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Update and a question - dressage saddle! Saddle dilemma - WWYD with these options?

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  • Update and a question - dressage saddle! Saddle dilemma - WWYD with these options?

    I referred to this in the Frank Baines thread from last week. Last month the chiro/vet said Linc's back is sore. I got the saddle fitter, Bill Wood, out to take a look. No surprise, Linc is crazy hard to fit with high withers, huge shoulder, and a flat, wide back. Bill said there's nothing he can do about the dressage saddle (Stubben Tristan) and we pulled out my jump saddle (Bates Caprilli w/ adjustable gullet). The jump saddle isn't as bad as the dressage saddle, but there's not enough space between the panels. The way he put it is that the stirrup bars are causing pressure points. Swapping out to a wider gullet won't fix it.

    So I've got two saddles that don't fit. I figure the priority is a new jump saddle since I can use it for all three phases.

    Bill recommended two possibilities - a Pessoa A/O AMS and a Frank Baines Elan. He had a used Elan on him and it's a darned good fit. Can't be sure about a Pessoa because he didn't have one handy. Unfortunately I was too tall for the particular saddle he had on hand. He recommended I keep an eye out for a used one, an 18 with a forward flap.

    Enter ebay, google, tacktrader, etc... These things are HARD to find! I was able to find a couple demo saddles but nothing in my size.

    So here are my options: 1. I suck it up and order a new Elan. Doable, but it doesn't leave anything left over for a dressage saddle in the near future. 2. I take a chance on the Pessoa he thought might work. Bill is coming back early in October, I could keep my eye out for something used or get a new one on trial and have him take a look. 3. I wait and see if a used Elan in my size comes up for sale. 4. Some other option????

    What would you do?
    Last edited by Duckz; Jan. 7, 2012, 10:01 AM.
    The big guy: Lincoln

    Southern Maryland Equestrian

  • #2
    What's wrong with the Tristan's fit? Stubben is VERY good about getting their saddles to fit - talk to a Stubben dealer/fitter!! Or trade it for one that does fit.

    Can't help with the others, however.
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by Weatherford View Post
      What's wrong with the Tristan's fit? Stubben is VERY good about getting their saddles to fit - talk to a Stubben dealer/fitter!! Or trade it for one that does fit.

      Can't help with the others, however.
      Similar issue as the jump saddle - just too narrow through the panels. It's not a narrow v. med vs. wide tree issue, it's just how the saddle is made. There were other issues but that was the biggie. This saddle fitter has tons of rave reviews on this forum so I'll take his word that a simple reflocking won't help with the fit He said that most Stubbens probably won't fit him well.

      I'm not super in love with either of my saddles, but the Stubben was a steal at $250 so I'm bummed I have to sell it.
      The big guy: Lincoln

      Southern Maryland Equestrian

      Comment


      • #4
        I can't help you with the others, but perhaps ask the fitter about Albions as well. I also ride a draft x with huge shoulders, flat back, etc. and I have an Albion that fits him like a glove. They don't break the bank either. Maybe just another option?

        Best of luck to you. I know these big dudes can be hard to fit.
        "If ever I did not have a horse or dog in my keeping, I should feel I had lost touch with the earth." ~Beryl Markham

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by AEM74 View Post
          I can't help you with the others, but perhaps ask the fitter about Albions as well. I also ride a draft x with huge shoulders, flat back, etc. and I have an Albion that fits him like a glove. They don't break the bank either. Maybe just another option?

          Best of luck to you. I know these big dudes can be hard to fit.
          Thanks, that crossed my mind too. I think he might have thrown one up on him and it didn't work, but honestly, my head was spinning at that point! My barnmate has a Black Country she wants me to try too.

          It's just so frustrating trying to fit both him and me with the same saddle! Draft x + 6' tall leggy rider = I should probably just ride bareback all the time.
          The big guy: Lincoln

          Southern Maryland Equestrian

          Comment


          • #6
            Have you looked at the Duett saddles? They're made for wide backs and are supposed to have quite a wide channel between the panels. I don't know if their saddles are a good fit for high withers, perhaps someone else will know that.

            Comment


            • #7
              I wouldn't buy anything until you are 100% sure if it fits you and him. It's not impossible, but may take awhile. Have you sent tracings to Trumbull Mountain? They carry Baines and several others. Have them review your tracings and ship you as many saddles as you can afford to try. They don't charge except for shipping and you get SEVEN whole days to ride in it with stirrups, doing whatever you normally do. Have them send them a bit before your guy comes and then he can help you decide what fits the best. That is what I ultimately did and it worked out. And this was AFTER I spent $5000+ on a "miracle cure" custom saddle that turned out to be the worst fit of all...

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, for what it's worth, I work with Bill and we did end up with an Albion dressage saddle for my draft x with huge shoulders. He's very happy to work with Trumbull Mtn as well - -we did that too!
                They know him up there...
                The big man -- my lost prince

                The little brother, now my main man

                Comment


                • #9
                  a flat, wide back.
                  Stubben trees tend to be too curvy to fit this sort of back well.

                  Pessoa A/O AMS - Rick's Heritage Saddlery still has a couple of 18in "like new" saddles remaining, Legacy XP (sizing is usually pretty generous in these so a 17.5 might be worth a try), Rodrigo Stadium & Blyth Tait though ...

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Haf N Haf View Post
                    I wouldn't buy anything until you are 100% sure if it fits you and him. It's not impossible, but may take awhile. Have you sent tracings to Trumbull Mountain? They carry Baines and several others.
                    Originally posted by asterix View Post
                    Well, for what it's worth, I work with Bill and we did end up with an Albion dressage saddle for my draft x with huge shoulders. He's very happy to work with Trumbull Mtn as well - -we did that too!
                    They know him up there...
                    He did mention Trumball, that's an option. I just emailed Bill to ask what other brands/models might be worth a shot. I'm super tempted to throw Linc on the trailer and head over to the Middleburg Tack Exchange, maybe hit up Gayers on the way.

                    The plus side of getting a new Frank Baines through Bill is that he'll come out and fit it when it comes in, and if there's something I don't like about it I can return it within a month.

                    I'm feeling paralyzed with indecision right now!

                    Originally posted by alto View Post
                    Stubben trees tend to be too curvy to fit this sort of back well.

                    Pessoa A/O AMS - Rick's Heritage Saddlery still has a couple of 18in "like new" saddles remaining, Legacy XP (sizing is usually pretty generous in these so a 17.5 might be worth a try), Rodrigo Stadium & Blyth Tait though ...
                    Good to know! I forgot about Rick's, thanks.
                    The big guy: Lincoln

                    Southern Maryland Equestrian

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      My new Frank Baines Elan is coming next week! After a month or so of searching high and low for a suitable used one with no luck (and meanwhile riding in the unsuitable Bates) I finally broke down and called Bill to place my order. I'm so excited to try it out!

                      Next comes the search for a dressage saddle. Lincoln and I will be in the neighborhood of the Middleburg Tack Exchange in a couple weeks. Could be dangerous
                      The big guy: Lincoln

                      Southern Maryland Equestrian

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My daughters TB had exactly the same fit issues as yours. She ended up with the ONLY used Frank Baines Enigma in the whole US in the appropriate size. She loves it! She also liked the Élan.

                        She rides in a older Prestige Top dressage saddle that fits the horse very well. See if you can find a used one

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          It's here!!!!! And it's gorgeous. Very very pleased with the quality of the leather. Bill had me ride in it for about ten minutes and then adjusted the flocking a bit. He'll be out again in a month or two to re-check.

                          Parker'sMom - your daughter is so lucky! I emailed just about every Frank Baine's dealer in the States and even contacted Frank Baines in England trying to find a used or demo that would work. I think in this case it was worth ordering it new - it's an 18" medium narrow with an extra long, extra forward flap custom built based on Bill's tracings and my giraffe legs

                          On a side note, I never would have guessed Lincoln is a medium narrow!
                          The big guy: Lincoln

                          Southern Maryland Equestrian

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm a fresh convert to the St. Lourdes saddle lineup honestly - they tend to be VERY wide between the panels, and I've seen them fit a wide range of horses. list price seems to be under $1500 for all models, and used can be found VERY cheap (just picked up a Magnus, which is a dressage sdaddle for $650 used!)
                            www.felixfjord.blogspot.com

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Yesterday I parked Lincoln illegally in downtown Middleburg and started throwing saddles on him in the parking lot behind the Middleburg Tack Exchange Guess what they had? An 18.5 medium narrow Frank Baines Elegance dressage saddle for under 1k!

                              Bill the saddle fitter is coming out next week to adjust my new jump saddle and see if the dressage saddle is a good match. Fingers crossed!!

                              Here's the question - I'm slightly confused about how the saddle is stamped. It was listed as "Custom Saddlery Elegance (F. Baines)". The buttons on either side of the pommel have the Custom Saddlery logo, but the flap is stamped Frank Baines. I know the Elegance is a Frank Baines saddle. Why the Custom Saddlery involvement? ETA: some Googling revealed a similar saddle: http://www.equinenow.com/english_saddle-ad-5769
                              The big guy: Lincoln

                              Southern Maryland Equestrian

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                No advice on the stamping, but CONGRATS on your steal of a deal! I'm so jealous!!!
                                Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

                                You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Not too surprisingly, really. Walsall, England is a remarkably small place; I've never been there but I know someone who has, and as she put it, "You could probably stand on the roof of one custom saddler, hit a baseball, and break a window in all the other factories." She was exaggerating, but only a little.There just aren't very many master saddlers in the world, much less many master saddlers in Walsall--and while there are a number of different companies, a lot of them are doing contract work under several names.

                                  In other words, your saddle was probably manufactured by Frank Baines *for* Custom Saddlery. That is especially common early in a saddle brand's run. And they're all pretty forthcoming about these relationships, so I'm sure if you sent the serial number to Frank Baines in England they could give the saddle's exact provenance.

                                  Congrats on your deal!

                                  jen-s, I promise I haven't forgotten you. Just a crazy weekend of riding! Will reply to your email tomorrow!
                                  Last edited by jn4jenny; May. 8, 2013, 09:55 PM.
                                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by jen-s View Post
                                    No advice on the stamping, but CONGRATS on your steal of a deal! I'm so jealous!!!
                                    Don't get jealous yet! I emailed some pictures to Bill and he said "it may not be quite right." I'm not sure if that means I'll have to send it back or that it just needs adjustments to the flocking. Arrrrggggg! I'll find out Wednesday. Sigh.

                                    jn4jenny - thank you for the explanation! That makes sense.
                                    The big guy: Lincoln

                                    Southern Maryland Equestrian

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Update: I'm keeping the dressage saddle!!!!!! Anyone who's been as frustrated with the saddle fitting process as me knows how I'm feeling The saddle fitter came out, hemmed and hawed, messed with the flocking, watched me ride in it, and declared it "acceptable." Woohoo! May I never start another saddle fit thread again
                                      The big guy: Lincoln

                                      Southern Maryland Equestrian

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Actually, although Jochen Schleese is a German certified Master Saddler, the company is actually Canadian (and has had a US affiliate incorporated in USA since 1998!)

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