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Positives and negatives of County Dressage saddles anyone?

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  • Positives and negatives of County Dressage saddles anyone?

    I'm going to try a couple of different County dressage saddles this weekend with the company's local rep. Several friends have them and think their horses go well in them. Anything in particular I should be aware of - positive and negative? Horse is a short coupled (VERY short coupled) OTTB with a typical TB wither but not horribly shark finned, broad shoulders, and a bit of rise form his wither to croup...he cannot tolerate anything pressing on the sides of his wither or that area just behind and to the side of the wither. Fun horse to fit in a saddle particularly when you've got a budget. So all comments will be appreciated! THX!!!!
    ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

  • #2
    My only comment about County's is that I have short legs and found the flap on most to be too long.

    My main reason for replying is that I have a horse with what sounds like a very similar build to yours...I have tried probably 15 dressage saddles on him and everything pinched his withers or hit him in the shoulder. I finally found a saddle that works, a used Niedersuss Symphonie. He goes like a dream in it and I was very pleased that it didn't break the bank! Good luck!
    No Trouble
    2/2/05 - 7/29/13
    Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

    Comment


    • #3
      I have a County Perfection dressage saddle and a County Innovation jump saddle and love both. I really like the way the Perfection helps keep my leg in the correct position. I'm a big fan of Countys if you can't tell

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        ahhhh, yes...the getting hit in the shoulder ....

        Originally posted by Carried Away View Post
        My only comment about County's is that I have short legs and found the flap on most to be too long.

        My main reason for replying is that I have a horse with what sounds like a very similar build to yours...I have tried probably 15 dressage saddles on him and everything pinched his withers or hit him in the shoulder. I finally found a saddle that works, a used Niedersuss Symphonie. He goes like a dream in it and I was very pleased that it didn't break the bank! Good luck!

        Thanks - my pony will NOT tolerate getting hit in the shoulder for very long ... part of the fit fun, eh?
        ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

        Comment


        • #5
          Mine either! He was very clear which saddles he would tolerate and which he would not. The Niedersuss was also the only one that didn't slide forward.
          No Trouble
          2/2/05 - 7/29/13
          Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have bought two Connections--the first I rode in for years and years on a number of horses, and when Bonnie turned into a horse requiring a narrow tree at age 10 I bought another Connection in narrow just for her. Of course it fits NOBODY else. The original Connection was part of a multi-saddle trade with scubed but I wouldn't hesitate to get another one.

            I liked how it fit me really well--I got the slightly forward flap and am very comfortable in these saddles. I do have longer legs. They fit all of my horses well, never had a chance to try one on Boscoe-the-fussy but he's a wide so neither of mine would have likely been a good fit.

            Quality excellent and the fake elephant pattern or whatever it is (buffalo?) is nice and grippy. The black did fade to a very slight green after I did an entire dressage show in the pouring rain, but that would no doubt happen with any saddle.

            I think the newer ones (post 2005 or 2007) have flatter panels than older ones, FWIW.
            Click here before you buy.

            Comment


            • #7
              County fan here.

              They fit me and my horses well. I hate hate hate saddles with so much padding that I can't feel my horse underneath me - the County has just enough.

              Couldn't find a Connection in my price range, so am on my second Competitor.

              Comment


              • #8
                RFI-

                I have a County Competitor which my DDH bought me for our 15th wedding anniversary. That means I have had the saddle for 22 years AND he bought it 2nd hand......I love the thing. It has been patched and reflocked and right now it is getting some new billet straps. I will keep it going as long as I can.

                Now, we bought a new County Competitor for Em a few years ago. Seemed great at the time but guess what, after a while, neither of us liked it. It just left home with Tahd when he moved away to his new home last month...I do have a newish (10 years) Albion which has gone off with Em-she loves it. I did too, but it wouldn't fit Matty.
                Proud and achy member of the Eventing Grannies clique.

                Comment


                • #9
                  DH has a County Connection for his moderately high-withered, very narrow TB. Pony LOVES it and DH likes it for himself as well. Be sure you talk to your rep about the fit options, we ended up getting one with skid row panels for more lift in the wither area. We got lucky and found the saddle above with everything we needed/wanted (right size, buffalo leather, skid row panels, right tree size etc) in like-new condition online for a steal. Good deals are out there!
                  Balanced Care Equine

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Pardon the hijack, but what are "skid row panels", please?
                    Click here before you buy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I had an older (read 27 years old!!) County Warmblood that I LOVED- fit my butt like a glove, could ride it all day, fit everything I ever put it on. You would never, ever know that it was 27 except that it didn't have huge blocks, etc on it. My trainer got after me that the flap was too short/ not forward enough for my femur, so I sadly sold it for slightly more than what I paid for it (kept it 12 years) to a girl who adores it. I also have an Eventer that is the only saddle one of my horses will allow on his back and my husband has an Eventer. I think the old County saddles are great- have no experience at all with the newer ones.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have the connection in a short forward flap and I love it. Hardly ever ride in it but that is my problem not the saddles. I find that the county saddles fit a wide range of Tb's. All of mine do have skid row panels because of the range of horses that I normally have in here.
                        http://www.benchmarksporthorses.com/

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          How do Skid Row Panels work?

                          Originally posted by Jleegriffith View Post
                          I have the connection in a short forward flap and I love it. Hardly ever ride in it but that is my problem not the saddles. I find that the county saddles fit a wide range of Tb's. All of mine do have skid row panels because of the range of horses that I normally have in here.
                          Jess, could you do us all a favor and explain "skid row panels"? I think they've got something to do with a TB horse named Skid Row but beyond that I'm clueless except that I know County is famous for these panels!
                          ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have an older County Competitor. My mare is an Anglo-Trakehner with a TB type topline, and that saddle fits her like a glove. Me, not so much, but I have a long femur and tiny feet, so most saddles seem to put me in the dreaded chair position.
                            "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn’t merely train him to be semi-human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming part dog."
                            -Edward Hoagland

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I believe the Skid Row panels are a wither gusset set up that works particularly well on higher withered horses, or horses with the pockets on either side of their withers.

                              Taz is built like that, and if I had a County for him, I'd likely have it made with the skid row panels -- he isn't terribly narrow, and most regular tree saddles look as if they will fit him, but as soon as they are weight bearing, they sit down on his wither, because there is not enough on either side to support the saddle.

                              Buzz needed a m-w tree, but needed gussets on either side of the wither to keep it from sliding in to the pockets he had at the top of his shoulders.

                              Of course, I may be wrong, and a person with the panels can explain it better!
                              I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                              Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                @Bensmon: when I had the county rep out she explained the Skid Row panels the same way you did. So, yeah what you said sounds right.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Great saddles and superior leather. The bad? Stock saddles are perfect for tall long legged riders like Anky who have a lovely stick straight leg. The good news is that you can get the flap shortened and more forward if necessary. And they cost $3-4k brand new. Worth the money though if you can afford one. May be worthwhile to look into a used saddle and have it fit to your horse. Tree sizes run small (a MW is closer to a M).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by in_the_zone View Post
                                    Tree sizes run small (a MW is closer to a M).
                                    Depends on the model/tree - though if you do need an XW or XXW or XXXW etc they will custom make the tree, though I've no idea how that affects price (I believe they offer ~8 "stock" trees)

                                    I've seen some wonderful deals on slightly used County dressage saddles, always obtain the saddle serial number & check to see how the saddle was altered off of "stock" for the particular order.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Skid Row panels are County's version of a dropped panel which adds more bearing surface to the underside of the saddle for narrower horses. The term was coined by Master Saddler David Young when trying to fit a very narrow horse named "Skid Row." Fun fact.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        [QUOTE=in_the_zone;6400542]Great saddles and superior leather. The bad? Stock saddles are perfect for tall long legged riders like Anky who have a lovely stick straight leg. QUOTE]

                                        As one such tall, long legged rider, I have to politely disagree with this statement. I have yet to find a county dressage saddle that I am comfortable in, including multiple stock & custom countys. A lot of people rave about them, but I personally feel like I can't keep my leg underneath me in every one I try and am constantly being pushed into a chair seat. Worth a try to see if they work for you, they just don't work for everybody

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