet opened back up but expect to any day now. Thanks, all!


            • Original Poster

              Originally posted by beowulf View Post
              Can you talk to Patty Merli (BC rep)?

              She's wonderful. I have a BC for one of my TBs and have been working on getting a second for my current guy. She's been very helpful, even sent me three different trial saddles to get a feel for which fit him better. She really knows her stuff.
              Thanks for the rec! Patty is shipping me two saddles to try. She's been so great to work with. Responsive and helpful.


              • #8
                I used to sell BC saddles from an authorized tack shop and am a Big Fan. Quality materials and workmanship all the way.

                Oxblood and black are a nice combination, but I don't know that I'd choose Oxblood for a light-colored horse. It can have a really red tone, depending on the hide. And it's definitely a harder color to re-sell. My favorite of their leathers/colors is Vintage brown for the flaps, Schrumph brown for seat and kneepads, and brown hide for the panels.

                We sold a lot of different models and I tried them all on trails, hunter paces, in the dressage arena and over fences. The two I liked the least were the Celeste and the Equinox... similar to straight dressage saddles, they seemed the most "finicky" to fit the rider due to the placement of the blocks. My hands-down favorite is the Ricochet - comfortable (especially with double padding in the seat!), secure and good-looking.
                Patience pays.