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Newly Noisy Saddle... What Do These Sounds Mean?? *New [LONG] Update - Post #42*

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  • Newly Noisy Saddle... What Do These Sounds Mean?? *New [LONG] Update - Post #42*

    I did post this in the already-existing thread re: "Squeaking Tree on Antares" here in the H/J forum, but thought I'd start a new thread since that one doesn't seem to be getting any traffic.

    During last night's ride, I discovered that my Antares is suddenly making odd sounds.

    There's this 'clicking' or 'popping' sound coming from the pommel when I walk or trot... It didn't do it consistently for the entire ride, but at the beginning, it was very noticeable. By the end of the ride, I could hear it only every once in a while; but it was still happening.

    I bought the saddle used from Antares, I've only had it for about 3 months... hopefully they won't charge me to fix anything if anything is in fact broken.

    I'm paranoid... and quietly freaking out. Does anyone know what that popping/clicking sound from my pommel may be indicative of (vs. squeaking)??

    Someone hold my hand... or give me a tranquilizer

    ETA: Here is the information on my saddle... no idea what it means, but maybe some of you who are also having problems will notice similarities in the year/model/etc.

    16 - Q1N - EJ - Antares Saddle -
    Calfskin Leather - Light Brown - With
    Blocks - M10 Panels - # EJ363 2004 04x3.
    Last edited by ReeseTheBeast; Nov. 8, 2011, 10:50 AM.
    Originally posted by Martha Drum
    ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.

  • #2
    Those are classic signs indicative of a broken tree, maybe a headplate, or screw/nail broken, etc. Especially if the noise is new. The saddle may or may not flex poorly, headplate breaks or broken screws/nails don't always cause a saddle to flex noticeably broken.

    I have only come across one broken tree and it made a popping sound in the pommel. FWIW squeaking too *can* be a sign of a compromised tree too.

    I would contact Antares asap, and *I* personally would stop riding the saddle for the sake of my horse's back. Chiro bills on top of saddle fix costs would really be a bummer.

    This is a really good blog if you have time to prowl around, she has an entry or three on tree breaks and how insidious they are

    Sorry. Few things suck worse. Antares is a good company, and hopefully will stand behind their product.
    Being terrible at something is the first step to being truly great at it. Struggle is the evidence of progress.


    • Original Poster

      Well f*ck.

      Definitely not the news I wanted to hear, although it's what I suspected.

      I'll see if I can make an appointment to bring it up to the Antares rep some time next week... I just don't understand how it could have happened. There's been no trauma to my saddle, nothing. It just started making that noise on Wednesday.

      Originally posted by Martha Drum
      ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.


      • #4
        My butet did that, also without any trauma. It was a broken tree, but journeyman was able to fix it for around $300.
        They're small hearts.


        • #5
          My first thought is a broken tree, but it could also be a dislodged screw, rivet, etc. Antares has great customer service though, definitely stop riding in the saddle and contact them immediately.


          • #6
            I'm sorry, but that sounds like it is likely *at a minimum* a popped rivet, and possibly a tree that is broken across the front of the pommel. If the rep tries to just visually inspect it and give it a few squeezes, please demand that they send it to one of their saddlers to have it properly inspected. This involves opening the saddle up to inspect the tree.

            When my tree was broken (the first time), the rep tried to tell me it was fine multiple times. It was not. The tree was broken. I rode my poor horse in a saddle with a broken tree for several months as a result.

            Demand that they have that sucker opened up and inspected, and stop riding in it until it has been properly assessed. If it is a popped rivet, it can evetually progress to a broken tree if you keep riding in it. And, either way, it's not a good idea to continue to ride in an unsound saddle.

            Oh, and your tree is still under warranty if it is only 3 months old. The tree warranty is 5 years, and they won't give you any pushback on fixing it at their own cost.


            • #7
              The tree is probably broken at the head.


              • Original Poster


                So I wanted to follow up on this thread, for anyone who may be interested. I also need to vent, which is the primary reason for my updating

                So after discovering my saddle's newly-acquired popping and clicking noises during last week's ride, I asked my trainer to ride in my saddle to see what she thought.

                She told me that she didn't hear a single thing while riding in it, and that it wouldn't flex for her, etc.; and that it should be fine.

                So I rode in my saddle again last night, but this time the popping and clicking were actually *worse* (more frequent and louder by far) than the last time. And last night, I could tell that the noise was primarily coming from the left side of the pommel (although the right side would occasionally pop and click too).

                While I was riding last night, I stuck my hand under the pommel as far as I could, and I could definitely feel something inside the saddle moving/popping.

                Not good.

                So this morning I emailed the guy at Antares who I made my original transaction with to let him know what was going on, and to hear his thoughts on the matter.

                I literally *just* got a phone call back from him, and he said that a popping or clicking noise almost ALWAYS (as in 99.9% of the time) means that the head of the tree is broken. He said that they can order me a new tree and have it and the seat replaced... for $1400. I bought the damn thing for $1900!!!! I told him that I would most likely not be going that route, because it just doesn't make a lot of financial sense- I'd rather put that money into a different/replacement saddle without any existing issues.

                I learned that Antares only holds a 5 year warranty on their saddles/trees, and my saddle was made in 2004 (I bought it used). So of course the warranty doesn't apply in this instance.

                Another option we have is to send the saddle to a repair shop Antares uses in Illinois, have their people open the saddle up to see if it's just a popped rivet (which is highly unlikely, given the noises that its making). Of course, all of this would be at my expense; and would only be for diagnostic purposes to see if the tree is, in fact broken. Which in all likelihood, it is. Which means that it would still have to be replaced. And I would have to pay for it.

                And another option is having the Antares rep come out to the farm, listen to the saddle while I ride in it, give it a hands-on evaluation, and depending on what the rep thinks; trade the saddle in for a different one at whatever discount equals the worth of my current saddle (which, due to the broken tree, is only worth about $400-500... And without a broken tree? It would be worth over $1600. And wouldn't need to be replaced, but I digress). I am just sick about this. I JUST bought this saddle 3 months ago!!!!

                And I bought it from Antares instead of a private party or random tack shop *specifically because* I wanted to avoid issues like this. I know it's not Antares' fault, and it's not like they could have known that this was going to happen; but in my mind, I just assumed that buying from a certified source meant a better chance of better quality. Ah, assumptions.

                The actual rep who would be visiting the farm was out of the office at the time that I received the phone call, but is due to call me to schedule a visit to the farm for an evaluation; since that's where I would be most comfortable starting this whole process.

                I literally feel sick to my stomach. And I suddenly have a splitting headache. And I want to cry. Yes, there are worse things in the world, I know that I shouldn't be so upset... but because of how much time, drama, and energy it took me to find something to fit Reese, me, and my budget; this is truly devastating.

                Not to mention, I really felt that Antares would be of better quality than to turn up with a broken tree at 7 years old; which is why I was willing to spend so much money on a used saddle. I mean, shit happens, I get it. I just don't have ANY money to replace or repair this saddle, and I don't know what to do.

                I'm so, so upset.
                Originally posted by Martha Drum
                ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.


                • #9
                  I would talk to Antares again. Tell them your concerns and that you just don't have the money to invest in another saddle. They may be willing to work with you on the cost of repairs. You will probably have to pay *something* but maybe just not the original $1400 quoted price.

                  Oh and wanted to add...really sorry this is happening to you. It freaking sucks.


                  • #10
                    I would be furious.

                    And I would do my damndest to make sure they took it back. You have only had it for three months, charging you nearly the equivalent of buying it again is insane - you were expecting better by buying from a reputable company and you expect them to stand behind the quality of their products. I would continue repeating that.

                    If on any level that fails I would call Journeyman. When my Butet had a broken tree they charged me only a few hundred to replace it.
                    They're small hearts.


                    • #11
                      I'm sorry, but this IS their fault. I personally believe that they are more than aware of the problems with their trees, despite what they may tell you. The tree in my 2007 saddle has broken twice now. Two trees, actually, because the first one was replaced.

                      They owe you a refund. You bought the saddle three MONTHS ago. I don't give a damn how long the tree warranty is. This is a defective product issue, not a warranty issue. That is just my personal opinion.


                      • #12
                        I think you should continue to pursue this with Antares. You only bought it a short time ago and I think they need to stand behind their product. I would not give up so easily on trying to get them to either fix it or replace it, and not for $1400!

                        On a more positive note, there have been a couple of threads here about saddles making strange noises and it turned out to be a popped rivet instead of a broken tree. I realize its a small chance, but it might be worth pursuing that, just in case it is something so small.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks guys, I appreciate all the support. I'm planning to keep pursuing this with Antares, and pushing for a better outcome than what's been projected by the guy I spoke to.

                          If worse comes to worse, maybe I can send him this thread....

                          Updates ensue!
                          Originally posted by Martha Drum
                          ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.


                          • #14
                            When you bought the saddle used from them, did they say or offer any written warranty with the used saddle?

                            I would think for good customer service of their product they would help you out. Possibly refund your money and offer up another used option that has been inspected.

                            And don't worry about how you are feeling; I have been feeling the same way about a saddle issue I am having right now as well.... your not alone!
                            Live in the sunshine.
                            Swim in the sea.
                            Drink the wild air.


                            • #15
                              It seems to me from watching posts and listening to the comments and experiences of friends that Antares has more than its fair share of tree problems. This is so much so that when I bought mine I really questioned them about it. As it turns out I had a grest deal of trouble getting a saddle with a straight tree....when I finally had to give up on getting a brand new custom I had to settle for a lightly used that was a custom for someone else. Tree was straight but it was not wide enough for the horse it was intended for in the first place. I have to say Antares was good to work with but the saddles just were not meant for me or my horses. But given they obviously know they have a tree problem and esp with the older ones I would enter into more discussion with them. I think they need to replace that tree for you at their expense or at minimal cost or they need to apply the full purchase price you paid to another saddle they have for sale or on an order. I would not accept the word of one rep.....contact one of the owners.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by mostlynothing View Post
                                I would not accept the word of one rep.....contact one of the owners.
                                I have found Evelyn, one of the owners, excellent to deal with, I would contact her, or Brad Van Kirk in customer service. Brad is also wonderful, although not an owner. Both are in the MD location, at least they used to be. Haven't dealt with them in a while.


                                • Original Poster

                                  As of right now, I have an appointment at 10am this upcoming Sunday with a guy named Terry (? Heavy accent, hard to tell). I honestly want a refund so that I can take my business elsewhere... like to a company that doesn't have a history of defective saddle trees. I can't believe I'm just now finding out about these issues. I've only ever heard about how much people love their Antares; never a complaint!! Until now I really thought I had done my homework and due diligence ... I'm so blown!!

                                  If I still drank, I would be at least 5 deep by now; just to "take the edge off." Because "edgy" is a laughably insufficient description of how I currently feel.
                                  Originally posted by Martha Drum
                                  ...But I don't want to sit helmetless on my horse while he lies on the ground kicking a ball around without a bridle while Leatherface does an interpretive dance with his chainsaw around us.


                                  • #18
                                    Maybe its Thierry, who is one of the owners of the company. Hopefully they present a more reasonable solution. I have never had any problems with them in terms of customer service, they have always been more than willing to work with me (including giving me a significant discount when I bought my new saddle, and throwing in some freebies).


                                    • #19
                                      When I had an Antares, and the barn I rode at had a tack room full of them, I cannot tell you how many problems there were. I will say that Thierry is much better to deal with than Evelyn. I had nothing but bad dealings with her, to the point I vowed never to deal with them again. I couldn't get rid of my Antares fast enough.
                                      My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
                                      ReRiders Clique


                                      • #20
                                        I hope this is resolved in a beneficial way. It is their responsibility to refurbish the saddle (if need be) after a thorough examination of the internals, before you get your paws on it, instead of giving you something that goes boom right after you buy it. Given the precedents for things like this, I wouldn't be surprised if they sold you something that had been "used" a bit more than they advertised. It was probably taken for numerous test-drives and thrown around the shelves before you got a hold of it. That is unacceptable.
                                        Thus do we growl that our big toes have, at this moment, been thrown up from below!