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Affordable, comfortable, sticky saddle?

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  • Affordable, comfortable, sticky saddle?

    Well, the County was a bust as mare let it be known that the Innovation was not going to work for her, as the tree shape did not agree. As I can't afford a brand new one with the sensation tree that she DID like, I am on the lookout for a saddle that is the following:

    1. Affordable. Under $2000. Used acceptable if Her Highness approves, but that is proving more difficult than planned.
    2. Comfortable. Wide seat with good padding, and front and rear blocks. Would prefer covered leather, even though it doesn't wear well, because I like the added grip. I currently have a medical condition that makes my hip and seat very sore on a narrow seated saddle with little padding, like the Tad Coffin I am relinquishing.
    3. Comfortable for her, too. Squishy panels, foam ok as long as they are softer (she likes her soft panels!)

    Any suggestions? I am eyeing the Ovation Evolution, the Collegiate Beta, and some of the Toulouse models. Horse is a Welsh x TB cross with a flatter back and a wide wither, definitely needs at least a M/W or possibly a W. She comfortably wears my 2002 Tad Coffin, but I am looking for something with more blocks and a deeper seat for me.

    Help please?!
    Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
    you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.

  • #2
    No specific examples, but just a suggestions that if you find something perfect without the blocks you want you could have those added especially if the saddle was cheap enough that the alterations would still keep you under budget. Happy saddle hunting!


    • #3
      Also nothing specific but I'd say find the exact saddle you want and if it's out of your price range then start looking for a used one!


      • #4
        No specific saddle recommendations for you, but may I suggest looking at buffalo leather rather than covered leather? It will wear much better, and has good grip.
        A Year In the Saddle


        • #5
          Have you tried Black Country? They are similar to County, but a little harder to find used under 2k. Did your horse like any of the other models that County has, like the Stabilizer? They are much easier to find used in your price range. I would stick with the English made saddles, if she like the County. Maybe Killington?
          "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."


          • #6
            I just bought the M Toulouse Platnium and I love it!! Very comfy and sticky. They have a new adjustable gullet system that is really cool. All for under 2K.

            I really wanted the Black Country but it is just way too much money for me right now. I did end up loving my new M Toulouse much better than the Black Country i tried.


            • #7
              double post
              Last edited by superD; Feb. 15, 2013, 09:39 PM. Reason: double post


              • #8
                I have an M Toulouse - either the Annice or the Denise - I can never remember which one. It's quite grippy, comfy, and well-balanced. My horse likes it too, though I couldn't advise about its fit for wide backs. I got mine because it offered quite good clearance for my horse's high wither.

                I also bought the M Toulouse as a compromise - couldn't afford the saddles I really wanted (even used), and find myself thinking just about every ride how much I actually like this saddle.


                • #9
                  Would also suggest looking at Black Country. Both Quantums that I have bought were in the $2K or less range - one was a demo (so barely used) and the other was in great shape, so they can be found in your price range. I also have a County Stabilizer for one horse and have had Innovations for other horses...and have found the BC to be just as or more comfortable for me.

                  I just saw a Sensation used for sale somewhere, but can't remember where. I was surprised as it is so new. But I'm sure even used, it wouldn't be less than $2K!


                  • #10
                    Black Country, used obviously. Patty Merli has one under 2000 but the size is probably not right....Ebay has them occasionally.


                    • #11
                      M. Toulouse are nice saddles for the price, I know a few people who have them and love them. I bought an Antares Hampton over the summer, and I couldn't be happier. Fits me and my horse like it was custom made and is so much more comfortable than my previous saddle, a Delgrange PJ Lite.


                      • #12
                        I keep trumpeting the Jeffries, and although it is not as popular of a brand, it fits wide shoulders, tall withers, and a long flat back. Super comfy and a cushy seat

                        The Elite is the model I have and it is delightful.


                        • Original Poster

                          Thanks guys.

                          I tried a Jeffries Excellence and Bascule, I really liked the Bascule for me but the M/W tree is very narrow and fits more like a M, so it was a little small for Pony. Resale also sucks if the Pony changes sizes again.

                          Tried Black Country but just could not find a model that agreed with me (I am short and all the flaps were too long/forward) I was hesitant to spend $2700 on something where the demo didn't fit right and therefore I have no idea whether the custom order will fit or not.

                          We tried a stabilizer and Pony was OK with it but I did not care for it for me at all, the seat was too narrow. The innovation seat was perfect.

                          I think I may take a couple Toulouses on trial, I know what everyone says about the quality but if she likes it, then I'm okay with it.

                          Has anyone tried one of the new Pessoas with the different panel shapes?

                          This horse seems to really like an integrated panel, so I am also considering the Beval Artisan even though it's out of my price range. Shipping saddles back and forth is getting REALLY expensive so I'd like to try to find some direction. Saddle fitters here seem to primarily rep dressage saddles so if I want jumping saddles, they don't have much for me to try, unless it is a brand rep like County or one of the french makes.
                          Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                          you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


                          • #14
                            Take care of your Toulouse and you will be fine. We have two of them. Love them. Not all of us can afford the high-end saddle, so this is a great alternative. We got rid of a nice newer Stubben and got the Toulouse for my husband. He hated the Stubben and really likes the Toulouse, which was surprising.
                            “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                            ¯ Oscar Wilde


                            • Original Poster

                              Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
                              Take care of your Toulouse and you will be fine. We have two of them. Love them. Not all of us can afford the high-end saddle, so this is a great alternative. We got rid of a nice newer Stubben and got the Toulouse for my husband. He hated the Stubben and really likes the Toulouse, which was surprising.
                              Thanks for that! I was beginning to feel like a terrible horse mom for considering something less than the best, but I am trying to be reasonable and only spend what I can get for my Tad right now rather than blow a huge chunk of change right now on this.
                              Originally posted by PeanutButterPony
                              you can shackle your pony to a lawn chair at the show...so long as its in a conservative color.


                              • #16
                                . Glad to do my part. We early can do housekeeping on a budget. Just takes some research, and sometimes trial and error. But do what works for you, not necessarily what everyone else is doing.
                                “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
                                ¯ Oscar Wilde


                                • #17
                                  If you have a rep in the area, might not hurt to try the Hastilow line of saddles.

                                  Horse and I both really liked the County Innovation, but I couldn't find one with the unique combo of features for both him and I used and a new one was not in the budget. Looked around a bit and demo'ed (thanks to J4Jenny) a Hastilow Concept - both the Concept Jumper and Reflex Jump shown here:


                                  Both have the wider twist that I like and were comfortable - I actually even ended up liking the feel of the Concept Jumper more than the Innovation (still a pretty deep seat though, with big front blocks and decent thigh blocks - helps to lock me in which is helpful.) It is very hard to tell from the website, but the Concept Jumper has a more forward flap than the Reflex Jump (which is what I needed). The Reflex Jump comes with the upgraded "memel" leather - which is very grippy once broken in. It is textured (sorta like the skin of a football if that makes sense?) and preoiled. I liked that leather much more than the standard leather on the Concept Jump - so I ordered a fully custom saddle with the upgraded leather, with the forward flap and seat feel I liked...plus all the bells and whistles my horse needed (K panel, wither gussets, etc) to fit his MN self with big wither hollows for $3K. My budget was around $2K, but I pulled together the extra funds because this just worked really well for us. I also really liked the fact the tree is adjustable if I needed to make it work for another horse down the road.

                                  The Concept line of saddles (adjustable gullet) are fairly new so it may be hard to put your hands on a used one, but you might get lucky and find a demo if you talk to the right reps. Also, you can occasionally find Hastilows on Ebay - and even if they aren't the adjustable gullet, you might find one that works for you. They have a MW on there right now - IF you happen to like black and red.



                                  • #18
                                    I loved my Thornhill 24k. It meets all of your requirements. Wide comfy seat, soft, sticky leather, knee and thigh blocks and soft panels (foam covered in wool I think). It was so comfortable, that after we realized it was pushing my leg back I still resisted selling it. New they run around $1200, used around $500. The 2013 model has an adjustable gullet, 2012 and before don't. My trainer rides in one, as do a number of people in my barn.

                                    (Saddle shopping has shown me that most saddles push my legs back, so I don't think it is a fault of the saddle design.)


                                    • #19
                                      Not necessarily a saddle recommendation, but I find my Passier Lederbalsam makes my saddle quite a bit tackier.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by soloudinhere View Post
                                        Thanks guys.
                                        We tried a stabilizer and Pony was OK with it but I did not care for it for me at all, the seat was too narrow. The innovation seat was perfect.
                                        Did you try the Conquest?

                                        Are you sure there isn't an Innovation that would suit you both? (as you seemed to prefer it) - as this tree is more "U shaped" (not a term that County uses) than other County trees, you'll want to try an Innovation N or M.

                                        Definitely invite any/all local saddle reps out - each trial should give you information about saddles you like vs saddles your mare likes.

                                        Also talk to your County rep (or head office) about older (discontinued) County models, as some of these can be picked up fairly economically.