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Bad experience with County?

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  • Bad experience with County?

    I'm thinking of ordering a brand new custom County saddle, but have heard so many horrible stories lately about the brand, including unqualified reps, poor customer service, long delays in production, wrong stamps on the saddle, wrong measurements, and even getting a brand new saddle that doesn't fit or is not what should have been ordered and County not being helpful at all. Anyone else heard of these experiences or had similar experiences? The saddles are very nice, but it's hard to justify paying so much $$$$ for a new one if the process could end up being such a nightmare. Should I look for a used one instead or try a different brand entirely?

  • #2
    I have a bunch of Counties.

    I'm not going to say that my experiences have been 100% perfect, but I've never had a problem that County didn't work to rectify entirely to my satisfaction. But I also go outside of my County region to work with a fitter in the next area over (or "up" in my case, as I typically work with the BC rep) because she's phenomenally talented with saddle fitting. I've also stayed in contact with the former reps in my area, who also occasionally work on my saddles.

    To your point, though, I have also purchased more used saddles than new saddles. I have heard horror stories about made-for-you saddles showing up and not working from every single saddle manufacturer. And I far prefer being able to sit in something for trial and buying that exact saddle. So perhaps "used" is the wrong word - I've purchased more "demo" saddles than new saddles. My one custom-made-for-me saddle, however, showed up absolutely and completely perfect from County.
    Flying F Sport Horses
    Horses in the NW


    • #3
      When I bought my County 5 years ago, I told the rep I needed a saddle immediately, as my horse had a very sore back (including white hairs and healed sores) from his previous rider’s saddle. The rep came on a Friday. She said a particular demo saddle would work. That Monday, I had my new, perfect, demo saddle. I am very happy with County.


      • #4
        I have 2- my county lady is great. She understood that I was on somewhat of a budget and really worked with me. The saddles are great, both demos actually.


        • #5
          I have only bought one custom-made-for-me County. While I was not at all impressed by the rep's technical fitting skills (she was very nice and funny though), the saddle did arrive absolutely perfect and fits me and my horses beautifully. When it needs re-flocking, it is sent to a true saddle fitter (not affiliated with County or any other brand).


          • #6
            While every brand has some unhappy customers, I think County has one of the better Customer Service reputations, especially compared to the French companies whose reps aren't even fitters.

            But as you point out, a used saddle that you can view/try on is a much safer investment than something you have to pay for before it is made. I always go that route when possible.


            • #7
              I have 10, maybe 12 County saddles. A couple are custom, more are demo or used.
              Not all saddle fitters (County or otherwise) are going to be able to do/fix/solve everything. I try to educate myself as much as possible (without taking the course myself!) and be able to assess the fit, and their work to a certain extent, myself.
              * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.


              • #8
                I have two County saddles, one was a demo (dressage) and the other (jump) I custom ordered. I’ve had a really good experience and the reps we have in our area have both been really good at fitting and customer service. I have them out to re-flock and check fit every 6-12 months as my horses are young (4 and 7). We’ve been happy with the saddles and support. They are one of the major brands in our area (partly due to the quality of the rep/fitters being so good) and I’ve only heard good experiences.


                • #9
                  I have four County saddles. Two dressage and two jump saddles. Three were custom and one a demo. I have always found them to be very helpful and attentive. The one custom dressage saddle I asked for a gullet of a specific size and I got a call from Gene Freeze (sp?) County owner as he had concerns about the gullet size and we worked out changes. I was impressed that he would call himself to discuss the saddle and not just make it and I had to live with it since that was what I requested. I have found better support from County than from Stubben and CWD.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Nicki's Mom View Post
                    I have four County saddles. Two dressage and two jump saddles. Three were custom and one a demo. I have always found them to be very helpful and attentive. The one custom dressage saddle I asked for a gullet of a specific size and I got a call from Gene Freeze (sp?) County owner as he had concerns about the gullet size and we worked out changes. I was impressed that he would call himself to discuss the saddle and not just make it and I had to live with it since that was what I requested. I have found better support from County than from Stubben and CWD.
                    I am glad to hear he at least calls sometimes-I had a very disappointing experience with an odd issue they had trouble figuring out with a new saddle and was pretty frustrated that I was never given opportunity to talk to him or that he didn't reach out. I've bought a few used county dressage saddles over the years and love them, but did not have a good experience with trying to buy a new jump saddle. There was a defect that they were having trouble figuring out and it turned into a frustrating long drawn out ordeal with poor customer service and communication. I will say that my sales rep did try very hard to take care of me, and she was very knowledgeable. But, I ended up returning and going with a different brand and had a great experience.

                    However, I don't think my experience as far as that defect goes was the norm. I would say if you really like the product, to go for it as I'm sure it's the exception not the rule. Everyone is so different in their saddle preference that I think ultimately how you feel about the actual product goes a long way into choosing a brand.


                    • #11
                      I had the worst customer service EVER from County several years ago. It was one clusterf&5* after another with virtually no communication from corporate. When they finally did communicate they actually lied to my client. I love their saddles but I would never recommend buying a new County.


                      • #12
                        I've been riding in county saddles for over 10 years. I love them. To me, the only other saddle brand I've enjoyed riding in as much was black country. My biggest problem has been that my rep/ fitter is jam packed busy, but she's great about letting me know when she'll be in the area and goes out of her way to fit people in. She's always been super honest about the new models and about what they are or aren't. I know they cycle through reps a lot though.