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Saddle problems and a hard to fit horse

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  • Saddle problems and a hard to fit horse

    Just recently found out that my horse's back problem and likely his crankiness is do to my saddle really not fitting, and other than feeling like a horrible mommy and nearly in tears because the beautiful Luc Childeric I was about to inspect before trial likely won't fit, I need a new saddle. I basically collected as much birthday money and holiday money as possible (I'm a teenager who cannot stand kids or babysitting and doesn't have a drivers license yet, so job for me), and my parentals said they would make up the difference so I have about 4,000 to spend after current my saddle sells.
    The horse's problem is withers that are barely prominent (not shark fins, but not like no withers) then big body. It's like his withers need a normal size, but his barrel needs a wide. I've heard especially on COTH that County is a good brand for these sort of hard fits, but to be honest, I don't like the way they look at all and I don't really like the leather or amount of knee padding on the ones I've seen. To me it seems like he has type B ish withers, but I'm definitely no expert and just going off of what my vet said today. Additionally I don't think with 4000 dollars I'm going to get the beautiful style french made saddle that I really wanted. I was hoping to find one used that I could get, but that was before I realized how hard my horse was to fit. To add to the difficulty I have to find a rep that can get out soon and quick in the West TN, MS, AR, area or someone willing to travel there and a temporary solution with a forward flap for me because I don't have the time to just not ride my horse for months because of bad saddle fit.

    Any suggestions at all? I'm just really upset that the used saddle I've been saving up for isn't going to fit and that my only option might be something like county or verhan, neither of which I really like the look of. I really want my horse's health to go first and foremost, but I'm not sure what course of action to take on such a tight budget that doesn't leave me unhappy and uncomfortable.
    Mendokuse
  • Original Poster

    #2
    To reword about his withers; It's not so much small withers, as that they're prominent, but just slightly, they're not like sharkfins, but there not average.
    Mendokuse

    Comment


    • #3
      Instead of focusing on expensive French brands, why not focus on quality saddles that will fit your horse, regardless of lower cost, where they are made, or what they look like?

      Whose comfort should come first?

      And $4000 a tight budget for saddle shopping? First world problems and all that......

      Comment


      • #4
        It's probably worth contacting Cori at High End Used Saddles. I found her really helpful and gave great unbiased advice which is impressive considering I am in Ireland so she is never going to be selling to me yet was quite happy to answer my questions and advise on various saddle brands.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Originally posted by caballero View Post
          Instead of focusing on expensive French brands, why not focus on quality saddles that will fit your horse, regardless of lower cost, where they are made, or what they look like?

          Whose comfort should come first?

          And $4000 a tight budget for saddle shopping? First world problems and all that......
          Sorry I can't think of a custom brand with wool flocking or that will do custom fitting that is cheaper than that. I'm not entirely familiar with saddle prices, but as far as I see, custom and reputable ones for hard to fit horses run between 3500 and 5000. I could totally be wrong. I did say that I would like to my horse's health first in foremost, but I would like above that to find a brand that could fit both of us that might be nice looking as well. Showing in the A circuit in the hunters, look is important. Of course I would never compromise fit for looks, but if I could find an ideal saddle to fit everything I want, then I would be happier.
          Mendokuse

          Comment


          • #6
            Try Amerigo.

            The problem you will have is finding something that doesn't pinch his wither and is wide enough for his shoulder. I believe Amerigos are wool stuffed and they are nice saddles.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by hunterrider23 View Post
              Sorry I can't think of a custom brand with wool flocking or that will do custom fitting that is cheaper than that. I'm not entirely familiar with saddle prices, but as far as I see, custom and reputable ones for hard to fit horses run between 3500 and 5000. I could totally be wrong.
              Take a deep breath there. I think you're starting to drive yourself crazy, and there's really no need to do so. Those of us who are more familiar with the market are gently chuckling at your post, thinking "Oh bless her heart, she doesn't even know what a wide and wonderful world of saddle brands are out there." You're gonna be okay. $4000 is a king's budget. You WILL find something that fits this horse, and you, and looks appropriate in the A-circuit hunter ring.

              Good news for you: you are, in fact, totally wrong. Many of the best, well-made, top-notch British saddles retail at $2800-$3000. County is not more expensive than its competitors because it's significantly nicer than its $3000 competitors; it's more expensive because they have to pay for their business model, which includes an elaborate network of local representatives and a lot of advertising, and their competitors are not paying for that kind of business model. I'm not knocking County's model--it works wonderfully and they sell a crapton of saddles--I'm simply explaining why a $4000 saddle is not automatically of higher quality than a $3000 saddle. A County and a competing Black Country, Albion, etc. are all going to have a very similar wholesale cost.

              Heck, I can name saddles that retail around *$2000* that I wouldn't hesitate to send into an A circuit hunter ring. You even still see some people riding the A circuit in good ol' Crosby Centennials and older Pessoa A/Os, both found on the used market for under $1000. You will be okay.

              I did say that I would like to my horse's health first in foremost, but I would like above that to find a brand that could fit both of us that might be nice looking as well. Showing in the A circuit in the hunters, look is important. Of course I would never compromise fit for looks, but if I could find an ideal saddle to fit everything I want, then I would be happier.
              I think folks are being very hard on you, but you are also not giving us the details we'd need to point you in the right direction. I understand that this may be your first time talking about saddle fit in a technical way, but your vague description of your horse's back won't help us point you to the right brands. And frankly, you haven't been real clear about what your aesthetic preferences are. You keep saying "something appropriate for the A circuit hunter ring" and a "beautiful French saddle," but the County Sensation/Stabilizer + the Verhan Todd Minikus have a number of aesthetic features in common with French saddles and they are extremely appropriate for the A-circuit hunter ring. So you must mean something else more specific to certain French saddles.

              If you really want serious help, then here's what I suggest.

              1. Post a picture of your horse, from the side, standing as square and straight as you can get him. This will tell us a lot more about which brands are likely to fit your horse. If that is truly impossible for you to arrange, then at least tell us whether he's got a curvy or a straight topline and say more about his back.

              2. Mention some saddles that you find aesthetically acceptable. Perhaps this will help us figure out what YOU think an A circuit hunter saddle looks like--because you're the one who has to own it and be proud of it, and I think the saddle market is plenty big enough to accommodate aesthetic preferences. If you don't have any saddles in mind as the "right look," I've given you a nice list to get you started below. Tell us which ones "look right" to you and why.

              3. Do you have a saddle fitter involved locally, or are you working off your vet's advice so far? Is this the person that told you that you need wool flocking? Some horses do benefit from going in wool flocking, and others do well in foam panels. Some horses can wear both.

              Now just to keep you from losing your marbles, which it sounds like you're about to do, let's prove to you that there's a much bigger world out there than just Luc Childeric, County, and Verhan. Let's just take a quick trip around the house, and know that these aren't even the only options (and that I would not recommend that you pursue ANY of them until you've got more intelligent feedback about which ones are likely to fit your particular horse):

              Amerigo, which someone else already mentioned, and its cheaper cousin Vega (both wool flocked and extremely appropriate for the hunter circuit (as in, I know people right now who are riding and winning in Amerigo on the A circuit):
              http://www.amerigosaddles.ch/katalog/index.html

              Several wool-flocked offerings from Prestige. The Prestige Roma would be very appropriate for the A circuit and it retails at an attractive $2100. Prestige dealers can custom adjust this tree to any width you need.
              http://equestrianimports.com/shop/ne...ddle/1106.html

              The Barnsby Aurora Hunter/Jumper Saddle
              http://www.smartpakequine.com/barnsb...dle-6714p.aspx

              The Albion Kontact Jewell, specifically designed by Albion to appeal to the hunter market.
              http://www.albionsaddlemakers.co.uk/...-jewell-2.html

              Smith Worthington Beaufort EC and Agilite, both designed to look very "French"
              http://www.smithworthington.com/inde...product&id=177
              http://www.smithworthington.com/inde...product&id=178

              The Frank Baines Reflex and Frank Baines Elan
              http://www.frankbaines.com/page.asp?...act-Wool-Panel
              http://www.frankbaines.com/page.asp?...l-Panel-Saddle

              The Jeffries Excellence CC
              http://cheshirehorse.com/Jeffries-Ex...dle-P3383.aspx

              The Pessoa Legacy Event, which is wool flocked unlike the rest of the Pessoa Legacy lineup. Also available in an XCH adjustable gullet model.
              http://www.smartpakequine.com/pessoa...nt--6537p.aspx

              This was my old Black Country Quantum, long since sold to someone else. You'll notice that this looks *nothing* like the off-the-rack Quantum model. This is their custom "close contact flap" option. People used to ask me all the time if I was riding in a Butet.
              http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w...jenny/file.jpg

              The Classic Saddlery Classic Hunter
              http://classicsaddlery.com/saddles/s...ingclassic.htm

              Heck, I even would have shown my face on the A circuit in one of the now-discontinued Phillipe Fontaine saddles that retailed at $1000. They looked like this. Although they are discontinued, I am simply pointing out that there IS fashionable tack even in the lower price ranges.
              http://www.classicsaddlery.com/saddl...pefontaine.htm

              Also, I don't have a picture handy and it will stretch your budget and probably go over your budget, but CWD will build you a saddle with wool panels if you special-order it that way from the factory. These are very rare; in six years, I've seen *one* of them for sale on the used market. CWDs usually start around $3500-$3800, plus whatever extra they charge you for the custom wool panels, so you will almost certainly exceed $4000 if you go this route. Before you ask, no, Devoucoux/Delgrange/Antares/Childeric/L'Apogee/pretty much any of the other French-style brands will not build you a wool panel, not even if you ask nicely and smile big.
              Last edited by jn4jenny; Dec. 17, 2012, 08:47 PM.
              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                1. Post a picture of your horse, from the side, standing as square and straight as you can get him. This will tell us a lot more about which brands are likely to fit your horse. If that is truly impossible for you to arrange, then at least tell us whether he's got a curvy or a straight topline and say more about his back. I don't have one now, but I can try and get one tomorrow. I'm not going to lie, I know very little about back conformation. I know plenty about legs and heads, but I've never had a hard to fit horse that is anything other than a plain narrow or medium.Note, not me, but this is one of the few I have of him standing:
                http://www.bigeq.com/listing_img/00/...3769794000.png
                You can kind of see his withers in these:
                http://www.ibisfarm.com/images/BeachwalkH&H.png
                https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...26925270_n.jpg
                Some of me in my saddle (excuse my absolutely horrible eq and riding, also I think I ride with my stirrups one hole or two shorter now, and I may have grown a half inch or so longer in the thigh) :
                https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...88427263_n.jpg
                https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...62386967_n.jpg
                https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...61963738_n.jpg
                https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...19032743_n.jpg
                https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...09466145_n.jpg

                2. Mention some saddles that you find aesthetically acceptable. Perhaps this will help us figure out what YOU think an A circuit hunter saddle looks like. I'm not sure WHAT I don't like about the countys, amerigos, and verhans, I just don't. I think countys, the panel in the back is just a strange sort of wedge looking shape, whereas butets, childerics, devoucouxs, cwd, etc., follow the seat more. Also, the leather is just different looking to me. I'm not sure if it's a legitimate leather difference type, but it seems like it. I also like thin knee pads, and I hate the molded ones and I pretty much despise big knee or thigh blocks, but I like a soft seat and soft knee pads. I'm not sure how to explain the look, but I know I like a saddle when I see it. I love the 1990s butets, and the luc childerics, I really like most antares, but I don't like big grain on a saddle. I really dislike super super technical looking saddles. I've sat in Prestiges before that I sort of like, but everything I've seen has been a leather color that I don't really like or too padded in the knees. I'm coming off of a Pessoa Gen X Prestige that I literally want to run over with a golf cart, I hate it so much. To me, this butet is absolutely gorgeous: http://www.allthebestusedsaddles.com...etail/1897.JPG
                I also really like the look of this childeric:
                http://www.horseclicks.com/img/adpho...hoto_1_img.jpg

                3. Do you have a saddle fitter involved locally? Is this the person that told you that you need wool flocking? Some horses do benefit from going in wool flocking, and others do well in foam panels. Some horses can wear both.
                One of my problems is that the only rep I can find that's local is a county, which I don't really want, and I don't think I would trust myself with some sort of self measuring/tracing. I'm not really sure that there ARE any local saddle fitters, as everyone I know has gotten their french/custom saddles at horse shows out of state where there are vendors. The only saddles that one of my local tack store reps is Prestige (or at least that's all I've seen them sell new that's custom), and Pessoa&M.Toulouse which I've just come off of and hate. The other local saddlery isn't trustworthy at all. It's like I've finally gotten enough money to get a nice saddle (I want to spend this money, it's all in saddlery gift cards, so otherwise I'd end up wasting it on things I don't need), and my horse is going to be a difficult fit.
                Last edited by hunterrider23; Dec. 17, 2012, 09:05 PM. Reason: fixing links
                Mendokuse

                Comment


                • #9
                  Last year Pessoa developed 2 new panels that have panels that specifically address some common confirmation problems. These had previously been solved through special fitting that were often expensive and time consuming. It sounds like the panel that would want is the Alto panel and it is built up so that there is great wither clearance. and then it is also slightly longer and higher in the back so that there is no "drop off ". There are also many flap options that were not available several years ago.
                  The brand new saddles are called the Heritage series with ultra soft leathers; a covered and non covered leather model.
                  All are under $2500, so you can afford to buy a new saddle and some "things that you don't need!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Wow! you guys are so good at this, I am going to try and hijack this thread a bit!

                    My own horse is an odd duck. She's got good withers, there and solid with meat on them, but not TB high. But she has a longish back and the pocket behind the wither is a little low compared to the wither/neck set and the rest of her back. In addition she is got fairly wide shoulders and is big but not hugely sprung in the ribs.

                    A regular saddle seems to pinch her shoulders (and some models tend to bridge), so I have her in a wide tree. She has clearnace in the wither, but it tends to walk down her back into the lowest point of the pockets. The saddle isn't really down hill, it just isn't over what feels like the normal point of balance for a hunter. It feels a bit far back.

                    I have a Moritz which is wool flocked and I do intend to have her fitted next month if I can get ahold of the darned saddle person again! But I keep wondering if a deeper seated close contact, like the Tad Coffins that seem to swoop along the horses back and come up in the wither would fit her better? Its hard to explain what I mean, but it seems like some saddles ride a little deeper and closer to her type of contour but still come up in the wither enough to not slide back in position...

                    I am making any sense?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ammy-ville View Post
                      Wow! you guys are so good at this, I am going to try and hijack this thread a bit!

                      My own horse is an odd duck. She's got good withers, there and solid with meat on them, but not TB high. But she has a longish back and the pocket behind the wither is a little low compared to the wither/neck set and the rest of her back. In addition she is got fairly wide shoulders and is big but not hugely sprung in the ribs.

                      A regular saddle seems to pinch her shoulders (and some models tend to bridge), so I have her in a wide tree. She has clearnace in the wither, but it tends to walk down her back into the lowest point of the pockets. The saddle isn't really down hill, it just isn't over what feels like the normal point of balance for a hunter. It feels a bit far back.

                      I have a Moritz which is wool flocked and I do intend to have her fitted next month if I can get ahold of the darned saddle person again! But I keep wondering if a deeper seated close contact, like the Tad Coffins that seem to swoop along the horses back and come up in the wither would fit her better? Its hard to explain what I mean, but it seems like some saddles ride a little deeper and closer to her type of contour but still come up in the wither enough to not slide back in position...

                      I am making any sense?

                      Not that this helps but in my saddle searching issues, I found the Devoucoux to be built like that... it was too wide for our pony, but fit her back beautifully, seems like you have a similar shaped back.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        jn4jenny, you are AWESOME. Tons of info and knowledge.

                        Anyway, OP, don't get stuck on what you think the "in" A-circuit brand is. Despite what you think is trendy or looks the best, the best riders ride in a variety of saddles. If you think the County isn't a worthy A-circuit saddle, you should ask Margie Engle and Georgina Bloomberg about theirs.

                        Keep an open mind. I understand your frustration about not having a competent fitter/rep in your area. Have you looked into Trumbull Mountain Saddlery (http://www.trumbullmtn.com/)? Not only do they sell some nice used saddles, they can also make fit recommendations based on tracings, videos, photos, etc., that you send them.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          OP

                          I have two TB's that sound similar saddle fit wise to your horse, both with very large shoulders and large trapazoid muscles, but normal withers, plus a slightly curved back (they were quite challenging to fit....)

                          My mare, whose the picky princess type

                          and my gelding.

                          Both of whom go quite nicely in my Tad Coffin however its foam flocked.

                          Have you thought about looking into something with a shorter tree point to not interfere with the shoulder? I know CWD offers that

                          Comment

                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Here are some more pictures of his actual confo that I took today.
                            https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...62989875_n.jpg
                            https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...17852145_n.jpg
                            https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...09940372_n.jpg
                            https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphot...98801901_n.jpg

                            I got one from above his back, but the girl who's phone they're on hasn't sent it to me yet.
                            Mendokuse

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi hunterrider23 - Haven't forgotten about you, I promise. Just had to put out some other saddle fitting fires today, so didn't have time to get around to this thread. It's just as well because I was hoping you'd post new pictures, and you did.

                              I have a lot to say and lots of recommendations, but I'm pooped out from typing for one night so will get back to you tomorrow. I can see why this horse was a mismatch for Luc Childeric but he's not a difficult fit for someone with an educated eye. You just have to know which brands to reach for, and yes, some of them will probably suit your aesthetic preferences.

                              I am also going to PM a couple of saddle fitters from brands that might work for this horse and see if they'll come to this thread. I'm particularly hoping Kate Wooten will drop by as she is a good saddle fitter in Eastern Tennessee, but there's a couple of French brand reps that may be good peanut galleries as well.
                              Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Thanks Jn4Jenny! Yeah and it's a shame because the Childeric was absolutely beautiful and perfect for me, but I would much rather have a happy horse. It's actually on it's way up here from WEF right now with my trainer who happened to be bringing a few horses down there and offered to bring it up from the local tack shop's mobile down there, but I'm almost positive it won't fit (though never say never, it might get up here and be practically MADE for my horse! Hey a girl can dream.)
                                Mendokuse

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Spinoff, but j4j when I ordered my Quantum I asked the rep if I could get it with the same styling as yours (well, I didn't use your NAME but I asked for the same options as what you had). I was told no. I went ahead and ordered the traditional Quantum and I'm happy with it... but I kind of wonder whether it was BC or my rep being uncooperative? When did you order yours and you don't happen to still have the specs written out the way you ordered it-- do you? Longshot I know... but for the future... I adore adore adore my Quantum but I won't lie, I'd slightly rather it looked like your former saddle.
                                  ~Veronica
                                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Since I am a dyed-in-the-wool wool saddle gal myself, I had to take a deep breath and shop outside the land of trendy I ended up with an Ideal for one of my two horses. They're not at all common on this side of the pond-- but I get stopped at shows and asked if it's some new model from "insert your trendy French brand" all the time. And my saddle cost 1/2 a trendy brand price and has wool.

                                    It was still in the process of being conditioned/broken in here...

                                    http://s5.photobucket.com/albums/y19...rent=005-2.jpg

                                    It's now a lovely medium brown shade.
                                    ~Veronica
                                    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      thanks everyone!
                                      Mendokuse

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                                      • #20
                                        You can do a lot with a $4,000 budget and I agree with the OP, County saddles are ugly, I hate the leather they use. A friend just got a totally custom Black Country with the most expensive leather and other upgrades for a total of $3,000 and she was absolutely thrilled with the customer service. While not as pretty as the French saddles IMO, it fits both her and her horse to a "T" - and its a good looking, well made saddle. And besides, you cover up most of the saddle when you're riding in it.

                                        Black Country offers lots of options and upgrades so you could easily stay within your budget. I would also suggest giving Trumbull Mtn. a call, everyone who tries them seems to end up with exactly what they need and want at a reasonable price, even if you don't live within driving distance of them.

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