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Voltaire vs CWD: which would you take, and why?

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  • Voltaire vs CWD: which would you take, and why?

    Title pretty much sums up the question. I'm starting research for early Christmas shopping... for me!

    I'm leaning Voltaire, mostly for the look; but I've recently got a lot of detailed explanation of what technologies/builds CWD puts into their saddles.

    However that was by a CWD rep. So I wanted some real-world input by people here who've chosen one against the other. If you've spent any length of time riding in both, then I'd REALLY value your opinion.

    I used to the search feature, and didn't quite find the insight I was looking for. This will be my first custom saddle buy, so I really wanna put some thought/research into this before making a move.
    A vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire.

  • #2
    I'd chose CWD, because I personally like its look better than the Voltaire. But I would definitely make sure you ride on them first. Even if you are getting a custom saddle, you might find you really love or hate the balance of one over the other.


    • #3
      I love CWD! I've had such good experience with them and my saddles are beautiful. I've never sat in a Voltaire so I can't pass judgment on those, but I love love love my CWDs.
      Proudly blogging for The Chronicle of the Horse!


      • #4
        Im definitely a Voltaire girl. I feel like every CWD iv'e ridden in is HUGE and bulky. My Voltaire is basically a flat seat and fully custom to both my and my horse. I prefer the chocolate color as well.


        • #5
          there is one Voltaire at my barn. Its a very pretty saddle but I have to say I do not like the fabric underneath. It gets dirty and dingy looking pretty quickly. Other than that though, quality seems on par with the other manufacturers, with some nice "design" details (like the way they stitch the flap) that does differentiate it a bit. Can't speak to how it feels to ride in one though.

          As for CWD's, I didn't end up with one, even though I really wanted to like them because our local CWD rep is great. But the stuff you read about people feeling their pommels feel "high" was totally true for me. I couldn't ride in any of them without feeling like the pommel was just way too much in my business. Was otherwise a very nice saddle though, and their carbon fiber one is super cool.

          Honestly though if I had to choose between the two, it would really just come down to which one my horse went better in, and which one I felt fit me the best. One nice thing about CWD is if they have to, they will flock with wool. I don't think Voltaire offers that option.


          • #6
            Originally posted by supershorty628 View Post
            I love CWD! I've had such good experience with them and my saddles are beautiful. I've never sat in a Voltaire so I can't pass judgment on those, but I love love love my CWDs.
            This exactly for me too! I also really dislike the coloured section on the Voltaire saddles. If I am spending $5000 on something, it had better be classic, never go out of style and not become "dated"!
            Faibel Farms Custom Fly Bonnets
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            • #7
              Never ridden in a Voltaire, but I love my CWD. It's so comfortable, it fits most horses I put it on, and I think it's spectacular looking. I know tack only plays a small role in riding, but I feel it puts me in a better position on the flat and over fences. Short of custom, it was the most affordable higher end saddle I could find used that worked best for me. I'm a total CWD fan.

              However, sit in them both and see what works best for you. Have someone on the ground who'll have an unbiased opinion if you're not sure.


              • #8
                I just bought a buffalo Palm Beach Voltaire with the "second skin" option and it is one of the best saddles I've ridden in, I must say. It almost feels like a jazzed-up Butet---kind of like a Butet/Devoucoux hybrid, but with a much more close-contact feel. I traded my practically new Devoucoux for it. I can't say much for durability since I just purchased it, but I haven't heard of any problems thus far. I have ridden in the CWD's and I just couldn't find one that felt right for me. Just my opinion though! I think it depends on which saddle you like best.
                Originally posted by rustbreeches
                [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis


                • #9
                  Ridden in both. Strangely, I felt better balanced in the Voltaire Palm Beach. I am really long in the femur, so sometimes it's difficult for me to find that comfort with where my center of gravity lies... That said, I still really liked the CWD I rode in and the customer service rep was extremely good and gave good advice to a rider like who rides regularly enough but doesn't have a horse. Presently I'm still saving my pennies for a new saddle...


                  • #10
                    I've only ridden in a CWD, and at that time with that horse, it was quite nice. I've never sat in a Voltaire. Honestly, I think whatever saddle fits you and the horse best is the one to buy.
                    Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.
                    W. C. Fields


                    • #11
                      I've had a Voltaire for a few months now and it is absolutely the best saddle I've ridden in! As soon as I got on my horse with it I could feel his shoulder moving much more freely, and I love how grippy the leather is! The fabric underneath is as clean as the day I got it (I don't leave it at the barn though). It's super comfy and I love the color and the whole look of it!


                      • #12
                        Voltaire! Although I do not have one, I have ridden in my trainer's on occasion. Although it was totally the wrong size for me, I still felt balanced and secure.
                        One girl at out barn has a CWD, and although I have never ridden in one, it seems to sit 'on top of' the horse, rather than 'wrapping around' and does not 'hold' her in place.


                        • #13
                          Voltaire all the way. I tried CWD before contacting Voltaire and it was a very odd balance for me (and it hurt my horse's back badly). I have ridden in one or two on other horses that were a great fit but I love my Voltaire. I don't even notice the striped panels anymore and they are not dirty at all despite keeping the saddle at the barn almost full time.

                          If I had to start over with a saddle search for a new horse, these would be the first two companies that I would call - so definitely give them both a try and see what works for you.


                          • #14
                            Voltaire. I have ridden in both extensively and I ride a lot of horses. I have had many different CWD's hurt my horse's backs. They are really heavy compared to the Voltaires. Their titanium tree I think is a load of crap. Trees need to be flexible, titanium is very rigid. The Voltaires put me in a great position and are comfy for me and the horses.
                            "A good horse and a good rider are only so in mutual trust."


                            • #15
                              Definitely CWD, I loved mine and had great customer service from them. Aside from the hideously ugly fabric Voltaire uses on their saddles, how do you keep it clean and how well does it wear? I much prefer an all leather saddle, regardless of brand.


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by BAC View Post
                                Definitely CWD, I loved mine and had great customer service from them. Aside from the hideously ugly fabric Voltaire uses on their saddles, how do you keep it clean and how well does it wear? I much prefer an all leather saddle, regardless of brand.
                                Pretty bold statement from someone who has never ridden in one. The saddle is all leather. The only fabric portion is on the gullet and used as a lining over the leather on the billet cover (can't see it while riding). I've only had mine for a few days, but it's a "covered" fabric from what I can tell (ie: you can wipe the dirt off). I can imagine if you keep it clean it will remain that way. Maybe the old ones weren't treated. Not to mention you have the option of getting the saddle without the fabric...
                                Last edited by jlphilli; Feb. 27, 2013, 04:14 PM. Reason: clarification
                                Originally posted by rustbreeches
                                [George Morris] doesn't always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis


                                • #17
                                  I just purchased a custom voltaire. Palm beach second skin buffalo leather. I personally love it and I never thoughht I would love a saddle llike this. So balanced and the rep was awesome. He spent two hours with me and my horse to make it perfect.

                                  I had a custom cwd and the rep was horrid. The saddle camme in wrong, wrong panels, wrong flap. I called to get it figured out. They took it back and sentt mine 6 weeks later. Awesome, just another long wait. Next oe came out and was perfect. I was thrilled but three years later the saddle lookked like crap. I take great care of my tack and I was livid. I dropped that much on a saddle and it looked junky. I sold it annd bought a prestige. I have taled to others who have issues with their saddle and the looks of it after four or five years. I guess I nnot the only one who was unhappy with the looks after some solid use.

                                  Sorry for the typos and repeated letters. Phone is on the fritz.
                                  I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.


                                  • #18
                                    I will say I love my CWD. Look wise it would not have been my first choice, and comfort wise it was about the same as the Antares I tried. However, after all of the custom saddles I tried, I ended up with CWD because that is the one my horse went the best in. I find it easy to stay in balance and quiet and could not wait to jump in the CWD during the fitting. I should mention that I have never ridden in an Voltaire. But I think you should try both and base your decision on which one you and your horse find the most comfortable.

                                    Both are quality saddles, and no one type will work best for everyone.
                                    Celtic Charisma (R.I.P) ~ http://flickr.com/photos/rockandracehorses/2387275281
                                    Proud owner of "The Intoxicated Moose!"
                                    "Hope is not an executable plan" ~ My Mom
                                    I love my Dublin-ator


                                    • #19
                                      Both are great but I find the Voltaire to be lighter and offering closer contact thanks to the second skin option.


                                      • #20
                                        I would let my horse choose.

                                        I don't believe that "any saddlery can make a saddle to fit your horse." Maybe they all can, but my experience is that not all will. I am much more concerned with fit than the presence or absence of an extra piece of leather on the flap or stripey fabric underneath.

                                        I don't have any experience with Voltaire saddles. My sister has a CWD and it's great for her and her critter.
                                        "I'm not always sarcastic. Sometimes I'm asleep." - Harry Dresden

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