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What color of Black Country saddle should I pick?

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  • What color of Black Country saddle should I pick?

    I may be coming to the conclusion my Black Country Maelstrom (caramel calf skin) is too big for me, and I may need to get a Quantum in a slightly smaller seat size. I don't want to spring for the extra $$$ for the calf this time, so am looking for help. Mare is chestnut. I HATE the oxblood color. I'm leaning toward Havana, although, apparently, that's only available in smooth leather (not sure that's a problem.) The brown seems very dark to me. Of course, all my other tack is a chestnut/tobacco color, but that's not a big deal. Mare is a show hunter, but we don't show. If we ever did anything, it would probably be a schooling dressage show or a baby baby baby horse trial. So, I'm actually wondering if I shouldn't just get black . . .

    WWYD??

  • #2
    I always prefer darker colors, either havana or dark brown shades. They always look good on any color horse as well, although I am not one of those people who matches their tack to their horse. I hate black tack even for dressage. When I was riding dressage in the mid 1970s even dressage tack was brown, it was rare to see someone riding in a black saddle or bridle.

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      I'd love to see photos of folks with their saddles to check color . . .

      Comment


      • #4
        I feel you, saddling sister.

        Your best bet is to e-mail Nikki in BC's sales office and have her send you a print catalogue. You will see all their colors and grain options in there. That gives you a pretty good idea.

        Trumbull Mountain has a few swatches. If you are working on an order with them, they might send these to you to borrow. But they are (understandably) protective of those. They don't have all of them which I wished they did.

        I have seen in person: Maelstrom Havana, Oxblood vintage (and calf as on the seat) in a Quantum, and swatches of smooth havana and newmarket.

        I have seen pictures of pigskin-grained Oxblood, and I think pictures of an older New Market saddle.

        I think the vintage too soft. (I grew up oiling and breaking in my own saddles). My first choice would be the smooth leather, but it will be thick and stiff. I'd choose be tempted to take that in Oxblood if I saw a swatch. The tanning used on the New Market and Havana suggested to me that these colors would take oil well and darken. The calf leather seems tanned a little differently and will stay light. You won't get all parts of the saddle to match over time.

        I'd love to see pictures of your New Market Maelstrom. The calf on the seat will tell you a lot about how light that will stay in comparison to the flap that will darken in a Quantum. They use the same stuff.

        I'd also take the pig skin print before the Vintage. That's just me looking for an old-fashioned looking saddle.
        The armchair saddler
        Politically Pro-Cat

        Comment


        • #5
          Isn't the oxblood quite similar to chestnut/tobacco leather in these photos?
          I'm wondering if you couldn't send BC some photos of your other tack and see what color(s) match it best.
          Proud member of the "I'm In My 20's and Hope to Be a Good Rider Someday" clique

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Am working with Trumbell Mountain and promised my first born if I didn't return the swatches. I got the havana and dark brown. The latter is almost black and won't do. The havana is pretty, but much darker than what I have now (and previously have had on my chestnut). I actually probably have the demo in the TM photo right now. The photo is not true to the actual color. Interestingly, the skirt and flap color and the seat/knee pad color are both oxblood, but different 'textures,' for lack of a better word and there is a great deal of variance. The real textured color on the flap is too "purpley" for me, but the smooth leather on the seat/knee pad is a lighter brown and would probably be fine . . . so I have some questions for Trumbull. (I've also ordered the BC brochure.)

            BTW, the new market, I'm told, is really too light and rather ugly and not in contention. My Maelstrom is caramal calf (not new market), and the color is only available in calf for extra $$$$. It's the extra $$$$ that I'm trying to avoid by not going that direction again . . .

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hollyhorse2000 View Post
              Am working with Trumbell Mountain and promised my first born if I didn't return the swatches. I got the havana and dark brown. The latter is almost black and won't do. The havana is pretty, but much darker than what I have now (and previously have had on my chestnut). I actually probably have the demo in the TM photo right now. The photo is not true to the actual color. Interestingly, the skirt and flap color and the seat/knee pad color are both oxblood, but different 'textures,' for lack of a better word and there is a great deal of variance. The real textured color on the flap is too "purpley" for me, but the smooth leather on the seat/knee pad is a lighter brown and would probably be fine . . . so I have some questions for Trumbull. (I've also ordered the BC brochure.)

              BTW, the new market, I'm told, is really too light and rather ugly and not in contention. My Maelstrom is caramal calf (not new market), and the color is only available in calf for extra $$$$. It's the extra $$$$ that I'm trying to avoid by not going that direction again . . .
              Yeah, I decided I wouldn't buy a Maelstrom after I saw one "in the flesh." I'm not a fan of covered saddles as I don't see how they will last. The flaps on this one (not too old, but not new) were so soft that they crunched up under my leg over fences. And uncomfortable first for me in the whole entire history of me in any saddle!

              Sadly, the tanning process and everyone creeping toward "color corrected leather" with petroleum products mixed in to some degree is screwing up New Market type colors. They will now stay light in a way that the original color did not. Interestingly, New Market was traditionally tanned to be "naked leather"-- it was susceptible to absorbing anything, water or oil. As I had heard the rumors, it was preferred to Havana leather (mid 20th-century or earlier?) because the tanning process that didn't include dye left the leather in better shape. So New Market was originally considered an aesthetic compromise.

              I don't think TM has swatches for all leathers, but I'd want to see (and feel) an Oxblood pig-skin printed piece. If it looked and felt like the red, naked leather of my very old PdN, I'd take it over the Vintage tanned stuff. I'd trust it to darken to a little lighter than Havana and be "the right color." Or that nicer shade than is Caramel that won't darken quite enough.
              The armchair saddler
              Politically Pro-Cat

              Comment


              • #8
                This is my Black Country Vinici Jump in havana.
                The photo was taken when it was brand new. I have had it for a year now, and it is slightly darker (the seat and knee rolls are much darker, but they are reverse doe skin and were initially a shade lighter than the rest of the saddle, now they are a shade darker).
                It is a fairly dark havana, I think, as far as havanas go. I like it though.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I got the Quantum with calfskin seat and knee and Vintage oxblood flap.

                  http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...eatherbalm.jpg

                  It's not this dark anymore, this was after the firts application of Leder balsam.

                  I wouldn't order the plain leather, I've heard it's slick and never get's very grippy... Just what I've heard though...

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