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Custom Saddles

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  • Custom Saddles

    So my new baby TB needs a saddle that fits. He has been diagnosed with an extremely sore back. He has been at the new barn since May 1, with new saddles and I need saddle ideas.

    My two friends bought custom saddles for $6,000.00 but I am looking for something a bit less.

    Any ideas ? He is a bit wider than my other tb and really needs some help. Where do I go ? CWD, Devoncoux ?

  • #2
    I ordered a Hastilow saddle. They are completely custom for less than $3,000. Yeah, the leather is not as nice as Antares or CWD, but it's still good quality leather that lasts. For me, what matters more than the leather is the type of tree it's built on and the fact that it fits both me and my horse really really well. They come with an adjustable tree, so if your boy grows you can change the saddle with him (and these actually change tree size unlike the Wintec or Bates that just change the pommel). They are really nice saddles. I would highly recommend it!

    I have the Concept Jump Saddle. I promise it doesn't look like the photo if you order the right color! Here is a picture of mine.
    No jumps, no glory...
    Know jumps, know glory!
    "One person's wrong lead is another person's counter canter."
    -Unknown

    Comment


    • #3
      Try Smith Worthington. They have dozens of models, and will fit the tree and panels to your horse's back from a direct tracing. As he grows and changes, they can adjust to accommodate.

      The line is large, so you have lots of choice. They will send you a demo you can really ride in. The workmanship and leather are excellent. The staff are all great to work with.

      My only complaint is the long wait. Even whining can't speed them up.

      Comment


      • #4
        Well... I love the county saddles, but I have recently had an awful experience with their reps. Some of their saddles are made on the wider side. They call them generous trees. I would have a rep come out. If you like their saddle. Then I would have an outside saddle fitter look at it before purchasing. I would also advise to buy demo or used if you think this horse is going to change. I have gone through county saying that the size they gave me fit and now it doesn't. Well the wither tracings are exactly the same now as when I purchased the saddle. So someone didn't fit my 4 year old correctly a year ago. I am now taking them to small claims court for a refund. Long story short, make sure you get multiple opinions on a saddle before you buy an expensive one. My county innovation was 4k new. Their saddles start around 3500.

        Comment


        • #5
          I loved my CWD and would highly recommend one, but there are other, less costly options, including Stubben, Black Country and Smith Worthington, at significantly less money than one of the more popular French saddles. All of the saddles I mentioned can be totally customized to your horse and are high quality saddles at reasonable prices (I think about $2,500 brand new), and you don't have to wait nearly as long for them either.

          Comment


          • #6
            LOVE my Tad Coffin. He looked at photos and watched videos of me on both my horses with the demo to make sure it fit all of us. I am almost 60 and it is the first saddle I have ever had that is right for me. My horses love it too.
            Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Wow, thanks everyone. My older guy was/is such an easy fit my pessoa is perfect for him so I have never had an issue like this. Looks like I have a process to begin....

              Comment


              • #8
                At Upperville this year, I sat in Antares, Devoucoux, CWD and Delgrange.
                My little TB gelding has an Antares Hampton now. I love the leather and the saddle. But seat isn't deep enough for me on this horse.
                Surprisingly, I liked the Delgrange best for this horse and me. Though the saddles have been around for nearly 40 years, and of course made the PJs, I hadn't seen just the Delgrange saddles before. Can't wait to try one on my horse.
                That said, CWD has a great reputation for helping backs.
                I love the Antares leather. But leather on Delgrange and CWD was awfully nice, too.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Black Country, County, Albion, etc are saddles that you can get custom, made to template of your wither tracings with wool flocking new for under $3000.

                  I highly recommend an independant saddle fitter or Trumbull Mountain Tack Shop<- check out their website!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Why do you need custom? There are SO many saddles out there, it's unusual to find a horse who needs a custom saddle. Not saying they don't exist, but chances are you'll find a non-custom that fits.
                    You say he's a new horse, a thoroughbred (I'm guessing off the track) and a baby. The shape of his back will change significantly as he gets more mature, rests from the track, and builds up proper muscling. In a year, chances are a custom saddle won't fit anymore and you'll have to restart the process. Why not get a saddle fitter out who isn't associated with a particular brand and find an affordable saddle that fits.
                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      IMHO, Get a non-affiliated saddle fitter out to take templates and recommend brands that may work . .Saved me from going custom and hundreds in shipping fees to test ride in some. Specially if your TB is young and growing, you may need to develop a relationship with someone who will work with you going forward on adjustments.

                      good luck!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Big_Grey_hunter View Post
                        Why do you need custom? There are SO many saddles out there, it's unusual to find a horse who needs a custom saddle. Not saying they don't exist, but chances are you'll find a non-custom that fits.
                        You say he's a new horse, a thoroughbred (I'm guessing off the track) and a baby. The shape of his back will change significantly as he gets more mature, rests from the track, and builds up proper muscling. In a year, chances are a custom saddle won't fit anymore and you'll have to restart the process. Why not get a saddle fitter out who isn't associated with a particular brand and find an affordable saddle that fits.
                        I would second this advice.
                        "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

                        Amy's Stuff - Rustic chic and country linens and decor
                        Support my mom! She's gotta finance her retirement horse somehow.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would not buy a custom saddle for a young TB. My OTTBs have always changed considerably as they grew and muscled up.

                          Maybe I'm just lucky but I've always found saddles that fit by going the used route. I work with an unaffiliated saddle fitter and buy wool flocked saddles. The one time I bought a high end foam saddle (which fit my horse like a glove when I bought it), he grew out of it in less than 18 months .

                          Ironically, despite the big name brands in my tackroom (I just sold my Stackhouse and my other jumping saddle is a County), I frequently ride in a wintec pro jump. My horse likes it and I like it. I don't have to clean it and I can ride in the rain without thinking twice.

                          Buy a decent quality used saddle that fits him now and you'll get your money out of it when you need to resell and buy another next year. FWIW, I've picked up some very nice saddles over the past few years for way less than new -- Schleese, Stackhouse, County all for less than $1K. I've resold all but one and made a handy profit on them!
                          Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                          EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I'm a huge fan of Antares. I also like CWD.

                            You can probably find a used Antares jump saddle or CWD for about $2500. New is about $4300. SmartPak has new Antares jump saddles for about $3500. I know, not cheap. But it was worth it.

                            I tend to get horses with sensitive backs. They like well fitting AND cushy saddles.

                            I had a Passier Precision once. It was actually quite comfy, though it was a pretty hard German seat/leather. Wool flocking and it could be opened and adjusted.

                            Back to why I'm loyal to Antares... My mare gets regular massages to help a sore back. My trainer and I have Antares and my part-lessor has a Butet. My trainer instructed the Butet owner to borrow her Antares when she rides. Now that she only gets ridden in Antares, no more sore back! My massage therapist was really impressed!

                            Note: the Antares Spooner and Hampton Classic are not nearly as cushioned. The Hampton bothered my back. Also bothered the horses back - and this was a lease horse who could take just about any saddle! These two are not similar to the other Antares saddles. I think they are made in partnership with a different company.
                            Born under a rock and owned by beasts!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              There's "fully custom" where the saddle is made to exactly fit your horse, and there's "customized" where measurements and whither tracings, and a competent saddle fitter come together to find a saddle that can be built to fit your horse using trees, seats and flaps that the manufacturer has. Smith-Worthington's website has lots of good info, as does Trumbull Mt.

                              My pony had a Smith-Worthington which I measured using their measuring guide. You need a flexicurve (buy one at Staples, or any other office supply place) a level, a Sharpie and some posterboard, a helper and a camera Once you go through the process you send it all off and in 16 weeks or so, you get a saddle. It fit him very well and would be around $3000 in today's dollars. They use the horse's measurements to determine the tree size and how much stuffing is needed to make it sit level on the horse. They use your measurements to determine your seat size, and how forward the flaps need to be. The whole process of measuring is very interesting. They even send you a demo saddle to ride in, and what a photo of the sweaty saddle pad afterward, as well as a lot of other photos of the horse. I went with SW because my pony was Welsh/Morgan, and needed a wider saddle, and I needed a very small seat. My TB has an ADT, and I got lucky because a stock saddle fit him just fine. Voltaire saddles are very nice, and are around maybe $5000 these days.

                              COTH had a really good article recently about improvements in saddle fitting technique. It's worth finding and reading. One thing I've found over the years is that having a well-fitted saddle is essential to having a happy, healthy horse.

                              Good luck!
                              It's 2017. Do you know where your old horse is?

                              www.streamhorsetv.com -- website with horse show livestream listings and links.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I never thought I would say that cause I was probably the most skeptical when they first came on the market... but I recently tried a Voltaire saddle and was very impressed by the quality and fit. The rep (Bruce? Cute French guy) was very sweet and absolutely not pushy. I haven't made a decision yet but they're definitely on top of the list along with CWD.

                                I also read That Beezie Madden rides in a Voltaire saddle now. I have so much respect for her, I really think she's going for the best fit for her and her horses. After all, she could be sponsored by any other brand if she wanted.

                                I absolutely hated the devaucoux, which is ok since their customer service is apparently a nightmare.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Bogie View Post
                                  I would not buy a custom saddle for a young TB. My OTTBs have always changed considerably as they grew and muscled up.
                                  I also agree with that.
                                  My advice was for a custom saddle but really I wouldn't go custom with a young horse, unless you're ready to pay another $1,000.00 or so to have new foam panels re-ordered once the horse has grown muscles. Remember most of the new custom saddles come with foam panels and not wool.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by MorganJumper848 View Post
                                    Well... I love the county saddles, but I have recently had an awful experience with their reps. Some of their saddles are made on the wider side. They call them generous trees. I would have a rep come out. If you like their saddle. Then I would have an outside saddle fitter look at it before purchasing. I would also advise to buy demo or used if you think this horse is going to change. I have gone through county saying that the size they gave me fit and now it doesn't. Well the wither tracings are exactly the same now as when I purchased the saddle. So someone didn't fit my 4 year old correctly a year ago. I am now taking them to small claims court for a refund. Long story short, make sure you get multiple opinions on a saddle before you buy an expensive one. My county innovation was 4k new. Their saddles start around 3500.
                                    That was my experience with County, although I did end up getting a refund without having to go to small claims court.


                                    To the OP: based on my experience with TWO custom saddles going wrong, I would recommend buying a demo if at all possible. If you find a demo or used saddle that fits well, buy it. There's no guarantee that what you order is going to fit as well as the demo. In theory, it should fit, but I know far too many people who have had problems with custom saddles and have sent them back.

                                    One thing to keep in mind is that the calfskin leather that you find in the $4k+ saddles doesn't necessarily wear as well as those in the $2-3k range. My dressage saddle is made with nice leather, but it's not calfskin and not as soft. However, it is much easier to care for and will take abuse much better than my jumping saddle that is mostly calfskin.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by fluffy_pony View Post
                                      I

                                      I also read That Beezie Madden rides in a Voltaire saddle now. I have so much respect for her, I really think she's going for the best fit for her and her horses. After all, she could be sponsored by any other brand if she wanted.
                                      Keep in mind that the top riders get a lot of attention from the saddle manufacturers -- panels are replaced as soon as they are needed, etc.
                                      Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                      EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Thanks everyone, as soon as I can get a saddle on him I'm going to start trying some. I found out someone has a wide CWD for sale at the barn....but we shall see. I never thought saddle fit could make a horse so sore, gotta love horses they will make you feel stupid no matter how long you ride.

                                        I certainly need a saddle fitter to look at him and help me also, it is not something I have had to deal with. Thanks again, love all of the ideas, it will certainly be a summer project.

                                        Comment

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