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Prestige saddle knowledge please!!!

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  • Prestige saddle knowledge please!!!

    Hello:

    I am hoping someone on this forum knows some background on Prestige saddles. I ride endurance and have an extremely picky emotional and opinionated Arabian (who I love dearly) that is a very hard saddle fit. Very short backed with a TB style back. Huge withers and shoulders, prominent spine, ribs slope down away from spine (A-Framed), somewhat curvy topline. He is extremely sensitive and lets me know if I am even the tiniest bit out of balance on him...

    I tried a Prestige Galileo on him and he absolutely loved it and voluntarily gave me the nicest roundest trot of his life. The saddle rode great in the arena as a dressage saddle but just does not work for me on trail - flaps were way too long and straight, the pommel way too high. So I am on the hunt for a saddle that he likes as much but is more suitable for riding fast on the trail with shortish stirrups. (He has a ton of suspension and I ride in half seat a lot.)

    I tried a 17 Paris jump saddle and absolutely hated it. The seat pitched me forward and the pommel attacked me (well - that is how it felt to me!) He vetoed it too as I was out of balance in it.

    I tried a 17 Silver Star GP and found that seat to be too deep for me and the saddle too long for him.

    A 16 inch Hunter Classic was not bad for me although too narrow on him.

    A 17 Red Fox seems to be the best so far and I did find a used one although it would need the tree resized and flocking redone. I am also keeping an eye out for a 16 inch Red Fox as an inch less in length might help him. I am thinking that I would also feel like my legs were more "under" me in a smaller saddle. (I used rubber tubing to make the stirrup leather stay as far back as possible and that makes the 17" Red Fox doable.)

    I like a saddle that is pretty flat and wide in the rear with a low pommel in front. Wide twist does not bother me as I am used to riding treeless. I prefer flocking so I can customize the saddle better for him.

    So my question concerns the Golden Star saddles. Does anyone know if they are making Golden Stars again? I see them on several international sites for sale new... Can anyone compare a Golden Star to a Red Fox in terms of seat or panel length? I saw one reference that the Golden Star was essentially the same seat as the Michael Robert or Jumper R, but without the upgrades???

    I did get to sit in a 18" older Golden Star and think I liked it better than the Red Fox as the twist was a little wider and the pommel maybe a little lower? But the saddle was so big for me and didn't fit him at all that it would be hard to say for sure. And I am not sure if the Golden Stars I see for sale new with flocking are the same as the used Golden Stars you see for sale occassionally with latex panels?

    If anybody can comment on the Golden Star vs Red Fox I would greatly appreciate it. My horse just amazed me with his movement in the Galileo and I want to find him as good a saddle in a more close-contact style for me. There are so many Prestige saddles offered and even more discontinued models that it is a little overwhelming! Since we spend hours out on trail together, we are both rather picky that the saddle be just right.

    If by chance anyone has ridden one of their endurance models I'd love to hear about it too!

    Thanks in advance!!!
    PG

  • #2
    Prestige has one that's very similar to the Red Fox - the Roma Jump. Nice details, great workmanship, synthetic wool flocked panels. Made in Italy. $2100

    Their DX Endurance is a great ride. Flat seat but very supportive w/comfortable blocking (choice of large or small). $3300 for the monoflap.

    Both are good candidates for the type of back you're describing.

    I have an Atena Flaps and I LOVE it. Most comfortable seat *ever*. The panels fit my 16.2h typical TB, so *might* work for your arab... but the Desert Light would probably work better.
    Patience pays.

    Comment


    • #3
      I could answer this myself, but I really think you would benefit from speaking to a true Prestige expert. So instead, my strong advice is to speak with Paul, the owner at VTO Saddlery. He has been repping for Prestige for about a million years, he's an honest stand-up guy who will give you great advice, and he knows all the subtle nuances of the various Prestige saddles. Also call Ann at Equestrian Imports; she too reps for Prestige and can help you out.
      http://www.vtosaddlery.com
      http://www.equestrianimports.com/shop/

      FWIW, no, the Prestige Red Fox and the Prestige Golden Star are not the same, but they have both morphed slightly in design over the years. Yes, they are making the Golden Star for the international market but I don't believe it's being actively marketed in the US. There are other budget Prestige products on the market here--personally I'm pretty psyched about the Prestige Roma, which is a wool-flocked offering retailing at $2100. The market's been needing THAT saddle to show up for a long time now.

      You said the Hunter Classic was "too narrow for him," which makes me wonder if you're aware that Prestige's saddle tree can be adjusted across a huge range of tree sizes. Some vendors will tell you that this can only be done within 2 cm in either direction, but Paul at VTO clarified for me that in fact, you can only do 2 cm at a time because of the way the infrared heat-up machine that does these adjustments works. But there's no reason you can't adjust the saddle 2 cm, then wait 24 hours for the saddle to cool down, then adjust it again. This is one reason I'm pointing you particularly to Paul; he also does Prestige tree adjustments so he can speak to that process as well.

      If you're on a budget and will look at synthetic, the now-discontinued Tekna A4 jump saddle was built on a tree that's an extremely close cousin to the Prestige tree. I was able to get one as a shop sample for one of my trainer's sale horses, and Paul adjusted it wider for the horse (the Tekna saddles are adjusted on the same machine as the Prestiges, although the Tekna cm notation for wideness is slightly different from the Prestige notation). It's been a nice little saddle: it holds up well, I think the Tekna synthetic looks and feels more respectable than the Wintec synthetic material, and at your discretion you can buy them with suede knee rolls and seats if you like a little extra "stick." They're a good value at $500 or less.

      ETA if you're looking for a Golden Star, I keep waiting for someone to notice this one. It's priced a little high for what it is--I'd have priced it at $995--but considering what a unicorn this saddle is + it sounds like you're after a 16", maybe that's irrelevant to you. I know you said it didn't fit, but I am taking a gamble on the fact that perhaps it didn't fit because of a wrong tree size, not because of the overall curvature or fit of the panels.
      http://www.mmtackshop.com/store/CONS...ar+Jump+Saddle
      Last edited by jn4jenny; Dec. 21, 2012, 05:50 PM.
      Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Melissa:

        Oh - the flapped Atena looks lovely! My dream saddle! Could I ask you to measure the underside panels on it? The Hunter, Red Fox, and Galileo I tried were all about 18" long with upswept panels in the rear, but a 17" GP was about 20" and put pressure on his loins.

        Have you ridden the Dx and Desert Light too? Do you do endurance on you TB?

        Thanks!
        Amy

        Originally posted by Melissa.Hare.Jones View Post
        Prestige has one that's very similar to the Red Fox - the Roma Jump. Nice details, great workmanship, synthetic wool flocked panels. Made in Italy. $2100

        Their DX Endurance is a great ride. Flat seat but very supportive w/comfortable blocking (choice of large or small). $3300 for the monoflap.

        Both are good candidates for the type of back you're describing.

        I have an Atena Flaps and I LOVE it. Most comfortable seat *ever*. The panels fit my 16.2h typical TB, so *might* work for your arab... but the Desert Light would probably work better.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Jenny:

          Thank you SO much for your reply!!! I did know that the trees were adjustable but did think it was only by a size or two so thank you for clarifying that for me! He's a 31 or 32 so I was afraid that a 34 was not a possiblity... I will try the Golden Star. Someone let me sit in their Red Fox and Golden Star and it seemed like the Golden Star had a bit wider twist and lower pommel but both were 18's so hard to say what a smaller seat would feel like for sure...

          The Hunter Classic I tried was stamped a 32 but but had been adjusted narrower at some point I guess. It was a very well used saddle. It would have been fine if it fit with no adjustments needed but was in too poor a shape to invest any money in.

          Thanks for the tip on the Tekna. At that price point synthetic is just fine - my saddles typically get covered in a sheepskin anyway. How did you find the seat? It looks a little built up in the back? The S-line that they now have is a different tree?

          I would love to try one of their endurance models but am really trying to find used for around $1000 if I can.

          Thank you for letting me know about Paul and Ann!

          Happy Holidays!
          Amy

          Originally posted by jn4jenny View Post
          I could answer this myself, but I really think you would benefit from speaking to a true Prestige expert. So instead, my strong advice is to speak with Paul, the owner at VTO Saddlery. He has been repping for Prestige for about a million years, he's an honest stand-up guy who will give you great advice, and he knows all the subtle nuances of the various Prestige saddles. Also call Ann at Equestrian Imports; she too reps for Prestige and can help you out.
          http://www.vtosaddlery.com
          http://www.equestrianimports.com/shop/

          FWIW, no, the Prestige Red Fox and the Prestige Golden Star are not the same, but they have both morphed slightly in design over the years. Yes, they are making the Golden Star for the international market but I don't believe it's being actively marketed in the US. There are other budget Prestige products on the market here--personally I'm pretty psyched about the Prestige Roma, which is a wool-flocked offering retailing at $2100. The market's been needing THAT saddle to show up for a long time now.

          You said the Hunter Classic was "too narrow for him," which makes me wonder if you're aware that Prestige's saddle tree can be adjusted across a huge range of tree sizes. Some vendors will tell you that this can only be done within 2 cm in either direction, but Paul at VTO clarified for me that in fact, you can only do 2 cm at a time because of the way the infrared heat-up machine that does these adjustments works. But there's no reason you can't adjust the saddle 2 cm, then wait 24 hours for the saddle to cool down, then adjust it again. This is one reason I'm pointing you particularly to Paul; he also does Prestige tree adjustments so he can speak to that process as well.

          If you're on a budget and will look at synthetic, the now-discontinued Tekna A4 jump saddle was built on a tree that's an extremely close cousin to the Prestige tree. I was able to get one as a shop sample for one of my trainer's sale horses, and Paul adjusted it wider for the horse (the Tekna saddles are adjusted on the same machine as the Prestiges, although the Tekna cm notation for wideness is slightly different from the Prestige notation). It's been a nice little saddle: it holds up well, I think the Tekna synthetic looks and feels more respectable than the Wintec synthetic material, and at your discretion you can buy them with suede knee rolls and seats if you like a little extra "stick." They're a good value at $500 or less.

          ETA if you're looking for a Golden Star, I keep waiting for someone to notice this one. It's priced a little high for what it is--I'd have priced it at $995--but considering what a unicorn this saddle is + it sounds like you're after a 16", maybe that's irrelevant to you. I know you said it didn't fit, but I am taking a gamble on the fact that perhaps it didn't fit because of a wrong tree size, not because of the overall curvature or fit of the panels.
          http://www.mmtackshop.com/store/CONS...ar+Jump+Saddle

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PG View Post
            Jenny:

            Thank you SO much for your reply!!! I did know that the trees were adjustable but did think it was only by a size or two so thank you for clarifying that for me! He's a 31 or 32 so I was afraid that a 34 was not a possiblity... I will try the Golden Star. Someone let me sit in their Red Fox and Golden Star and it seemed like the Golden Star had a bit wider twist and lower pommel but both were 18's so hard to say what a smaller seat would feel like for sure...
            They definitely have different seat architectures. It's a pretty subtle difference, but it's there.

            31 or 32 is awfully narrow for an Arab! I'm not second-guessing you, just saying that it's a refreshing fitting challenge. Most folks with Arabs are looking for a curvy and wider tree.

            Get a price quote from Paul about how much he charges to adjust twice. He is a really reasonable guy and I'm guessing it's not double his fee for a single adjustment. Knowing Paul, who is Mr. Integrity, he will either tag on a nominal fee or not charge you for "going twice."

            Thanks for the tip on the Tekna. At that price point synthetic is just fine - my saddles typically get covered in a sheepskin anyway. How did you find the seat? It looks a little built up in the back? The S-line that they now have is a different tree?
            Yes, the S line is a very different tree from the A4 jump. I even have photographic evidence, both photos that I took myself:

            Tekna S Line Jump
            http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w...nny/file-1.jpg

            A quick phone snapshot of the A4, and yes I'm totally aware that it's too narrow for this horse--this was the shot I sent to Paul to enrich our phone conversation about widening this Tekna:
            http://i176.photobucket.com/albums/w...DSC08182_2.jpg

            That Tekna belongs to one of my trainer's project horses that I work on sometimes, so I've ridden in the Tekna quite a bit. The balance is excellent--our local foxhunt is very trappy and the Tekna has seen Crockett and I through some very icky, uneven terrain without problems. I also really like the synthetic material on it--I am not fond of the synthetic material on its competitor the Wintec Close Contact, which is SUPER slick and almost shiny, but as you can see, the Tekna's synthetic is a better-looking fake and molds a little better to the rider's leg. It isn't leather, which I remember as soon as I get off the horse and run my stirrups up, but I manage to forget the synthetic while I'm riding. In the Wintec CC, I am constantly aware of how slippery and squeaky the synthetic material is. The Tekna's seat is definitely medium not narrow, but I find it comfy enough. Keep in mind that I'm also riding on an extra-wide horse so that exacerbates the effect; I suspect that in the narrower tree sizes, the twist will feel different. My one gripe with the Tekna: the seat isn't super padded or comfortable. Again, I have been out in this saddle over rough terrain for the better part of 2 hours and my behind felt fine afterward, but it's not a couch like some of the Prestige saddles. A small compromise for a $500 saddle IMO.

            For all his virtues, Paul does not carry the Tekna line. I believe he can order them for you, of course, as can most saddleries who carry anything by English Riding Supply (a huge distributor that also distributes Pessoa, Ovation, Mountain Horse, Happy Mouth, and a few other brands you've heard of . If you need to have a good convo about the Tekna line, the saddle specialist at English Riding supply is fantastic. I think her name is Kelly, or maybe Katie? Just call and ask for the saddle specialist at 1.866.569.1600. They only have one, and she knows the Tekna lineup well. The Cheshire Horse also carried the Tekna A-line and may still have a few sitting around, and they also carry the Tekna S line. They have wonderful customer service and may be worth a phone call too.
            http://cheshirehorse.com/ContactUs.aspx

            Re: Prestige endurance models, it's a very long shot at $1000, but try calling Nancy Okun. She's a fitter who reps for the Prestige endurance lineup. If anyone's going to have one, or know your next best alternative, it's her. Her business partner, Kitt Hazelton, will know how to track her down. http://saddlefitter.blogspot.com/201...ming-soon.html

            Final note then I'll shut up: M&M Tack Shop, where that Golden Star is located, has a wonderful saddle fitter on staff too. They do not rep for Prestige, but if you need to have an intelligent conversation about twists etc. their fitter would be good for that.
            Last edited by jn4jenny; Dec. 23, 2012, 11:31 AM.
            Head Geek at The Saddle Geek Blog http://www.thesaddlegeek.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              I have a Michel Robert from 1996 that I call frankenstein because the amish repaired it...great saddle..also Jumper R

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