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I am *gulp* ordering a fully custom saddle! Anyone want to hold my hand?

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  • I am *gulp* ordering a fully custom saddle! Anyone want to hold my hand?

    It's not really as traumatic as it sounds. I came into enough of a surprise tax refund from 11 years ago to make it happen with no financial risk, so even if it's an unmitigated disaster (which I don't think it will be) I won't be killing the horse show budget.

    I have been drooling over a fully-custom saddle from Heritage Saddlery for a couple of years, but never could justify it as all of my horses until now have been perfectly average to fit and completely unfazed by whatever saddle sits on them. Boscoe is a different story--he's super finicky about tack. So it's about to happen! Anyone go through the process of having a saddle made from scratch? Want to share your story?

    I am going to maybe blog about it, but I can start with the wither tracing picture--anyone feel like comparing this to their horse and telling me what they notice? I've never done one before so I have no idea if this shape is weird, average, or what.

    https://www.facebook.com/deltawave/p...ent_id=5824598
    Click here before you buy.

  • #2
    yay! Lucky you!!
    This is very exciting indeed.

    As for your picture.
    That's the narrowest wither I've ever seen. I think its a fairly average size though.
    But I'm plagued with even TBs that go in wide trees.

    My horses are all very comfy bareback. : )

    I don't know anything about Heritage.
    Please tell us a little bit about the brand.
    Any fun bells and whistles?
    http://kaboomeventing.com/
    http://kaboomeventing.blogspot.com/
    Horses are amazing athletes and make no mistake -- they are the stars of the show!

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Narrow, you say? I call him the Tootsie Roll! He is by far the widest horse I've ever had. Heritage is a UK brand, all custom (although they sell off the rack too) and they do everything from pony to polo to XC saddles. I am taking a bit of a flyer as I've never seen one, but I have a bridle by the same manufacturer that is probably one of my favorite pieces of tack--bought it for Bonnie as a 2yo (she's now almost 13) and it's been her bridle every day of her life and is in nearly perfect shape in spite of my VERY indifferent tack cleaning habits. I'm going for a slightly forward-flapped monoflap.
      Click here before you buy.

      Comment


      • #4
        Heritage make awesome saddles. I'm sure you'll love it.
        Horse Show Names Free name website with over 6200 names. Want to add? PM me!

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Thanks, kooki! I appreciate the vote of confidence in their saddles. www.heritagesaddlery.co.uk I am going for the Yin-Yang Olympia dressage model.
          Click here before you buy.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by deltawave View Post
            Anyone go through the process of having a saddle made from scratch? Want to share your story?
            I have two recent semi-customs, but long ago I did treat myself to a 'bespoke' dressage saddle. Had ridden several by the maker, so knew I liked them. Mostly I liked the idea of a saddle that actually fit ME--this was before adjustable velcro blocks on off-the-shelf saddles, and nothing seemed to fit my short legs properly.

            Fitting day was major excitement. Hauled my horse to the farm where Andy (AJ Foster) had set up for the weekend. Rode several of his demo/test saddles while fresh horse coming off stall rest walked around on his hind legs. Discussed what I liked and disliked. I told him I wanted no knee or thigh block and he just laughed and said "If you don't have a block, when that horse develops medium gaits you're going over his ears". (The saddle has a neat little thigh block up high that only comes into play when I get too far forward, and has saved me more than once.)

            He 'measured' my legs based on where they fell on the test saddle. Measured my horse's back with an amazing contraption of pegs in a frame. Measured where the girth groove was relative to the saddle--an entirely new concept for me, and the answer to why the saddle I had always slid forward. And then I wrote a really big check, and went home to wait. Got the letter saying it was ready a few months later, sent a check for the balance, and waited for the big day.

            I had the saddle shipped to where I worked, as it came freight & duty collect. Had a good laugh when the young lady at the front desk said "wow, $275 is a lot of money for a saddle".

            Hope your experience is as good as mine. I still have that saddle, and it's still the most comfortable one I've ever ridden in.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks for sharing! Since the saddle is being made overseas I won't have the luxury of fitting it to myself or the horse "in person". But I am not even slightly picky about saddles, so fitting the horse is the priority.

              Today my initial wither tracing got the thumbs down so I did it again per the maker's suggestions and the photos and tracings are all en route to England. I'm looking forward to the whole process and to the finished product!
              Click here before you buy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi, Deltawave. Debbie Downer here.

                Are you certain, absolutely dead sure, that this custom saddle from overseas will fit your horse? I have read of many bespoke saddle nightmares regarding saddles made right here.

                Just want to know if you are sure, because it could be an expensive PIA to ship it back and forth for adjustments.

                By the way, Heritage is an inexpensive brand of bridles sold on eBay. My trainer had one. It was really soft lovely leather, but I don't see any mention of the bridles on their website. when you click on the link to their eBay store, eBay says there is no store.

                Are you sure it is the same company? Kookicat?
                A helmet saved my life.

                2017 goal: learn to ride like TheHorseProblem, er, a barn rat!

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  No, of course I'm not absolutely sure, but for the cost of the saddle (nowhere near what I spent on the used one I'm using now) it is a gamble I'm able to take. It is going to be wool flocked, so if adjustments are required it would make more sense to have those done locally.
                  Click here before you buy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                    No, of course I'm not absolutely sure, but for the cost of the saddle (nowhere near what I spent on the used one I'm using now) it is a gamble I'm able to take. It is going to be wool flocked, so if adjustments are required it would make more sense to have those done locally.

                    Just a thought! I was thinking of going with Heritage as well but ended up buying a Smith Worthington. It is wool flocked and pretty customizable to what you want, and a pretty decent price for an extremely balanced, well made saddle.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Best comfy saddle

                      I went to buy a County Saddle for my horse at Heritage, brought it home and it didn't fit quite right. For the same price, unless you want "special things" you can get County Saddlery to come do all the measurements of you and your horse and have you try different saddles, for the same price. Sitting in my saddle is like sitting on a couch. They come after 30 hours or so of riding and readjust the flocking (wool). I love my County Saddle.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mikesmom View Post
                        I went to buy a County Saddle for my horse at Heritage, brought it home and it didn't fit quite right. For the same price, unless you want "special things" you can get County Saddlery to come do all the measurements of you and your horse and have you try different saddles, for the same price. Sitting in my saddle is like sitting on a couch. They come after 30 hours or so of riding and readjust the flocking (wool). I love my County Saddle.
                        Uh no, newbie poster, a County saddle does NOT cost the same as a Heritage.

                        Bristol Bay, there are two different Heritage companies, one that's out of India and the bespoke one from England. The ones from India are as cheap as you'd expect, but the ones from England get good reviews, they are truly bespoke and wool flocked and the owner Matt is really nice.

                        Finneas, I'm a huge Smith Worthington fan as well, but the price for a semi-customized one is still more than a fully custom one from Heritage.

                        Deltawave: I have heard good things about the Heritage saddles, and while they're a tough resale (at least in the US, they seem to do pretty well on Ebay UK when they crop up), you're right in that the amount of money is worth the risk to potentially have a saddle that really meets all of your (and your horses!) needs. Let me know what you think of it when you come in, I was seriously considering one of his large shouldered models a few years back, managed to find something cheaper to "get by with."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Beautiful saddles at what looks to be a very competitive price for custom.

                          I had my Roosli saddle built to my specifications about 10 years ago and it is fabulous.

                          Sure, it's a bit of a gamble, but it also looks like fun.
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            DW, I had an allpurpose Albion custom made and while the waiting just about killed me, it was the best decision I ever made and the best money I've ever spent. I loved it from the first and still love it to death. It fits me and the old guy perfectly. Our local Albion dealer came and measured, remeasured, then fitted it to perfection. A few tweaks through the years with a reflocking here and there and we're still cantering along through rides with comfort and joy! May you have the same wonderful saddle experience as I did!
                            Riding: The art of keeping a horse between you and the ground.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              I have a County and love it, but it's Bonnie's saddle and she's narrow and Boscoe is wide. I bought it for just about twice what the Heritage would cost . . . not sure where one can find a new/custom County for $1500!

                              Sure, it's a bit of a gamble, but it also looks like fun.
                              This is exactly how I'm looking at it! The money for this saddle came literally falling out of the sky--I got an out-of-the-blue tax refund from my RESIDENCY program, who took out too many taxes almost 15 years ago--so it's like found money, which everyone knows must be squandered on something frivoulous. (I did give a good chunk to charity)
                              Click here before you buy.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                DW I had the same windfall this year. Wonderful after those years of toil and little pay! Congratulations for finding a less expensive custom saddle and having some money to give to charity. I always enjoy your posts, have a great year.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Don't want to get on the downer train, but I spent about $4k on a custom saddle and it was a disaster. I luckily found an 'off the rack' that fit better than the one I waited months to get, and was finally able to sell the custom saddle to someone for less than 20% of what I paid for it. But, I would be very, very cautious about buying a custom saddle again unless there was a strong network of reasonably close, reputable agents to ensure proper fit and adjustments.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    DW, I am stoked for you! When you open the box it'll have "new saddle smell".

                                    Does it come with a matching ascot?

                                    Pictures please.
                                    Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                    The Grove at Five Points

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Heh, I actually wore an ascot one season in lieu of a stock tie. It was paisley. I still have it, maybe I'll bring it out one day to celebrate my very British new saddle.

                                      It's funny to hear how many medical people got the same surprise Christmas windfall as I did. I'm afraid I made a bit of a scene when my office called me and told me there was a big fat check sitting on my desk and nobody knew where it had come from!
                                      Click here before you buy.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by deltawave View Post
                                        Heh, I actually wore an ascot one season in lieu of a stock tie. It was paisley. I still have it, maybe I'll bring it out one day to celebrate my very British new saddle.
                                        I remember the ascot thread. Definitely think it is time to shake the moth balls off it and wear it with the new saddle!
                                        Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman.

                                        The Grove at Five Points

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