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Lucky(?) Me. I have a budget and get to saddle shop- help!

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  • #21
    Jn4jenny is a treasure trove of saddle wisdom. She gets the job of choosing my next new or custom saddle for me!
    Click here before you buy.


    • #22
      Wow, this is some great info.

      re: the Pessoa Monoflap - I am also short (but have very long femur) and the knee roll works but the flap is way too long, as in 2 inches longer than my Chiberta 2AA.


      • #23
        Aww, thanks guys. PassionforSaddles, I don't want to derail yellowbritches' thread by talking about myself too much, but the short version is that I'm not a pro saddle fitter--just a gearhead who loves the technical challenge of fitting a moving horse and a particular rider to a saddle. I talk to a lot of saddle fitters, brand reps, trade show vendors, attend as many saddle fitting appointments as I can, etc. The more I learn, the more people are willing to "talk shop" with me. I've gotten some job offers in the saddle industry, but I'm in a PhD program in my dream field, so saddles are just a sub-hobby of my horse hobby. One of these days I'm hoping to start a saddle fitting blog, but that pesky dissertation research gets in the way.

        Anyway, while writing this post, I realized I'd forgotten a fairly obvious candidate in my last post: the County Conquest. I recommend it with reservations, but I'd have to see an actual picture of the horse to say whether my reservations were founded. Basically I think County likes to tell people that this saddle fits more horses than it really does, but there is certainly a horse/back out there--and it's not rare--that's perfect for the Conquest. The Conquest has potential for what the rider wants, and it's wool flocked, and on $3500 +/- it should be very possible to find one in used or demo condition. Anyone know the latest MSRP on this saddle? I can't quite remember, but I want to say somewhere between $3200 and $3700, more if you want the XTR or bull leather.

        ahbaumgardner, agree re: the flap length on the Pessoa monoflap. I'll leave it to yellowbritches since I haven't seen her leg, and I still think she'd be much better off with the British brands. FWIW I agree with yellowbritches' preference for a dual-flap saddle; it's a lot easier to find those with shorter flaps, or to chop off an inch or two on a too-long flap, than it is with a monoflap.
        Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


        • #24
          Originally posted by ahbaumgardner View Post
          I just revisited their website. I like the look of the Elkton as well. They are located in Palm Beach. If we want a custom fit, do they take wither tracings? Also, what are their price ranges?
          Voltaire has saddle reps around the country, so the best bet would be to e-mail Claude Mode (claude@voltaire-design.com) and he'll connect you with your local rep. They'll want to come to you for the fitting and it's a good opportunity to sit in a few of the demo saddles.
          Take Your Equestrian Business to the Next Level: http://www.mythiclanding.com/
          Follow me at http://mythiclanding.blogspot.com or http://twitter.com/mythiclanding


          • Original Poster

            jn4jenny: HOLY CRAP!!! Thanks for all that incredible info!!! It's a lot to process and sort through, but well worth it! I'll be busy tonight!

            I am not at all set on French, and, other than the CWDs (and I've only seen those in the more h/j type), haven't actually ever REALLY liked any of them. My butt knows and loves British type saddles, and my pony made it clear that was his preference to his former home. So, we're in agreement there!

            FrittSkritt knows me and my legs and my saddle preference. I am not kidding when I say I want/need extra forward. Because my legs are SHORT but the majority of what length there is is in my femur, I shoot off the front of most "forward" flaps in quick order. And I like to ride short. So, yes. Forward is important.

            I'll digest this info tonight!


            • #26
              Another vote for Black Country. Great options for rider and horse. Great workmanship. And they make them quick... in many cases, less than 4 weeks from order to the arrival of your beautiful new saddle.
              Patience pays.


              • #27
                Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                jFrittSkritt knows me and my legs and my saddle preference. I am not kidding when I say I want/need extra forward. Because my legs are SHORT but the majority of what length there is is in my femur, I shoot off the front of most "forward" flaps in quick order. And I like to ride short. So, yes. Forward is important.
                Yeah, then scratch the Prestige Eventing for sure and don't hold your breath on the Pessoa Monoflap. I think a lot of people don't realize quiiiiiite how forward saddles like the Berney Brothers Dublin Jumper and the Barnsby Diablo are, and I admit that in most of the brands I recommend, you'll have to order custom/new to get that forwardness. But that's another nice thing about the British brands: with a few exceptions, they'll customize for free or cheap.

                Re: the Ricochet, that's a nice saddle that I recommend to many. It's basically a Frankensaddle; Black Country kept getting orders for a Quantum, but built on a Wexford tree and a slightly lowered cantle compared to the Wexford, and with certain aesthetic and flap-angle modifications for the show jumping ring. So they decided to just make it a standard part of the lineup. I can see how it would work if you customized the flap angle.

                Happy shopping!
                Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                • #28
                  YB - I am 5'4" and long femured as well. ALL of my (lack of) height is in my femur. It's outrageous. I ride in an 18" amerigo pinerolo. I have felt perfectly proportioned in it the most out of everything else I've tried.


                  • Original Poster

                    So, here's where we stand, thus far.

                    I have a demo Wise saddle coming, hopefully by the end of the week. That was easy enough to set up, so we'll give it a test spin and see what we think. Brooke from Wise has already told me THIS demo is not forward enough, but that I can get an extra forward flap if I go this way.

                    Stubben man will be out after the first of the month. He's bringing me a variety of models to try, and already knows (from seeing me) that I need extra forward. Some of the newer demos should be more appropriate (I HAVE sat in a more forward demo, however it was huge in the seat and too big on Toby, so just felt "funny").

                    I think I will talk to Bill Wood and see about trying a couple of Frank Baines. LOVE the look of them! Thanks for that lead.

                    Also may see if Patty Merli will be around soon and see about trying both the Hastilow (love the look of that so much that I am half tempted to just order one...but I have no idea what panel I need), and the some Black Countrys. I like them, but have never been in love. I am liking the look of the Ricochet.

                    Even though I have a Wise coming, I am more inclined to want to work one on one with a human who can be hands on. That being said, there are a few people in the area I can call and get them to check things like Wise or other saddles that come without a human.

                    Thanks again, all, for the great info. I am feeling out of my element. I've never gotten to do anything like this, and there are so many choices and so much info!


                    • #30
                      YB, do contact Patty Merli, she will bring out a TON of saddles, is incredibly knowledgeable about horses, saddles, and will insist that you ride so she can watch the saddle. I've never met anyone who was so picky about fit...except Rasta - ha! There is a picture of my Vinici jump saddle on the Patty Merli Saddles FB page - not your size but you can at least see the saddle. They can be made to fit anyone's leg.

                      That being said, Rasta is happiest in a Custom Saddlery Monte Carlo. Have tried other Custom models on him and we get the tail swish, butt fish tail, pinned ears effect. Happy as a clam in the Monte Carlo right off the rack - really balanced for me on the flat and over the itty-bitty stuff I'm jumping. Since Mary Bess has jumped her big boys in the same saddle, I expect it will also do if we make it back to schooling Training. These too can be custom fit to your leg needs - Monte Carlo comes in a dual flap as well as the monoflap.

                      When in even the slightest doubt - CONTACT jn4jenny!

                      Happy Saddle hunting - isn't it a blast? hahahahhahaha
                      ~ it no longer matters what level I do, as long as I am doing it..~ with many thanks, to Elizabeth Callahan


                      • #31
                        When Annette from www.hastilowusa.com came to do my dressage saddle, she also checked the fit of my Wise on Keegan (and pronounced it good). Either she or Patti Merli should be able to give you a sense of the fit. I know Annette did not push at all toward my buying one of her saddles and was totally on board when I picked the absolute least expensive of the dressage saddles we tried ($1100 for a Hastilow). Happy shopping
                        OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                        • #32
                          Since you have time to make a decision, the Mike Corcorans are very high my personal list to find out more about. Everything that I've heard about his saddles and fitting has been very positive. At least contact him and find out what he might have that would do for you.

                          I love the Stubben Roxane S for a middle priced saddle. I'd be interested in knowing what Jenny thinks about it.
                          "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                          Thread killer Extraordinaire


                          • #33
                            I called Corcoran once, but for where we are, it is hard to get the fitting done.
                            OTTBs rule, but spots are good too!


                            • #34
                              I second (third? fourth?) the Hastilow suggestion. I ordered a semi-custom (picked my seat, flap and fit to the horse) jump saddle earlier this year and I really like it. It didn't arrive in time for me actually compete in it this season so I've still not ridden xc in it. That being said, I've ridden in it nearly every ride since it arrived and the balance feels great. Like you, I'm long in the femur (although I'm a bit taller than you) so I feel like this is the first time I've had a saddle that fit both me and the horse.

                              My only word of caution is that it did take some time for my saddle to arrive. I think they had a bit of a backlog when I placed my order - hopefully that has cleared up by now. But it was worth the wait.


                              • #35
                                Patty is in Florida at the moment, but I don't know for how long. She was here on Sunday morning, and I really, really, really like working with her.

                                It sounds like my Taz is similarly built to Toby (and has terribly allergy issues as well -- perhaps they are long lost brothers?!) and he has been very happy in a Black Country I bought for him four years ago. The rep had a Quantum, extra forward flap, reverse doeskin seat and flaps, in a MN tree, and it has been lovely.

                                I am 5'6" but I have the legs of someone over 6 feet tall, so I have to have extra forward. The Princess has a Quantum that Patty had on the truck for sale used, and it is the regular flap -- it works ok, since I am using it mostly for flatwork with her right now.

                                I spent several hours with Frank Baines in his tent at Rolex and was very impressed with his dedication to well made saddles. Taz's dressage saddle is a Baines that I had custom made -- and it is lovely. They were fantastic to work with and for a saddle that was custom made to fit him -- very reasonably priced.

                                If you can catch Patty when she heads back up the East Coast, she really is amazing. And if Bill Woods has some Baines saddles you can try, it would be worth the time to take a look. Both the Black Country and Baines brands are well made, solid saddles in a good middle price range (i.e. in the below $3500-4,000 range)

                                Patty has also been happy with the Bliss of London saddles she is a rep for now. She did 11 horses at my trainer's barn on Saturday, and chose the Bliss for several of them. She has been very happy with the balance of those saddles.

                                Happy Shopping! I'm hoping to do the same for a dressage saddle in the Spring. Sigh.
                                I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
                                Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by Bensmom View Post
                                  Patty has also been happy with the Bliss of London saddles she is a rep for now. She did 11 horses at my trainer's barn on Saturday, and chose the Bliss for several of them. She has been very happy with the balance of those saddles.
                                  Bliss seems to be nice enough stuff. Their design aesthetic and marketing materials show that they're going for a customer who cares about fashion, but there's no harm in that if the saddle underneath it is solid--and they are. Nice trees, nice workmanship, and the aesthetic touches on the saddle don't seem to negatively impact structure or function. I still think some of their tack looks a bit goofy, but no saddle looks goofy if it's perfect for you and your horse!

                                  While we're on this topic, I guess I should mention why else I specifically recommended Patty, Bill, and Annette: because in addition to the main brands for which they're best known as reps, and in addition to being good trustworthy fitters, they often carry a bunch of smaller-name, up-and-coming-in-the-US British stuff in their trucks too: Bliss, Jeremy Rudge, Borne, Pennfield, etc. And there are gems to be had in those brands too!
                                  Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/


                                  • #37
                                    I don't think you should discount Prestige.

                                    They come in forward and extra forward flap.
                                    I'm quite tall and I ride in a forward.

                                    I have a shorty friend who is all femur and she rides in a stock flap but fits REALLY well in my forwards flap.
                                    But to be honest, I would fit best in an extra forward flap. : ) But I like my saddles pretty tidy and I don't ride terribly short so it works for me.

                                    And what is nice about them is they are one of the saddles that can be changed for about 100-150 bucks. The saddlers can change the tree about 2.5 cm up or down.

                                    The Courbette Vision is in the process of being remodeled....I think it was fairly forward. Not sure what the new one will be like!
                                    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!


                                    • #38
                                      I think I already told you that the Prestige Eventer 18 might work for you. I am 5'3" with ridiculously long femurs and the 17 inch was not nearly forward enough. But the 18 has more flap and I sat in one that worked for me. It is a great saddle for a decent price and I found mine to do well fitting a variety of horses. You can also find them used here and there. I sold mine because it was a 17 and the only way I could ride in it was to remove the front knee block (and also I prefer a monoflap). I love the Devoucoux Chiberta but it only fits one of my horses well (the others have to have correction pads). My plan is to look seriously into Voltaire next time around.

                                      They are located in FL but Claude travels north often and can be seen at shows.



                                      • #39
                                        Patty is great. I bought a Bliss saddle from her and I really like it. I ticked all of the boxes and... because they are made to order, you can order them so they aren't too funny looking. I got a paramour eventer (monoflap) in brown french calf with out blocks. Its very pretty and conservative for a monoflap.

                                        YB- I tried the BC Ricochet and I thought the seat was VERY deep and the saddle very constricting. The Tex Eventer was much better.
                                        Unrepentant carb eater


                                        • #40
                                          I got a County Sensation in August. Really liking it. My jumping trainer was impressed one day at how much my leg had improved over fences - it was the first time I'd ridden with him in the new saddle. Only change I could think of was the saddle. I told him it was new and we both dropped our jaws and admired it for a couple of minutes. I love it. It's the first time I've felt I needed to lock up the tack room at night!