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Tree flexing in a County saddle?

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  • Tree flexing in a County saddle?

    I just had the saddle fitter (not associated with County) out to fit my saddle. It's a narrow, but even after she added flocking twice, it would go from four fingers clearance at the withers, to three when I got on, to two when I stood up in the stirrups, to the pommel being right down on his withers after one loop around the ring at the trot. As far as the fitter could tell, the tree is not cracked or broken. Her theory is that the steel is not holding its shape and is flexing so that it keeps going down on my horse's withers.

    I plan to call County first thing Monday (the saddle was custom made for me and is only three years old) but was wondering if anyone else has experienced this?

    I'm pretty bummed. I love this saddle and spent a ruddy chunk of change on it.
    Last edited by Sing Mia Song; Nov. 10, 2012, 05:41 PM.
    Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

  • #2
    I had an innovation did it after fitting 2 times and hoiw much $$$$
    switched to stabilizer xtr which didnt fit horse
    Moved on! Management was great but fitters well at least my state was hoirrific! Not just me several other clients.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
      I just had the saddle fitter (not associated with County) out to fit my saddle. It's a narrow, but even after she added flocking twice, it would go from four fingers clearance at the withers, to three when I got on, to two when I stood up in the stirrups, to the pommel being right down on his withers after one loop around the ring at the trot. As far as the fitter could tell, the tree is not cracked or broken. Her theory is that the steel is not holding its shape and is flexing so that it keeps going down on my horse's withers.
      I'd have photos taken (hopefully already done by your fitter at the time) & a signed report from the fitter to send out to County - I suspect they will want to inspect the saddle: you may want to have the local rep also inspect the saddle in situ (is there some reason why you don't have your County rep adjust the saddle?)

      Comment


      • #4
        I have not had this issue with County, but did have something similar occur with another brand. It wasn't such an extreme flexing as what you are describing, but the saddle had definitely widened over time, to the point that it wasn't fitting the horse it was previously perfect for. The maker had me send it back and did tighten the tree or something to fix the issue, all at no cost to me.

        I hope that a phone call to County will result in something similar for you! How old is the saddle? Just curious. I hope you'll report back on your conversation with County.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yes, do report back. I am having a "cosmetic" issue with my Innovation (3.5 years old)--it is turning blond, completely losing its color, especially in the cantle and gusset area. It will NOT take oil. I have had no action from the fitter/rep in our area. She took dozens of photos and said she'd send them to the "office", but I've not heard back. I also love my saddle, but it is so light that folks comment on it. Grr... off to send yet another email to the rep.
          Proud member of the "Don't rush to kill wildlife" clique!

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            I didn't have the current County rep out because I don't have any experience with her, and I think she's pretty new to the profession. I usually use the former County rep (now an independent saddle fitter), who fit the saddle originally, but we couldn't make our schedules work. So I used a different independent saddle fitter who is well-known and has a terrific reputation. She did write a report, but didn't take pictures.

            The saddle was made for me about three years ago. Not very old. Sigh.
            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Quick update on my saddle--I took it to County yesterday (very thankful that their U.S. office is just 30 minutes from my house!) and Natasha checked the tree head for flexing. To her it seemed okay, and her theory is that my horse is actually an "extra narrow." I didn't even know there was such a thing, but she loaned me an XN Innovation to try on him. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to try it on him yesterday, so I don't know yet whether that's the answer.

              Natasha is going to call the saddle fitter I had out on Saturday (Susie Coffey), who also happens to do repairs for County. They'll peel it back and look at the tree itself to see what's going on.
              Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

              Comment


              • #8
                Thanks for the update. I have 2 County saddles, so I am anxious to see how this is handled by them, from a customer service perspective. I thought their trees had lifetime warranties, so if there is an issue with the tree, they should be fixing/replacing it.

                I'd love to hear from Calvincrowe too, on how that situation gets handled.
                Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Just heard from County by email:

                  [Saddle fitter] dropped the panel so we could see if there was anything wrong with the tree. I don’t know if the saddle has ever been out of your possession, but based on markings on the tree head, it does look like it was ‘clamped’ or something at some point. It is not measuring like a “N” tree, it’s measuring more like a “M” tree. The saddle has not been re-laced so you can see the markings if you’d like. Otherwise, we can put the saddle back together.

                  We can replace the tree with a new tree, however, because there are indications that the tree was compromised, there normal warranty does not apply and there is a $900.00 charge to install a new tree.
                  FWIW, the saddle has NEVER been out of my possession, and it's never been opened, dropped, flipped on, or clamped in any manner. I've never even stacked another saddle on top of it, so I'm pretty bewildered about how these marks got on the tree. I'm home sick today, but am going to try to go down on Wednesday to see it and discuss next steps. I'm pretty frosted that they aren't going to cover the tree replacement.
                  Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
                    Just heard from County by email:



                    FWIW, the saddle has NEVER been out of my possession, and it's never been opened, dropped, flipped on, or clamped in any manner. I've never even stacked another saddle on top of it, so I'm pretty bewildered about how these marks got on the tree. I'm home sick today, but am going to try to go down on Wednesday to see it and discuss next steps. I'm pretty frosted that they aren't going to cover the tree replacement.
                    Yeah, that's some BS and color me not surprised. I have heard of other people who ordered saddles and either when they arrived or over time, the tree got wider. You know the tree wasn't adjusted. You PAID for a saddle with a warranty. Now they're trotting out some lame excuse so as to avoid honoring that warranty. It's some crap and County should stand behind their product, IMHO.
                    ~Veronica
                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would push them on this -- that is ridiculous. They can't prove that you had someone else do something to the tree any more than you can prove that the tree was defective when the saddle was made for you. Given this 50/50 Mexican stand-off, the Company should take the approach that the customer is always right.

                      If you had bought it used or something, that would be one thing, but they made it new for you. Why on earth would you have had someone else open it up and do anything to it? That makes no sense.

                      I am very, very disappointed to hear that County is reacting this way. It makes me nervous about the quality of my 2 County saddles, as well as their willingness to stand behind their product and honor their advertised guarantee on their trees.
                      Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Please do update once you go down...I'd be pretty peeved as well. I hope that once you talk to them and reiterate how it never left your possession, was not mistreated, etc., they will do the right thing and fix it at no cost to you.

                        Good luck!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow, yes please keep us posted.

                          I actually have an appointment with the Colorado rep for County Saddlery on Friday. I have been really excited to try the County Perfection. But something like this would very much put me off buying one. It's too much money to spend on a saddle and then have a defective tree that you have to sink $900 more for 3 years later.

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Update on my saddle: it's on its way back to Merrie Olde England for a new tree, at no charge. Here's the email County sent (so, yep, I have it in writing!).

                            I’ve been thinking about what you said about your saddle. I’m in a real quandary, because under normal circumstances, the trees in our saddles simply don’t ‘expand’. However, I believe you 100% that nothing has been done to this saddle.

                            Because of this mystery, I’d like to send the saddle back to the factory for examination. If there is an issue with the tree, I’d like for them to be aware of it and document it, in case we run across anything like this again. While the saddle is there, they can replace the tree and put a true “Narrow” back in and send the saddle back to us. I’d like your permission to do this, and also would like to let you know that you’d be without your saddle for a few weeks.
                            I did go down and take pictures of the saddle before it left. There are some hash marks on the underside of the head of the tree, but it doesn't look to me like a clamp. I think it's possible that the tree had been set aside in the factory and someone came along and said, "What's this tree doing here? It looks fine, I'll just put it back with the rest of the stock," and it wound up in my saddle. Pure speculation, but who knows.

                            They assured me I would have my saddle back before Christmas (and the 2 week holiday closure). I have my doubts about that, just because this is not the season when things like this get done on a timely basis, but my guy is enjoying a little break anyway.
                            Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Thanks for the update!
                              Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion.... ~ Emerson

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Good update. It would have been nice, however, for County to locate a demo for you to use while without your saddle. When I had my issue (not County, another maker), I was able to borrow a saddle in barn, but had I not, the maker was going to send me a loaner so I wasn't stuck saddle less. Since you are close to County's HQ, maybe that would be an option to ask about, unless you really don't mind being off for a bit!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by horsepoor View Post
                                  It would have been nice, however, for County to locate a demo for you to use while without your saddle.
                                  Generally one would do this through one's local rep

                                  FWIW when I was talking saddles with Antares & CWD, neither company offered any demo saddles that actually fit as wide trees are not "stock", nor were there any plans to expand their demo program to include true "wide" trees (as opposed to their regular tree which has been opened up as much as possible) ...
                                  Of course, Devoucoux & Delgrange & PJ were also "out" on the same count, Childeric apparantly does offer tree width options but none were available in NA ...

                                  The french saddle companies are just not interested in fitting any horse that falls outside the parametres of their "regular" tree + configured panels.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
                                    Update on my saddle: it's on its way back to Merrie Olde England for a new tree, at no charge. Here's the email County sent (so, yep, I have it in writing!).

                                    They assured me I would have my saddle back before Christmas (and the 2 week holiday closure). I have my doubts about that, just because this is not the season when things like this get done on a timely basis, but my guy is enjoying a little break anyway.
                                    Thanks for the update

                                    I suspect the shipping may be an issue as the holiday season approaches

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I've heard of this "tree spread" issue before. Albeit not frequently, but this is not the absolutely first time I've heard of it. So I am surprised this is *such an inexplicable shock* to County. I assume it's more along the lines that they realize it's a defect but don't want to come out and say so/can't figure out a different way to pin it on someone other than them. I hope you get a good resolution.
                                      ~Veronica
                                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I will definitely be following this thread! I hope that your saddle gets fixed without any more troubles. I have an XW Stabilizer and love it. I do worry about the warranty after this post, though.
                                        Proud to have two Takaupa Gold line POAs!
                                        Takaupas Top Gold
                                        Gifts Black Gold Knight

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